Tuesday, April 16th, 2015
By: Joaquin Flores
|Photographer: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images|
In a rare western interview of the leader of the Donetsk Republic, Zakharchenko was given ‘the full treatment’ by Bloomberg. In doing so, they indeed may have violated international law, and committed crimes against humanity and crimes against peace.
Today’s article in the US publication was indeed particularly instructive. It tells us how the US and the European Atlanticists will try to spin the actual Ukrainian violations of the Minsk II Agreement and ceasefire. The US and its direct and proxy agents working in the ostensibly ‘private/independent’ (but de facto state controlled) media are creating the pretext to use the UN Security Council resolution which enshrines the Minsk II Agreement against those which it favors; against those whose battlefield victories made it possible. Barring that, at the very least they are breeding an internal climate and setting the national discourse to justify things which are in violation of international law.
Western media is going to do it by twisting Zakharchenko’s words to fit a tremendous lie. Specifically they will do this by taking what he said out of context and then inserting them into a fictional context of western media invention.
As things unfold, we will no doubt hear that ‘Zakharchenko himself’ said that he intended to break the ceasefire all along.
If you do not mind being insulted or enraged by what passes for news, analysis, or commentary in the west, then we suggest you have a read for yourself : “Gunfire in Donetsk as Rebel Leader Refuses Ukrainian Unity”.
In this review, we will highlight some of the most dangerously misleading and dishonest parts of the Bloomberg article. Insofar as these are used to encourage the US public to support the US government in increasing its illegal wars in the world, these are war crimes as understood by the precedent established at Nuremburg and subsequent prosecutions by the ICJ in The Hague in decades that followed.
Naturally, according to the theory of ‘trickle down hubris’, even the flies yelling ‘charge’ whilst sitting on the chariot wheel of history, such as the article’s author Stefan Kravchenko, embody the imperial arrogance which originates at the very top. It may escape these criminals, big and small, that what they peddle is no different than what Julius Streicher was hung for.
Yes, the convictions at Nuremberg were not just those in the military command, or policy making – but also in media. We must remember Streicher, like Joseph Goebbels – only wrote words. They only created a discourse which justified aggressive wars of conquest.
American media bosses clearly believe they are on the winning side of history, arrogantly assuming they will never be made to account for their documented crimes.
With US power now in decline, we are fast approaching a time when various US statesmen and media tycoons will have to face trial similar to Nuremberg, under the watch of the international community. That will be an important time for truth and reconciliation.
The Minsk II Agreement came at a time when thousands of innocents were being killed by UAF forces, and was later backed by a UN Security Council resolution. Working to undermine this UN enshrined agreement for peace is clearly a crime against humanity and a crime against peace, which are war crimes. In this context we can see what is in fact the most optimal end-game scenario for those in media who are guilty of crimes against humanity and crimes against peace, possibly inclduing Kravchenko and his employer, Bloomberg.
Understanding how US media conducts its propaganda is very important. One of the primary methods is the destruction of the English language. Grammar and words are very important, as these define specific concepts. When words and grammar are butchered, the very concepts and thoughts which these represent are also destroyed.
Additionally, when critical context is subtracted, the impoverished result is a form of language which lowers the cognitive capacity of the reader. It makes us stupid.
Certainly since at least last weekend, we have seen a real uptick in the reports of clashes. Around Donetsk Airport, there have been many hundreds wounded on the UAF side, according to DPR reports. Not only are some of these clashes reported to have occurred between the various forces fighting for the Kiev Junta and the revolutionaries in the Donbass, but also between the various groups of the Kiev Junta. Indeed, the UAF is confirmed to have had a few serious skirmishes with the OUN in the last week alone.
In reading the Bloomberg article, a few things jumped out as critical in defining the US narrative. One of the main ‘tactics’ used to invent this narrative is to combine only tangentially related facts and quotes into a single sentence or paragraph. These facts and quotes may not even be correlated but are presented as if they are not only this, but but even causal.
Other obfuscations were also glaring, some of these were a matter of spin, others of omission. Others still involved the use of equivocation, a time-honored logical fallacy in western media. We picked out a few highlights from the article in order to help better inoculate the public from the kind of information war being waged by the US media upon the US public. It is our hope that our readers find these useful in disentangling fact from fiction. The most frustrating thing about untangling lies and disinformation is that it requires more text and effort to untangle them than to make them.
