US State-Affiliated NewsGuard Targets Consortium News

The Pentagon and State Dept.-linked outfit, with an ex-N.S.A. and C.I.A. director on its board, is accusing Consortium News of publishing “false content” on Ukraine, reports Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Consortium News is being “reviewed” by NewsGuard, a U.S. government-linked organization that is trying to enforce a narrative on Ukraine while seeking to discredit dissenting views. 

The organization has accused Consortium News, begun in 1995 by former Associated Press investigative reporter Robert Parry, of publishing “false content” on Ukraine.  

It calls “false” essential facts about Ukraine that have been suppressed in mainstream media: 1) that there was a U.S.-backed coup in 2014 and 2) that neo-Nazism is a significant force in Ukraine. Reporting crucial information left out of corporate media is Consortium News‘ essential mission.

But NewsGuard considers these facts to be “myths” and is demanding Consortium News “correct” these “errors.”

Who is NewsGuard?

Ex-N.S.A. and C.IA. director Michael Hayden in 2015. (Gage Skidmore, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

NewsGuard set itself up in 2018 as a judge of news organizations’ credibility. The front page of NewsGuard’s website shows that it is “partners” with the State Department and the Pentagon, as well as with several major corporations, such as Microsoft. The nature of these “partnerships” is not entirely clear. 

NewsGuard is a private corporation that can shield itself from First Amendment obligations. But it has connections to formerly high-ranking U.S. government officials in addition to its “partnerships” with the State Dept. and the Pentagon.

Among those sitting on NewsGuard’s advisory board are Gen. Michael Hayden, the former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency director; Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Homeland Security director and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a former secretary general of NATO. NewGuard says its “advisors provide advice and subject-matter expertise to NewsGuard. They play no role in the determinations of ratings or the Nutrition Label write ups of websites unless otherwise noted and have no role in the governance or management of the organization.”

The co-CEO, with former Wall Street Journal publisher Louis Gordon Crovitz, is Steven Brill, who in the 1990s published Brill’s Content, a magazine that was billed as a watchdog of the press, critiquing the role of the media to hold government to account.  NewsGuard is a government-affiliated organization judging media like Consortium News that is totally independent of government or corporations.   

NewsGuard has a rating process that results in a news organization receiving either a green or red label. Fox News and other major media, for example, have received green labels. 

Getting a red label means that potentially millions of people that have the NewsGuard extension installed and operating on their browsers will see the  green or red mark affixed to websites on social media and Google searches. (For individuals that do not already have it installed and operating on Microsoft’s browser, it costs $4.95 a month in the U.S., £4.95 in the U.K., or €4.95 in the EU to run the extension.) 

According to NewsGuard, libraries in the U.S. and Britain have had it installed on their computers, and it is also being put on computers of U.S. active duty personnel.  Slate reported in January 2019 that NewsGuard:

struck a deal with Microsoft to incorporate those ratings into the tech giant’s Edge browser as an optional setting. That’s when the Guardian noticed that the Mail Online had been tagged by NewsGuard with a ‘red’ label, a reliability score of 3 out of 9, and the following warning: ‘Proceed with caution: This website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability.’ For Microsoft Edge users with the ‘News Ratings’ feature turned on, that warning appeared alongside every link to the Mail Online—whether in Google search results, Facebook or Twitter feeds, or the Mail’s own homepage.”

NewsGuard has a partnership with the Pentagon. (Joe Lauria)

Approach to Consortium News

Consortium News was contacted by NewsGuard analyst Zachary Fishman. In his request to speak to someone at Consortium News he said categorically that CN had published “false content” and that the interview would be on the record. “I’m hoping to talk with someone who could answer a few questions about its structure and editorial processes — including its ownership, its handling of corrections, and its publication of false content,” he wrote in an email.

As editor-in-chief, I informed him that our founder, editors and writers came from high levels of establishment journalism. I told him that in thousands of press interviews I’ve conducted over nearly half a century in journalism I had never known anyone accusing a prospective interviewee of misconduct upfront and then determining that the interview would be on the record, when the ground rules are usually set by the person being interviewed. 

Fishman apologized and tried to say his mind wasn’t made up about Consortium News, when he had clearly stated that it was. “I do apologize that the wording of my email insinuated that I had come to a predetermined conclusion on whether your website has published false content, when I have not — be sure that I am interested in your responses to my questions,” he wrote in an email.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Fishman had one previous job in science and financial journalism that lasted 15 months for a company called Fastinform that is now defunct. Last month, all the links of his published pieces on LinkedIn went to a site that no longer exists. The links have now been removed.

Fishman has degrees in health, environment and science journalism and engineering physics. He has no experience in political reporting and especially of the politics of Eastern Europe and U.S.-Russia relations.

NewsGuard’s determination on Consortium News will be made by the analyst and, “At least one senior editor and NewsGuard’s co-CEOs review every Nutrition Label prior to publication to ensure that the rating is as fair and accurate as possible.”

Charge: There Was ‘No US-Backed Coup’

Violence during the Maidan coup in Ukraine, 2014. (Wikipedia)

NewsGuard alleges that Consortium News has published “false content” by reporting that there was a U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014 and that ne0-Nazis have significant influence in the country.

Fishman took issue with a:

February 2022 article ‘Ukraine: Guides to Reflection,’ [which] asserted, ‘Hence, the inflation of Russian behavior in Ukraine (where Washington organized a coup against a democratically elected government because we disliked its political complexion) … .’

Fishman then wrote: 

“The U.S. supported the Maidan revolution that ousted then-Ukraine President Viktor Yanikovych (sic) in 2014 — including a December 2013 visit by John McCain to Kyiv in support of protesters — but there is no evidence that the U.S. ‘organized’ a ‘coup.’ Instead, it has the markings of a popular uprising, precipitated by widely covered protests against Yanukovych’s decision to suspend preparations for the signing of an association and free-trade agreement with the European Union.”

Viktor Yanukovych was democratically elected as president of Ukraine in 2010 in an election certified by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a fact not mentioned in NewsGuard’s writings on the change of government in Ukraine.  Even though Yanukovych agreed to an EU political settlement and early elections, violence forced him to flee from the capital on Feb. 21, 2014. Reporting that the neo-Nazi Right Sector was at the forefront of the violent overthrow, The New York Times (green check) wrote earlier that day:

“Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of Right Sector, a coalition of hard-line nationalist groups, reacted defiantly to news of the settlement, drawing more cheers from the crowd.

‘The agreements that were reached do not correspond to our aspirations,’ he said. ‘Right Sector will not lay down arms. Right Sector will not lift the blockade of a single administrative building until our main demand is met — the resignation of Yanukovych.’ He added that he and his supporters were ‘ready to take responsibility for the further development of the revolution.’ The crowd shouted: ‘Good! Good!’

A study on the violence used to overthrow the government, by Prof. Serhiy Kudelia, a political scientist at Baylor University, says the overthrow succeeded because of  “the embeddedness of violent groups” in a non-violent protest. The violence began on Dec.  1, 2013 when these violent groups attacked police with “iron chains, flares, stones and petrol bombs” and tried to ram a bulldozer through police lines.  The police viciously fought back that day.  

As the International Business Times (IBT) (green check) wrote about these groups at the time:

“According to a member of anti-fascist Union Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine, ‘There are lots of nationalists here [EuroMaidan] including Nazis. They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.

Different groups [of anarchists] came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting, a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the anarchists things like Jews, blacks, communists. There weren’t even any communists, that was just an insult. The anarchists weren’t expecting this and they left. People with other political views can’t stay in certain places, they aren’t tolerated,’ a member of the group continued.”

The violence by far-right groups was evidently condoned by Sen. John McCain who expressed his support for the uprising by addressing the Maidan crowd later that month. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and then U.S. ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt visited the square after the violence had broken out.

NewsGuard’s account of the events of Feb. 21, 2014 says that even though Yanukovych agreed to the early elections, “angry protestors demanded Yanukovych’s immediate resignation,” and he fled on that day after “hundreds of police guarding government buildings abandoned their posts.” NewsGuard then says “protestors took control of several government buildings the next day.”

Government Buildings Seized

Protestors occupied Kiev’s City Hall, replete with Confederate flag. (YouTube)

But protestors had already seized government buildings as early as December 2013. On Jan. 24 protestors broke into the Agriculture Ministry building in Kiev and occupied it. On the same day barricades were set up near the presidential headquarters.  Government buildings in the west of the country had also been occupied. The Guardian  (green check) reported on Jan. 24: 

“There were dramatic developments in the west of the country on Thursday as hundreds of people forced their way into the office of the regional governor in the city of Lviv, and forced him to sign a resignation letter. Oleh Salo, a Yanukovych appointee in a city where support for the president is in the low single digits, later said he signed the letter under duress and was rescinding his resignation.

Thousands also stormed regional administration headquarters in Rivne on Thursday, breaking down doors and demanding the release of people detained in the unrest there, Unian news agency reported. In the town of Cherkasy, 125 miles south of Kiev, about 1,000 protesters took over the first two floors of the main administration building and lit fires outside the building.

Similar action took place in Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and Khmelnytsky in western and central Ukraine, as well as parts of the north-east, the Party of the Regions said.”

Protestors had begun occupying Kiev City Hall in December, with a portrait of Ukraine’s World War II fascist leader Stepan Bandera hanging from the rafters. On the night of Feb. 21, the leader of the Neo-fascist Right Sector, Andriy Parubiy, announced that the Verkhovna Rada (parliament), the Presidential Administration, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministry of Internal Affairs had all come under control of the protestors.

Therefore NewsGuard has published “false content” by reporting that government buildings were occupied the day after Yanukovych fled the capital. It should print a correction.

On the day after Yanukovych fled, the Rada voted without the presence of Yanukovych’s party — the largest in the country — to impeach him after the fact of his violent overthrow. NewsGuard omitted the key fact that the impeachment vote was tainted by the absence of Yanukovych’s party and that the impeachment became largely irrelevant after violence forced him to flee the capital.

Democratically-elected leaders are removed by electoral defeat, impeachment or votes of no confidence, not by violence.  NewsGuard writes that “hundreds of police guarding government buildings abandoned their posts” on the day Yanukovych was forced out, but doesn’t say why.  As Jacobin (NewsGuard green check) magazine reports:

“Whatever one thinks of the Maidan protests, the increasing violence of those involved was key to their ultimate victory. In response to a brutal police crackdown, protesters began fighting with chains, sticks, stones, petrol bombs, even a bulldozer — and, eventually, firearms, all culminating in what was effectively an armed battle in February, which left thirteen police officers and nearly fifty protesters dead. The police ‘could no longer defend themselves’ from protesters’ attacks,’ writes political scientist Sergiy Kudelia, causing them to retreat, and precipitating Yanukovych’s exit.”

NewsGuard calls the events a “revolution,” yet revolutions in history have typically been against monarchs or dictators, not against democratically-elected leaders. For instance, the 1776 American Revolution, the 1789 French Revolution, the 1917 Russian Revolution, the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, the 1979 Iranian Revolution and countless others were against monarchs. Coups have been against both elected and non-elected leaders. Revolutions change political systems, usually from monarchies to republics. Ukraine’s political system was not changed, only its leader.

As a reader, Adrian E.. commented below on this article:

“When a movement that is supported by about half the population and opposed by about half the population violently overthrows a democratically elected government, this may be given different names (e.g. coup), but it is certainly not a “popular revolution”.

The Maydan movement was never supported by more than about half the Ukrainian population. It was supported by a vast majority in Western Ukraine, by very few people in the East and South of the country, with people more evenly split in the center/North. This clearly was not a case of a government that had lost public support to such a degree that there was a general consensus that it should resign. It was the case of one political camp representing about half the country that had lost the last elections imposing its will with brutal deadly violence.”

By any measure, Yanukovych’s ouster was an unconstitutional change in government. His “impeachment” without his party present for the vote came after government buildings had been seized and after violence drove him from the capital.  

Circumstantial Evidence

McCain addressing crowd in Kiev, Dec. 15, 2013. (U.S. Senate/Office of Chris Murphy/Wikimedia Commons)

In its version of these events, NewsGuard only refers to circumstantial evidence of the coup, interpreting it as U.S. “support” for a “revolution” against a democratically-elected president.

NewsGuard fails to point out that McCain, Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT) as well as  Nuland appeared on stage in the Maidan with Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the Neo-fascist Svoboda Party, formerly known as the Social National Party.

NewsGuard does not consider how such events would be seen in the United States if a senior Russian foreign ministry official, two leading Russian lawmakers and Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. appeared on stage with a far-right American leader to address a crowd on the Washington Mall seeking to oust an elected U.S. president. If that president were overthrown violently, would Americans think it a Russian-backed the coup?

