Ukraine Rightists Kill Police; Putin Blamed

Exclusive: As rightists riot in Ukraine killing three policemen in a protest against making any concessions to ethnic Russians in the east The New York Times had to move nimbly to again foist all the blame on Russia’s President Putin, but the Times was up to the propaganda task, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

As I read the latest example of The New York Times’ propagandistic coverage of the Ukraine crisis on Tuesday, it struck me that if these same reporters and editors were around in 1953, they would have cheered the coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh as a popular “revolution” putting the beloved and benevolent Shah back on the Peacock Throne.

Similarly in 1954, these credulous journalists would have written about another people’s “revolution” in Guatemala removing President Jacobo Arbenz and restoring law and order behind well-regarded military commanders. The Times would have airily dismissed any suggestions of U.S. manipulation of events.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

And, for decades, that was how the Central Intelligence Agency wanted American journalists to write those stories and the current crop of Times’ journalists would have fallen neatly into line. Of course, we know historically that the CIA organized and financed the disorders in Tehran that preceded Mossadegh’s removal and pulled together the rebel force that drove Arbenz from office.

And, the evidence is even clearer that U.S. government operatives, particularly Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, helped orchestrate the 2014 coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Indeed, journalists knew more about the coup-plotting in Ukraine in real-time than we did about the coups in Iran and Guatemala six decades ago.

In the Ukraine case, there was even an intercepted phone call just weeks before the Feb. 22, 2014 coup revealing Nuland handpicking the new Ukrainian leaders “Yats is the guy,” she said referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who would become the post-coup prime minister as Pyatt pondered how “to midwife this thing” and Nuland dismissed the European Union’s less aggressive approach with the pithy remark, “Fuck the EU!”

Several months earlier, on Sept. 26, 2013, Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy (a U.S. government-funded operation that was financing scores of Ukrainian activists, journalists and business leaders), stated in a Washington Post op-ed that Ukraine was “the biggest prize” and would serve as a steppingstone toward eventually destabilizing Russia and removing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After Gershman’s op-ed pronouncement, Nuland and Sen. John McCain personally cheered on anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square. Nuland literally passed out cookies, and McCain, standing on stage with right-wing extremists from the Svoboda Party, told the crowd that the United States was with them in their challenge to the Ukrainian government. Meanwhile, Pyatt advised the coup-makers from the U.S. Embassy.

The U.S. interference was so blatant that George Friedman, founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, called Yanukovych’s ouster “the most blatant coup in history.”

Blatant to anyone, that is, who wasn’t part of the U.S. government’s propaganda team, which included the foreign desk of The New York Times and virtually every mainstream U.S. media outlet. Following the script of the State Department’s propagandists, the Times and the MSM saw only a glorious people’s “revolution.”

Resistance to the Coup

However, ethnic Russians from Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the key bases of support for Yanukovych, resisted the new order in Kiev. The people of Crimea organized a referendum in which 96 percent of the voters favored seceding from Ukraine and rejoining Russia, ties that went back to the Eighteenth Century. When Putin and Russia agreed to accept Crimea, the Times and the MSM announced a “Russian invasion,” although in this case the Russian troops were already stationed in Crimea under the Sebastopol port agreement.

Ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine also rose up demanding independence or at least autonomy from the hostile regime in Kiev. The new government responded by labeling the dissidents “terrorists” and mounting an “Anti-Terrorist Operation,” which killed thousands and was spearheaded by neo-Nazi and Islamist militias. [See’s “Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists.”]

Although the Times at times would acknowledge the key role played by the neo-Nazis and other ultra-nationalists, that troublesome information along with the Nuland-Pyatt phone call and other evidence of the coup would disappear into the Memory Hole when the Times was summarizing the Ukraine narrative or was decrying anyone who dared use the word “coup.”

As far as the Times was concerned, what has happened since February 2014 was simply a glorious “revolution” with “pro-democracy” Ukrainian idealists on one side and propaganda-deluded ethnic Russian automatons on the other, depersonalized and ready for the killing. And behind all the bloodshed was the evil Putin.

