Western news media have long functioned as a propaganda arm of the state, concealing elite corruption at the heart of government: the collusion between corporate, financial and ruling power and the deeply anti-democratic nature of that power. Despite the formality of recurring elections and parliamentary style appearance, Western states are in the nuts-and-bolts of working power more accurately described as fascist corporate entities with a patina of popular democracy for window-dressing.
Look at the global financial collapse that was triggered in 2008. From the US to Europe, the crisis can be attributed to the criminal practices of major banks and other financial institutions operating casino capitalism – the last refuge of bankrupt capitalism as an organizing social system. Yet far from being pursued with prosecutions, the financial oligarchy has been bailed out time and again by their bought-and-paid political rulers to the tune of trillions of dollars with public money, while the public is clobbered with swingeing austerity and poverty. How can we describe this arrangement as anything but fascism – the inexorable endpoint of capitalism?
In this audacious, gargantuan expropriation of wealth by the financial oligarchy in cahoots with the political class – all across the Western world – where is the critical, campaigning, investigative functions of the supposed «free press» – the much-vaunted «fourth estate» which conceitedly refers to the media acting as a guardian of public interest and democratic rights? It does not exist. The Western media are an integral part of the fascist plutocracy.
The established media have thus acted as a vital propaganda arm of the fascist state by concealing or diverting from what is a huge systematic crime of corporate theft and public immiseration.
Of much more damning importance is the question of war. The wholesale mass murder of people and destruction of countries – without even a modicum of justification on the principle of self-defense – is the supreme crime. This crime of war of aggression was established at the post-1945 Nuremberg Trials of Nazi German leaders.
The American-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, beginning in 2001 and 2003, which together have resulted in more than one million dead and millions more wounded, their livelihoods destroyed, are episodes that clearly conform to the category of «wars of aggression». The official justifications used by American and British leaders to instigate these wars – eradicating global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction – have transpired to be baseless, or at the very least cry out for proper investigation. More than this, there are serious grounds to support a prosecution case that these wars were based on deliberate fabrication and lies.
Western media stand accused of complicity in the prima facie war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, from their systematic promulgation of the official fabrications to invoke these military operations. That complicity of the Western media is an ongoing crime case because even though the initial conspiracy of governments and their military-industrial-financial-corporate complex has been uncovered, or at least made deeply questionable, the Western media refuse to probe into these aggressions. They have been airbrushed from history. There is good reason for this reluctance of Western media because of their own apparent complicity – they are not going to probe their own very possible complicity in the mass murders of Afghan and Iraqi people.
If we include cases of proxy or covert wars, the list of Western and in particular American aggression grows exponentially. Korea (ongoing), Guatemala, Cuba (ongoing), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Lebanon (ongoing), Grenada, Panama, Palestine (ongoing), Angola, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo among many others. More recently, the US has instigated wars directly or through proxies in former Yugoslavia, Libya and currently in Syria.
In every case, the official pretext for military intervention can be shown to be baseless or contrived, hiding an ulterior agenda of imperialist aggression – the supreme crime. Millions of deaths have been inflicted by spurious claims – whether fighting communism or defending national interests or latterly «responsibility to protect human rights» as in Libya during 2011.
Yet in this litany of war of aggression – premeditated baseless wars – the Western media have served as the dutiful information ministry to justify and shield from any reasonable contemporary or retrospective investigation. Western governments have been given a carte blanche to commit outrageous war crimes over many decades and into the present – by a dutiful complicit so-called news media.
The present case of Syria is particularly instructive. Here it is incontestable that the US and its Western allies are waging a covert war for regime change. Unlike in Libya, the Western powers have not openly assigned their air and naval forces to the task – under the cynical guise of no-fly zones – but instead are relying on Western-backed terrorist mercenary armies on the ground. All the while, the Western media have peddled a propaganda campaign that the conflict in Syria is a «pro-democracy uprising». In this function, the Western media are simply regurgitating the political disinformation used by their governments to justify the unjustifiable violation of Syrian sovereignty and gross violation of international law.