NewsGuard discusses Nuland’s 2013 speech in which she revealed that since 1991 the U.S. had spent $5 billion to help bring about Ukraine’s “aspirations.” What it fails to point out is that U.S. aspirations were to turn Ukraine towards the West and away from Russia. And the U.S. had work to do.

In a 2008 poll, 17 years after this U.S. effort began, and the year in which the U.S. said Ukraine would one day join NATO, 50 percent of Ukrainians actually opposed NATO membership against just 24.3 percent who favored it. A 2010 Gallup poll showed that 40 percent of Ukrainians viewed NATO as more threat than protector.  Just 17 percent had the opposite view. So building up civil society through U.S.-funded NGOs to favor the West was the U.S. challenge.  

NewsGuard does not mention that part of the $5 billion the U.S. spent was to help organize protests. There was genuine popular dissatisfaction with Yanukovych that the NED nurtured and trained. Jacobin reported of the 2014 events:

“US officials, unhappy with the scuttled EU deal, saw a similar chance in the Maidan protests. Just two months before they broke out, the NED’s then president, pointing to Yanukovych’s European outreach, wrote that “the opportunities are considerable, and there are important ways Washington could help.”

In practice, this meant funding groups like New Citizen, which the Financial Times reported “played a big role in getting the protest up and running,” led by a pro-EU opposition figure. Journalist Mark Ames discovered the organization had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from US democracy promotion initiatives.”

Writing in Consortium News six days after Yanukovych’s ouster, Parry reported that over the previous year, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which funds NGOs in countries the U.S. targets for regime change, had bankrolled 65 projects in Ukraine totaling more than $20 million. Parry called it “a shadow political structure of media and activist groups that could be deployed to stir up unrest when the Ukrainian government didn’t act as desired.”

The NED, on Feb. 25, the day after the Russian invasion, deleted all projects in Ukraine it funded, which are archived here. The NED meddled in Ukrainian politics in 2004 in the so-called Orange Revolution.  The Washington Post (green check) wrote in 1991 that what the C.I.A. once did in secret — destabilizing and overthrowing regimes —  the NED was now doing openly.

C.I.A. or NED-led coups are never made up out of whole cloth. The U.S. works with genuine opposition movements within a country, sometimes popular uprisings, to finance, train and direct them. This U.S. has a long history of overthrowing foreign governments, the most infamous examples being Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954,  and Chile in 1973.

In September 2013, before the Maidan uprising began, long-time NED head Carl Gerhsman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” in a Washington Post op-ed piece, and warned that “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”

In 2016 he said the NED has been involved in Ukraine since the 1980s and he praised the “overthrow of Yanukovych.”

Nuland-Pyatt Tape Omitted

Most significantly, NewsGuard’s attempt to refute U.S. involvement in the coup omits the 2014 intercepted and leaked telephone call between Nuland and Pyatt, the then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, in which the two discuss who will make up the new government weeks before Yanukovych was overthrown. 

On the leaked tape, Nuland and Pyatt talk about “midwifing” a new government; Vice President Joe Biden’s role, and setting up meetings with Ukrainian politicians to make it happen. Nuland says the prime minister should be Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and indeed he became prime minister after the coup.

At the time, the BBC (green check) wrote of the leak: “The US says that it is working with all sides in the crisis to reach a peaceful solution, noting that ‘ultimately it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide their future’. However this transcript suggests that the US has very clear ideas about what the outcome should be and is striving to achieve these goals.”

The U.S. State Department never denied the authenticity of the video, and even issued an apology to the European Union after Nuland is heard on the tape saying, “Fuck the EU.” Mainstream media at the time focused almost exclusively on that off-color remark as a distraction from the greater significance of U.S. interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs. 

Why did Nuland say, “Fuck the EU”? At the time she said it, France, Germany and Poland were working for the EU on a political settlement with Russia to the Maidan crisis that would leave Yanukovych in power. 

Indeed the E.U. brokered a deal with Yanukovych, who agreed to early elections by December, a restoration of the 2004 Constitution and an amnesty for all protestors, clearing the way for no one to be held responsible for the violent ouster. Yanukovych  announced the agreement, with E.U. officials at his side in Kiev, on Feb. 21, 2014. Later that day he was violently driven from power.

Leaving the historic role of the NED and the essential Nuland-Pyatt conversation out of its reporting is an omission of evidence by NewsGuard, typical of corporate media. Omitting crucial elements of a story changes its meaning and in this case undermines NewsGuard’s account of the events of 2014. 

This is an excellent example of why Parry started Consortium News: to report on crucial information that corporate media sometimes purposely and deceptively leave out to change the meaning of a story. NewsGuard should correct its story about the coup, not Consortium News. NewsGuard invites readers to request corrections by emailing them at corrections@newsguardtech.com.

Likely Reasons for the Coup

U.S. enabled Yeltsin’s 1996 reelection.

Wall Street and Washington swept in after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 under a pliable Boris Yeltsin (who received direct U.S. help to win re-election in 1996) to asset-strip the formerly state-owned industries, enrich themselves and a new class of oligarchs and impoverish the former Soviet people.

The ascension of Vladimir Putin to power on New Year’s Eve 1999 gradually began to curb U.S. influence in post-Soviet Russia, especially after Putin’s 2007 Munich Security Conference speech, in which he blasted U.S. unilateral aggression, especially in Iraq.

Eventually Putin restored sovereignty over much of the Russian economy, turning Washington and Wall Street against him.  (As President Joe Biden has now made clear on more than one occasion, the U.S. aim is to overthrow him.)

In his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, former U.S. national security adviser ZbigniewBrzezinski wrote:

“Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. Russia without Ukraine can still strive for imperial status, but it would then become a predominantly Asian imperial state.”

Thus U.S. “primacy,” or world dominance, which still drives Washington, is not possible without control of Eurasia, as Brzezinski argued, and that’s not possible without control of Ukraine by pushing Russia out (U.S. takeover of Ukraine in the 2014 coup) and dominating Moscow as it did when this was written in the 1990s.

Deep Western involvement in Ukrainian politics and economy never ended from those early post-Soviet days. When Yanukovych acted legally (the Rada authorized it) to reject the European Union association agreement in favor of a Russian economic package on better terms, it threatened to curtail Western economic involvement. Yanukovych became a marked man. 

Yanukovych had already made Russian an official language, he had  rejected NATO membership, and reversed his pro-Western predecessor’s move to glorify Nazi collaborators. Yanukovych’s predecessor, President Viktor Yuschenko, had made Ukraine’s World War II-era fascist leader Stepan Bandera a “Hero of Ukraine.”

There was genuine popular dissatisfaction among mostly Western Ukrainians with Yanukovych, which intensified and became violent after he rejected the EU deal.  Within months he was overthrown. 

After the Coup

The U.S.-installed government in Kiev outlawed political parties, including the Communist Party, and stripped Russian as an official language. Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions was banned in several oblasts and eventually collapsed. An American citizen became finance minister and Vice President Joe Biden became Barack Obama’s virtual viceroy in Ukraine.

Videos have emerged of Biden giving instructions to the nominal president at the time, Petro Poroshenko. By his own admission, Biden forced the resignation of Viktor Shokin, Ukraine’s prosecutor general. 

Shokin testified under oath that he was about to investigate Burisma Holdings, the company on which the vice president’s son was given a lucrative board membership just months after the U.S.-backed coup.

Biden, other U.S. officials, and the media at the time lied that Shokin was removed because he was corrupt. State Dept. memos released this year and published by Just the News (green-check) actually praise Shokin for his anti-corruption work. The question of whether the leader of a foreign nation has the right to remove another country’s prosecutor was buried. 

Eight days after nearly 50 anti-coup protestors in Odessa were burned to death on May 2, 2014 by far-right counter-protestors dominated by Right Sector, the coup-resisting provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk in the Donbass region declared independence from Ukraine. Russia began assisting them and, after a visit to Kiev by then C.I.A. Director John Brennan, Poroshenko launched a war against the separatists that lasted eight years, killing thousands of civilians, until Russia intervened in the civil conflict in February.

After the coup, NATO began arming, training and conducting exercises with the Ukrainian military, turning it into a de facto NATO member.  These were not just the interests of part of Ukraine that were being served, but those of powerful foreign actors. It was akin to a 19th century-style colonial takeover of a country. 

Charge: Nazi Influence ‘Exaggerated’

Torchlight parade behind portrait of Bandera on his birthday, Jan. 1, 2015. (Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. relationship with Ukrainian fascists began after the Second World War. During the war, units of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) took part in the Holocaust, killing at least 100,000 Jews and Poles.  Mykola Lebed, a top aide to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the fascist OUN-B, was recruited by the C.I.A. after the war, according to a 2010 study by the U.S. National Archives.

The government study said, “Bandera’s wing (OUN/B) was a militant fascist organization.” Bandera’s closest deputy, Yaroslav Stetsko, said: ““I…fully appreciate the undeniably harmful and hostile role of the Jews, who are helping Moscow to enslave Ukraine…. I therefore support the destruction of the Jews and the expedience of bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine….”

The study says: “At a July 6, 1941, meeting in Lwów, Bandera loyalists determined that Jews ‘have to be treated harshly…. We must finish them off…. Regarding the Jews, we will adopt any methods that lead to their destruction.’”

Lebed himself proposed to “’cleanse the entire revolutionary territory of the Polish population,’ so that a resurgent Polish state would not claim the region as in 1918.” Lebed was the “foreign minister” of a Banderite government in exile, but he later broke with Bandera for acting as a dictator. The U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps termed Bandera “extremely dangerous” yet said he was “looked upon as the spiritual and national hero of all Ukrainians….”

The C.I.A. was not interested in working with Bandera, pages 81-82 of the report say, but the British MI6 was. “MI6 argued, Bandera’s group was ‘the strongest Ukrainian organization abroad, is deemed competent to train party cadres, [and] build a morally and politically healthy organization….’”  An early 1954 MI6 summary noted that, “the operational aspect of this [British] collaboration [with Bandera] was developing satisfactorily. Gradually a more complete control was obtained over infiltration operations … “

C.I.A.’s Allen Dulles asks U.S. Immigration to allow Lebed re-entry to U.S. despite murder conviction. (From Hitler’s Shadow. Click to enlarge.)

Britain ended its collaboration with Bandera in 1954. West German intelligence, under former Nazi intelligence chief Reinhard Gehlen, then worked with Bandera, who was eventually assassinated with cyanide dust by the KGB in Munich in 1959.

Instead of Bandera, the C.I.A. was interested in Lebed, despite his fascist background. They set him up in an office in New York City from which he directed sabotage and propaganda operations on the agency’s behalf inside Ukraine against the Soviet Union.  The U.S. government study says:

“CIA operations with these Ukrainians began in 1948 under the cryptonym CARTEL, soon changed to AERODYNAMIC. … Lebed relocated to New York and acquired permanent resident status, then U.S. citizenship. It kept him safe from assassination, allowed him to speak to Ukrainian émigré groups, and permitted him to return to the United States after operational trips to Europe. Once in the United States, Lebed was the CIA’s chief contact for AERODYNAMIC. CIA handlers pointed to his ‘cunning character,’ his ‘relations with the Gestapo and … Gestapo training,’ that the fact that he was ‘a very ruthless operator.’”

The C.I.A. worked with Lebed on sabotage and pro-Ukrainian nationalist propaganda operations inside Ukraine until Ukraine’s independence in 1991. “Mykola Lebed’s relationship with the CIA lasted the entire length of the Cold War,” the study says. “While most CIA operations involving wartime perpetrators backfired, Lebed’s operations augmented the fundamental instability of the Soviet Union.” 

Bandera Revival

Bandera monument in Lvov. (wikimapia.org)

The U.S. thus covertly kept Ukrainian fascist ideas alive inside Ukraine until at least Ukrainian independence was achieved. “Mykola Lebed, Bandera’s wartime chief in Ukraine, died in 1998. He is buried in New Jersey, and his papers are located at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University,” the U.S. National Archives study says.  

The successor organization to the OUN-B in the United States did not die with him, however.  It had been renamed the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), according to IBT.

“By the mid-1980s, the Reagan administration was honeycombed with UCCA members. Reagan personally welcomed [Yaroslav] Stetsko, the Banderist leader who oversaw the massacre of 7,000 Jews in Lviv, in the White House in 1983,” IBT reported.  Following the demise of Yanukovich’s regime, the UCCA helped organise rallies in cities across the US in support of the EuroMaidan protests,” it reported.

