The mainstream U.S. reporting on the Ukraine crisis has been as biased and imbalanced as any in recent memory, leaving many Americans confused about what the on-the-ground reality is, as retired Col. Ann Wright discovered.
By Ann Wright
Most Americans don’t have a clue what has happened in a place called Crimea or why it is on the frontlines of what is becoming a new Cold War. In fact, few even know where it is. But Crimea’s location has made it one of the most frequent battlegrounds of empires — and today is no exception.
Some Americans may remember Crimea through Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “Charge of the Light Brigade” about the slaughter of a British cavalry unit as it charged into a devastating crossfire from Russian artillery and riflemen during the 1854 Crimean War, a disastrous attack immortalized in some of the most infamous words of war…
“Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred…
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.”
However, fewer Americans probably remember that in 1941, the Nazis mounted a 250-day siege of the Crimean city of Sevastopol, in which the Soviet forces suffered some 26,000 soldiers killed and 95,000 taken prisoner, including about two-thirds wounded. The Germans and their Axis allies also suffered heavy casualties and the delay in capturing Sevastopol contributed to Germany’s decisive defeat at Stalingrad in 1943.
As the Nazis were forced into a westward retreat, the Soviet Union regained control of Crimea. With the Nazi occupation ended, Soviet leader Josef Stalin deported about 230,000 inhabitants of Crimea to Central Asia. The mass deportation removed about one-fifth of the total population, mostly Tatars, as a collective punishment for alleged Nazi collaboration. Over the ensuing years, Crimea was repopulated by ethnic Russians.
In 1954, the Soviet government assigned Crimea to Ukraine, one of the Soviet republics, and Crimea remained part of Ukraine when it became a separate country following the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. But the population was resistant to being politically absorbed into Ukraine. A 1991 referendum favored making Crimea an autonomous zone and a 1994 referendum sought greater autonomy from Ukraine.
Crimea regained the world’s attention in 2014 after a U.S.-backed coup against the elected government of Ukraine. In the weeks before the coup, U.S. involvement was exposed in an intercepted phone call between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.
Nuland castigated the European Union’s hesitancy to support demonstrators in the Maidan Square who were spearheading the ouster of elected President Viktor Yanukovych. “Fuck the E.U.,” Nuland declared as she and Pyatt discussed who should become Ukraine’s new leaders. “Yats is the guy,” Nuland said in reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who would emerge as prime minister after the coup.
The coup on Feb. 22, 2014, brought to power a right-wing Ukrainian nationalist government hostile to the country’s ethnic Russian minority with the parliament voting to remove Russian as an official language. Amid the post-coup chaos and violence, the leaders of Crimea called for a referendum to decide whether Crimea should secede from Ukraine and reunite with Russia.
On March 16, 2014, more than 80 percent of the voters participated and some 96 percent favored rejoining Russia, a decision that the Russian government accepted. The Russian Federation formally annexed Crimea six days after the vote. Because Russia’s southern naval fleet is located in Crimea at Sevastopol, Russia gave as its rationale for annexing Crimea – beyond the overwhelming result of the referendum – the national security necessity of protecting the port and fleet from anti-Russian forces.
However, the United States and its Western allies denounced Crimea’s referendum, called the annexation a violation of international law, and imposed sanctions on Russia and Crimea. The E.U. sanctions prohibited investment in Crimea, infrastructure, assistance to Russian oil and gas exploration in the Black Sea, and certain tourist activities in Crimea. The U.S. sanctions prohibited new investments in Crimea; the import and export of goods, technology and services from or to Crimea; and the purchase of real estate in Crimea and blocked certain individuals from coming to the U.S.
A Firsthand Examination
Despite those restrictions and a U.S. government travel advisory against visiting Crimea, I took part in a 20-person delegation (19 Americans and one Singaporean) who went to see for ourselves what had happened there and to speak with as many residents as we could. Ours was the first international delegation to visit Crimea from the United States in over two years.
Organized through the Center for Citizen Initiatives, our delegation met with government officials, business people, veterans of World War II and the Soviet-Afghan war, students and Crimean Tatars. We spoke with people who voted for reunification with Russia and some who did not.
