How US Propaganda Fuels New Cold War

The anti-Russian propaganda across the U.S. political/media system is so pervasive that even members of Congress know little about the events that launched a new Cold War, as Elizabeth Murray learned and David Swanson reported.

By David Swanson

Elizabeth Murray served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and an occasional writer at which has covered recent U.S. propaganda re Russia as well as any media outlet out there.

Murray has recently returned from a trip to Russia organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives which has resumed the sort of U.S.-Russia cultural exchanges that it organized during a previous peak in the Cold War. Murray was invited by Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility (WPSR) to attend and speak at a small meeting in Everett, Washington, with Congressman Rick Larsen, D-Washington, on July 22. Here is an account from Murray of how it went:

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Ukraine’s now-former  Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

“I mentioned to Rep. Larsen that I had just returned from Russia with a U.S. delegation, and that all the people in Russia I had spoken with — including teachers, students, journalists, medical doctors, entrepreneurs and war veterans — had no desire for a nuclear war with the United States, but instead expressed the wish for peaceful, normalized relations. . . . During our time in Yalta, I had organized a ‘swim for peace’ with Americans and Russian war vets swimming together in the Black Sea, which had caused quite a stir in local Russian language media.

“I explained to Rep. Larsen my understanding of why the Russian public is suspicious about U.S. moves in the region (based on what I heard from people there), and why they would expect the United States to be the first to make a unilateral confidence-building measure in the direction of nuclear disarmament. Russians were savvy to the Nuland ‘Yats’ youtube recording (in which Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland is distinctly heard telling U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt that ‘Yats is the guy’ just prior to the regime change in which Arseniy Yatsenyuk became prime minister, and which directly implicated the U.S. in the Ukrainian coup), felt threatened by the recent NATO/Operation Anakonda maneuvers that took place during our delegation’s visit, and were extremely concerned about other provocative U.S. moves in the region, including economic sanctions on Russia and Crimea, the latter enacted after a majority of Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia in response to what they saw as outside interference in the affairs of Ukraine.”

How did Larsen respond to learning such significant and generally unknown information?

“Larsen immediately responded with rebuttals, stating flat-out he didn’t believe there was a U.S. role in the Ukrainian events — that what I’d just told him was ‘not what I’ve been hearing’ – and he went on to talk about how the Baltic states felt threatened by Russia, etc. He didn’t know what ‘Operation Anakonda’ was and seemed unaware that the largest-ever NATO military maneuvers since WWII had just taken place on Russia’s borders. I offered to send his office additional information about that and the Ukrainian events – an offer he ignored.”

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland’s left.

Let’s be clear. The conflict in the Ukrainian government was between an EU/IMF economic alliance and a Russian one. Robert Parry describes what happened: “[U.S. Assistant Secretary of State [and Hillary Clinton ally Victoria] Nuland saw her big chance on Feb. 20, 2014, when a mysterious sniper apparently firing from a building controlled by the Right Sektor shot and killed both police and protesters, escalating the crisis. On Feb. 21, in a desperate bid to avert more violence, Yanukovych agreed to a European-guaranteed plan in which he accepted reduced powers and called for early elections so he could be voted out of office.

“But that wasn’t enough for the anti-Yanukovych forces who led by Right Sektor and neo-Nazi militias overran government buildings on Feb. 22, forcing Yanukovych and many of his officials to flee for their lives. With armed thugs patrolling the corridors of power, the final path to ‘regime change’ was clear. Instead of trying to salvage the Feb. 21 agreement, Nuland and European officials arranged for an unconstitutional procedure to strip Yanukovych of the presidency and declared the new regime ‘legitimate.’

“Nuland’s ‘guy’ Yatsenyuk became prime minister. While Nuland and her neocon cohorts celebrated, their ‘regime change’ prompted an obvious reaction from Putin, who recognized the strategic threat that this hostile new regime posed to the historic Russian naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea. On Feb. 23, he began to take steps to protect those Russian interests.”

That Yatsenyuk was Nuland’s “guy” is a reference to a phone call in which, pre-coup, she designated him as her chosen future leader of Ukraine. Here’s the audio of the call. Not only does Nuland not dispute the authenticity of the audio, but she has apologized for cursing the European Union in it.

