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Commentary :: War and Militarism
Stepped Up Russia Bashing
14 Jun 2012
Stepped Up Russia Bashing

by Stephen Lendman

Russia is Washington's main military rival. Each nation has powerful nuclear arsenals and delivery systems able to destroy the other.

On December 31, 1999, Russia's lost decade under Boris Yeltsin ended. Vladimir Putin replaced him.

Yeltsin institutionalized "shock therapy." Economic genocide followed. GDP plunged 50%. Life expectancy fell. Democratic freedoms died. An oligarch class accumulated enormous wealth at the expense of millions of harmed Russians.

Contemptuously ignoring essential needs, human rights and civil liberties, Yeltsin let corruption and criminality flourish. One scandal followed another. Money-laundering became sport. Billions in stolen wealth were hidden in Western banks or offshore tax havens.

Nonetheless, Western governments and media scoundrels loved him. Decades more may be needed to recover from the human wreckage he caused.

Putin's governing style differs. He rejects US imperialism. He opposes foreign intervention. In 2007, he condemned Washington's quest for unipolar global dominance “through a system which has nothing to do with democracy."

He points fingers West. He says we're "witnessing an almost uncontained hyper-use of military force in international relations."

It's "plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts." Political settlements become impossible. America won't tolerate them.

Putin accuses Washington of spurning international norms and principles. It pursues a reckless arms race. It “overstepped its national borders in almost all spheres."

It spurns "basic principles of international law."

It chooses war, not peace. It violates national sovereignty rights. It undermines global stability. It considers aggression a divine right. It threatens humanity.

Its humanitarian wars destroy nations to save them. At issue is global dominance, not liberation. Putin is fundamentally opposed. As a result, media scoundrels bash him.

Attacks are frequent. On June 12, a New York Times editorial headlined "Russia, Soviet Style," saying:

"Vladimir Putin knows no shame." Hillary Clinton "accused Russia of supplying attack helicopters to the Syrian government."

"Apparently, blocking the United Nations Security Council from punishing Syria isn’t enough for the Russian president."

"He needs to be actively helping the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, kill his own people more efficiently and in even larger quantities."

Fact check

Russia categorically denied Clinton's charges. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:

"We are completing right now the implementation of contracts that were signed and paid for a long time ago. All these contracts concern exclusively anti-aircraft defense."

"We are not delivering to Syria, or anywhere else, items that could be used against peaceful demonstrators."

"In this we differ from the United States, which regularly delivers riot control equipment to the region, including a recent delivery to a Persian Gulf country. But for some reason the Americans consider this to be fine."

In contrast, since early last year, Washington, other NATO partners, and regional allies lawlessly recruited, armed, funded, trained, and directed anti-Assad insurgents. Violence rages daily. Syria is wrongfully blamed for Western-instigated crimes.

Russia and China oppose intervention. As a result, leaders of both countries are pilloried for trying to end bloodshed, not sustain it.

Time's editors cheerlead US wars. Rule of law principles don't matter. Unchallenged dominance alone matters. Body counts mount. Who's keeping count?

Death tolls are small prices to pay to advance America's imperium. Opposition leaders are assailed for supporting right over wrong.

Putin's "record at home is also shameful." Street protests against him began months ago.

Fact check

Electoral fraud accusations were spurious. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funds pro-Western elements to claim them.

At issue is subverting, not promoting democracy. In contrast to Russia, America's electoral process is notoriously flawed. Duopoly power runs the country. Democrats are interchangeable with Republicans.

American democracy is the best money can buy. Media scoundrels promote it. Popular interests are excluded. Money power runs everything. Hoped for change never comes.

Putin maintains "the corrupt status quo. (He) honed his bullying instincts as a KGB officer....(He) cannot tolerate any challenge or even a robust political debate."

"There is a lot to protest in Russia. This includes pervasive corruption and a climate of impunity in which journalists and reform-oriented politicians can be killed and the perpetrators are never held accountable."

"Kremlin officials complain of 'growing radicalism.' If what they mean is discontent, Mr. Putin and his policies are why."

Fact check

America wages war on dissent. Whistleblowers are targeted. So are journalists exposing uncomfortable truths. OWS and other nonviolent protesters are attacked, beaten, arrested, falsely charged, and prosecuted.

Political prisoners fill America's gulag. War on Islam rages. Praying to the wrong God is criminalized. Anti-war activists are targeted for supporting peace. So are others against unchecked corporate power.

The Paper of Record has a long sordid history. It supports powerful interests against popular ones. Imperial wars are endorsed. Corporate excesses barely get mentioned.

Neither do unmet human needs and increasing poverty, hunger, homelessness, and despair. Growing millions suffer. Duopoly power is supported. So is imperial lawlessness. Sham elections are reported like legitimate ones.

Government and corporate corruption at best get scant attention in small print on back pages. America's social decay doesn't matter. Neither do resources for corporate enrichment and imperial wars unavailable for vital homeland needs.

Russia uses its Security Council veto responsibly. Times editors want support for ousting Assad, isolating Iran, and replacing independent sovereign governments in both countries with pro-Western puppet regimes.

"Mr. Putin has crossed a line with this helicopter sale to Syria."

Washington's agenda embraces unspeakable atrocities against nonbelligerent states. Permanent wars slaughter millions. Times editors support them. Doing so constitutes criminal conspiracy.

Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin symbolizes scoundrel media depravity. She endorses violence, mass murder, and racial hatred.

On June 12, she headlined "Obama outfoxed by Putin," saying:

"....(T)he administration was banking on getting Russia to help oust Assad. That is how totally out to lunch the Obama foreign policy team is when it comes to Syria and to its 'reset' relations with Russia."

"At this rate the failure of the US to respond will amount to a huge strategic victory for Iran and Russia. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Obama team is adrift, if not foolish."

Stopping short of saying so, Rubin apparently wants more war than what's already being waged and lost.

Congressional hawks are no better. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen endorses the worst of imperial lawlessness. She said Washington's "concession to Moscow must stop (including) preferential trade benefits."

"We must not give a U.S. blessing to Russia’s policies in Iran and Syria or we will simply invite Moscow to redouble its efforts to undermine U.S. interests around the world."

Congress is infested with like-minded representatives. They deplore peace and stability. They endorse confrontation over diplomacy and solving world problems through the barrel of a gun. They're trigger happy for more violence and bloodshed. Media scoundrels support them.

Britain marches in lockstep with America. So do its media. Their agenda is blatantly transparent. Houla's massacre was maliciously blamed on Assad. So were others.

On June 13, Media Lens reported on changing Houla massacre versions. Initial accounts were revised and manipulated. All the while, truth was suppressed. BBC World News editor, Jon Williams stressed "the complexity of the Syria."

Initial certainty became "shades of gray." Knee-jerk blame accused Assad. "(T)ragic death(s) aside," said Williams, "the facts are few: it's not clear who ordered the killings - or why."

"Stories are never black and white - often shades of grey....The stakes are high - all may not always be as it seems."

BBC's Paul Danahar added more "shades of gray." Perhaps Assad doesn't "control some of the militia groups being blamed for massacring civilians."

Fingers still point the wrong way. Responsible parties are absolved.

Britain's News Sniffer reported 16 versions of Houla/Qubeir massacres. Initial accounts shifted from one to others. All blamed Assad.

BBC and other UK media ignored the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and National Review articles. They said Houla victims were almost exclusively pro-Assad loyalists.

In contrast, London's Guardian published numerous uncorroborated second hand accounts. Sources cited were UK-based "opposition activists."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) gets frequent mentions. It blamed Houla killings on "pro-regime shabiha militiamen armed with guns and knives....after regular troops had shelled the area."

Guardian writers quote SOHR dozens of times. Its credibility is sorely lacking. Its organization consists of one person, Rami Abdulraham. He runs a clothes shop. He's far from Syrian violence. He works from his "two bedroom terraced home in Coventry."

Some reports claim Assad committed atrocities are blamed on insurgents. According to London-based Royal United Services Institute's Shashank Joshi:

"A government that has tortured and slaughtered thousands of its own citizens would have little compunction about mounting a false-flag operation to justify its crackdown."

Why wasn't explained. What could he possibly gain? Imperial allies and Anti-Assad death squads alone benefit.

According to Stratfor Global Intelligence:

"(M)ost of the opposition's more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue, thereby revealing more about the opposition's weaknesses than the level of instability inside the Syrian regime."

Assad's forces "calibrated its crackdowns to avoid" reckless slaughter. They've been "careful to avoid high casualty numbers that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds."

WikiLeaks revealed Pentagon thinking, saying:

"They don't believe air intervention would happen unless there was enough media attention on a massacre" like (spurious) allegations against Gaddafi that stuck.

A London Guardian editorial headlined "Syria: a hasty intervention could be deadly," saying:

"Outrage is the easiest part of responding to Assad's crimes." However, world leaders are "more cautious after a decade of problematic, western-led, military interventions, founded on better and worse premises."

"The results of these interventions have been disappointing at the very least."

"(F)ull-scale military interventions seem unpalatable." So is "wholesale training and arming" insurgents...."

Scoundrel media never mention binding rule of law principles. Nations may not intervene in the internal affairs of others except in self-defense. Exceptions aren't allowed.

Peaceful alternatives aren't considered. Regime change objectives override them. Mass deaths and destruction follow. Wars rage endlessly. Media scoundrels support them. How lawless and futile doesn't matter.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen (at)

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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