The sanctions have been successful in destroying the tourism business in Crimea. Most visitors had arrived in Crimea by cruise ships from Turkey and Greece through the Bosporus Straits into the Black Sea to the Crimean ports of Yalta or Sevastopol. Annually, over 260 cruise ships dock in Crimea, but for the past two years none have arrived, thereby decimating the international tourist industry. However, travel by Russian citizens to Crimea has increased.
Before the referendum, international visitors could fly to Crimea directly from Europe. However, under the E.U. sanctions, European airlines no longer fly into Crimea. International visitors can fly into Crimea only from Russian cities.
Sanctions on use of international credit cards and on cell-phone technologies had the most striking impact on daily life in Crimea. Now, two years later, some international credit cards will work in Crimea, but cell-phone service is spotty. Travel for citizens of Crimea is more difficult as they must obtain a Russian Federation passport. Individuals said it is harder to travel with a Russian passport and particularly from Crimea.
After the referendum, the interim Ukrainian government cut off electrical power to Crimea and, more recently, several electric transmission stations were blown up by right-wing Ukrainian nationalists forcing Crimean businesses and families to get generators. Russia eventually provided a massive electric power grid bringing electricity into Crimea from Russia.
Russia is also constructing a $3.2 billion, 19-kilometer (11.8 miles) bridge that will connect Crimea directly with Russia.
For its part, the U.S. government canceled programs that were available to people in Crimea when it was a part of the Ukraine. Peace Corps volunteers were removed and school construction projects by U.S. military units ended. U.S.-funded professional exchange programs stopped as did U.S. agricultural and law enforcement projects.
Some with the Crimeans with whom we spoke regretted the loss of contact with the United States and its programs, particularly its exchange programs. One educator lamented the difficulty in finding exchange programs for high school and college students in the Crimea to live and learn in the United States. Graduates of universities in Crimea are finding that some educational institutions outside of Russia are no longer recognizing their diplomas and certificates because of the sanctions.
Educators said they do not want to be isolated from the world. They asked that our delegation assist in finding professional and educational exchanges with educational institutions and civic organizations in the United States.
One local official expressed great concern about the negative reaction of the international community to the decision by Crimeans to reunite with Russia, compared with the lack of criticism for the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government in 2014. She believed that without the coup there never would have been a referendum in Crimea and a subsequent annexation by Russia.
She asked, “Why isn’t the international community focusing on the overthrow?”
Crimeans noted that many of the sanctions were not aimed at Russia itself, but just Crimea – to teach the citizens of Crimea a lesson, they told us.
Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the U.S. government in March 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She is the co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.
Thanks to Ann Wright for this informative article. Her observations square with my visit to Crimea in July 2014. At that time, the tourism industry was being hit very hard, but most Crimeans were positive about the future. Many polls subsequent to the secession vote of March 16, 2014 show overwhelming satisfaction with the decision.
I am puzzled by the use of the term “annexation” of Crimea by Russia that is used in the article. The article clearly explains that the decision of Crimeans to secede from Ukraine and rejoin the Russian federation was conducted by a legal and constitutional authority–the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as the peninsula was named and constituted under Ukraine–and was overwhelmingly supported by the population. The real “annexation” of Crimea took place back in 1954. That decision can at least be explained by the enormous exigencies of post-WW2 reconstruction.
Russia moved speedily to create new supplies of electrical energy following the mentioned bombings by Ukrainian extremists of electrical supply to Crimea from Ukraine. Those happened in November 2015. All four electricity cable lines (not “stations”) serving Crimea from Ukraine were bombed. The Ukrainian government stood by and did nothing. Several weeks later, the government formalized the road transport blockade which the extremists imposed beginning in September 2015, again with total impunity from Kyiv.
There is a wealth of historic as well as contemporary information on Crimea on the dedicated web page of New Cold War.org: https://newcoldwar.org/category/crimea/.
I, for one, am really fed up with all the bull shit about the “New Cold War” it is a misrepresentation of the circumstances today and in fact has nothing to do with them. There is no “cold war” there are preparations for a real war with the ever increasing buildup of US forces and war materials on the borders of Russia in Europe. There are THAAD missile batteries in Eastern Europe there are US nuclear weapons ready and stashed in strategic locations, there are nuclear submarines patrolling all waters near Russia. NOTHING COLD ABOUT IT.