You can also watch a video of Nuland in front of Chevron and ExxonMobil banners stating that the United States invested $5 billion over some period of years in democratizing / Europeanizing Ukraine. In fact, at the time of the coup, the National Endowment for Democracy had 65 projects in Ukraine, training activists, journalists, and others to advance a European alliance, not counting Nuland’s handing out cookies to protesters in the square. The U.S. role was discussed in Ukraine’s parliament pre-coup.

The United States Congress has officially acknowledged what is beyond dispute: the role of neo-Nazis in the coup government. According to widespread allegations, coup snipers were trained in Poland on behalf of the United States.

President Obama took credit for the U.S. role in the regime change on CNN: “And since Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine – not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protests in the Maidan and Yanukovych then fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine – since that time, this improvisation that he’s been doing has getting – has gotten him deeper and deeper into a situation that is a violation of international law, that violates the integrity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.” As if facilitating a neo-Nazi coup doesn’t do that!

Renee Parsons adds this: “What Nuland did not reveal on December 13 was that her meetings with ‘key Ukrainian stakeholders’ included neo-Nazi Svoboda party leader Oleh Tyahnybok and prime minister wannabe Arsenly Yatsenyuk of the Fatherland Party. At about the same time Nuland was wooing fascist extremists, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) shared the stage in Kiev with Tyahnybok offering their support and opposition to the sitting government.

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

“The Svoboda party which has roots with extreme vigilante and anti-Semitic groups has since received at least three high level cabinet posts in the interim government including deputy prime minister. There is no doubt that the progenies of west Ukraine’s historic neo-fascist thugs that fought with Hitler are now aligned with the U.S. as represented by Victoria Nuland . . . .

“January 30, 2014 – The State Department’s website Media Note announced Nuland’s upcoming travel plans that ‘In Kyiv, Assistant Secretary Nuland will meet with government officials, opposition leaders, civil society and business leaders to encourage agreement on a new government and plan of action.’ In other words, almost a month before President Yanukovych was ousted, the U.S. was planning to rid the world of another independently elected President.”

Here’s some background to put this incident into historical context.

Even imagining that the United States did not play a role in the coup, the fact of the coup would still render what Crimea and Russia did in response very different from the “aggression” alleged by U.S. media, the resulting myth permeating U.S. understanding, and the worldview of Congress members acting on that mythical basis.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at, where this article first appeared.

12 comments for “How US Propaganda Fuels New Cold War

  1. MD
    July 30, 2016 at 08:39

    Cold War, Cold War, Cold War I keep hearing it over and over. The Cold War is history it is not the present. The world has changed and the conflicts coming between the US and Russia and/or China will be totally different. Constantly cling to a quaint notion of geopolitics is unhelpful. Let’s talk reality instead of using outdated terms and ideas.

  2. ltr
    July 25, 2016 at 21:49

    Simple, Democrats are the new McCarthists. I am appalled and we should be afraid for being effectively silenced as a new Cold War is waged by America.

    • J'hon Doe II
      July 27, 2016 at 19:10

      The Red Baiters waged war on Jewish Liberalism, which was the McCarthyists’ bridge into war against Stalin.
      “The Red Scare” grew out of former jewish political ties to Bolshevik Revolution.
      The proofs to these are not hard to find nor are the roots of Authentic Jewish Liberalism.

      (find it, for example, in 40’s -to 50’s era movies and theater productions)

  3. Drew Hunkins
    July 25, 2016 at 15:33

    It’s simply astonishing witnessing the group think that’s taken off against Putin and Russia in the Western press over the last 5 years. It ranges the gamut from corporate rightwing, to centrist know-it-alls (these well paid charlatans are the quickest to denounce Moscow in the most vicious terms) and on over to the liberal left.

    NPR and PBS have essentially become noxious to the mind with all the Putin and Assad bashing. And try mentioning one kind word about Putin or Assad in liberal company, the mockery, scorn, incredulity and ridicule that comes your way is exactly what occurred in 2002/’03 in the runner-up to the Iraq war debacle.