Another pertinent case is that of the Western-backed military intervention of the Central African Republic by France. The invasion of that country by French forces on December 2 last year pre-empted a mandate from the United Nations Security Council. French government claims of acting to «protect human rights» and to «prevent genocide» have no basis in fact. The killings in the Central African Republic began days and weeks after French troops arrived because the latter displayed a reckless one-sided policy of disarming Muslim militia while leaving Christian militia armed and emboldened to go on a mass murder spree. This mayhem was triggered by French military invasion, not prevented, as Paris continues to claim. Thousands have since been killed in a bloody campaign of genocide, and an estimated 650,000 people – mainly Muslims – have fled their homes and are facing starvation. French claims about why they entered the Central African Republic can be easily challenged as specious, while the evidence for an ulterior agenda of securing rich natural resources, in particular uranium ore, is begging for investigation.
The Western media and the French media in particular are once again complicit in either complacently disseminating French government claims or actively indulging in a cover-up of the real reasons for this violation in the Central African Republic.
This is the historical context in which we should assess events in Ukraine and the conduct of the Western media in particular.
The US and its European allies have undeniably embarked on a campaign of regime change in the Ukraine, and so far they have succeeded in sacking an elected president and government in Kiev. The installed unelected junta is now paving the way for Western capital to pillage Ukraine and for the basing of NATO missiles in that country – on the border with Russia. The unelected Western-backed regime that forced its way violently into office on February 24 would not have succeeded in its putsch only for the tidal wave of political interference from Western governments over the preceding months – aided and abetted by the Western media.
If the Western media really were an independent information profession why did they not question the flagrant interference of Western politicians in the internal affairs of a supposedly sovereign state? Indeed, why did the Western media give legitimacy to such interference instead of questioning it, as any reasonable law-abiding person would expect? Why were Western politicians able to parade through Kiev whipping up the extremists among the protesters without even a question from the Western media? Why were cadres of overtly neo-Nazis portrayed as legitimate protesters even though they were attacking Ukrainian government buildings and police with firearms and firebombs? Why has the Western media banned the use of the words «neo-Nazi» and «fascist» as accurate descriptions of the cadres that have a brought the new regime in Kiev to power? Why does the Western media not describe members of the junta – comprised of self-declared neo-Nazi Svoboda and Pravy Sektor parties – as «neo-Nazis»?
The US government last week claimed: «Far-right wing ultranationalist groups, some of which were involved in open clashes with security forces during the EuroMaidan protests, are not represented in the Rada [parliament]. There is no indication that the Ukrainian government would pursue discriminatory policies; on the contrary, they have publicly stated exactly the opposite.»
This is sheer disinformation from Washington that flies in the face of countless videos and speeches by members of the Kiev junta. The self-defined neo-Nazi Svoboda party and its related Pravy Sektor – both of which orchestrated street violence with full approval from Washington and Brussels – are not just represented in the Kiev parliament, they hold the top positions of power in the new regime. And they have openly threatened the safety of ethnic Russians and other perceived political opponents, banning other parties and attacking their personnel and premises.
These self-proclaimed fascist parties hold the offices of police, security and defense, headed up by Andriy Parubiy, Dmitry Yarosh and Ihor Tenyukh – founding figures of Svoboda and Pravy Sektor who acted as the commandants of the violent street protests. The prosecutor general is Svoboda’s Oleg Makhnitsky, who has since issued arrest orders for the ousted president Viktor Yanukovych and his cabinet.
Svoboda, which openly adulates Ukrainian Nazis led by Stepan Bandera, who collaborated with the Nazi extermination during World War II against millions of their fellow countrymen and Russians, also holds key offices in the new Western-backed Kiev regime relating to justice, economy, agriculture and education.
Washington claims that the neo-Nazi junta came to power in Kiev on February 24 because President Yanukovych did not sign up to an accord brokered on February 21 with members of the opposition. «Yanukovych refused to keep his end of the bargain. Instead, he packed up his home and fled,» said the US State Department in a «factsheet» issued last week.