Ann Wright deseptively recounts the political history regarding Crimea and Ukraine. In 1991, while still in USSR, Ukraine changed the status of Crimea from oblast to the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic Of Crimea(that was its status until 1945 when it was changed to oblast within Russian SSR, then the Crimean Oblast was transferred to Ukraine in 1954). When Ukraine left the USSR, Crimea became The Autonomous Republic Of Crimea within Ukraine. It is highly deceptive to refer to Crimea as being part of the Ukraine as this implies that it is Ukrainian sovereign territory, which is a false statement. An Autonomous Republic has the right under international law to declare independence from its associated nation. It therefore has implicit sovereignty that can be invoked at any time. For example, although we think of The Dutch East Indies as a colony of the Netherlands, its defined status was an Autonomous Republic. I find it ludicrous that Ann Wright cannot plainly state the facts of history or even refer to an official name: The Autonomous Republic Of Crimea. The United States Government understands this, but doesn’t talk about it, merely falling back on calling the referendum illegitimate, a position that amounts to tortured argumentation.
Sir, I think that’s what she meant – she just didn’t use the correct language.
Well said . +++++++++
Mr. Smith, I doubt you lived in Krimu or Sevastopol during the Ukraine time. I did, I have lived in Sevastopol for well over a decade and my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Wright and her group at 35th Battery Museum in Sevastopol during their visit.
Krimu is The Autonomous Republic of Krimea and was so in Ukraine times. Sevastopol is a city and a region that has always had special status and does not belong to Krimea. However, neither entity had any independence from Ukraine after SSSR was no more. Every time there was a change of the ruling elite in Kiev every functionary in Krimu and Sevastopol City and Region was replaced with a new and ever more rapacious functionary who brought his entire entourage down here to feed at the trough. This replacement was top to bottom, from ‘governor’ to dog catcher. Every functionary in this city, this region and in Krimea was appointed by whoever held power in Kiev. Period. While there were elections for the local Rada deputats in general the list was limited to the ‘chosen ones’ although this was not an absolute. Perhaps, sir, instead of trying to educate us about what an autonomous republic is you should direct your educational efforts to Kiev and whoever is sitting in power at this moment. We know, and knew, exactly what such an entity is.
I will take exception to Miss Wright’s assumptions on the tourist season down here. 2014 was admittedly quite thin, 2015 was very busy and this summer we are literally over run by the vermin in their tens of thousands in Sevastopol.
One other small point. Sevastopol and Krimea were not ‘annexed’ by Russia. There were two referendums in this peninsula, one for The Autonomous Republic of Krimea and one for the City and Region of Sevastopol. The ballot questions were slightly different and were printed in Russian, Ukrainian and Tatari. The citizens of both entities voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine and return to Russia. After the referendums both regions were welcomed in to, or should I say back to, Russia. There was no ‘annexation’, the citizens freely and overwhelmingly voted to return to Russia.
RHA, thank you for your excellent, highly informative comment, which I carefully reread many times. Please comment in the future on any “Crimea” articles, as they always contain errors and subtle distortions, and the comments also attract anti-Russian trolls.
I sympathize with you about the “tourist vermin” problems Crimea is “suffering” again now, in 2016, after the West convinced Turkey to shoot a Russian plane and so go off-line as a Russian tourist destination…
Can you believe it? Just when the sanction ploy was seeming to be likely to cause real hardship to Crimean tourism, they flooded the peninsula with Turkey-avoiding “tour-rats”, so now the peninsula is again over-run, with the “vermin” dropping their fiscal tourist-droppings everywhere, following pied-piper tourist-guides up and down, enthralled by their pipings, and all the rest.
It seems as if the West is star-crossed. Every time they cook up some goofy idea to land on Crimea somehow it turns golden for the Crimeans…
Wasn’t it the sanctions on Iraq beginning around 1990 where we cut our teeth on this mode of state punishment? Starving the children was the way to go, eh?
Absolutely. Actually most of them had enough food, they just didn’t have potable water, decent sanitation, and the Clinton administration had sanctions on water purifying chemicals (because they could be used in bombs) and we were blocking antibiotics (I think it must have been Killary’s idea–Bill was bad, but he wasn’t cruel).