Setting aside that the connotation here for western readers is that smokers, gun toters, and the devoutly religious are highly questionable people (and apparently Zakharchenko is all three rolled in one, on par with David Koresh), the first real lies here are contained in the second paragraph.
To begin with, the ‘enemy’ that Zakharchenko refers to is not the ‘country’ of Ukraine per se. Country is a broad and ambiguous term, but clearly expressions like “love your country, not your government” are not possible constructions if they are synonyms.
This might seem like hair splitting to the sufficiently anesthetized or to those whose Adderall has worn off, but these distinctions are extraordinarily crucial, and critical to how international law and specifically the Minsk II Agreement (which some fighting may be in violation of) is understood by those who signed it. These are also important distinctions not to ignore by those at Bloomberg whose circulation is almost one million. Readers of Bloomberg use the information provided to understand the world, and to support or oppose government initiatives, ranging from the relatively banal to the extraordinarily earth shaking, such as making war.
To the extent that Zakharchenko refers to the military of Ukraine, its functions exist within the constitution, i.e the state, and not the government, which includes as well as the various non-government volunteer brigade and battalions such as the OUN, Pravy Sektor, Aidar, and Azov. These are composed of elements that are all part of the state (as citizens) but are not part of the government per se. Government is a function of the state; all citizens are a part of the state but not all citizens are members of government. A state possesses sovereignty, whereas government’s powers are derived from the state. States have, for example – and in the case of Ukraine, a constitution.
Governments come and go, are elected in or out by provisions in the constitution. Typically and as with the case in Ukraine, for a government to change the constitution and remain a constitutional government, it must derive this authority from the state. In democratic republics such as the pre-coup Ukraine, this authority is normally derived from the people, who are all part of the state as citizens. The processes to change to constitutions of this type, as creating new constitutions creates a new state, are often called a referendum.
While these distinctions may seem tedious at first, the point of Bloomberg‘s destruction of language is meant to combine into ‘one feeling’ a lot of really distinct concepts, both in practical terms and in law. Among them are the rights of citizens to rise up against the unconstitutional creation of a new state by a puppet government installed by a foreign sponsored and organized coup.
If a government changes the constitution through unconstitutional means, thus bringing in a new state which removes its foundation from the citizens, it is no longer a constitutional government. Citizens, historically and in law, are considered to have the right to rebel using force, otherwise and typically reserved for self defense, against an unconstitutional usurpation of power, as has occurred in Ukraine.
Also there are an array of mercenaries and conflict tourists fighting in the region. In fact, reports to date of violations of Minsk II are those carried out by these volunteer groupments fighting on the Kiev Junta. The Minsk II Agreement specifically mandates that these are disbanded. It is equally conceivable that Zakharchenko refers to these illegal groupments, and not the state sanctioned and government controlled military of Ukraine (the UAF).
Many of our readers outside of the US will appreciate instantly the distinction between government and state. A corollary point here is that to the extent that Poroshenko is the Supreme Commander in Chief of the state’s military – he has this power, according to the rebels, as the head of a government which came to control the state’s military as the result of an unconstitutional coup against the state. That government made a new constitution, which makes ‘the state of Ukraine’ a ‘new state’.
Bloomberg, making a case to the public for the illegal US shipment of weapons and trainers to Ukraine, does so here by sleight of hand: the use of equivocation where the words ‘government’ and ‘country’ are used as synonyms. Now these very important categories in understanding this US sponsored crisis, (the difference between government, state, and country) have been rolled up together in Orwellian fashion.
That said, the use of the term ‘muddied the issue’ in the same sentence in question, is classical projection. Muddying the issue is precisely what this passage, indeed this whole article, does its best to do. In fact, the use of this term is extremely bizarre – the ‘Pro-Russian’ insurgency muddied the issue, is what grammatically this sentence instructs us to infer. This is circular, because logically the issue itself is the insurgency and its causes. What is literally being said is that the issue muddied itself. The author attempts to break our cognitive capacities on the rocks of tautology. Literally, the author has said that the existence of the insurgency has muddied the issue of (understanding?) the existence of the insurgency.
In the last sentence, we are told that “It also plunged Ukraine into an economic crisis …”, we are instructed from the sentence before to choose either from ‘the UN’ or ‘the conflict’, with ‘the conflict’ being most reasonable.