That is a direct link between Maidan and WWII-era Ukrainian fascism.

Despite the U.S. favoring the less extreme Lebed over Bandera, the latter has remained the more inspiring figure in Ukraine.

In 1991, the first year of Ukraine’s independence, the Neo-fascist Social National Party, later Svoboda Party, was formed, tracing its provenance directly to Bandera. It had a street named after Bandera in Liviv, and tried to name the city’s airport after him. (Svoboda won 10 percent of the Rada’s seats in 2012 before the coup and before McCain and Nuland appeared with its leader the following year.)

In 2010, pro-Western Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko declared Bandera a Hero of Ukraine, a status reversed by Yanukovych, who was overthrown. 

More than 50 monuments, busts and museums commemorating Bandera have been erected in Ukraine, two-thirds of which have been built since 2005, the year the pro-American Yuschenko was elected. A Swiss academic study says:

“On January 13, 2011, the L’vivs’ka Oblast’ Council, meeting at an extraordinary session next to the Bandera monument in L’viv, reacted to the abrogation [skasuvannya] of Viktor Yushchenko’s order about naming Stepan Bandera a ‘Hero of Ukraine” by affirming that ‘for millions of Ukrainians Bandera was and remains a Ukrainian Hero notwithstanding pitiable and worthless decisions of the courts’ and declaring its intention to rename ‘Stepan Bandera Street’ as ‘Hero of Ukraine Stepan Bandera Street.’”

Torchlit parades behind Bandera’s portrait are common in Ukrainian cities, particularly on Jan. 1, his birthday, including this year

Mainstream on Neo-Nazis

From the start of the 2013-2014 events in Ukraine, Consortium News founder Robert Parry and other writers began providing the evidence NewsGuard says doesn’t exist, reporting extensively on the coup and the influential role of Ukraine’s neo-Nazis. At the time, corporate media also reported on the essential part neo-Nazis played in the coup. 

As The New York Times reported, the neo-nazi group, Right Sector, had the key role in the violent ouster of Yanukovych. The role of Neo-fascist groups in the uprising and its influence on Ukrainian society was well reported by mainstream media outlets at the time.  

The BBC, the NYT, the Daily Telegraph and CNN all reported on Right Sector, C14 and other extremists’ role in the overthrow of Yanukovych. The BBC ran this report a week after his ouster:

And this one in July 2015:

After the coup a number of ministers in the new government came from Neo-fascist parties.  NBC News (green check) reported in March 2014: “Svoboda, which means ‘Freedom,’ was given almost a quarter of the Cabinet positions in the interim government formed after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in February.”

Svoboda’s leader, Tyahnybok, whom McCain and Nuland stood on stage with, once called for the liberation of Ukraine from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” The International Business Times (green check) reported:

“In 2005 Tyahnybok signed an open letter to then Ukrainain president Viktor Yushchenko urging him to ban all Jewish organisations, including the Anti-Defamation League, which he claimed carried out ‘criminal activities [of] organised Jewry’, ultimately aimed at the genocide of the Ukrainian people.”

Before McCain and Nuland embraced Tyahnybok and his social national party, it was condemned by the European Parliament, which said in 2012:

“[Parliament] recalls that racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro-democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine’s legislature] not to associate with, endorse, or form coalitions with this party.”

Such mainstream reports on Banderism have stopped as the Neo-fascist role in Ukraine was suppressed in Western media once Putin made “de-nazification” a goal of the invasion.  

The Azov Battalion, which arose during the coup, became a significant force in the war against the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass, who resisted the coup. Its commander, Andriy Biletsky, infamously said Ukraine’s mission is to “lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival … against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

In 2014 the now Azov Regiment was officially incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard under the control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It is further integrated into the state by working closely with the SBU intelligence service. Azov is the only known Neo-fascist component in a nation’s military anywhere in the world.  

As part of the Ukraine military, Azov members have still sported yellow arm bands (until this week) with the Wolfsangel once worn by German SS troops in World War II. Including the atrocities it has continued to commit, Azov shows the world that integration into the state has not denazified them.  On the contrary, it may have increased its influence on the state.

The U.S. and NATO have also trained and armed Azov since Barack Obama had denied lethal aid to Ukraine. One reason Obama declined sending arms to Ukraine was because he was afraid they may fall into these right-wing extremists’ hands. According to the green-checked New York Times,

“Mr. Obama continues to pose questions indicating his doubts. ‘O.K., what happens if we send in equipment — do we have to send in trainers?’ said one person paraphrasing the discussion on the condition of anonymity. ‘What if it ends up in the hands of thugs? What if Putin escalates?”   

NewsGuard’s Objections

Collage of Neo-fascist leader Oleh Tyahnybokmeeting with McCain, Biden and Nuland. (Facebook image by Red, White and You of clip from film Ukraine on Fire)

NewsGuard’s argument against the major influence of neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine rests on Neo-fascist  political parties faring poorly at the polls. This ignores the stark fact that these groups engage instead in extra-parliamentary extremism.

In its charge against Consortium News for publishing “false content” about Neo-fascism in Ukraine, NewsGuard’s Fishman wrote:

“There isn’t evidence that Nazism has a substantial influence in Ukraine. Radical far-right groups in Ukraine do represent a ‘threat to the democratic development of Ukraine,’ according to 2018 Freedom House report. But it also stated that far-right extremists have poor political representation in Ukraine and no plausible path to power — for example, in the 2019 parliamentary elections, the far-right nationalist party Svoboda won 2.2 percent of the vote, while the Svoboda candidate, Ruslan Koshulynskyy, won just 1.6 percent of the vote in the presidential election.”

But this argument of focusing on elections results has been dismissed by a number of mainstream sources, not least of which is the Atlantic Council, probably the most anti-Russian think tank in the world.  In a 2019 article, a writer for the Atlantic Council said:

“To be clear, far-right parties like Svoboda perform poorly in Ukraine’s polls and elections, and Ukrainians evince no desire to be ruled by them. But this argument is a bit of ‘red herring.’ It’s not extremists’ electoral prospects that should concern Ukraine’s friends, but rather the state’s unwillingness or inability to confront violent groups and end their impunity. Whether this is due to a continuing sense of indebtedness to some of these groups for fighting the Russians or fear they might turn on the state itself, it’s a real problem and we do no service to Ukraine by sweeping it under the rug.” [Emphasis added.]

“Fear that they might turn on the state itself,” acknowledges the powerful leverage these groups have over the government. The Atlantic Council piece then underscores how influential these groups are:

“It sounds like the stuff of Kremlin propaganda, but it’s not. Last week Hromadske Radio revealed that Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports is funding the neo-Nazi group C14 to promote ‘national patriotic education projects’ in the country. On June 8, the Ministry announced that it will award C14 a little less than $17,000 for a children’s camp. It also awarded funds to Holosiyiv Hideout and Educational Assembly, both of which have links to the far-right. The revelation represents a dangerous example of law enforcement tacitly accepting or even encouraging the increasing lawlessness of far-right groups willing to use violence against those they don’t like.

Since the beginning of 2018, C14 and other far-right groups such as the Azov-affiliated National Militia, Right Sector, Karpatska Sich, and others have attacked Roma groups several times, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, city council meetings, an event hosted by Amnesty International, art exhibitions, LGBT events, and environmental activists. On March 8, violent groups launched attacks against International Women’s Day marchers in cities across Ukraine. In only a few of these cases did police do anything to prevent the attacks, and in some they even arrested peaceful demonstrators rather than the actual perpetrators.”

The Atlantic Council is not the only anti-Russian outfit that recognizes the dangerous power of the Neo-fascist groups in Ukraine.  Bellingcat published an alarming 2018 article headlined, Ukrainian Far-Right Fighters, White Supremacists Trained by Major European Security Firm.”

NATO has also trained the Azov Regiment, directly linking the U.S. with far-right Ukrainian extremists.  

The Hill reported in 2017 in an article headlined, “The reality of neo-Nazis in Ukraine is far from Kremlin propaganda,” that:

“Some Western observers claim that there are no neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine, chalking the assertion up to propaganda from Moscow. Unfortunately, they are sadly mistaken.

There are indeed neo-Nazi formations in Ukraine. This has been overwhelmingly confirmed by nearly every major Western outlet. The fact that analysts are able to dismiss it as propaganda disseminated by Moscow is profoundly disturbing.

Azov’s logo is composed of two emblems — the wolfsangel and the Sonnenrad — identified as neo-Nazi symbols by the Anti-Defamation League. The wolfsangel is used by the U.S. hate group Aryan Nations, while the Sonnenrad was among the neo-Nazi symbols at this summer’s deadly march in Charlottesville.

Azov’s neo-Nazi character has been covered by the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, the Telegraph and Reuters, among others. On-the-ground journalists from established Western media outlets have written of witnessing SS runes, swastikas, torchlight marches, and Nazi salutes. They interviewed Azov soldiers who readily acknowledged being neo-Nazis. They filed these reports under unambiguous headlines such as “How many neo-Nazis is the U.S. backing in Ukraine?” and “Volunteer Ukrainian unit includes Nazis.”

How is this Russian propaganda?

The U.N. and Human Rights Watch have accused Azov, as well as other Kiev battalions, of a litany of human rights abuses.”

Neo-facism has infected Ukrainian popular culture as well. A half-dozen neo-Nazi music groups held a concert in 2019 commemorating  the day Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

Amnesty International in 2019 warned that “Ukraine is sinking into a chaos of uncontrolled violence posed by radical groups and their total impunity. Practically no one in the country can feel safe under these conditions.” 

Zelensky & Neo-Nazis

Zelensky with an Azov member (right) addressing the Greek Parliament in April. (Greek Parliament TV)

One of Ukraine’s most powerful oligarchs from the early 1990s, Ihor Kolomoisky, was an early financial backer of the Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion. According to a 2015 Reuters (green-checked) report:

“Many of these paramilitary groups are accused of abusing the citizens they are charged with protecting. Amnesty International has reported that the Aidar battalion — also partially funded by Kolomoisky — committed war crimes, including illegal abductions, unlawful detention, robbery, extortion and even possible executions.

Other pro-Kiev private battalions have starved civilians as a form of warfare, preventing aid convoys from reaching separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine, according to the Amnesty report.

Some of Ukraine’s private battalions have blackened the country’s international reputation with their extremist views. The Azov battalion, partially funded by Taruta and Kolomoisky, uses the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol as its logo, and many of its members openly espouse neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic views. The battalion members have spoken about “bringing the war to Kiev,” and said that Ukraine needs “a strong dictator to come to power who could shed plenty of blood but unite the nation in the process.”

In April 2019, the F.B.I. began investigating Kolomoisky for alleged financial crimes in connection with his steel holdings in West Virginia and northern Ohio. In August 2020 the U.S. Department of Justice filed civil forfeiture complaints against him and a partner:

“The complaints allege that Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars.  The two obtained fraudulent loans and lines of credit from approximately 2008 through 2016, when the scheme was uncovered, and the bank was nationalized by the National Bank of Ukraine.  The complaints allege that they laundered a portion of the criminal proceeds using an array of shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily at PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before they transferred the funds to the United States.  As alleged in the complaint, the loans were rarely repaid except with more fraudulently obtained loan proceeds.”

Meanwhile, the Azov backer’s television channel had by this time aired the hit TV show Servant of the People (2015-2019), which catapulted Volodymyr Zelensky to fame and ultimately into the presidency under the new Servant of the People Party. The former actor and comedian’s presidential campaign was bankrolled by Kolomoisky, according to multiple reports, including this one by Radio Free Europe (not rated).  

During the presidential campaign, Politico reported:

“Kolomoisky’s media outlet also provides security and logistical backup for the comedian’s campaign, and it has recently emerged that Zelenskiy’s legal counsel, Andrii Bohdan, was the oligarch’s personal lawyer. Investigative journalists have also reported that Zelenskiy traveled 14 times in the past two years to Geneva and Tel Aviv, where Kolomoisky is based in exile.”

Before their run-off election, Petro Poroshenko called Zelensky “Kolomoisky’s puppet.” According to the Pandora Papers, Zelensky stashed funds he received from Kolomoisky off shore.

During the campaign Zelensky was asked about Bandera. He said it was “cool” that many Ukrainians consider Bandera a hero. 

Zelensky was elected president on the promise of ending the Donbass war. About seven months into his term he traveled to the front line in Donbass to tell Ukrainian troops, where Azov is well-represented, to lay down their arms. Instead he was sent packing. The Kyiv Post (green check) reported:

“When one veteran, Denys Yantar, said they had no arms and wanted instead to discuss protests against the planned disengagement that had taken place across Ukraine, Zelensky became furious.