Hillary has a terrible track record with respect to the people the US were killing. Bill seemed to prefer the White House bedrooms for activities, which left Hillary pretty much in charge. She certainly knew Madame Albright, that delightful woman who in support of Killary pointed her crooked witch like finger at the audience and said “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” I’m sure of the quote and I think I remember the players in the scene and where they were. I can’t be certain of that, but here the quote works the message.
She later defended that statement in Time Magazine: “Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright defended her recent remarks that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” in an interview with TIME.
“I said that I think that people need to understand who has been really fighting on their behalf on issues that are of interest to women and clearly Hillary Clinton has and I have said there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women a lot—it’s so famous that it ended up on a Starbucks cup—because I do think that just generally, we are very judgmental of each other,” Albright said.”
I think Madame Albright is a war criminal. This I can document with the video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omnskeu-puE
This is the same b*T>h who said that the price of 500,000 dead Iraqi children “was worth it.” Don’t forget that this first woman Secretary of State (with blood dripping from her dirty smiley hands–much like our current crown princess, the second Secretary of State with even more blood dripping from her dirty hands)…But don’t forget the blood stained hands of our second woman secretary of state. These warmonging women are quite a triumvirate. Why would three such sweet and womanly women become war criminals. I thing that the Donal, who will be the next president unless Bernie takes over the post from the faltering Clinton… What is it that drove these three women? The blood lust that only men can feel? A weird kind of penis envy that evokes images of children, women, men blown to bits by drones, their unidentifiable body parts hanging from trees, bushes, scattered in tiny fragments over the whole area? Or maybe they are all sadists and they enjoy watching the video of the kid being blown to bits as he rids his younger brother into the drone target area. Or maybe these women, none of whom has a deeply satisfying relationship with their children only Hillary had children I think and each of them seems to be warped–I actually feel sorry for them, being in the limelight when their father, from his days in the Arkansas Governor’s mansion [think of the ghosts of raped and murdered beautiful women, often black, who were forced into sex with whoever was the governor before they met a sadistic end for the amusement of the governor’s drinking or smoking days–and this was before the Emancipation Proclamation. Within a year of the end of the war, no soldiers were protecting blacks from those who didn’t mind violating the proclamation. Times became much more difficult for ex-slaves. When they were slaves, their masters would at least protect them like chattel. the and even before the worst times when, once slavery ended, there was no one to protect black men and women and the sunset lynching was just plain ole good fun for the drunk white boys.The POTUS, must’ve at least a few time skipped pulling his pants back up as next nexted in or maybe he nexted into her? We’ll never know because when Bill was asked if he had been having as having sex at the present time with a young aid, he could truthfully say he was not, since while he did have a lot of sex with her over at least a year, none of it was in the Zen Buddhist’s Eternal Now. Nah, it’s probably true that the daughters are hopeless screw-ups, I mean, to have a wandering father and a hopelessly ambitious pathological liar for a mother… tough.
Of course, far worse was when
Stories like this keep coming out and setting strait actual situations instead of the steady diet of propaganda by the MSM,(main stream media), which give those of us that care the ‘real’ account of actions around the regions. I’m getting tired of the blatant bias against foreign governments as the direct result of increasing US hegemony in regions not already under the wing of western powers led by the US govt. So just because Crimea wants to be with Russia the US decides to ‘punish’ them with sanctions that strangle their economy and livelihood. Then what comes next when Russia, or any other government for that matter, has had enough and retaliates against the US and NATO allies? Will it include military involvement? The way things are heading doesn’t bode well for those of us that grow tired of US actions up to war and the debt these acts chalk up with a seemingly endless supply of dollars. Will Putin retaliate with a hot war this time and perhaps toss a few nukes in as well? I believe the arrogance of these state dept officials could easily launch a new war with Russia and China of which I’m convinced we won’t win and the world will end up a far different place. We should try to get diplomats such as Ann here back in places where their good sense could slap some good sense back in the crazy state dept officials.
And the evidence for imposing these sanctions, is based on…?
Evidence? We don’t need no steenkin’ evidence!
Joe, I’m sure you immediately noticed American hypocrisy at work in the response to the coup in Turkey. Coup in Ukraine (which America helps foment): Immediate recognition of the fascists who toppled the legitimately elected government. Coup in Turkey: Immediate statement by Obomber that he fully supports the elected government of fascist President Erdogan.