And that point is patently false – the 15bln euro debt which the Ukraine suffered from was one of the causes of Yanukovich’s looking to Russsia in November of 2013, who by way of China, had arranged for a bail out of that sum. The EU and the World Bank said they were unable to help with this in any substantive way, with any balance of payment aid, restructuring the debt, or other alternatives to payment on the IMF loan. Even the IMF stated in December of 2013:
This already was with an over 40% debt-to-GDP ratio. Bloomberg attempts to rewrite history, and confuse cause for effect.
And what of our ‘rebel’ insurgency? Because the existence of the insurgency ‘muddies the issue’ of the existence of the insurgency, we are unable to ask why exactly the “muddy” insurgency declared independence from the new state of Ukraine. Indeed, the social contract was broken by Yatsenyuk and Turchinov under the orders of the US. The new state of Ukraine is an illegally occupied entity, under US administration. The words ‘coup’, ‘backed’, ‘funded’, ‘ethnic’, ‘cleanse’, ‘murder’, ‘killed’ and ‘unconstitutional’ appear not once in an article which purports to discuss Zakharchenko’s thinking. Indeed, this is a ‘muddied’ issue.
Yes, Ukraine is a country in the geographic area where there is both a state of Ukraine and a government of Ukraine. As we can already see, the term ‘country’ is also intentionally vague.
A country by definition may refer to a sovereign state, or an area of land under occupation, or a formerly sovereign state under foreign occupation. Additionally, ‘country’ may refer to a part of a state that is disputed by two or more states.
Donetsk, arguably, is a country which is disputed not to be in the state of Ukraine. However, the word ‘country’ appears nowhere in the Minsk II Agreement, and it’s clear why this equivocation fallacy was employed by Bloomberg. Ukraine is a country under foreign occupation by the US, who seized control of the government and brought a new state into existence. It is this state, and not the prior sovereign state of Ukraine, which the rebels are ‘rebelling’ against.
Bloomberg misinterprets the Minsk II Agreement, misleading the readership which is largely US. The resources at their disposal, the team of lawyers working for them around the clock in other areas, and the relative ease of finding the language of the agreement (it’s on Wikipedia) as well as the plain language it’s written in, can mean only a few things. In the context of the other willful omissions and distortions which plague this ‘article’ and impugn the integrity of its author, we are justified in concluding that this ‘misinterpretation’ is intentional.
Given that it is these lies about the meaning and language of a UN Security Council resolution that can manipulate a population into believing that its own government has a legitimate casus belli when it does not, it is inarguably a war crime. Let’s look at the provisions involved here:
While the Minsk II Agreement states that the government of Ukraine is to take control of the state borders, nowhere in the agreement does it state that there is any eventuality to the return of Donetsk and Lugansk (collectively, the Federation of Novorossiya) to the country, the state, or the government of Ukraine. Also, the return of control of the state borders is not an eventuality, but rather is based upon other provisions that require bi-lateral agreement. The reference to the state border is in Point 9 of the agreement. Execution of the article does not occur until the fulfillment of Point 11.
Furthermore, Point 11 requires a new constitution before even the restoration of control of the border to the Ukrainian government can occur. Thus, the word ‘the’ refers to a future government formed after the creation of yet another new state, because Point 11 must be accomplished before Point 9. It does not refer to ‘the’ government of Ukraine in the present tense. It does not refer to the present government.
The Minsk II Agreement actually calls for a nullification of the foreign installed coup-government, with federation – i.e. decentralization being the key element of a new constitution. It also requires the representatives of these districts – Donetsk and Lugansk – to agree. The representative of Donetsk within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group is Zakharhenko himself.
Thus, Bloomberg’s interpretation is entirely false. None of these events can transpire without bilateral agreement, and nothing is ‘eventual’. But what we understand from this, is that Zakharchenko is ‘defiant’ in the face of a mandated eventuality, codified by the UN, which makes him seem to be a criminal.
And what of Zakharchenko’s ‘defiance’ in the context of the truce? This is one of those words which is vague, but its intentional use (and placement) reveals the inference. Most generously, defiance can mean as little as ‘willingness to fight’. At worst, it means disobedient, non-compliant, and insubordinate. This is perhaps an ‘imperial’ meaning, i.e. non-compliant to the dictates of the US and its self-defined ‘international community’. ‘Defiant’ is commonly used in western media to characterize global leaders against US empire who we are told are ‘very bad men’. Or perhaps – and this is also intentional – they are implying that he is non-compliant with the Minsk II agreement, which is a very dangerous and criminal accusation to make, if it is not true.
They do not need to land on one meaning, because ‘defiant’ both literally and in this context means all of this.
