Western Manipulated Violence in Ukraine
by Stephen Lendman
Last November, protests erupted in Ukraine. Violence followed. Previous articles discussed it. Washington's dirty game was explained. Imperial lawlessness reflects it.
It has many forms. It includes trampling on fundamental rule of law principles. Toppling democratically elected governments is OK.
So is assassinating foreign leaders. Replacing them by coup d'etats is longstanding US policy. Waging war to do it is standard practice.
Anything goes defines America. Washington rules alone matter. Imposing them worldwide matters most.
At issue is replacing sovereign independent governments with pro-Western stooge ones. It's denying democratic freedoms.
It's a game as old as empire. It's imposing diktat authority. It's plundering nations for profit.
It's impoverishing them. It's bankrupting them. It's trapping them in debt. It's turning workers into serfs. It's imposing police state rules. It's cracking down hard on resisters.
It's justifying might over right. It's calling destructive practices liberating ones. It's proliferating state-sponsored propaganda claiming it.
It's letting monied interests run things. It's letting them benefit at the expense of all others. It's championing wrong over right.
Rogue states operate this way. America is by far the worst. Ukraine is one of many US targets. The battle for its soul continues. It involves weakening and isolating Russia.
It's about exploiting Ukrainian resources. It's about denying worker rights. It's about wage slavery replacing freedom.
It's about imposing one-sided Western trade deals from hell. It's about benefitting foreign investors. It's doing it at the expense of popular interests. It's colonizing Ukraine for profit.
Washington's dirty game is transparent. EU partners are complicit. Street thugs were recruited. They're militants. They're paid to commit violence. Radical nationalists joined them.
Protests quieted down for some weeks. Days earlier things changed. Last Sunday, thousands demonstrated in Kiev's Independence Square.
Violent clashes followed. They continued for five days. They can persist much longer. Western enlisted thugs initiated things.
Washington wants democratically elected Viktor Yanukovyich ousted. It wants a convenient stooge replacing him.
It wants Orange Revolution 2.0. It wants 2004 repeated. It wants to take full advantage like earlier. It wants what most Ukrainians reject.
Protests erupted after Ukraine enacted new legislation. It criminalizes disruptive protests. It targets public disorder. It aims to prevent manipulated demonstrations from becoming a national rebellion.
It went too far. It risks press freedom. It criminalizes legitimate protests. Vaguely defined extremism carries a potential three year sentence.
Protesters face up to 15 years in prison. Wearing a helmet or mask while they're ongoing can mean 10 days in jail. So can pitching tents without police permission.
Criminalizing violent demonstrators is legitimate. Leaders promoting it bear most responsibility. Holding them accountable is vital.
The alternative is out-of-control anarchy. No nation would tolerate letting things go this far. That's what revolutions are made of.
Stopping violent ones protects everyone. Doing it responsibly is legal.
Peaceful protests are legitimate. Legislation shouldn't deny them. Last year, police showed remarkable restraint. Not this week. On the one hand, they had good reason to change tactics.
Protesters are extremely violent. They crossed the line. They became rioters. They hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police. Fires erupted. Things escalated out-of-control. Over-the-top legislation followed.
Dozens of police were injured. They responded with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons. At least three protestors died.
They bombarded police from that vantage point. At one point they had to retreat. "Demonstrators delivered gasoline canisters and empty bottles to make more Molotov cocktails," said RT.
Police "suffered head injuries, fractures, burns, stab and slash wounds, as well as poisoning by 'unknown substances.' "
A rubber bullet struck an RT cameraman. No injury was reported. A plastic shield on his back protected him.
A Ukraine ICTV channel cameraman was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet. Doctors expect him to lose partial sight.
Protesters "built a wooden catapult on European Square," said RT. A three-meter-tall ballistic device was used. It launched rocks and firecrackers at police. They destroyed it in response.
Protesters are nicknamed Euromaiden. Extremist elements lead them. They include Western enlisted militants. So-called Right Sector hardliners are involved.