  4. Realist
    July 25, 2016 at 15:15

    Anti-Russian U.S. propaganda is not only fueling the new Cold War it is also blatantly being used to affect the presidential election. All the major media and blogs that have traditionally been considered “liberal” are shamelessly conflating Donald Trump with Vladimir Putin and demonising both in the same breath. Some examples of headlines currently posted on-line:

    From the once respectable but now thoroughly propagandist Huffington Post:


    Trump’s Russia Connection Spooks Intelligence Community… ‘Never Have We Had A Candidate So Tied To A Foreign Power’… FBI Probes DNC Email Leak… Is Russia Meddling In Election?… Trump And Putin — Yes, It’s Really A Thing…

    DNC Email Leak Raises Fears: Is Russia Meddling In The U.S. Election?
    FBI Investigating Hacking, House Intelligence Committee Briefed

    From the travesty that CNN has become:

    Robby Mook says Russian hackers released DNC emails to help Donald Trump
    The email release comes on the eve of the Democratic National Convention

    From the slanderous New York Times:

    Russia Is Accused of Playing in U.S. Politics
    Forensic evidence suggests Russian intelligence agencies were behind the theft of Democratic Party emails.

    From the equally vile Washington Post:

    Is Donald Trump a Putin patsy?
    By Daniel W. Drezner

    ‘He alone’: How Trump thinks like Hitler
    By Peter Ross Range
    [Birds of a feather, since everyone “knows” that Putin is the new Hitler]

    From MSNBC’s Joy Reid”

    Joy Reid
    ? ?@JoyAnnReid
    Tomorrow on #AMJoy we’ll explore the unprecedented affinity between an American presidential candidate – Trump – Russia and Wilileaks.

    ? ?@wikileaks
    @JoyAnnReid You are pushing a discredited conspiracy theory. There is no affinity, whatsoever. Our lawyers will monitor your program.
    7:57 PM – 23 Jul 2016
    1,569 1,569 Retweets 2,609 2,609 likes

    Kim Ghattas
    ? ?@BBCKimGhattas
    Wow. Wiki leaks is now into intimidating journalists @JoyAnnReid
    3:09 AM – 24 Jul 2016
    580 580 Retweets 442 442 likes

    Joy Reid ?@JoyAnnReid · 4h4 hours ago
    This isn’t getting as much attention, but Russian meddling in the U.S. election IS the biggest bombshell out there.

    From the embarrassing formerly liberal Democratic (now propagandist) blog “Democratic Underground”:

    [I include all the absurd accusatory details in all their paranoid glory.]
    [Note all the references to “evidence” and “facts” which are all mere accusations without proof.]
    [New liberal Democratic mantra: “We don’t need no steekin’ proof”–if it deals w/ Putin or Trump]

    The Trump Putin scandal is a national security threat

    This is potentially dangerous. What game are Putin and Trump playing? Do we have to have worry about Russian intelligence aiding the Trump campaign? What other ways will they try to influence the election? Will they try to manipulate electronic voting machines? Will they work to embarrass US in the ME before the election? Will they funnel money to Trump SuperPACs? Could they attempt to support Trump’s paranoid convention speech by sowing fear, even creating terrorist incidents?

    The links between Trump and Putin are very strong, so for the sake of US security, there needs to be a thorough investigation of the Trump -Putin relationship. This is a matter of national security.

    A. The evidence shows that Russian intelligence hacked DNC servers, first to release DNC research on Trump and now to embarrass the Democratic Party right before its national convention.

    The evidence of Russian intelligence hacking:

    B. Trump has worked hard to turn the Republican Party into a pro-Putin Party:

    The evidence:

    (1) For months, Trump has been praising Putin.

    (2) Recently Trump said that the US might not honor NATO treaties unless changes were made:

    (3) The Trump campaign was not involved in the Republican platform (“the most conservative in history” according to the right wing Liberty Counsel), except on the matter of the Ukraine:

    The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.

    Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked as a lobbyist for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.

    Still, Republican delegates at last week’s national security committee platform meeting in Cleveland were surprised when the Trump campaign orchestrated a set of events to make sure that the GOP would not pledge to give Ukraine the weapons it has been asking for from the United States.

    C. Trump and some of his senior staff have personal economic ties to Putin and Russia: (Follow the link; there are many more details than I can post here.)

    1. All the other discussions of Trump’s finances aside, his debt load has grown dramatically over the last year, from $350 million to $630 million…. Trump has been blackballed by all major US banks.

    2. Post-bankruptcy Trump has been highly reliant on money from Russia, most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs and sub-garchs close to Vladimir Putin.