The Times reprised its propagandistic narrative on Tuesday in an article by Andrew E. Kramer, who tried to put the best face possible on a violent protest by neo-Nazis and other right-wing nationalists against a proposed constitutional change that would grant more autonomy to eastern Ukraine as part of the Minsk II peace agreement reached last February between German, French, Ukrainian and Russian leaders.

Authorities identified a member of Sych, the militant arm of the right-wing Svoboda Party (John McCain’s old friends), as the person who threw a grenade that killed three police officers, but the Times made clear that the real villain was Vladimir Putin. As Kramer wrote:

“The [autonomy] measure is fiercely opposed by Ukrainian nationalists and many others, who loathe any concession to Mr. Putin and see him as the driving force behind a civil war that has claimed more than 6,500 lives. President Petro O. Poroshenko had conceded the constitutional change, which is included in the text of the Minsk agreement, with a metaphorical gun to his head: thousands of Ukrainian soldiers surrounded by Russian-backed rebels near the Ukrainian railroad town of Debaltseve.

“Supporters of the change say granting special status to the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk would co-opt the rebels’ major selling point, blunting the drive for separatism. Yet the war has angered Ukrainians to such an extent, opinion polls show, that members of Parliament are struggling to win support from voters for any concession.”

While the Times’ narrative paints Putin as the instigator of all the trouble in Ukraine, it also portrays him as a villain who is on the run because his “aggression” led to Western sanctions, which along with lower oil prices, are collapsing the Russian economy.

Kramer wrote: “Hopes for a peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis have been rising lately in Europe as oil prices have sunk, increasing financial pressure on Mr. Putin. With the Russian economy reeling, the thinking goes, he should be more willing to compromise on eastern Ukraine, the source of damaging Western economic sanctions. But that thinking was not shared by many in Ukraine.

“As Parliament approved the concessions, protesters outside the building scuffled with police, and shouted, ‘Shame! Shame!’ The demonstrators grew more agitated. Some tore helmets from the riot police and threw them on the paving stones. ‘They are trading in our blood and our corpses,’ said a veteran of the war in the east, Volodymyr Natuta, referring to members of Parliament who supported the measure. ‘They sold out Ukraine.’

“It [the right-wing killing of the first police officer on Monday] was the first death in politicized street violence in the capital since the 2014 revolution Officially, the Russian government denies having any hand in propping up the two enclaves in eastern Ukraine. But Ukrainians, not to speak of virtually every Western government and NATO, universally reject that, holding Moscow responsible for all the carnage in the east.”

So, having brushed aside the evidence of a U.S.-backed coup and ignoring the role of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists in both overthrowing an elected leader and launching attacks against ethnic Russians, the New York Times has settled on the only permissible view of the crisis: that it is all Vladimir Putin’s fault. Perhaps history will know better.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and 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.

21 comments for “Ukraine Rightists Kill Police; Putin Blamed

  1. Steven Tokugawa
    September 3, 2015 at 14:28

    Use any search engine to learn about “Operation Mockingbird,” the very successful CIA scheme to manipulate the MSM.

    • Joe L.
      September 4, 2015 at 12:34

      You can also learn how the UK manipulated its’ media to sell the Iraq War in Operation Mass Appeal.

  2. Joe L.
    September 3, 2015 at 10:35

    Here you can see an article from the New York Times in 1953 about Mossadegh at the same time that the US/UK overthrew him, a democratically elected leader, because he wanted to nationalize Iran’s oil which threatened British Petroleum (BP).

    New York Times: “Mossadegh Plays with Fire” (August 15, 1953):

    The world has so many trouble spots these days that one is apt to pass over the odd one here and there to preserve a little peace of mind. It would be well, however, to keep an eye on Iran, where matters are going from bad to worse, thanks to the machinations of Premier Mossadegh.