The quote which follows this accusation of non-compliant behaviour is strangely placed, then, in order to cast his own assessment of what others in Donetsk think as being, instead, evidence of his own ‘defiance’ of the supposed eventuality of re-unification. We are meant to imagine him to be taking a ‘defiant’ tone when making the quote that follows, even though the article does not technically say that. It is actually just one line that follows another. This is meant for us to make a clear inference which the article’s author could attempt to say was not implied.
Here in the first line of the exhibit we can see that they are implying that his defiant statement was actually a threat of violence, which we are to assume are underscored (transitive verb; “to make evident”) by his actions which resulted in the loss of six Ukrainian soldiers. This phrasing is meant to imply, or rather cause us to infer, that the loss of six soldiers was the result of Zakharchenko’s ‘defiance’ – either willingness to fight, or non-compliance with Minsk II. In short, we are to understand that Zakharchenko launched the attacks. In reality, the OSCE – the only ‘legitimate’ intergovernmental organization whose findings are meant to be ‘objective’, on the ground – reported offensive attacks by the Ukrainian forces. The DPR rebels have accused the OSCE monitors of being engaged in intelligence gathering on behalf of the Ukrainian military or the US.
The second sentence has no connection to the first, and is placed next to the first in order to pin Russia as backing Zakharchenko’s ‘attack’ which followed his ‘defiant’ warning.
The second paragraph is included to imply that while Zakharchenko defiantly breaks the Minsk II agreement, underscoring this with Russian armed and financed attacks which leave Ukrainian soldiers dead, Yatsenyuk is committed to implementation. This is entirely at odds with the data that has been collected to date.
The following is another example of the same pattern, the hinging together of unrelated sentences, placed together to imply a natural connection.
The paragraph in this exhibit switches from quoting the official OSCE report to then a Ukrainian government statement via facebook. The first OSCE quote in the first sentence is part of a story which actually confirms that Ukraine has attacked the DPR at the Donetsk Airport in a “full scale tank battle“. In the second sentence, placed right after the first for reasons we have discussed in the above, something quite strange happens. The Ukrainian ‘National Security and Defense Council’ claims that rebels attacked positions. Taken together, this one paragraph is meant to leave the impression that the OSCE and the National Security and Defense Council both agree that attacks were made by rebels on Ukraine positions near Mariupol. Actually the OSCE confirms hearing detonations 20km, from Mariupol:
“While at an observation post located in the outskirts of government-controlled Berdianske (2km west of Shyrokyne, 20km east of Mariupol), between 09:10 and 12:10hrs, the SMM heard 40 detonations in the distance, north of its position.”
Given the history of OSCE reports on these kinds of incidents, had there been a way to imply that the DPR was responsible, they would have. In fact, the vagueness of this report, while seemingly objective, may even indicate that they could plausibly deny having certainty that it was the Ukrainian army, while knowing certainly that they wouldn’t be able to claim it was the DPR.
The next example from the Bloomberg story is also interesting, because it uses the possessive determiner ‘his’ in place of the definite article ‘the’.
The intended psychological effect of this sentence upon the reader is clear. It transforms ‘the people’s republic’, which is an entire social process, brought about by objective socio-political conditions, and supported by millions of people, and makes it ‘his’ people’s republic; i.e. something which exists almost purely in the mind of a cigarette smoking, bible thumping, gun toting, defiant madman violator of the Minsk II Agreement.
This is the language of ‘demonization’, similar to ‘Milosevic’s Yugoslavia’, ‘Saddam’s Iraq’, ‘Gaddafi’s Libya’ or Stalin’s Soviet Union.
This is not even arguably a case of varying style in the use of grammar. In no way is the DPR the property of Zakharchenko. He was elected last fall, in an election with sizable turnout. He does not claim that the DPR is ‘his’, nor does the constitution – ratified by the popular assembly – indicate in any manner that it is. The mechanisms exist to remove him. The language used in the above is meant to give us the impression that he is dictator-ish with a single-track mind. They come very close, if not actually succeeding, in misquoting him as well. Given the general criminality of this article, the lack of journalistic ethics regarding the transformation of a definite article into a possessive determiner within a paraphrasing may seem relatively moot. Yet, it is how all of these pile up in the course of the article which leaves the reader with the unshakable conviction that they have received adequate information regarding the character and aims of Zakharchenko.