    3. One example of this is the Trump Soho development in Manhattan, one of Trump’s largest recent endeavors. The project was the hit with a series of lawsuits in response to some typically Trumpian efforts to defraud investors by making fraudulent claims about the financial health of the project. Emerging out of that litigation however was news about secret financing for the project from Russia and Kazakhstan.

    4. Then there’s Paul Manafort, Trump’s nominal ‘campaign chair’ who now functions as campaign manager and top advisor. Manafort spent most of the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister and then President whose ouster in 2014 led to the on-going crisis and proxy war in Ukraine. Yanukovych was and remains a close Putin ally. …

    5. Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe is Carter Page, a man whose entire professional career has revolved around investments in Russia and who has deep and continuing financial and employment ties to Gazprom.

    6. Over the course of the last year, Putin has aligned all Russian state controlled media behind Trump….

    If Congress won’t investigate this, then shouldn’t the FBI/CIA? It might be seen as politics, but that’s no different than the investigations of Hillary’s emails or Benghazi, which were certainly not the threat to the integrity of the US that Russian manipulation of our elections would be.


    • Idiotland
      July 25, 2016 at 21:08

      I just love the feigned outrage about Putin’s imaginary interference in the US election while completely ignoring how they, themselves, and the total scumbags they front for in Washington are so obviously under the thumb of a foreign power that it’s name need not even be mentioned(just remember how “our” representatives jumped up and down like trained seals in response to the commands of a certain leader. Hint: it wasn’t Putin). How these presstitutes even keep a straight face as they spew this sewage is beyond me but I suppose it has something to do with being corrupt and totally devoid of any personal integrity.

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 26, 2016 at 01:24

      Realist, I think what Donald Trump should do, is an ad featuring Vladimir Putin endorsing him. I won’t doubt that if Donald produced this commercial in just the right vein of friendship and unity with the outside world,,as being an attainable happening, then he would knock it out of the park. Get Don Draper and Peggy, but do the ad.

      I just finished watching on YouTube the ‘Clinton Cash’, and having started to read the book, must recommend you all watch it. It’s easy to see how Hillary will knock down all the barricades since she was the one who erected the very same barricade you want brought down. Oh, and Bill does his part through one of their Clinton Foundation groups, while Hillary controls the levers to the barricades of regulations and law.

      Whether Donald gets to break ground with Vladimir to build a Trump Hotel in Moscow, or Hillary gets to preach how we must save the environment while Bill gives an expensive speech to some third world banking group only to devastate a tropical rain forest…I mean both of these candidates have what they would call, skin in the game, but here is where I get angry…. When this abuse of power is used to the point that citizens suffer then I don’t like seeing only the politicians get rich, while jobs, environmental concerns, hospitalization security, education, and whatever I left out goes undone, and makes life harder for those not getting rich from this kind of political favoritism is allowed to flourish, is just wrong.

      The only good thing about this between the Rock and a hard place, Trump or Hillary, is there are a lot more of us than there are of those who are going to vote for either of these two….misery loves company. We who can’t imagine ever voting for Trump or Hillary should go to the same movie on voting day come this November. If we pick a low ticket sale movie we could pretty much gage who didn’t vote for these two pumpkin heads. This movie ticket idea would also give us something to point to when discussing the new presidents political capital…that he or she doesn’t have!

      • Realist
        July 26, 2016 at 02:14

        Besides equating one “demon” (Trump) with another “demon” (Putin) in the minds of voters, what I think that Hillary and her media propagandists are trying to do here is to misdirect from the fact that this problem once again involves emails on a private server used by Clinton (or her operatives, e.g., Wassermann-Schultz). If it is so easy to hack private servers, even ones handling sensitive political data, then Hillary was remiss to the point of misconduct when she deliberately chose not to use “secure” government servers in her capacity as secretary of state. She wants people to forget that by slandering both Trump and Putin in one fell swoop. Frankly, it is a major insult to both Trump and Putin for her (or her mouthpieces) to state that Trump and Putin are in cahoots, with Trump being “Putin’s puppet,” and both trying to damage Hillary’s prospects in the election through Putin’s alleged orders to hack the DNC servers. Putin is not foolish enough to think he can influence American presidential elections, and (like him or hate him) an egotistical business tycoon like Donald J. Trump is nobody’s puppet. The allegations by Clinton and her surrogates are so risible that even Dumbya would have a good laugh at them. Of course, since she apparently cannot, without being caught in a bald-faced lie, deny the reality of the revealed evidence that Wassermann-Schultz sandbagged Sanders during the campaign, Hillary again must misdirect with the accusations against Putin and Trump. This is really sad, but also really big as a commentary on her fitness for office. I hope that independent journalists like those at Consortium News do not gloss over it. A professional journalist should really organise and parse all the evidence and its implications for this shocking story which should have legs for the rest of the campaign.