‘Listen, Denys, I’m the president of this country. I’m 41 years old. I’m not a loser. I came to you and told you: remove the weapons. Don’t shift the conversation to some protests,’ Zelensky said, videos of the exchange show. As he said this, Zelensky aggressively approached Yantar, who heads the National Corps, a political offshoot of the far-right Azov volunteer battalion, in Mykolaiv city.

‘But we’ve discussed that,’ Yantar said.

‘I wanted to see understanding in your eyes. But, instead, I saw a guy who’s decided that this is some loser standing in front of him,’ Zelensky said.”

It was a demonstration of the power of the military, including the Azov Regiment, over the civilian president.  

After the Russian invasion, Zelensky was asked in April by Fox News about Azov, which were later defeated in Mariupol. “They are what they are,” he responded. “They were defending our country.” He then tries to say because they are part of the military they are somehow no longer Neo-Nazis, though they still wear Nazi insignia (until Tuesday). (Fox’s YouTube post removed that question from the interview, but it is preserved here:)

 

Outrages Greek Officials

Also in April, Zelensky infuriated two former Greek prime ministers and other officials by inviting a member of the Azov Regiment to address the Greek Parliament. Alexis Tsipras, a former premier and leader of the main opposition party, SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, blasted the appearance of the Azov fighters before parliament.

 “Solidarity with the Ukrainian people is a given. But nazis cannot be allowed to speak in parliament,” Tsipras said on social media. “The speech was a provocation.” He said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis “bears full responsibility. … He talked about a historic day but it is a historical shame.”  

Former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called the Azov video being played in parliament a “big mistake.” Former Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Kotzias said: “The Greek government irresponsibly undermined the struggle of the Ukrainian people, by giving the floor to a Nazi. The responsibilities are heavy. The government should publish a detailed report of preparation and contacts for the event.”

Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’ MeRA25 party said  Zelenky’s appearance turned into a “Nazi fiesta.”

Zelensky has also not rebuked his ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, for visiting Bandera’s grave in Munich, which provoked this reaction from a German MP: “Anyone like Melnik who describes the Nazi collaborator Bandera as ‘our hero’ and makes a pilgrimage to his grave or defends the right-wing Azov Battalion as ‘brave’ is actually still benevolently described as a ‘Nazi sympathizer.’”

Zelensky has closed media outlets and outlawed 11 political parties, including the largest one, Eurosceptic Opposition Platform for Life (OPZZh) and arrested its leader. None of the 11 shut down  are far-right parties.

Donald Trump was rightly castigated for remarks he made about white supremecists in Charlottesville. But Zelensky, whose oligarch backer funded Azov, and who brought a Neo-Nazi to address a European Parliament, is given a pass by a Democratic administration and the U.S. media though he condones the far worse problem of Neo-fascism in Ukraine. 

‘Infested’ 

NewsGuard’s Fishman took issue with similar phrases that appear in Consortium News articles by columnist Patrick Lawrence, and by legendary journalist John Pilger. Lawrence refers to the Ukrainian government as a “Nazi-infested regime” and Pilger to the “the coup regime, infested with neo-Nazis.” NewsGuard objects to this characterization because the political wings of violent neo-Nazi groups fare poorly in Ukrainian elections.

Fishman wrote:

“The March 2022 article ‘PATRICK LAWRENCE: Imperial Infantilism’ stated: ‘Now the names we have for Putin roll around among like pinballs. ‘Hitler’ has fallen somewhat out of fashion, the hyperbole having proven too silly, or maybe because NATO is now arming a Nazi-infested regime,’ which was a reference to the Ukrainian government.

The February 2022 article “John Pilger: War in Europe & the Rise of Raw Propaganda” stated: “Vladimir Putin refers to the ‘genocide’ in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine. Following the coup in Ukraine in 2014 – orchestrated by former U.S. President Barack Obama’s ‘point person’ in Kyiev, Victoria Nuland – the coup regime, infested with neo-Nazis, launched a campaign of terror against Russian-speaking Donbass, which accounts for a third of Ukraine’s population.” This article makes the claims similar to the ones highlighted in the previous … articles, and are seemingly false for the same reasons.”

One can quibble over whether “infested” is the best choice of words, but it is clear that the Ukrainian state has long protected influential Neo-Nazism. Consortium News gives a wide latitude to columnists and commentators like Lawrence and Pilger, both vastly experienced journalists, to express themselves. There is no doubt about the outsized influence of Neo-fascism in Ukrainian society and government, especially since the events of 2014.  

NewsGuard’s dismissal of the influence of Neo-fascism by looking only at election results completely misses the point. Fishman has demanded CN correct its reporting on neo-Nazism in Ukraine. But Fishman’s statement that “There isn’t evidence that Nazism has a substantial influence in Ukraine” should instead be corrected by NewsGuard. 

The ‘G’ Word

Fishman also took exception to the use of the word “genocide” in two Consortium News articles published about Ukraine.

I also found some instances where Consortium News appeared to publish false or misleading claims, and I’d like to get your comments on them. I’ve listed some examples and provided brief explanations on why they seem to be false:

The March 2022 article ‘A Proposed Solution to the Ukraine War’ stated: ‘The government of Ukraine has denied human rights and political self-determination to the peoples of the Donbass. Some 13,000 people have died during the eight years since the 2014 coup, according to the United Nations. The Ukrainian government has overtly genocidal policies toward Russian minorities.’

The February 2022 article “John Pilger: War in Europe & the Rise of Raw Propaganda” stated: ‘Vladimir Putin refers to the “genocide” in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine. Following the coup in Ukraine in 2014 …  the coup regime … launched a campaign of terror against Russian-speaking Donbass, which accounts for a third of Ukraine’s population.” 

Fishman went on:

“The International Criminal Court, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have all said they have found no evidence of a genocide in Donbas. For example, A 2016 report by the International Criminal Court found that the acts of violence allegedly committed by the Ukrainian authorities in 2013 and 2014 could constitute an ‘attack directed against a civilian population,’ but it also said that’“the information available did not provide a reasonable basis to believe that the attack was systematic or widespread.’

And the U.S. Mission to OSCE stated in a February 2022 Twitter post, ‘The SMM [Special Monitoring Mission] has complete access to the government controlled areas of Ukraine and HAS NEVER reported anything remotely resembling Russia’s claims [of genocide in Ukraine].'”

Genocide is defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, ratified by 153 nations.  The convention says:

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

The Convention adds:

“The following acts shall be punishable:

(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.”

Based on the convention, an argument for and against genocide in Donbass could be made. The Ukraine military and extreme right militias have undoubtedly carried out attacks on civilians who, by reason of their language and religion, constitute a separate ethnic group.  Points (a) and (b) of the definition are certainly true, (c) and (d) are questionable.  The question of “intent” is crucial. Have the Ukrainian authorities had the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”? 

The charge of “genocide” is thrown about by political opponents with less than due care to its actual definition. For instance, Biden and Zelensky have both accused Russia of “genocide” in its ongoing military operation. There is no defined number of civilian deaths that constitute an intent to destroy a people “in part.” Three months after the Russian invasion, the OSCE reports around 4,000 civilians killed. Both sides are shooting and killing civilians.

It is a judgement call whether genocide has taken place. The ICC report, referred to by Fishman, says Ukraine’s military action against Donbass could “constitute” an “attack directed against a civilian population,” but the ICC’s judgement about genocide was not definitive as it was based on “the information available.”  

His second reference does not come from the OSCE itself, but from the U.S. mission to the OSCE, undercutting its objectivity since it is a narrow, national view from a country with a distinct political interest in events in Ukraine.

Consortium News has not taken a position that genocide was committed in Donbass. These are the only references made to genocide in Donbass and both CN articles are clearly labeled as commentaries with the disclaimer: “The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Pilger only says that Putin “refers to genocide,” while Pilger himself calls it “a campaign of terror against Russian-speaking Donbass.”

Consortium News did not endorse the judgment of these two commentators as it often publishes material with which it does not share editorial positions. Genocide in the context of Donbass is an arguable point, and therefore CN published these commentaries.     

Financing and Other Questions 

NewsGuard has also demanded detailed information about Consortium News‘ financing. Consortium News is funded almost entirely by small contributions from its readers raised during three public fund raisers per year.

IRS rules require donors who contribute more than $5,000 in a year be told to the tax agency. But their names do not have to be revealed to the public to protect the donors’ privacy. CN has made public its two major donors from its last tax returns. Roger Waters, the rock musician of Pink Floyd fame, donated $25,000 in both 2020 and 2021. The other major donor is the New York-based Cloud Mountain Foundation, which has donated $25,000 in each of the past three years.

Consortium News has never taken a penny from any government, corporation or advertiser. To prove this, CN is hiring an independent auditor to attest to this fact. It will publish on this website the independent audit statement as soon as it is prepared to once and for all end any smears or suspicions about the sources of CN‘s funding.

Fishman also mistakenly wants to know why authors’ bios don’t appear below CN articles, when they clearly do. NewsGuard wants to know what CN‘s corrections policy is. It is as follows: typos are corrected without a notice, factual errors are corrected with a CORRECTION notice at the bottom of the article.

A History of Dissent

Thomas Paine by Gutzon Borglum, parc Montsouris, Paris. (couscouschocolat from Issy-Les-Moulineaux, France/Wikimedia Commons)

The United States was founded by dissenters. The Declaration of Independence is one of history’s most significant dissenting documents, inspiring people seeking freedom around the world, from the French revolutionists to Ho Chi Minh, who based Vietnam’s declaration of independence from France on the American declaration.  

But over the centuries a corrupt centralization of American power seeking to maintain and expand its authority has at times sought to crush the very principle of dissent which was written into the United States Constitution.

Freedom to dissent was first threatened by the second president. Just eight years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, press freedom had become a threat to John Adams, whose Federalist Party pushed through Congress the Alien and Sedition Laws. They criminalized criticism of the federal government.

The Union then shut down newspapers during the U.S. Civil War.  

Woodrow Wilson came within one vote in the Senate of creating official government censorship in the 1917 Espionage Act.  The 1918 Alien and Sedition Act that followed jailed hundreds of people for speech until it was repealed in 1921.

Since the 1950s, McCarthyism has become the byword for one of the worst periods of repression of dissent in U.S. history.

The closest we’ve come to Wilson’s troubling dream is the Biden administration’s Disinformation Governance Board under the Department of Homeland Security, now on hold. 

The roots are in the earliest English settlers in North America, described in The Scarlet Letter and applied to McCarthyism in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Though its industrial and scientific achievements are most lauded, America’s tradition of dissent is probably the greatest thing in U.S. history and it is once again under threat. 

The Current Climate

NewsGuard’s accusations against Consortium News that could potentially limit its readership and financial support must be seen in the context of the West’s war mania over Ukraine, about which dissenting voices are being suppressed. Three CN writers have been kicked off  Twitter. 

PayPal’s cancellation of Consortium News‘ account is an evident attempt to defund it for what is almost certainly the company’s view that CN violated its restrictions on “providing false or misleading information.” It cannot be known with 100 percent certainty because PayPal is hiding behind its reasons, but CN trades in information and nothing else.  

CN supports no side in the Ukraine war but seeks to examine the causes of the conflict within its recent historical context, all of which are being whitewashed from mainstream Western media.

Those causes are: NATO’s expansion eastward despite its promise not to; the coup and 8-year war on Donbass against coup resisters; the lack of implementation of the Minsk Accords to end that conflict; and the outright rejection of treaty proposals by Moscow to create a new security architecture in Europe taking Russia’s security concerns into account.  

Historians who point out the onerous Versailles conditions imposed on Germany after World War I as a cause of Nazism and World War II are neither excusing Nazi Germany nor are they smeared as its defenders.

Consortium News can be wrong at times, but never as wrong as mainstream media was on WMD in Iraq or Russiagate. CN got both those consequential stories right while they were happening, and contends it is correct in its analysis of the Ukraine crisis.  In any case, it is entitled to its analysis. On Iraq, Russiagate and Ukraine, Consortium News has clashed with the conventional wisdom forged by powerful forces and its corporate media allies. In response CN has been repeatedly smeared as agents of Iraq and Russia.   

An overly self-confident Western establishment cannot appear to understand how experienced Western journalists could exercise their own agency and editorial judgment to critique U.S. foreign policy in real time, without them being agents of a foreign power. Consortium News sued the Canadian television network Global News for publishing such a smear.