    Some of us used to ascribe our inability to persuade Dr. Mossadegh of the validity of our ideas to the impossibility of making him understand or see things our way. We thought of him as a sincere, well-meaning, patriotic Iranian, who had a different point of view and made different deductions from the same set of facts. We now know that he is a power-hungry, personally ambitious, ruthless demagogue who is trampling upon the liberties of his own people. We have seen this onetime champion of liberty maintain martial law, curb freedom of the press, radio, speech and assembly, resort to illegal arrests and torture, dismiss the Senate, destroy the power of the Shah, take over control of the army, and now he is about to destroy the Majlis, which is the lower house of Parliament.

    His power would seem to be complete, but he has alienated the traditional ruling classes -the aristocrats, landlords, financiers and tribal leaders. These elements are anti-Communist. So is the Shah and so are the army leaders and the urban middle classes. There is a traditional, historic fear, suspicion and dislike of Russia and the Russians. The peasants, who make up the overwhelming mass of the population, are illiterate and nonpolitical. Finally, there is still no evidence that the Tudeh (Communist) party is strong enough or well enough organized, financed and led to take power.

    All this simply means that there is no immediate danger of a Communist coup or Russian intervention. On the other hand, Dr. Mossadegh is encouraging the Tudeh and is following policies which will make the Communists more and more dangerous. He is a sorcerer’s apprentice, calling up forces he will not be able to control.

    Iran is a weak, divided, poverty-stricken country which possesses an immense latent wealth in oil and a crucial strategic position. This is very different from neighboring Turkey, a strong, united, determined and advanced nation, which can afford to deal with the Russians because she has nothing to fear -and therefore the West has nothing to fear. Thanks largely to Dr. Mossadegh, there is much to fear in Iran.

    • Tsigante
      September 4, 2015 at 04:39

      “Turkey, a strong, united, determined and advanced nation”………in 1953?? Ridiculous.

      However Turkey was US backed ie the 1948 Truman Doctrine for Greece and Turkey, and c. 1953 both were admitted to NATO. This secured the Eastern Mediterranean and Hellespont for the West and goes back yo Yalta.

      And Turkey didn’t have a Pars oilfield….

      • Joe L.
        September 4, 2015 at 13:48

        Tsigante… my point of showing this past article from the New York Times is to show a long history of “propaganda” by the New York Times when it comes to US foreign policy and now we all know that the US/UK pulled of the coup in 1953 against Iran’s democratically elected leader, thus putting a dictator in place friendly to US/UK interests, as Robert Parry points out in this article.

  3. Zachary Smith
    September 2, 2015 at 23:01

    My previous post was initially attempted with a link. The post was rejected. I erased the link, then tried again. It went through. Next I tried to post the link all by itself. Rejected again.

    Noting that there wasn’t a single link in any of the comments, I located a pretty picture on Google Images and tried linking to it. Rejected.

    For whatever reason, the forum isn’t currently permitting my links. One wonders if this is a policy decision, or has some technician made a wrong adjustment somewhere?

  4. Zachary Smith
    September 2, 2015 at 22:50

    Kramer is notorious for these kind of shenanigans, as this recent article in the Greanville Post details at length, and it has led to wide-spread speculation that Kramer, whose previous career was in the US military, (a fact carefully omitted from any public info about him on the web), besides being a boob and as stooge, pulls down a second paycheck from US intelligence services.

    He is married to the slightly batty Anna Nemtsova, of “Ukrainian swastikas are kind of cute” fame. See here, and here. Spinning nonsense about Russia is a family enterprise.

  5. migrin
    September 2, 2015 at 10:15

    To onno

    //recent protests against more autonomy for the Donbass area //
    It was not about giving more autonomy, at least during this vote.
    This is what is in the proposed draft where Donbass even mentioned:

    Article 144
    18. Realization of local government in particular regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions are determined by a special law.