Back to the sanctions: Absolutely anything is considered permissible by Washington, no matter how unjust and outrageous, and no matter what minorities get hurt in the process, if it will possibly lead to the disintegration of Russian society a second time in 25 years. In contrast, Washington would probably do anything to prevent the disintegration of its repressive NATO ally in Turkey, in spite of the violence constantly meted upon minorities there, such as the Kurds and the Armenians. In a just world, America would support the Turkish coup and have opposed the Ukrainian one, but America looks out only for its own selfish interests and damn the little people.
But, what else is to be expected when it has the same attitude towards its own people? Latest evidence: the police crackdown in Baton Rouge on free assembly and free speech in response to the shooting of Alten Sterling, plus the purported “malfunction” of police body cams and the seizure of security and private smart phone videos of the incident, and lastly the tall tale that some black high school kids stole some guns from a local pawn shop “because they wanted to shoot police officers” as an excuse for the phalanxes of cops in full body armor busting people gathered on private property. We have long ago lost that free “republic” that Ben Franklin warned us was going to be so fragile upon its inception.
From the time April Glaspie gave Saddam her sheepish approval that wasn’t an approval to invade Kuwait, and Americans were made to believe that the Iraqi’s were throwing babies out of incubators, it’s been all down hill. While Russia is blamed for an aggression that isn’t aggression, America may go on an invasion spree like no other country can. There is no accountability for America, since America is an exceptional nation. Although the Russians may have harsh sanctions imposed on them, for basically doing nothing for what their being excused of. Everything is upside down, and inside out, of what it should be. America’s time of being the sole super power is coming to an end, now would be a good time for America to do a through housecleaning and bring forth the best post state diplomats we could rally to our nations call. Tell Israel to become a nation where all races, religions, and people are free, and have proper representation. America should lead the way towards a disarmament of not only nuclear, but conventional weapons as well. Realist, you have it right, and thanks for your reply. JT
Joe, Realist, Joe again, we’re all singing from the same song book. Ann has done a very good job once again.
There is a huge missing piece, however, and it would take a long article to dust it off to show how everyone on this page has been very craftily hoodwinked. This is one of those stories if it is worth telling, it must be told correctly. If I get to write again for Consortium News, I think this story–bigger than any written about here, a discovery of a full media craftiness, that would rock a boat. Actually I have two of those but they aren’t relevant today. Most people don’t read carefully enough or even think for themselves. The biggest one, a prestory to Ann’s account, would, if told properly and packaged properly, would be as exciting as a WhoDonIt. But right now I’m launching the new imprint, with the book would at this phase of my new imprint and other pressing duties
I really hope you did not support the Turkish coup. The military is just as bad as Erdogan.
Fascism is ultimately a socialist movement. The only difference between Marxism and National Socialism is that National Socialist give primacy of Nation and Race over Class. It is long forgotten that Mussolini and Hitler were Communists. If you do not believe me read “My Struggle”. Mussolini was the head of the most extreme Communist party in Europe. His only sin from the Marxist’s perspective was supporting Italy’s entrance in WWI. If you want to be a potpourri of buzz words and blame everything on the Fascist NeoCon terrorists who commit crimes against humanity and cause global warming, have at it. If it makes you feel better posting incoherence its a free world. I’m not disputing there are not problems with the United States. But if you are serious about being passionate and getting your ideas across you have to do a bit better on the focus side as I can’t tell what the heck your talking about.
Such a miserably stupid and shallow analysis, Steve. You completely ignore the capitalist forces that financed and supported the Nazis; you ignore the demagogic pronouncements of the Nazis with respect to their “socialist goals”, which they then duly betrayed on behalf of capital; you ignore the role of fascism in crushing socialism on behalf of capital and imperialism; you ignore the fawning praise that the capitalist media in the West heaped upon Hitler before he tried to become top dog in the capitalist-imperialist hierarchy; you ignore that capitalist ideologues and have traditionally been the ones who support and praise authoritarian institutions, namely the police and the military, which fascists are all too fond of supporting and praising; you ignore that fascism has been a tool of capitalist-imperialism in the guise of “fighting communism”.