As we can see in the above exhibit, the lie regarding the ceasefire is repeated. Again, the reintegration of Donetsk and Lugansk into Ukraine is not mandated by the Minsk II agreement; which is much more than a ceasefire. Regarding the ‘his desire take to Mariupol’, the section that exhibit V is taken from is titled ‘Liberation of Mariupol’, but only the strange and questionable paraphrase is attributed to him.
Without a verified transcript of the interview, with his own words in the original Ukrainian (or Russian), then – in light of the other serious criminal and ethical problems with this article – it should not be allowed to color our understanding of what he might have said or meant. Nevertheless, a ‘desire’ does not ‘run counter’ to the ceasefire, actions do. The article is essentially, in this instance, trying to accuse him of violating the ceasefire based upon thoughts they claim are in his head.
Because the Malaysian Airline false flag has been debunked already, we won’t belabor the first part. It is the quote from Zakharchenko that is problematic. This interview was not conducted in English, but rather in Ukrainian.
The word that Zakharchenko most probably used for “sadly” was “sumno”. This can mean both “unfortunately” or “sadly”. Why would “sadly” make any sense, unless to imply that Zakharchenko has regrets that they were unable to shoot down a civilian airplane?
What was meant instead is the rather cold, bureaucratic “unfortunately”, as in “unfortunately for those who would accuse us”. This is transformed from “unfortunately” into “sadly”. The article means for us to come away thinking that the defiant Zakharchenko is sad that his people’s republic didn’t shoot down the plane.
Again, the Minsk II agreement does not call for Ukraine to “gradually assert more and more control over the breakaway regions until full control is reached by year-end”. It practically says the opposite: it mandates that the Ukrainian government move towards the creation of a new state, the constitution of which gives autonomy in defined stages to the ”breakaway regions”. We have provided some of the relevant sections as well as a link to the whole agreement.
There are a series of clearly defined mechanisms, stages, which must be in place for any of this to take place, however. There is no way to interpret this any other way. The language is clear and unambiguous in this regard.
The issue of ‘control’ is only literally referred to in the section about the border, and even here this relies on bi-lateral agreement between the party’s representatives as outlined in the Trilateral Contact Group. At no point in the process do the ‘break-away regions’ rejoin the present state of Ukraine, nor are they compelled unilaterally to join a future state of Ukraine, nor are the forced to do so by the present or any future government.
This lie is promoted to mislead the US population in the direction of continued and escalated US military support to Ukraine, which is a war crime and also meant to undermine the Minsk II Agreement. The logic of the lie is this: so long as the rebels continue to exist, and don’t “gradually assert less and less control”, then they are in violation of Minsk II. They violate it by existing, according this criminal article by Bloomberg.
What Poroshenko signs or doesn’t sign is practically irrelevant to the Minsk II Agreement. The agreement calls for a new constitution. Only a new Ukrainian state, organized as a federal state as clearly stated in Point 11 is the mechanism which then triggers the process – one which still requires bilateral agreement – regarding any control of a future Kiev government on the borders, and only the borders of Donetsk and Lugansk, with Russia. This is not about control over the “break-away” regions at all whatsoever.
A new constitution as required by Minsk II means a new state, a federal and not a unitary state; this means essentially that the present government headed by Poroshenko is provisional. A new constitution, and only a new constitution, would lead to the bilateral agreement of the representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk. These aren’t the Governors appointed by Turchinov, but specifically those from the Trilateral Contact Group – Zakharchenko et al. These and only these are called for in the Agreement, and would likely require new elections, which would mean a new government in Kiev.
Bloomberg attempts to turn reality on its head. This US initiated conflict has already cost the lives of 50,000 people according to German intelligence estimates, as well as over a million displaced refugees according to the UN. In so egregiously misinforming and disinforming the readership in a matter of this magnitude, and misrepresenting facts, quotes, and placing sentences together in ways meant to communicate a message other than the truth, Bloomberg’s writers, editors, and owners can be charged with war crimes: crimes against humanity and crimes against peace.
About the author: Joaquin Flores is an American expat based in Belgrade. He is co-editor for Fort Russ, full-time analyst at the Center for Syncretic Studies, a public geostrategic think-tank, and a staff contributor at the Russia Desk for Greanville Post. His expertise encompasses Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and has a strong proficiency in Middle East affairs. Flores is particularly adept at analyzing the psychology of the propaganda wars. In the US, he worked for a number of years as a labor union business agent and strategist for a major trade union federation.
Follow him on twitter: @SyncreticFlores