    That’s all, not even word “autonomy”

  6. onno
    September 2, 2015 at 09:23

    Right on, but the MSM propaganda goes on under the motto; if you tell lies often enough people may finally believe it. But NYT article of blaming Putin again for this protest in Kiev is reaching absurdity. Anybody who knows a little about Ukraine knows about the private battalions funded by oligarchs like Kolomoisky, Achmetov and even of UA president Poroshenko all of them have in common to make claims on certain regions. Kolomoisky -though his Burisma Holdings – has claims East Ukraine for its potential oil/gas reserves and is supported by his employees Hunter Biden and Devon Archer son of US VP Biden resp. stepson of Kerry.
    So its no surprise that the recent protests against more autonomy for the Donbass area results in this aggression by right extremists just to protect the interests of their employer in this case oligarch Kolomoisky.

  7. September 1, 2015 at 21:31

    these events in Syria and Ukraine are blatant imperialism (Washington’s mask was finally lowered enough for some of us to see it’s true face) and the question must be asked, “why?”

    • Bianca
      September 3, 2015 at 20:15

      Why? Same reasons, same obsession. Just look the primary money bags for presidential elections. One, funding Republicans, Sheldon Adelson, and another, funding Hillary, Haim Saban. Both founders of an extreme organization in Israel. So, what is the link? Simple. Middle East must be devastated for generations to allow Israel to dominate the region. Iran is the only failure — a bridge too far for US foreign policy. Neocons hate Russians and everything Russian. The history of most of the neocon families is linked to Russia in a variety of ways. Many not pleasant. Notable examples are pogroms that came after a radical Jewish youth group was involved in the assassination of Russian emperor. But much before that, Jewish merchants were dominating the slave trade of Russians, from at least 8th century until what is today’s Ukraine, and once Kievan Rus, or the first Russian state occupied by Mongols and then Tatars, was liberated by Catherine the Great. The slave trade made many Jewish families wealthy, and it operated mainly from the ports of Crimea. No real number is known, other then two million that were recorded as sold to Venetian and Genovese galleys. Records exist even in the era of Carl the Great, who had revoked license to some Jewish slave tradesmen, and then granted them again for better provision. In fact, in case you wonder, where does the word “slave” comes from in German, French and English. From Slavic, of course. So do other words that describe the slave habits, such as “slovenly”, etc. The reality is, either Russians will talk about it, or by keeping quiet, they just allow the same families to regroup in some other place on the earth, and upon getting some power, they will try to assert themselves over those they find inferior, and the very idea that those inferior people would demand to be treated as equal fills them with rage. Historic memories, just like human, are best dealt with in the open, or they will plague generations. Same sense of superiority guided Trotsky when he tried to challenge Stalin on how to run empire. And the same sense of being wronged still is nurtured among his many Jewish followers. But unless the history is fully understood, fully dealt with — all sides heard without reservations — we will have history repeat itself in many a grotesque way. There is no reason on earth that US should be an enemy to Russia. None. Russia is a continental power that needs no expansion. But if challenged — will respond. And what neocons did — put in the seed of turmoil, seed that will force US to act against Russia. But behind it are their personal, historic ideas, and if Russia, and other Slavic nationalities that were hunted by Tatars and sold by Jewish tradesmen to all corners of the world do not speak up — and ask for some form of recognition of the evil — they will be constantly picked on. With dupes like American citizens that just do not understand a thing!

      • Bob Van Noy
        September 4, 2015 at 15:29

        I think you’ve got it exactly, Bianca. I’m not a scholar as you appear to be but I have understood for some time now that if President Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev had been allowed to meet, talk, and work out discrepancies, we would now live in a different and better world now. President Kennedy may have payed for that indiscretion with his life!

    • Tsigantes
      September 4, 2015 at 04:30

      Why are they lowering the mask?
      Because we are edging close to Total War I would guess, and abandoning the velvet glove now serves a purpose.

      By the way, Nuland is also keeping the Balkans on its toes, while the US from its base in Kosovo is openly backing “Greater Albania” as a destabilisation ploy in an arc stretching from the Adriatic to the Black Sea. Meanwhile Tony Blair has been in Albania making business deals.

  8. Zachary Smith
    September 1, 2015 at 20:58

    Again the javascript error, and again it deleted the post beyond recovery.