It’s frankly despicable how capitalist ideologues and apologists try to pass the buck on fascism as though capitalist forces, interests and ideological motifs didn’t form the bread and butter of it. As your own beloved capitalist system is daily generating the conditions for fascism, all the more desperately must you feel the need to pull the wool over your eyes and ascribe to fascism a “socialist” content. It wouldn’t matter if a capitalist personally marched you in a gas chamber; you’d still screech against the evils of socialism. You truly are the most useful type of fool.
There are no freedoms in Crimea.
Russia tortures the Tatars and Ukrainians.
russiaexitCrimea, granted the Soviets treatment of the Crimean Tartar population is not something to be proud of. Then again, the Tartars Stalin deposed were enemies to the USSR. On another level America should be careful to criticize the Russians over their acceptance, after the Crimean people voted overwhelmingly to join the Russia Federation. America has no room to be critical when we have police shooting blacks even when the black suspects are willing to comply. After how the Anglo American has treated the Native-American Indian, how then could we look down on the Russians for opening up their arms to accept the beleaguered Crimean in their time of need? Plus, you are quoting from the New York Times, why not just quote the CIA.
russiaexitCrimea IS an automated CIA troll with the typical pattern: very brief, highly polarized, extremist phraseology, and a “link” to a propaganda site.
The Web-Brigade will tell you to also attack this link.
Enjoy your warm unflavored vodka.
You might want to add a little orange juice to change it’s colour.
Please add a cube of ice .
The Web-Brigade has gotten better . I was familiar with the typical response
of ” lol propaganda ” Now they claim the Times is a CIA link ?
Most of the writers at the NYTimes despise the US. It appears putin’s trolls give their bloggers Anglo-Saxon names now. Only in Russia , my friend.
In closing , I am glad that you have to much time on your hands.
russiaexitCrimea… you don’t believe that there is any link between the CIA and the New York Times – seriously? Should we go through history such as back to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan and the New York Times reporter William L. Laurence who was also on the payroll of the US War Department. Laurence’s articles claimed that there was no link between the atomic bombs and people dying from radiation poisoning in the aftermath, it was “Japanese Propaganda”, as he put it. We could also look at what the New York Times was writing when the US/Britain overthrew the “democratically” elected Mossadegh in a “coup” in 1953. Now even into modern times we have the Seattle Times showing a link between a New Times reporter and the CIA.
Seattle Times: “Documents show link between New York Times reporter, CIA” (August 29, 2012):
The new batch of documents also reveals a cozy link between a New York Times reporter and the CIA.
In one string of correspondence between former CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf and New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti, the writer gave Harf an advance copy of a column by Maureen Dowd scheduled to be published Aug. 7, 2011, in which Dowd took a dim view of the administration’s courting of the filmmakers.
“This didn’t come from me … and please delete after you read,” Mazzetti wrote, apparently attempting to reassure the CIA people the column wasn’t as critical as they’d feared it would be. “See, nothing to worry about!”
If you don’t believe that the New York Times works closely with the CIA and does not present propaganda then boy do I have a time share to talk to you about. You are terribly naive if you do not believe that the US mainstream media slings propaganda, all that we have to do is start with Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s Nephew, and work forward from there.
russiaexitCrimea… This is not the New York Times but the LA Times, and again a CIA connection (Joe Tedesky is absolutely right):
The Intercept: “THE CIA’S MOP-UP MAN: L.A. TIMES REPORTER CLEARED STORIES WITH AGENCY BEFORE PUBLICATION” (Sep. 4 2014):
A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.
“I’m working on a story about congressional oversight of drone strikes that can present a good opportunity for you guys,” Dilanian wrote in one email to a CIA press officer, explaining that what he intended to report would be “reassuring to the public” about CIA drone strikes. In another, after a series of back-and-forth emails about a pending story on CIA operations in Yemen, he sent a full draft of an unpublished report along with the subject line, “does this look better?” In another, he directly asks the flack: “You wouldn’t put out disinformation on this, would you?”
russiaexitCrimea… here is another article in Business Insider which talks about the history of US propaganda in US media.
Business Insider: “5 US national security-related conspiracy theories that turned out to be true” (Jun. 16, 2015):
4. The CIA recruited top American journalists to spread propaganda in the media and gather intelligence.
Started in the 1950s amid the backdrop of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency approached leading American journalists in an attempt to influence public opinion and gather intelligence. The program, called Operation Mockingbird, went on for nearly three decades.