It is evidently not enough for powerful forces to simply disagree and respect CN‘s constitutional right to free speech.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Abrams v. United States wrote:  “[T]hat the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas—that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market…That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution.” Justice Louis Brandeis added in Whitney v. California that the remedy for ill-conceived speech is more speech, not enforced silence.

NewsGuard’s review of Consortium News and other independent media is a test case: Can the U.S. establishment tolerate dissent or is it joining the tradition of Adams and Wilson to crush it?

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

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101 comments for “US State-Affiliated NewsGuard Targets Consortium News

  1. Rokossovsky
    June 5, 2022 at 12:36

    This could be all settled if NewsGuard changes its name to VIEWSguard. All they would have to do is invert the N to VI, then snap off the V from the I with a space. Few people would probably notice this minor change. IMHO

    Furthermore, changing its name to ViewsGuard would solve its problems with niggling things like facts and also allow it to continue restrict views through throttling and shadow banning etc.

    As for this article, it is so well sourced and researched, only the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect will allow readers to get through a Western corporate media piece in the future. The only thing not mentioned was Col. Alexander Vindman being offered the post of Ukrainian Defense Minister. (lol)

  2. Chris Herz
    June 5, 2022 at 11:32

    Fascist authoritarianism is how the corporate empire prefers governance. Get one, get the other. So best be prepared for every sort of repression, not merely censorship. I can see this regime adopting in its homeland all the nasty stuff it s blithely does abroad.

  3. Afdal
    June 5, 2022 at 05:22

    Well done Joe, thanks for laying it all out in a single article just what evidence there was for 2014 being a coup. I’ve seen too many allusions to it lately from good journalists as if it’s simply a plain given, but not enough arguments from those journalists backed up by point-by-point evidence. I hope the level of detail in this article makes it the final word on that.

  4. Otto_E
    June 5, 2022 at 04:13

    I’m a bit inclined to thank NewsGuard for their attack on Consortiumnews /s. Without that, Mr. Lauria probably wouldn’t have written this landmark summary. – Having grown up in East Germany, I think I know a bit about the Russians. One thing is sure: Their performance exceeds imaginations/expectations whenever they are forced to defend their just case. Same here. Outstanding article; Will disseminate among relatives and friends.

  5. Ian T-W
    June 4, 2022 at 20:45

    Had been thinking for a while that I ought to open up my pocketbook and do the right thing. This article just convinced me to do so. Keep up the excellent work.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      June 4, 2022 at 23:16

      Thank you.

    • Gordon Hastie
      June 5, 2022 at 03:02

      Same here. Long live Consortium News!

  6. Dennis Argall
    June 4, 2022 at 20:05

    Thank you for a landmark document. I have subscribed at Patreon.

    I need to state that I am neither citizen nor resident of the United States. I welcome CN’s contribution to global information and debate.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      June 4, 2022 at 23:17

      Thank you for your support.

  7. Lois Gagnon
    June 4, 2022 at 20:03

    It should be glaringly obvious by now that Western capitalist empire is a criminal enterprise that seeks to destroy any obstacle to its existence. Truth telling journalism is an existential threat to this criminal enterprise. Witness the torture of Julian Assange for committing the crime of journalism.

    This article by Joe Lauria lays bare the hollowness of corporate state propaganda and its media gate keepers. As the false narrative of the US financed proxy war against Russia in Ukraine reveals itself as another debacle planned by the geniuses who fancy themselves statesmen and stateswomen in the nation’s capitol, it will be interesting to witness the pretzel logic trotted out to justify doubling down on stupid by Newsguard.

    • Me Myself
      June 5, 2022 at 06:47

      I have to say I really like the term “pretzel logic”

  8. June 4, 2022 at 19:17

    I’m new here and just contributed to CN for this outstanding piece.

    BTW, even if any alleged false claims were in fact false – which the fake news agency failed to demonstrate to back their false claims – it would not matter anyway as they involve both press opinion (which is constitutionally protected speech) and good faith media reporting.

    The fake news agency should apply factual standards to US media – which has been egregiously engaged in pro-war propaganda.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      June 4, 2022 at 23:24

      Thank you.

  9. June 4, 2022 at 18:59

    Thanks so much for writing this. It is an incredible tour de force and ultimate take down of the US propaganda system and it very clearly documents what’s really going on in Ukraine.

    Mr. Fishman “appears” to be – or should I say “seems” to be – an incompetent propagandist. He’s now been fully exposed. Thanks again for that.

  10. Humwawa
    June 4, 2022 at 17:20

    Even if we allow that the term “genocide” may have been used by Putin in a somewhat inflationary sense of the term; that is by no means unusual in the context of political debate in the West. Thus, it would fall well within the scope of what is commonly permitted by the freedom of expression.

    However, compared to Western claims of human rights violations (for example in Serbia or Libya) used as pretext for Western military interventions, Putin’s claims have more substance. Nevertheless, insofar as the war in the Donbas is considered a civil war, it can’t really be genocide since the oppressed side has the means to fight back. Considering the extremity of Ukrainian nationalism, there is however the strong possibility of a genocide, or at least ethnic cleansing, if Ukrainian armed forces had been allowed to take the Donbas by force. There would have been a massive exodus to Russia.

    Regarding the rest of Ukraine, the violence used against Russian speakers who opposed the Maidan does however take the form of genocide. For example, it is clear that the football ultras burning alive almost 50 anti-Maidan protesters in Odessa, didn’t just happen to be there by chance. They were sent by powerful people in Ukraine. Moreover, the police and the fire brigade did not help the victims, at least not initially. And when they did intervene, the police arrested the surviving victims while not stopping the fascist killers. The fascist killers enjoy immunity from punishment in Ukraine, even though their identity is known from videos posted by the fascists bragging about burning alive peaceful demonstrators. The Kyiv regime covers the fascist killers and Western governments cover the Kyiv regime. The victims have no resource to justice, neither in their own country nor from international institutions that are dominated Western political influence.

    Thus, even if we can’t establish a line of command for the Odessa killings and all the other small and big incidences of repression carried out during the last 8 years in Ukraine, it is clear that the Kyiv regime encourages such acts of violence. Just like the Jewish victims of the German November Pogrom weren’t able to receive justice from the German police or judicial system at the time, the victims of neo-Nazi violence cannot get justice in today’s Ukraine. It all started with the neo-Nazi Maidan coup. The police officers defending the State against a violent uprising were prosecuted while the neo-Nazi snipers killing demonstrators and police officers were granted an amnesty.

    On 21 July 2021, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the law on the “Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine.” It grants protection to ethnic minorities without statehood outside of Ukraine. Thus, Ukrainians of Russian, Hungarian or Romanian ethnicity are not protected. Ironically, the only two ethnic groups that are protected by this law are Tatars and Karaites. The former lives in Crimea and the latter in Israel. There are only a few hundred individuals of these two groups that still live in Ukraine. But even for those individuals, Ukraine has failed to provide protection, for example, in the form of education, administration, etc., in their native languages.

    While this law has absolutely no significance for protecting ethnic minorities, it does relegate ethnic Russians, Hungarians and Romanians to 2nd class citizen status. I guess the subtext being that these ethnic groups can always move, or can be made to move, to Russia, Hungary or Romania. The various neo-Nazis formations like the C14, who see it as their job to spread terror among civilians, are undoubtedly more than eager to help them move in what could easily morph into ethnic cleansing, which is one phase of a genocide.

  11. Em
    June 4, 2022 at 14:17

    To Realist.
    You are 100% on the money in your line of reasoning.
    I am in full agreement with your assessments!
    But can you elucidate why all the ‘ifs’ are still necessary in all the theses?
    ‘If’ I had but one wish, it would be that I was born yesterday, then I would not have been afflicted by such a toxic case of cynicism.
    Capitalism, as it has been practiced throughout its short reign in history, and as it continues to be perfected, even more exploitatively to function on the planet, does not permit, even a keyhole opening for uplifting the total global populace!
    In the U.S. systemic paranoid belief paradigm: if once tainted by the socialist ideology of communalism, then always the pariah.
    American corporate capitalist plutocracy (CCP – to be, or not to be confused with the Chinese Communist Party) ‘apparatchiks’ (CPSU), must always have an enemy!
    Russia today, notwithstanding its own transformation since the demise of the Soviet Union, remains the go-to enemy.
    In order for humanity to thrive as a global community, there has to be at least a scintilla of the sense of the innate potential altruism in the species, brought to the fore.
    Let me know ‘if/when’ you see it lurking anywhere, as more than hope?
    In the meantime, for all it may eventually be worth, keep at it!
    That is, if inhumane self-inflicted mass extinction doesn’t come first.
    When has ‘Wisdom’ ever been man’s strong suit?

    • Realist
      June 4, 2022 at 16:51

      Gotcha. You were expressing your chronic despair at what has truly become an intractable problem in a formerly-free and open society (but never perfect and certainly never universally fair) that has been deliberately and inexorably altered over the long term to favor only the rich and powerful. What’s more is that the hypocrisy and contradictions are no longer even shielded from public view. In fact, they are flaunted by the privileged. These things make me too very cynical and sarcastic. They also make me angry.

      I realise that most working stiffs are not in a position to do much of anything about this. Better most of them just hunker down and try not to make targets of themselves in the sights of those with real power. Also, totally fair for them to express their reluctant resignation to the inequities imposed upon them. At the least their suffering can become a learning tool for others. My call to arms would mostly be directed at the well off, specifically those in a position of strength who (claim to) share our egalitarian values. I love it when guys like Oliver Stone, who is lucky to have the where-with-all, make movies that lay bare truths long covered up by the cabals of insider elites and therefor just “might” lead to some societal and political change. His influence just “might” lead to our clueless society shedding some of its bigotry against Russia which has put us on the brink of nuclear war.

      I used to like Michael Moore dedicating his millions to making movies on important social issues, though he has recently become way too hyper-partisan, and now represents mostly the interests of the entrenched elites of the Democratic Party rather than the needs of the people. Guys like Musk, Bezos and Gates have shown how much clout their billions gets them in the public arena. They started out claiming that they were going to use those billions to change the world for the better. I wish they’d start with a better working definition of the world “better.” They’ve discernably slid into one that implies what’s better for themselves and their fellow monied class. Anyway, to make any real breakthroughs that truly assist the hoi polloi will require some enlightened billionaires willing to put their money where their mouths are. You can’t play poker for very long if your stack of chips is worth five bucks and everyone else in the game has millions to bet.

  12. Zim
    June 4, 2022 at 13:09

    Way to put the hammer down on these NewsGuard turds. I’d say their run as Ministry of Truth has concluded. Thanks Joe!

  13. Me Myself
    June 4, 2022 at 11:14

    I think it’s a good idea(r) to remember censorship goes back a while in this country.

    “How the FBI Destroyed the Careers of 41 Women in TV and Radio”

    “hXXps://getpocket.com/explore/item/how-the-fbi-destroyed-the-careers-of-41-women-in-tv-and-radio?utm_source=pocket-newtab”

    Law enforcement doing the exact opposite of what the population (me) believes that it does.

    • Me Myself
      June 4, 2022 at 11:17

      This might suggest that CN is likely a target (Scary).

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      June 5, 2022 at 12:19

      Yes, it was the McCarthy witch hunts of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The fanatic anticommunists ran amok. They destroyed the careers and lives of many people with their paranoia.

  14. Humwawa
    June 4, 2022 at 11:00

    The Western narrative is based on the Ukrainian interpretation of the Maidan event as a “revolution of dignity”, which is to be commemorated by the “heavenly one hundred”.

    Leaving aside that rather odd use of the term dignity in connection with this most undignified event, one has to ask what place a “revolution” has in the process of Western democracy. If the Maidan uprising or revolution is part of the democratic process, then the same ought to apply to Trump’s popular uprising, which culminated in the storm on the Capitol. The latter was a lot less violent than the Maidan and Trump roughly the support of almost half of the population. Would Lavrov urging on the storm on the Capitol by handing out cookies and Putin warning against repressing Trump’s supporters have made the storm on the Capitol a legitimate democratic process for ousting Biden?

    I have closely followed events in Ukraine for over 8 years. The Maidan is a complex event comprising:

    – A nationalist Ukrainian populist uprising supported by the US and the EU

    – A fascist or ultra-nationalist coup carried out by violence from Svoboda and Right Sector members and the support of the US

    – US-planned and publicly supported coup

    It’s inconceivable that a peaceful protest could have toppled the elected president. Yevhen Karas, the leader of the fascist group C14 said that without the far-right violence, the Maidan would have been nothing more than a gay parade. Aside from showing their disgust for Western values, Ukrainian ultra-nationalists clearly understand that the Maidan is their work. In recognition, Svoboda received 4 ministerial posts and the job of the prosecutor general, who covered up the far-right’s involvement in the coup. In her leaked phone conversation, Victoria Nuland clearly shows that she is aware of the role of the far-right, and that she approves of it. She just wants the far-right to stay in the background of her hand-picked government.