    This time I had fired up the almost-never-used Internet Explorer browser, one I know has no addons or extensions


  9. John
    September 1, 2015 at 20:22

    I have been black listed from this site…..freedom of speech on this site is if you agree with the governing system…..what does that sound like

    • Zachary Smith
      September 1, 2015 at 20:52

      The site is definitely having some problems. For instance, I just tried to make a post and it was forbidden because Java script wasn’t enabled. This particular browser has NEVER had it disabled.

      So you may be blacklisted, and you may not.

  10. ltr
    September 1, 2015 at 20:14

    I was appalled at the New York Times coverage, but in no way surprised. The hatred of Russia as personified by President Putin is deep-rooted and seemingly endless. With President Yeltsin the idea was to ruin Russia with a smile, now we snarl all the way though we will fail.

  11. Erik
    September 1, 2015 at 19:32

    It is fairly plain at this point that the East/West factions in Ukraine are far too extreme to support any sort of working federal system, more so now than before the civil war began. The US was far worse than stupid to stir up trouble there. Only division is likely to work for the next three generations until differences come to seem remote.

    So the external powers should enforce a division for humanitarian purposes. All external sanctions, support, and diplomacy should be brought to bear. Those who oppose a peaceful settlement are war criminals and should be held fully accountable. That will include primarily the US right wing scoundrels who started and maintain the civil war for no cause they dare argue.

  12. migrin
    September 1, 2015 at 18:20

    Also the vote Rada took was about “decentralization” in general, a smoke screen to avoid following signed Minsk-2 road-map:

    #5 On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts,” and also about the future of these districts based on the above mentioned law.

    No dialogue with “separatists/terrorists” on proposed legislation, not even mention of “Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk”

  13. Joe
    September 1, 2015 at 16:41

    It is amazing how every single thing that happens in Ukraine is Vladimir Putin’s fault. I am surprised that if Poroshenko gets indigestion that they do not directly blame it on Putin. It is truly amazing how far the propaganda has gone, I think that the Guardian or some news organization was claiming that Putin was gay. We have seen Putin putting a blanket on the first lady of China being some huge story OR even Putin kissing some kid on the stomach.

    Of course, Ukraine (and the US/EU) has no blame in using nationalists and Neo-Nazis (Right Sector and Svoboda) to co-opt the Maidan protests to begin with and then overthrow the democratically elected President, all in the name of “democracy”. Also, using these same vile forces in Eastern Ukraine such as the Azov Battalion (and now Islamists). Is anyone surprised that now as the EU is putting pressure on Poroshenko to abide by the Minsk 2.0 agreement that the forces which instituted “regime change” to begin with, for their own nationalist reasons, are violently opposed to compromise?

    As for the New York Times, along with the Washington Post, I should try to find articles from 1953 and 1954 to see how they were reporting on the blatant US coups which overthrew the “democracies” of Iran and Guatemala. I do know that the New York Times reporter William L. Laurence was actually on the payroll of the US War Department when he was reporting on “Japanese Propaganda” about claims of radiation sickness after the dropping of the atomic bombs. I think that if we went through the past reporting of the New York Times and Washington Post, now knowing the actual history of different US backed coups, then it would be apparent how closely these publications work with the US government in spreading propaganda (we can even look at the US backed coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002 which I believe the New York Times solely blamed on Chavez, shootings and all – sounds like Ukraine).

  14. jaycee
    September 1, 2015 at 16:32

    Very poor reporting on Kramer’s part as well. The protesting crowd was estimated at about 3000.
    Kramer’s article, citing “opinion polls”, tries to portray a consensus in Ukraine against the specific legislation, in support of further military action in the east regions, and certain of Putin’s evil intentions. This premise is clearly the truth, Kramer insinuates, because the foreign policy establishments of NATO countries think the same way.

    I can remember the unease, reported in the mainstream media, created by the modest political success of Jorg Haider in Austria in the late 80s/early 90s. I don’t believe he had a militia. Lots has changed under the surface, obviously, when the NYT deliberately soft-pedals fascist mobs attacking a European parliament.

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