    • Peter Loeb
      July 27, 2016 at 07:07


      Liberal Americans have learned next to nothing about those who
      proclaim themselves “liberals” or “Progressives”.

      The naivte and illusions of these political romantics was
      clear during the Sanders campaign and was underlined on
      the floor of the DNC.If their hearts were in the “right” places,
      their knowledge of politics was hopeless.

      How similar are the black(brown and beige) victims of #Black
      Lives Matter to the Israeli-American extermination of the
      subhuman(?) Palestinians.

      The white student Sanders groupies will hopefully realize their
      career goals. Those of other hues may end up in prison or
      deported as “terrorists”.

      Their “non-revolution” will indeed be televised as there has never
      been any real revolution of any kind. Power politics operates as it
      always has.

      Both candidates are horror stories from my perspective.
      Whichever one “wins” on November 8 will be a challenge to
      those of us who continue to express differing points of view.

      (For an analysis see bl a Gabriel Kolko, THE ROOTS
      OF FOREIGN POLICY…, “Epilogue”.)

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  5. Zachary Smith
    July 25, 2016 at 14:36

    I offered to send his office additional information about that and the Ukrainian events – an offer he ignored.”

    Ignorance is bliss, for staying uninformed allows him to continue to follow the lead of the Texas Torturer and “Catapult the Propaganda”.

  6. Paul
    July 25, 2016 at 13:29

    For those interested in a rigorous, scholarly analysis of the Maidan sniper attacks, see the research of Dr. Katchanovksi — for example his paper from 2015, “The ‘Snipers’ Massacre’ on the Maidan in Ukraine” (Sept. 5, 2015):


    A note on the author. Dr. Ivan Katchanovski presently teaches at the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. Prior to that, he was Visiting Scholar at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Politics at the State University of New York at Potsdam, and Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto (among other posts). He is Ukrainian and lived for some years in Western Ukraine, but since writing his reports, has been harassed by the government and had his property seized, if I am not mistaken.

    The abstract of the paper includes the following:

    “The paper analyzes a large amount of evidence from different publicly available sources concerning this massacre and killings of specifics protestors. Qualitative content analysis includes the following data: about 1,500 (150 Gigabytes) of videos and recordings of live internet and TV broadcasts by mass media and social media in different countries, news reports and social media posts by more than 100 journalists covering the massacre from Kyiv, some 5,000 photos, and nearly 30 gigabytes of publicly available radio intercepts of snipers and commanders from the special Alfa unit of the Security Service of Ukraine and Internal Troops, and Maidan massacre trial recordings. This study also employs field research on site of the massacre, eyewitness reports by both Maidan protesters and government special units commanders, statements by both former and current government officials, estimates of approximate ballistic trajectories, bullets and weapons used, and types of wounds among both protesters and the police. This study establishes a precise timeline for various events of the massacre, the locations of both the shooters and the government snipers, and the specific timeline and locations of nearly 50 protesters’ deaths. It also briefly analyzes other major cases of violence during and after the ‘Euromaidan. ”

    “This academic investigation concludes that the massacre was a false flag operation, which was rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power. It found various evidence of the involvement of an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters and spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or areas. The various evidence that the protesters were killed from these locations include some 70 testimonies, primarily by Maidan protesters, several videos of “snipers” targeting protesters from these buildings, comparisons of positions of the specific protesters at the time of their killing and their entry wounds, and bullet impact signs. The study uncovered various videos and photos of armed Maidan “snipers” and spotters in many of these buildings. “

    • July 26, 2016 at 23:55

      false flag snipers were also used in the attempted coup in Venezuela February 2, 2002.
      snipers were also shooting both protesters and security forces in Syria during the early stages of the Syrian conflict.

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