    Thus, the Maidan regime change is clearly the work of the violent far-right as well as covert and public US support for the coup. But even if there were reasonable doubts regarding the nature of the coup, dissenting views have to be allowed if the freedom of press is to have any meaning at all.

    The US has been involved in dozens of regime change operations all over the world, including the toppling of elected leaders in Iran and Chile. Nobody even denies that. Nobody is censored for saying it out loud. Thus, one has to ask what is different about Ukraine. Why the censorship? Why the witch hunts of dissident voices? Why the extreme nervousness? Why the blatant disinformation to control the narrative? The degree of disinformation and censorship is typical of a country at war, even though Biden’s administration keeps on telling us that Nato won’t get involved directly. Does the Biden administration actually envision a final showdown with Russia? Biden could easily lead us into WWIII single handed by provoking Russia into an escalation, but we aren’t allowed to talk about what is perhaps the most important event in the history of mankind.

  15. joey_n
    June 4, 2022 at 05:16

    Why did Nuland say, “Fuck the EU”? At the time she said it, France, Germany and Poland were working for the EU on a political settlement with Russia to the Maidan crisis that would leave Yanukovych in power.

    Indeed the E.U. brokered a deal with Yanukovych, who agreed to early elections by December, a restoration of the 2004 Constitution and an amnesty for all protestors, clearing the way for no one to be held responsible for the violent ouster. Yanukovych announced the agreement, with E.U. officials at his side in Kiev, on Feb. 21, 2014. Later that day he was violently driven from power.

    Let this serve as a reminder the next time someone conveniently quotes Nuland with her “F*** the EU” every time the EU does something stupid that shows its subservience to the USA, as if what Nuland said (ironically in response to the EU being insufficiently subservient) was correct or even moral. Unless the intent is to demonstrate the true intentions of the USA/UK with the EU, in which case I’ll make an exception.

  16. doris
    June 4, 2022 at 04:19

    Thanks for the terrific, go-to article, Joe! Keep up the good work as long as you can. Looks like things are happening exponentially these days.

  17. susan mullen
    June 4, 2022 at 01:05

    No “revolution” and no need for “elections,” because oligarchs are given governorships by Yatsenyuk, US selection for PM in first post-coup gov. Yats immediately called in the oligarchs and gave them governorships in eastern provinces, NY Times, 3/2/2014: “Ukraine Turns to Its Oligarchs for Political Help,” A. Kramer, Kiev. Sergei Taruta was given Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky was given Dnipropetrovsk. NYT: “The ultra-wealthy industrialists wield such power in Ukraine that they form what amounts to a shadow government, with empires of steel and coal, telecoms and media, and armies of workers. Persuading some to serve as governors in the east was a small victory for the new government in Kiev….”The risk is this will be seen as business as usual by putting wealthy people in government. That has been part of the problem for the past 22 years”…said Steven Pifer, a former American ambassador to Ukraine who is now at the Brookings Institution.”…hxxps://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/03/world/europe/ukraine-turns-to-its-oligarchs-for-political-help.html?_r=2&auth=login-email&login=email…Also, US spent two years planning 2014 violent overthrow, Soros was in charge of it, had an office in Kiev. On 8/15/2016 Wikileaks published a link to dcleaks 3000 documents from Soros groups. ““It is the degree to which Soros provided finances, logistics, and other support to the Ukrainian coup plotters in 2012, two years before the Euromaidan uprising, that is noteworthy. OSF and its affiliates provided…entire buildings, vehicles, travel to the US.”…Soros “rejected a federalized Ukraine that would grant self-government to the Russian-speaking eastern Donbass region.” US Ambassador to Ukraine suggested federalization and was thus shipped to another country to be US Ambassador….8/30/2016, “Soros Ran US Foreign Policy on Post-Coup Ukraine,” Strategic Culture, Wayne Madsen… Also, Wm. Engdahl, neo, “In his March 2015 memo Soros further writes that Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s “first priority must be to regain control of financial markets,” which he assures Poroshenko that Soros would be ready to assist in: “I am ready to call Jack Lew of the US Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement.””…12/6/2015, journal-neo.org. Soros ran US Ukraine policy post-coup.

  18. nwwoods
    June 3, 2022 at 21:08

    Long time lurker here.
    Thank you for this comprehensive and consequential piece, Mr. Lauria.

  19. Jeremy Rabie
    June 3, 2022 at 20:33

    I stand with CN. Down with the fascists, Thank you Joe.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      June 5, 2022 at 12:21

      As do I. Keep fighting.

  20. Steven
    June 3, 2022 at 19:11

    The image of Joe Biden, John McCain and Victoria Nuland standing on the stage in front of the portrait of the Neo-fascist leader giving the Nazi salute says everything about what our political leaders really stand for.

    Thank you so much for a wonderful article.

  21. Daniel
    June 3, 2022 at 18:22

    When you find your lies having less and less effect on an awakening public: NewsGuard
    When your terrible candidate for the presidency loses to a game show host: NewsGuard
    When your FBI-assisted scam to smear a sitting President gets exposed: NewsGuard
    When you need to enlist the public’s support for (not so neo-)Nazis in a proxy war: NewsGuard
    When the public realizes that global fascism has been your deep state’s jam since WWII: NewsGuard
    When you want the awakening public to just go back to sleep: NewsGuard

    Just trying to help poor NewsGuard out with some branding ideas. With only pentagon and intelligence support, I’m not sure these plucky upstart truth-lovers trying for a small piece of the ‘news’ market will make it.

    Kidding aside, this was a most excellent rebuttal to whoever this person is questioning CN’s excellent work and track record – another in a long line of Nina Jankowiczes at the Empire’s disposal, no doubt. Long on ambition and ideology, short on historical knowledge and respect for the Constitution.

    My meager donations will continue, CN.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      June 4, 2022 at 09:38

      Thank you for your support Daniel.

  22. Anna
    June 3, 2022 at 16:51

    Thank you.

    The US State Department and the CIA have been actively involved in the Nazification of Ukraine since 2014, and this involvement is well-documented. The members of the so-called “NewsGuard” are intimately familiar with this involvement. This is rather a shameful situation.

  23. H. Prynne
    June 3, 2022 at 16:48

    Bravo! When you get your scarlet letter, be sure to wear it like the badge of honor it is.

  24. Me Myself
    June 3, 2022 at 16:06

    Thanks to Consortium News NewsGuard now knows what it’s like to have a backbone!

    Say Thank You NewsGuard!

    P.S. NewsGuard
    Feel Free to take notes you could learn a thing or two!

    And NewsGuard feel free to donate to Consortium News your education isn’t free.

  25. Duane
    June 3, 2022 at 15:33

    This is the best summary of the Ukraine conflict that I have seen, anywhere. I hope it will be widely shared, and I certainly plan to share it in my own circle of friends. Bravo, Mr. Lauria!

  26. June 3, 2022 at 15:30

    Imagery through the looking glass, mirror image opposites describing similar events. Orchestrated confusion reigning blissfully. Bizarro Superman happy at his desk in the Nightly Moon, making up the news that would be performed the next day.

    How might the myriad United States incursions and invasions and regime change wars seem if portrayed in the manner the United States narrative manufacturing systems (i.e., the Hollywood bases entertainment industry and its affiliate, the corporate media) portray the current conflict in the Ukraine? Who would wear what color hat?

    Are any of us old enough to recall when it was the men in black hats (and black was not that stylish) who would tell their people what they could and could not think or say? People like Hitler and Stalin; Khrushchev and Mao? Remember when liberty and free speech were good things.

    My how time files!

    NewsGuard’s rating system, perverted as it is, is useful to the cognitively gifted, or at least to those not cognitively impaired, if we just reverse them. I once had a partner like that. He was always so perfectly wrong, that if we just phrased things as yes or no questions, and did the opposite, we were always just fine. I wonder if he has anything to do with NewsGuard? But no. Wrong as he always was, he was a sweet guy. They guys at NewsGuard certainly don’t fit that description, unless of course, you’re a “defense” industry stockholder or employee.

    The foregoing article is not as “cute” as my observations. It is factual, accurate and serious, and deserves to be read rather than buried in a field full of fake red flags.

  27. Wilikins
    June 3, 2022 at 15:21

    I first learned of NewsGuard from the Donbass Insider website, which posted an article about about its reporting of events in Donbass/Ukraine being questioned by a NewsGuard inquiry in March of this year. With members like Hayden and Ridge on NewsGuard’s advisory board, and intimately involved in many of the operations to overthrow democratically elected leaders anywhere in the world, it is obvious well researched journalism is being targeted by the war complex to prevent citizens access to what is going on in the conflicts incited by the US.

    Thank you for this thorough report.

    hxxps://www.donbass-insider.com/2022/03/28/censorship-donbass-insider-in-the-crosshairs-of-newsguard-an-agency-linked-to-the-cia-nato-and-the-white-house/

    • Vincent ANDERSON
      June 4, 2022 at 22:17

      THANKS. A great aid, along with the referenced MintPress articles, as I am assembling a followup comment for any interested attorneys who might want to assist in suing the SOBs! Contrary to a remark somewhere that ‘they’ can’t be sued under the First Amendment, there are scores of ‘publication’ and similar descriptions to describe what the ‘Guard has done. And their own website would subject them to certain exemptions to the protections of so-called Sec, 230. Stay tooned.

  28. Martin - Swedish citizen
    June 3, 2022 at 15:19

    Thank you for this fantastic article!

    Yet an indication of the ultraright influence may be this (Jewishnews.co.uk Dec 30, 2018)
    “The Ukrainian parliament last week declared Jan. 1 as a national day of commemoration for Stepan Bandera, who briefly joined forces with the Nazi occupation of Ukraine. ”
    Another google hit with the same news is in Newsweek.com 12/27/18 (“Ukraine Makes Birthday of Nazi Collaborator a National Holiday and Bans Book Critical of Anti-Semitic Leader”)

  29. Drew Hunkins
    June 3, 2022 at 14:48

    “…Consortium News was contacted by NewsGuard analyst Zachary Fishman. In his request to speak to someone at Consortium News he said categorically that CN had published “false content” and that the interview would be on the record. “I’m hoping to talk with someone who could answer a few questions about its structure and editorial processes — including its ownership, its handling of corrections, and its publication of false content,” he wrote in an email…”

    Once in a while it’s time to say WTF.

    My response:

    “lol! F you and the sociopathic flunkies in your pathetic street gang. How many Palestinians, Yemenis, Syrians, and ethnic Russians did you and your servants of death and destruction indirectly [directly?] kill today? How many US domestic deaths of despair were you and your brethren indirectly [directly?] responsible for? How close will you and your creepy freaks put the world to potential nuclear Armageddon? In case you didn’t know Fishbein, it’s our very satisfying role here at CN to hold YOU and YOUR militaristic fascists to account! lol! Get lost Fishbein.”

    Huey Long was noted, every once in a while, to rush into a high powered DC meeting of the servants of the rich and well born unannounced and holler to everyone in the room “Just so you know, I hate you all!” and then run out.

    This type of approach is more needed now then ever. The nicey nice get along approach has led us to this current mess across the board.

  30. robert e williamson jr
    June 3, 2022 at 14:45

    Joe Lauria

    Allen Dulles & Co hijacked the CIA by gaining the positions required to create the agency in the image they worshiped. Then hijacked the government in 1963 by murdering a sitting president.

    It is clear to me they are now in the process of hijacking all media through the use of High Tech hardware and software with all intentions of using the same to come after individuals just as they did with Julian Assange.

    It’s always been that world domination thing!

    hanks CN

  31. Carolyn L Zaremba
    June 3, 2022 at 14:02

    “Who Are the Brain Police?” — Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, 1966

  32. Dienne
    June 3, 2022 at 13:58

    Bravo! This should be required reading for all Americans (and probably Brits, Australians and others). In fact, I personally would support liberals/Democrats being tied down and forced to listen to readings of this piece, along with all linked evidence, but maybe that’s just me. Thank you, Joe Lauria, for one thorough, detailed refutation of all the ridiculous accusations that not only CN, but all thinking/dissenting people and organizations have been smeared with.

