THE BLOG
04/02/2014 04:50 pm ET Updated Jun 02, 2014

On the Matter of Stepping on a Bear's Tail

But it's all just gibberish; through the looking glass. We might as well be
reporting that slithy toves gyre and gimble in the wabe. -- Neil Macdonald, Senior Washington Correspondent, CBC News

If we had chosen to deliberately provoke the Russian bear, we could not have done a better job of it. It seems as if all the resources we devote to the creation of lavish schools of government to instruct our potential politicians in democratic principles and justice and fairness in the exercise of government power, both domestically and in the international arena, are primarily for the purpose of their certification and not their education. These days, true journalism, the fourth estate of any functioning republic, consists primarily in breaking the codes of secrecy surrounding our governments' actions; the truth, it appears, is lodged primarily on the lips of the whistle-blower, in the foul language of leaked conversations, or in declassified documents years after the fact. And these sources of so-called "truth" cannot always be fully trusted either, for we cannot be sure of their accuracy nor of their completeness.

To exactly pinpoint what went wrong in Ukraine is near impossible since the crisis is surrounded with much secrecy. As reported by the Nation, the Guardian, Robert Parry of Iran-Contra fame and scores of other independent news outlets, there are two leaked phone calls and a variety of photographic images that implicate or connect Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, and the High Representative of EU, Baroness Catherine Ashton, to the events in Ukraine. There is the matter of identity of the snipers in Independence Square, who opened fire on both the protestors and the riot police, that perhaps will never be revealed, other than the claim by Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office that they were of foreign origin. And more ominously, we hear about armed fascist and far-right factions now incorporated into the government of Ukraine who were then harassing peaceful protestors and inciting violence and who after the forceful occupation of Kiev City Hall lost no time in decorating the place with flags of Celtic and St. Andrews variety, the former commonly used by White-Supremacists and the latter used as a battle flag by the Confederate States. In addition scores of Lenin statues, and one commemorating the fallen Ukrainian soldiers in Ukraine's struggle against the Third Reich, have been brought down by protestors. Over one of the fallen Lenin statues a flag, covered with graffiti that included a Celtic cross and other Nazi SS symbols, was hoisted. The involvement of native oligarchs in this crisis, as mentioned by Seumas Milne of the Guardian, adds an economic dimension to the crisis, connecting the initial peaceful protests to the neo-liberal economics that has facilitated plundering half the wealth of the nation in a few years.

Yet our politicians in concert with corporate media, which unquestioningly echo their owners' beliefs and conclusions, claim to know the truth. Milne describes the situation as follows:

For the past couple of months street protests in Ukraine have been played out through the Western media according to a well-rehearsed script: Pro-democracy campaigners are battling an authoritarian government. The demonstrators are demanding the right to be part of the European Union. But Russia's president Vladimir Putin has vetoed their chance of freedom and prosperity.

And we might add, Putin invaded Crimea without provocation and that "Putin is a bad man" and that he is a "second-rate megalomaniac," or a "playground bully," and so on. Jack F. Matlock Jr., ambassador to the U.S.S.R. from 1987 to 1991, in a piece called "The U.S. has treated Russia like a loser since the end of the Cold War" -- in reference to Kerry's language after his talk with his Russian counterpart failed to resolve the conflict -- exclaims, "It's striking that the language being used publicly now is so much more strident than our language, public or private, was then." Mr. Matlock's old-school politeness is of course prompting him to use a euphemism; "strident" is too big an understatement.

Western mainstream media have lost their journalistic integrity; they parrot "well-rehearsed scripts" to satisfy their masters' political and economic aims. Part of CNN's funding comes, believe it or not, from the autocratic government of Bahrain. Rupert Murdoch's media, despite the claim of being fair and balanced, had a great part in force-feeding our politicians' lies to the gullible public prior to the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times had to reluctantly retract its claim that the sarin gas attacks in Syria were certainly and without doubt Assad's work, just as they were forced to retract their evidence for Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. And our journalists are no better: AP's Peter Leonard is debunked by the historian Gary Leupp on his history as well as journalism. It is then no wonder that an estimated 2.0 million Britons turned to RT, a government sponsored Russian satellite television, for their news in 2012 and that in 2013, RT became the first TV news channel in history to reach 1 billion views on YouTube.

But there is good news. The ultimate power in a republic lies with the people, and our politicians know that. This explains their desperate, but lately failing, attempt at manufacturing favorable public opinion. A majority of Americans have opposed both the attack on Syria and intervention in Ukraine. From the first days of this republic, the founding fathers preferred the label "republic" to "democracy" for the fear of a majority rule turning into a mob rule. Our politician's, however, still view us as a mob, but lately we have disappointed them by our refusal to play their games. Perhaps after all we can prove to Putin that we live in an exceptional nation.