What the US government does not mention is that the possible compromise on February 21 fell through because of the sudden violence that broke out on February 20 when up to 100 protesters and police were killed in gunfire in Kiev’s Maidan Square. It has since emerged that the killings were most probably carried out by snipers working covertly for the organizers of the Western-backed street demonstrations. A leaked phone call – dated February 25 – between EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Estonia’s foreign minister Urmas Paet tends to confirm that mass murder was orchestrated by the Western-backed coalition that has since grabbed power in Kiev.
Given the proven collusion of the CIA with the Kiev agitators, such an act of mass murder in Kiev must have had foreign state involvement. It would explain why Yanukovych suddenly fled from his office and sought state protection from Russia. It would explain why the new regime swept to power on February 24.
However, this armed seizure of power by neo-Nazis has been censored from the Western mainstream media. One report of the leaked phone call between Ashton and Paet – later confirmed by both as authentic upon its reporting earlier this week by Russia Today – found its ways into the British Guardian, but the style of the Guardian’s reportage cast the sniper killings as a mere «conspiracy theory». Tellingly, there is no serious follow-up in the Western media of what appears to be a massive crime and indeed a covert act of war.
Instead of dealing with the facts of orchestrated violence and illegal seizure of government in Ukraine, the Western governments and their media have shifted the focus on to alleged Russian «aggression» and «violation» of Ukrainian sovereignty over Moscow’s reasonable moves to secure its national interests, primarily the majority ethnic Russian population in the southern Crimean Peninsula.
The upsurge in Western governmens’ offensive rhetoric and sanctions against Russia over recent events in Crimea is motivated by the desire and need to cover up the glaringly obvious facts that it is Washington and its European allies who have violated Ukrainian sovereignty – not Russia. Therefore, all facts, ranging from the Western orchestration of neo-Nazis political elements to the deliberate use of terrorist violence, must be expunged from the public discourse.
And the Western media are following that political agenda with a single-minded commitment that illustrates their complicity in yet another Western covert war of aggression.
The cringing example of CNN’s «star journalist» Christiane Amanpour castigating on air her colleague, Wolf Blitzer, for merely quoting Russian officials describing the «fledgling government» in Kiev as being comprised of «neo-Nazis and fascists» is just one proof of the state-controlled nature of Western media. Similarly, the BBC, France 24, the New York Times and Guardian and so on, do not permit the use of such words, or if they do it is reported in a supercilious way suggesting that it is untrustworthy Russian «propaganda».
The vicious turn in Western governments’ policy towards Russia over Ukraine is aimed at whitewashing their own grave culpability in a criminal conspiracy – another criminal conspiracy in a long historical list of such aggression.
Western media are likewise ramping up their aggression towards Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. Shamefully, they are piling on the distortion of events in Ukraine by giving credence to Western politicians’ claims that Putin is acting «like Hitler» or some Cold War villain. In doing so, the Western media in their slavish propaganda function are recklessly creating the conditions for possible war. In that way, they are acting as they have always done, creating and justifying the political cover for wars of aggression by the ruling fascist cabal that is the real power holder in Western states.
Why the Western media are operating with particularly vicious propaganda over Ukraine is that this time in history, the Western fascist ruling class and its media are especially exposed in the eyes of the world like never before. The Western media is not just fighting the usual reprehensible war on behalf of their rulers. With their credibility at an all-time low and their complicity at an all-time high of exposure, the media mouthpieces are waging a war for their own survival.
For decades the Western media have traded on false pretences of «independence» and «freedom of speech» – a bastion of democracy – when in reality they have been nothing but the apologists and purveyors of wars of aggression for their ruling plutocracy. Their dwindling numbers of readers and audiences over recent years – and the rise of alternative media at home and abroad, such as Russia Today and Press TV – show that the Western public has finally caught on to the charade. Events in Ukraine expose this propaganda function of the Western media in serving as a ministry of war for the fascist state, and they are fighting back in a desperate rearguard action.