  33. Cara
    June 3, 2022 at 12:01

    Mr. Lauria has published an altogether remarkable piece of journalism. It sets the record straight in a most definitive way (so it seems to me) and future historians will undoubtedly be grateful. There are many insightful commentaries below and I can do no better than express my respect for the intelligence (and wit) of CN’s readers and my endless gratitude to Joe Lauria and Consortium News for unparalleled journalistic integrity. You are indeed keeping the best of America’s traditions alive.

  34. LeoSun
    June 3, 2022 at 11:58

    Thank you, Joe Lauria.

    “You Got Gold! Gold inside of you; &, You got wheels. Turning inside of you; &,“We” got wheels turning inside US, too.”

    Imo, the ‘Powers that Be,” want US in a constant State of Paranoia, i.e., “No One is Safe.” “We the People,” beg to differ.

    A “Day of Action, i.e., Shutter the Opposition?” Anyone? Everyone?

    The FREE Press is “of, by & for the people.” Never say die! TruthTellers will Survive. Take action, email “blitz” the grim reaper. Onward & Upwards.

    Follows, John Prine’s, “You Got Gold” from his Album, “The Missing Years”

    • LeoSun
      June 3, 2022 at 11:59

      “You Got Gold” from his Album, “The Missing Years” John Prine

      hxxps://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oZKscRo0Dl8

  35. Drew Hunkins
    June 3, 2022 at 11:31

    NG’s allied with the Pentagon and State Dept. Sure, it’s a real unbiased organization. Got it, sure.

  36. GBC
    June 3, 2022 at 10:56

    Excellent rebuttal by Mr. Lauria to NewsGuard’s effort to intimidate and silence CN from publishing the truth about the Ukraine war and the ongoing US efforts to fuel and intensify the proxy war with Russia.

  37. Robert Emmett
    June 3, 2022 at 10:35

    If NewsGuard & its scribes really were looking for a roadmap on how actual reporting is done, then this report could serve as their primary example.

    But, you know, as if…

    NewsGuard, hmmm, aren’t they also spinning-off ancillary products? BodGuard (deodorant) FungGuard (anti-itch crotch fungal cream)? If I recall correctly, the buy-line is Don’t Let the Parasites Win!

    Plenty more potential, say, for EyeGuard (sleep masks) EarGuard (sound cancelling headphones) & MouthGuard (non-adhesive body tape) complete with 3 Monkeys logo on every product (cute!)

    • Melanie
      June 3, 2022 at 16:49

      Creams and ointments require repeated application to work. Pfizer could develop safe and effective ways of dealing with these parasites.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      June 5, 2022 at 12:26

      ha ha ha ha. Thanks for the laugh.

  38. c
    June 3, 2022 at 10:27

    In a recent interview (“Vladimir Putin and War in Ukraine, May 17, 2022), Oliver Stone discusses U.S. propaganda and his own fear,

    and says that the U.S. objective of world domination (though using a different approach), is the same as that of Germany in WW2.
    ( hxxps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygAqYC8JOQI )

    I wonder if intensified control of information reflects a growing fear of political damage.

    How would American voters react to the news that after spending trillions on weapons and proxy wars while destroying “the
    homeland”, the U.S. is no longer the sole superpower?

    Biden’s team is surely aware of the military vulnerability of the U.S.,

    which cannot defeat China ( hxxps://asiatimes.com/2022/06/a-surprise-thaw-in-us-china-relations/ ) ,

    and which cannot defend against a hypersonic missile attack by Russia.

    “The ballistic missile defense system is not capable of intercepting hypersonic glide vehicles; I cannot defend, nor am I tasked to defend, against a hypersonic glide vehicle attack.”

    hxxps://docs.house.gov/Committee/Calendar/ByEvent.aspx?EventID=114486 ;
    See statement of General VanHerck pp.16-17.

    ( hxxps://docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS00/20220308/114486/HHRG-117-AS00-Wstate-VanHerckG-20220308.pdf) statement of General Glen D. Vanherck,

    USAF Commander, U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command before the House Armed Services Committee, 8 March, 2022. )

  39. Henry Smith
    June 3, 2022 at 10:25

    Well done CN.
    I’ll believe your alleged ‘misinformation’ over their ‘truths’ any day. Morons and bigots everyone of them.

  40. susan
    June 3, 2022 at 09:34

    CN at its finest! Thank you Joe…

  41. Mark Thomason
    June 3, 2022 at 09:22

    This is a clear case of defamation, aggravated by calculated cynical political purpose.

    Sue. Damages should exceed Johnny Depp’s.

  42. June 3, 2022 at 02:56

    I’d be interested to know if any of Zachary Fishman’s vanished scientific publications, which he claimed were around 200 in number, were peer-reviewed. Having attempted to locate his articles, my impression was that they had been self-published in partnership with one other person – if they ever existed.

  43. Willow
    June 3, 2022 at 02:10

    There needs to be a class action lawsuit defamation lawsuit against Newsguard including punitive damages brought by maligned journalists

    • Mark Thomason
      June 3, 2022 at 09:24

      Class action status is an extra hurdle that could delay and aid the defense.

      Just sue. Sooner is better.

    • Cara
      June 3, 2022 at 10:32

      Warning! Bitter sarcasm: I’m sure we can count on the ACLU to take up this cause.

    • Alex Cox
      June 3, 2022 at 11:08

      I don’t know if a class action suit is appropriate. However, Joe writes that “NewsGuard’s accusations against Consortium News that could potentially limit its readership and financial support”. If so, Consortium News certainly has grounds for a lawsuit against NewsGuard.

      Naked Capitalism looked into suing PropOrNot, when that mysterious organization denounced NC, Consortium News, WikiLeaks and other news sources. But there were no named individuals involved with PropOrNot, and thus no one to sue.

      In the case of NewsGuard, there are named individuals involved. So if Consortium has been defamed or libelled by NewsGuard – and this would appear to be the case – then Fishman would be one of the people to sue. If Consortium News wants to go this route I will contribute money to the lawsuit against Fishman and his colleagues.

      • sam
        June 4, 2022 at 18:25

        I would as well!

  44. Realist
    June 3, 2022 at 01:49

    You know why the fascists in Washington and the other power centers are shitting their pants and threatening Consortium News?

    Because we write comments to these articles that indicate that we have learned the truth from CN, from Caitlin Johnstone’s blog and from the Saker’s blog among a pitifully few other independent news sources.

    These creatures who enjoy unbridled power, caring nothing for truth or the quality of life for the victims of perennial American military aggression are afraid of losing one iota of this power. Even that tiny 1% of the public probably reached by our truth tellers they want crushed. Eliminated. Wiped off the board and not available to any part of the public who just might start objecting to all the carnage and blatant thievery of American tax revenues to feather their own nests. Oh, and to all the lying, which alone is thoroughly repugnant and an insult to all Americans and any others seeking truthful facts on what goes on in this world, especially if it’s stirred up by the chronically deceitful US government.

    I wouldn’t tell you to write in directly to News Guard. They would probably initiate special surveillance against you, and who needs that? But continue to post your thoughts here, under whatever name you feel comfortable using–your legal name if courageous, otherwise a nom de guerre or de plume. (Anonymity is certainly an appropriate precaution in the battle against domestic fascists both in the government and the corporate heads of the beast.) Let them choke on hundreds of posts if they surveil this board.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      June 3, 2022 at 14:03

      You’re right. Thanks for your comment.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      June 5, 2022 at 12:33

      I always use my real name. I’m a registered voter under my real name. The powers that be need to know that actual, real people oppose them. If they want to come after a woman in her 70s, they’re pathetic.

  45. Realist
    June 3, 2022 at 01:10

    “NewsGuard set itself up in 2018 as a judge of news organizations’ credibility. The front page of NewsGuard’s website shows that it is “partners” with the State Department and the Pentagon, as well as with several major corporations, such as Microsoft. The nature of these “partnerships” is not entirely clear.

    NewsGuard is a private corporation that can shield itself from First Amendment obligations. But it has connections to formerly high-ranking U.S. government officials in addition to its “partnerships” with the State Dept. and the Pentagon.”

    So, based on Benito Mussolini’s definition of the fascist movement, which he himself founded, as essentially “corporatism,” i.e., a merger of the state with corporate interests that represents the ultimate authority within the society which is strongly regimented, controlled by a dictator or body of individuals with absolute power and answers to no one but forces its will through police and military oppression, violence and censorship as called for. There is no dissent brooked in fascism, rather it is made illegal and patriots who would assert their right to free speech are deliberately and systematically eradicated from the body politic. Sounds like the mission that “News Guard” has assigned to itself with the imprimatur of the US government. If it walks like a duck, etc, it must be a duck. Same principle can be applied to identifying fascists, whether in Ukraine or the United States of America.

    That’s what I think of News Guard. Joe Lauria and CN is to be lauded for responding so vigorously and spontaneously to these would-be usurpers of our freedoms under the Bill of Rights. You’ve put together the entire essential story here behind the war in Ukraine that the American government has instigated, starting with its fomenting the totally blatant and out-in-the-open coup in the Maidan. With a little fleshing out (supplying chapter and verse to the already robust litany of evidence you’ve provided in your precis) this is the makings of a detailed history book or the charges in a lawsuit against News Guard for not only slander and libel (damage to your reputation), but whatever financial damages you have and stand to incur (such as in the Pay Pal fiasco of a few weeks ago).

    I don’t mean to sensationalize the reality, but the Depp-Heard trial just concluded makes clear that justice can be achieved through such a lawsuit. The chief sticking point would be the cost of legal representation, which would undoubtedly run into the possible millions. Are there no rich fat cats who would pony up the money to see justice prevail for once, and the fascists in Washington (like Joe Biden who, as you present in your abstract, bullies and toys with Ukrainian government officials like pieces on a game board whom he can remove at will–for reasons demonstrably in his own self-interest and those of his son) identified, along with their malefactions and punished for such? Can there be no action following the precedent of the Pentagon Papers of nearly 60 years ago? Such a spectacle would surely attract the attention of the public and convey the truth to them and open their eyes to the lies and manipulations of reality so brazenly promised to them twenty years ago already by Karl Rove in the Bush administration during the Iraq Debacle.

    • Em
      June 3, 2022 at 09:18

      Justice for an “accuracy in media” organization such as CN, in a defamation suit against Newsguard, in a political trial, in the US ‘legal’ system???
      Don’t make us laugh!
      Isn’t this what the Julian Assange showtrial is all about, and on whose behalf CN has been so tirelessly and assiduously reporting?
      Isn’t this, at least partially why the corporate state is after CN???

      • Realist
        June 3, 2022 at 19:16

        If one has the resources and competent legal advocacy, perhaps the system needs to be challenged every damned time it crosses the red lines of honesty vs lies, justice vs power, freedom vs coercion…

        Just rolling over and letting the powers that be rape you will only lead to more rape and coercion. If the judiciary is stacked, which it seems to be, the forces of good may not prevail, but they can bring enough attention before the public that the deep state’s game is exposed, rejected and perhaps someday overturned by the public. At the least the public may discover exactly who their worst domestic enemies are and stop buying their products and services. Taking away their profits would be the greatest incentive for our psychopathic oppressors to change their ways.

        Legal victories were possible during the fiasco in Vietnam. What prompts Americans to blow off any struggle that may cause them to miss their nightly fix of Pawn Stars or American Pickers in this day and age?

        Actually, there are causes that are presently overturning the status quo in America, but not ones that you, I or most readers here would necessarily support. Unfortunately they mostly have to do with identity politics (some quite contrived and not even reality-based) and racial conflicts that divide the country even more. Certainly stopping all these forever wars of choice, never approved by the public or even the congress, and squandering horrendous traunches of the public’s tax revenues which is in turn demolishing the economy should be worthy objectives that a majority of the people should want to get behind, even if you can’t achieve complete or immediate victory on every count.

        But, we will count you out, as you please. And you can either sit on your hands or toil for the other side. If America actually practices “freedom” that should be your call.

        • Carolyn L Zaremba
          June 5, 2022 at 12:35

          Well stated. Thanks.

  46. Wildsilver
    June 3, 2022 at 00:12

    One could reasonably expect this strong and factual rebuttal would settle the matter, however, in these unusual times it’s the rule of rule, not law, that determines what’s what in our decaying ‘civil’isation.
    Thank you Joe.

  47. June 2, 2022 at 23:45

    Outstanding, Joe. VERY much in the tradition of your friend and mine, Bob Parry!

    • Diana
      June 4, 2022 at 14:31

      I agree, Ray. If any of us wondered who could possibly follow in Bob Parry’s footsteps, the answer is revealed in this blockbuster piece of journalism! Another Izzy award?

  48. June 2, 2022 at 23:30

    What an article! Drop the mic and walk away! Wow!