From journalist Carl Bernstein, writing in Rolling Stone in 1977 :
Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services — from simple intelligence-gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.
The Church Committee exposed much of the program, with a full report from Congress stating: “The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda.
These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”
russiaexitCrimea , forgetting the lessons of Operation Mockingbird, aren’t we ?
Crimean Tatars enjoy greater freedom than ever before. For instance, the Tatar language is official now (unlike under the Ukrainian negligent rule that essentially destroyed Crimea). Also Putin has officially acknowledged the Soviet wrongdoings, again unlike the Ukrainian leaders. So please come back to Earth.
Yeah… When is the US handing their land over to the Indians? When will the US stop trampling on other nation’s sovereignty?
Give me a break… I do not condone oppression of any kind. But you should learn to see the difference between political motivated bullshit and actual concern. That is a horrible piece of writing right there. A play on emotion and not a particularly good one at it.
The US and all colonial powers dealt with indigenous peoples the same way. The Russians were no different. The peoples of Alaska retain their history via oral tradition. When a part of the Russia they were enslaved and forced to hunt furs else their children would be murdered. I’m sure the same thing happened on the other side of the Bering Straight. Not condoning what Americans did. But Russians were just as vicious in their conquest of Siberia.
The US is an “international policeman [intentionally male]” with “democracy” at its heart and it is anti “Putin,” as Hillary Clinton says in her push button platform –you know, you ‘re at the museum, you look at the menu and begin by taping on your favorite item… in this case it would be “national security” and eventually you’ll keep tapping in the same direction and and tap five of seven spots. Look at her “platform,” which is written for kids who don’t read anything much different than the kind of “tap what interests you next.”
Eventually you come to the last items on the “tap what interests you.” The next eye-catching theme comes in the one-step deeper into Hillary’s national security values:
“Making sure that our military is on the cutting edge. As a senator, Hillary was a champion for our men and women in uniform as a member of the Armed Services Committee. As president, she’ll ensure the United States maintains the best-trained, best-equipped, and strongest military the world has ever known. America must also respond to the new challenges our veterans and military families face, providing them with the support they have earned and deserve.”
That does seem to cover all the bases which means she can’t do it. If she insists on the strongest military the world has ever known, the USA is finished. Like the fastest gun in the town called “Fastest Gun in the West,” it is a winner idea. Trouble is that we are being outdrawn by countries who spend their defense spending with much better planning and preferably re-using or upgrading reliable equipment(rather than starting from scratch, which causes outrageous cost overruns and dysfunctional equipment (e.g., billion dollar fighter jets that don’t work and are billions of dollars in overrun costs even before we find out that they don’t work). Specifically, the small Russian unit that Russia put on the ground in Syria has surprised the whole world with how good Russia could do with weapons that haven’t been fully reverse engineered. Russia spends a small fraction of what the USA spends and yet Russian military planes are thought by many to be superior in conduct to US planed.
Tap down a couple of items and we find Hillary in a death defying spy staring down contest with Putin. She puts it like this:
“Standing up to Putin. Hillary has gone toe-to-toe with Putin before, and she’ll do it again. She’ll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our European allies and help them decrease dependence on Russian oil. [If you notice, those that are not completely with our partners don’t mind Russian oil at all.] With our partners [NATO partner Turkey, known for it freedoms and fair trials; Germany, who seems to be leaning further sanctions; and Ukraine, whose present government is Fascist], Hillary will confine [a death squeeze?], contain[will she put a fence around Russia–fences seem to be especially popular in Israel and elsewhere], and deter Russian aggression in Europe and beyond [I know what you mean when over 85% of Crimeans claim to have voted freely to rejoin Russia–everyone knows that has to be a fictitious number.Here in the USA, the land of the free, we are always content to have at least a 52% or better of registered voters vote for the same referendum or person, so we from outside and not influenced by biases know that Putin rigged the Crimea results.
Ann, this is one of an entire series of excellent articles. You are very very good. Dr. Parry has my email and I know an imprint that would like you to consider thinking about bringing out a collection of your essays before the election. If Dr. Parry does not send back your email to me, I or one of the people who are involved will figure out how to get engaged with you. Thanks again, Bart. sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss