The detention, incommunicado, of two female Russian journalists over the weekend by Kiev’s secret police, the SBU, was said to be on the grounds of «national security». That admission by the Kiev authorities, ironically, reveals more than is intended. Journalists «armed» only with cameras threatening national security, you may ask? Yes, you better believe it – because any truth being reported about the nature of the Western-backed Kiev regime and its military onslaught in eastern Ukraine is indeed a very real «security threat» – the threat of being exposed for war crimes and unlawful aggression towards Russia. The legal consequences for the Kiev regime and its Western patrons would be devastating.
The two journalists were named as correspondent Elizaveta Khramtsova and photographer Natalia Kalysheva, who both work for LifeNews based in Moscow. The media outlet’s director Markian Lubkovsky reportedly said he only found out about the detention of his staff after one of them managed to make a hurried phone call before they were «disappeared». Their whereabouts was not known even after several hours from them having been taken into detention. That amounts to abduction and is a grave abuse of international law. Russia’s foreign ministry has demanded that the pair be released immediately. The Kiev-based SBU reportedly would only confirm that the two women will be «expelled in the near future» and that they would be denied future entry into Ukraine.
A second aspect for this heavy-handed treatment of Russian journalists is this: the absolute imperative prevention of the West’s false propaganda against Russia over the Ukraine conflict being completely exposed. More than 80 Russian professional journalists have been expelled from Ukrainian territory since the conflict erupted last year. At least four have been killed by live fire from the Kiev forces. What are the Kiev regime and its Western supporters afraid of?
Washington and its European allies, as well as the NATO military alliance, have for months been churning out claims and bald assertions that Russia has invaded eastern Ukraine with thousands of troops and mechanised divisions. These provocative claims of Russian «aggression» have been amplified, unswervingly and without the slightest investigation or verification, by all Western mainstream media outlets, including the BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle, CNN and the New York Times.
Strangely, these multi-million-dollar Western media corporations do not seem to have the resources to send teams of reporters and camera crews into the eastern Ukraine conflict zones of Donetsk and Luhansk to give appropriate extensive coverage. You would think such an assignment would a basic priority, given the supposed duty to report on extreme violence and also given the all-out-war implications of Western accusations against Moscow. Instead, Western corporate media rely inordinately, and tellingly, on the US State Department, NATO and dubious Kiev regime «sources».
Never perhaps has a war on the European landmass been so under-reported in the real sense of proper reporting. Why such a dearth of on-location news? Again, what are they afraid of? Why the studied reluctance by Western media to find out «the story»? And a big story at that.
In fact, on the rare occasion that the Western media bother to report from the Ukraine conflict location, the information uncovered tends to contradict, or at least not substantiate, the Western grand narrative that claims it’s all Russia’s fault for stealthily subverting Ukraine. On countless occasions, the august New York Times – America’s supposed finest bastion of journalism – has been found fabricating or peddling uncorroborated claims of Russian military presence in Ukraine. NYT’s reporters have also confirmed in one rare report from the location – albeit in an oblique way – that the self-defence militia of Donetsk and Luhansk are manned by local inhabitants, not Russian covert forces, and that the militia are not secretly being armed by the Russian state. Yet this basic fact has not stopped the NYT from, at all other times, peddling rumour and innuendo that fit with the anti-Russian narrative. In another rare report, post-Minsk ceasefire, the NYT also confirmed that the Western-backed Kiev military was shelling indiscriminately, without knowing the coordinates of enemy self-defence fighters. The NYT jokingly referred in that report to the Kiev artillery using «fire and forget» practices. Bear in mind that nearly 5,000 people have been killed since the Kiev regime launched its offensive 10 months ago. Over half of the victims are civilians and many of them have been killed from indiscriminate shelling by Kiev’s army and National Guard units, firing on residential centres with rockets, mortars and ballistic missiles. The town of Gorlovka near Donetsk provides a snapshot of the whole criminal story, with nearly 100 civilians, including young children, dying from incessant shelling of houses, apartments, churches, hospitals, schools and public spaces by Kiev’s military since last April.
So, now are approaching what the West and its Kiev puppet-regime fear most. Because such a perspective gets straight to the point: Russia has not invaded eastern Ukraine. Russia has not sent in tanks, artillery units, howitzers, or truckloads of assault riffles and rocket launchers. Humanitarian aid convoys are the only thing that Moscow has supplied.
Russian citizens who might be fighting in eastern Ukraine are private volunteers who have, of their own volition and at their own personal expense, taken the initiative to join the ethnic Russian self-defence militia as an act of solidarity with the Donbas people, with whom Russia has centuries of kinship with. The voluntary nature of these Russian fighters in eastern Ukraine has even been admitted – inadvertently – in a report by the CIA-directed news/propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe (see previous SCF editions of this column for more details on the above NYT and RFE reports, published on this site on May 7, 2014 and October 29, 2014, respectively).
Further to the salient point is that the Nazi-adulating regime in Kiev – brought to power in an illegal Western-sponsored coup last February – is committing huge crimes against humanity, including disposal of victims in mass graves and the use of cluster bombs on civilians centres. This regime is not a «pro-democracy movement» as the West mendaciously and outrageously pretends. It is propped up and allowed to continue its criminal offensive through billions of dollars of financial and military aid from Washington and Brussels, courtesy of Western taxpayers’ money.
Western governments, NATO and the Western news media thus stand accused of sponsoring, or being complicit in, state terrorism in eastern Ukraine. Western media complicity in distorting facts, suppressing the truth, and concealing systematic crimes is in itself a grave war crime under international law. There is no difference between the crimes of Josef Goebbels’ Nazi propaganda ministry and the functioning of the Western corporate news media. Both are guilty of facilitating war crimes and state terrorism, despite the latter’s pretensions of objectivity and independence.
Apart from rare, unintended Western admissions of the real situation in Ukraine, the only sources who are actually providing a semblance of the truth of the full Western-backed horror are citizen-bloggers from the eastern regions, as well as the self-declared independent authorities of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics – who have refused to recognise the legitimacy of the Western-sponsored junta headed up by oligarch-president Petro Poroshenko and the CIA-asset prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
A third reputable source for information out of Ukraine’s killing fields and its blockaded eastern regions are Russian journalists. When three separate sources tell a consistent story then that is significant and one can reliably take it as a fair approximation of «the truth». As already noted, nearly 80 Russian journalists working for accredited news organisations have been detained by Kiev’s secret police and four have been killed in violent circumstances in eastern Ukraine. Video evidence and witness accounts indicate that these media workers were deliberately targeted by Kiev’s military – yet another war crime under international law. You can imagine the hue and cry if, say, BBC journalists were somehow shot dead or blown up by Russian forces. We would never hear the end of it. But when the Western-backed Kiev regime kills Russian journalists, well, that’s deemed not newsworthy by Western media. The twisted prejudice is probably that the Russian journos are «Kremlin spies» and therefore deserve it.
The targeting of journalists in Ukraine is a stark exposure of the West’s fraudulent claims of venerating the right to free speech, which the West made such a song and dance about over the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris last month.
But, more importantly, the genuine operation of independent media coverage in Ukraine is a mortal threat to the existence of the Western-backed regime. That’s because it would illuminate the criminality of the junta and the collusion of Western governments and media in propping up the criminals. It would otherwise expose the odious Western narrative of trying to criminalise Russia as being entirely false and riven with lies. Western sanctions against Russia and the US-led NATO drumbeat of war would be seen for what they are: stacked up and framed on an edifice of falsehood, distortion and meretricious lies. It would turn out that it is not Moscow that should be sanctioned; it is Washington, Berlin, Paris and London and those other European governments that are backing this criminal regime in Kiev.
There is a huge amount at stake in the West’s propaganda war against Russia. If Western propaganda were to be exposed then Western governments and media organisations should be prosecuted for gross breaches of international law, including capital offences and inciting a wider war with Russia. And Russia should likewise be compensated with billions of dollars for this unlawful aggression, including economic damages and defamation. Also, if the mass of people in the West were to know the full extent of their governments’ and media’s criminality there would be hell to pay on the streets.
That is why Russian and other independent journalists must be – at all costs – killed, abducted, intimidated or deported from Ukraine by this Western-backed regime. The West cannot afford – absolutely cannot afford – to let the facts get in the way of their «story» that seeks to criminalise Russia.