  49. anon
    June 2, 2022 at 23:18

    “Yew kin gets anyt’ing yas wantz at der Newsgard restaurant… Includin MaLice!!!

  50. Vincent ANDERSON
    June 2, 2022 at 22:57

    Joe, you have totally outdone (even) yourself, it that is possible. If this singular effort doesn’t garner you every Laur-eate in the writing/publishing world, the profession is truly askew.

    One classic quote above might be applied more generally to any person or organization that pretends to sit in judgment of CN:

    …NewsGuard’s dismissal of the influence of Neo-fascism by looking only at election results completely misses the point. Fishman has demanded CN correct its reporting on neo-Nazism in Ukraine. But Fishman’s statement that “There isn’t evidence that Nazism has a substantial influence in Ukraine” should instead be corrected by NewsGuard.

    This should apply, mutatis mutandis, to US academics who claim editorial neutrality. Jason Stanley, in particular, cited the Ukrainian far right’s ‘poor electoral showing’ as a self-evident measure of its lack of influence. But as the sheer existence of NewsGuard type outfits demonstrates, elections are poor indicators of unmerited and outsized influence.

  51. ray Peterson
    June 2, 2022 at 22:52

    Well Joe, I’m sure your intentions were not to bring in lots of donations
    to CN, but I’m sure mailing another check.

  52. Scared Person
    June 2, 2022 at 22:28

    Thank you Sir, this is a great piece of work.
    I feel I don’t need to wonder anymore what it would have been like to watch a certain European nation deteriorate into horror in the 1930s. We are watching such deterioration here today.

  53. Anonymot
    June 2, 2022 at 22:24

    Beautifully, thoughtfully said and written. Unless our government chooses to follow those dictatorships and anti-democratic governments that abound in the world, this Mr. Fishman and his colleagues will certainly green light what is written here to date and in the future.

    I might add that the prime and venerable government-owned TV station, TF1, recently had a very long documentary program on the relations between Mr. Biden and the Ukrainians’ political administration as well as the makeup of the Ukrainian government and its straightforward, Pro-Nazi, background elements and their post 2013/14 development that confirms everything stated by Joe Lauria. Seeing it is even more powerful than reading it in a way, and it all came from our allies.

    • My Brain
      June 4, 2022 at 23:36

      “the prime and venerable government-owned TV station, TF1, recently had a very long documentary program on the relations between Mr. Biden and the Ukrainians’ political administration”

      Is this documentary program avalible on Internet? Any URL? If not, can you post it on YouTube or as “magnet link”. If you don’t know what a “magnet link” is, please google it.

  54. Fran Macadam
    June 2, 2022 at 22:23

    The next Disinformation Governor…

  55. lester
    June 2, 2022 at 22:11

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodos? We have Newsguard to “protect” us, but who protects us from Newsguard? Consortium News!

  56. CNfan
    June 2, 2022 at 21:00

    It seems to me that “NewsGuard” should obviously be named “LiesGuard”.

  57. Cas
    June 2, 2022 at 20:58

    Excellent takedown. Here are a couple of other articles addressing CIA’s role in Ukraine. Are the LA Times and Yahoo News green checked?
    hxxps://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-02-25/ukraine-cia-insurgents-russia-invasion

    hxxps://news.yahoo.com/cia-trained-ukrainian-paramilitaries-may-take-central-role-if-russia-invades-185258008.html

  58. RMB
    June 2, 2022 at 20:33

    To put it genteelly, Joe tore NewsGuard a new one.

  59. Thomas Richard Kahler
    June 2, 2022 at 20:29

    Way to fight back Joe, and hopefully nip this yet another attack in the bud. Well done. Excellent piece of rebuttal to attempts by the smear merchants. Not that they will agree, but sending them off with tail between their legs is a good start.

  60. Jeff Harrison
    June 2, 2022 at 20:15

    I, too, am outraged that my country would stoop to this kind of behavior. If it is any consolation, the Russians themselves didn’t believe Pravda or Izvestia before the collapse of the old SovU. Nor do I put credence in the American MSM. I don’t think that the “elites” realize that if the hoi-polloi lose faith in the news media, we are lost.

  61. sam
    June 2, 2022 at 20:00

    Thank you Joe Luria for writing this detailed and thoroughly documented history of the Maidan Coup and Ukraine’s neo-Nazi troubles. You have made a powerful argument, it gives me something I can refer back to often. I hope it is shared far and wide!

    Sure sounds like this Fishman character was trying to buttonhole you at first. I wish this type of behavior still surprised me, but it is becoming all too characteristic of these, shall we say, ultra-aggressive creatures of the foreign policy establishment.

  62. Bob M
    June 2, 2022 at 20:00

    The propaganda-infused, lying, mendacious corporate/state media should clean itself up (this will never happen, of course) rather than going after actual truth-tellers like CN!

  63. Jack Emminger
    June 2, 2022 at 19:58

    Joe, please establish your own green/red rating system of other news sources.

    • RMB
      June 2, 2022 at 20:50

      Your comment reminds me of a line from the 1988 Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry film “The Dead Pool”.

      Harry learns that the slimy Peter Swan (played by Liam Neeson) has placed Harry, who is being hunted by the mob, on his list for a dead pool, a game won by the participant whose list has the greatest number of celebrities who die during the game period. An unamused Harry tells Swan:

      “Well, maybe I’ll make my own dead pool and put your name on it.”

  64. UncleDoug
    June 2, 2022 at 19:49

    I’m already intimately familiar with the mess in Ukraine and the relevant history, but I definitely learned something reading this remarkable piece: Joe Lauria is an even better journalist than I realized. This is a stunningly well-written, -organized and -sourced essay. Bob Parry would be proud.

    Now, off to donate a few bucks (and a few is all I have). Losing CN would be disastrous.

  65. Jim Thomas
    June 2, 2022 at 19:27

    Wells said Mr. Lauria. Hooray for you! Thank you for speaking so eloquently for the people with regard to the fierce attack on our freedom of speech. I hope that you will publish the response of Newsguard. I think that Mr. Fishman will find it difficult to refute your well researched and fact based arguments. It is more likely that he will ignore the facts and employ stock phrases to back up his ruling. If so, that will also be telling, at least to those who pay attention to detail. I will anxiously await further developments.

  66. Robert Patterson
    June 2, 2022 at 19:11

    This trashing of free speech by the powers that be makes me sick! Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your rights! How dare we cringe before these fascists! Standing behind Ukraine and against Russia without knowing the whole, true story is absolute insanity!

  67. Mike
    June 2, 2022 at 17:33

    NewsGuard appears to be there to keep information about the (mis)deeds, and other secrets our government doesn’t want people to see, out of sight by discrediting and trying to police the sources of information. It would make a lot of sense to have former CIA and NSA officials running and contributing to this, since they spent much of their career misinforming the public and sometimes those in positions of oversight over them. NewsGuard really looks like the fox guarding the chicken coop.

  68. Bob In Portland
    June 2, 2022 at 17:19

    One small point: The Azov Battalion was given the duties of protecting the ballots and vote-counting during the election of Zelensky.

  69. Fran Macadam
    June 2, 2022 at 17:03

    It surely is bad Joe. What a presumptuous crusher of dissent that happens to be the most accurate assessment we have.

  70. Adrian E.
    June 2, 2022 at 16:29

    It would bei much more apt to say that the idea that in 2014, there was a “popular revolution” in Ukraine is a “false narrative”.

    A “popular revolution” certainly has to meet one criterium, it has to be popular, and that should certainly mean that much more than half the population supports it. When a movement that is supported by about half the population and opposed by about half the population violently overthrows a democratically elected government, this may be given different names (e.g. coup), but it is certainly not a “popular revolution”.

    The Maydan movement was never supported by more than about half the Ukrainian population. It was supported by a vast majority in Western Ukraine, by very few people in the East and South of the country, with people more evenly split in the center/North. This clearly was not a case of a government that had lost public support to such a degree that there was a general consensus that it should resign. It was the case of one political camp representing about half the country that had lost the last elections imposing its will with brutal deadly violence (and with support of the US).

    Sociological research show that the Maydan movement failed achieving its goals with non-violent means because it did not have enough support in Ukrainian society. For that reason, it turned to violent methods instead and accepted that armed far-right extremists would play the key role in overthrowing the government.

    Those who want people to confuse the Ukrainian situation in which a group supported by about half the country violently took power and expelled the democratically elected government with credible death threats with one in which there is broad consensus in a society that the government should resign, often mention the low approval numbers Yanukovich had at the time. In my view, that is demagoguery. Things that can and should be said to this include:
    – Many people who did not like Yanukovich (any more) in early 2014 did not like the Maydan movement, either (it had very little support in the East and South of the country), and certainly many people who did not like Yanukovich or were disappointed by him did not support violently overthrowing the government.
    – It is not unusual that Ukrainian presidents become rather unpopular after they are elected. That was the case not only with Yanukovich, but also with Yushchenko, Poroshenko, and Zelenskiy (at least before the current war).
    – In other countries, elected presidents often have approval ratings far below 50%. This is often the case with French presidents, and it has certainly been the case with both Donald Trump and Joe Biden during most of their presidency. Those who see the low approval ratings of Yanukovich as a legitimation for armed paramilitary groups violently overthrowing the Ukrainian government in 2014 would have to be consistent and apply the same logic in Western countries and thereby more clearly reveal their anti-democratic ideology.

    One interesting question is why opposition forces violently took power in 2014 rather than waiting less than a year and attempting to win the next elections, something for which they seemed to have a relatively good chance.

    I think the key answer is that with the coup the nationalist side took over much more than just the government. For example, all judges that had convicted people from the Maydan movement, including violent offenders that had correctly been convicted, were sacked unconstitutionally and replaced with nationalist judges that were aligned with the coup government. In the civil service and the security forces, people were exchanged in a similar manner. Even if the opposition had won the next elections, it would not have been possible to move the country as much to the right/nationalist side as it was with a violent coup that removed the limits the constitution usually sets.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      June 3, 2022 at 08:38

      Excellent comment. Thank you.

      • evelync
        June 3, 2022 at 17:37

        Yes, thanks to Adrian E. for pointing out why the Ukraine where Russia started their “Special Military Operation” was no longer the same country as Ukraine before the Coup. People in the west have been kept in the dark by MSM on this and fall in line with the Russophobia and accept the smears and sanctioning of everything Russian including the books and the music of long dead writers and composers.

        Today’s Duran video features Jacob Dreizin’s military updates on Ukraine including some recent comments he’s heard (or heard about) from people living in eastern Ukraine who are relieved to have the Russians there.
        hxxps://youtu.be/-yQ-MZfFpbs

        Interviews with people in Ukraine may help set the record straight on what’s been happening to them and to the country over the last 8+ years.

        hmmm……

    • Realist
      June 4, 2022 at 15:59

      Brilliant analysis. If Joe Biden invariably adhered to the standards he and Barack Obama applied to the coup in the Maidan (basing its undemocratic legitimacy and application upon alleged poll numbers and street demonstrations), he would be frantically trying to get himself overthrown as he polls much worse that Yanukovych ever did.

      Of course, American-instigated attempts at regime change rarely even deal with the niceties of poll numbers or public support for their leader (see RECENT American coup attempts in Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Belarus), instead choosing to define a government’s acceptability based on its willingness to unreservedly enforce American policy regardless of the popular will, even if it is thoroughly conspicuous. In other words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that any foreign government we target for overthrow should be considered guilty as flat fact on our say-so without any need for proof whatsoever.”

      If they did take public support and peaceful organised demonstrations of the people’s will into account, wouldn’t the Washington gang have demanded Trudeau’s overthrow up in Canada as well? Instead, we got Washington-approved brand new anti-democratic policies of the national government seizing bank accounts and arranging for protestors to lose their jobs and the means of performing their work duties (seizure of their very expensive trucks). When will we see such new scorched earth policies used against our American middle class if and when they rise up to protest the malpractice in our government and among those who run our economy? Will we see 21st century labor relations in our fine democratic republic revert back to pre-Pullman Strike days of the 19th century when violence against public protest and redress for grievance was commonplace, even the norm?

  71. Arch Stanton
    June 2, 2022 at 16:25

    Stick it to them Joe, the slime & pus infested neocon rats are panicking because things aren’t going to plan. If there is a hell then these warmongering liars will be at Satans service in perpetuity as penance.

    This rotten US empire is getting more & more desperate by the day – let’s pray the BRICS and their affiliates speed up their economic & political intentions and dump this cancer once and for all

  72. RootBier
    June 2, 2022 at 16:10

    I stand with you CN!

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