Ukraine's Interior Ministry condemned the "commandants of Maiden." They're providing rioters with "dangerous cold steel arms," it said.
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov called extremist protesters terrorists. They're provocateurs. They're criminals. They warrant punishment.
Opposition elements gave protesters two-meter-long wooden sticks. They're dangerous. They have sharp metal tips. They're improvised weapons. They're can injure or kill.
Hardliners pledged continued disruptive protests. They demand Yanukovych resign. They demand snap elections.
On Thursday, Yanukovych called a special session of parliament. It's scheduled for next week. Speaker Volodymyr Rybak said relevant issues will be discussed.
"The opposition and the parliamentary majority should come together and consider the questions which have arisen: the resignation of the government and those questions linked to laws passed by parliament," he said.
Earlier this week, Yanukovych called for dialogue. He suggested compromise. At the same time, he said all legal means will be used to maintain stability.
Washington reacted as expected. Sanctions involving freezing assets abroad and travel bans were threatened. Some US visas were revoked.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf issued a statement
. In part, she said:
"The United States strongly condemns the increasing violence on the streets of Kiev, which has led to casualties and the shooting deaths of two protesters."
"We urge all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation and refrain from violence."
"Increased tensions in Ukraine are a direct consequence of the Ukrainian government's failure to engage in real dialogue and the passage of anti-democratic legislation on January 16."
"We urge the Government of Ukraine to take steps that represent a better way forward for Ukraine, including repeal of the anti-democratic legislation and beginning a national dialogue with the political opposition."
"The United States has already revoked visas of several people responsible for violence, and will continue to consider additional steps in response to the use of violence by any actors."
Washington bears full responsibility for manipulating street violence. Complicit EU partners share it. They want unchallenged control of Ukraine. They want it politically and economically.
They want Russia shut out. It's mindful of what's ongoing. It's well aware of manipulative Western practices. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned about things "spinning out-of-control."
"We have information that much of this is being stimulated from abroad," he said. "(M)embers of several European governments rushed to the Maiden without any invitation and took part in anti-government demonstrations."
In America, police routinely brutalize peaceful protesters. Occupy Wall Street ones were attacked nationwide. So are global justice advocates.
Patriot Act legislation created the crime of "domestic terrorism." Doing so potentially criminalizes dissent, anti-war protesters, civil and human rights defenders, environmental and animal rights activists, and all forms of legitimate civil disobedience.
On March 8, 2012, Obama signed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 into law. It passed both Houses near unanimously.
It "(a)mend(ed) the federal criminal code to revise the prohibition against entering restricted federal buildings or grounds to impose criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly enters any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority."
Protesters may be prosecuted for exercising their First Amendment rights. They can be imprisoned for doing so.
Vague language gives authorities wide latitude. They can interpret new provisions freely. Restraints aren't imposed. It's up for grabs how ruthlessly this law will be used.
Treating protesters violently in America isn't new. It's longstanding practice. Anything goes is officially sanctioned.
Double standard hypocrisy defines US policy. If anything half-resembling Ukraine protests erupted, extreme state-sponsored violence would confront them. It would happen straightaway.
Federal, state and local authorities would go all out to stop them. Nothing too extreme would be avoided.
In spring 1969, then California Governor Ronald Reagan declared a state of emergency. He did so when none existed.
He deployed National Guard troops and state police. He unleashed them against peaceful People's Park protesters. "Bloody Thursday" followed. Dozens were injured, some seriously.
Months later, Reagan defended his action. "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with," he said. "No more appeasement."
On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guard troops murdered four Kent State protesters. Nine others were seriously wounded.
US history is full of similar incidents. During unionism's formative years, workers were terrorized for organizing."
In company-owned towns, they were evicted from homes, beaten, shot, and hanged. It was done to leave management empowered.
In May 1886, Chicago Haymarket Square demonstrators rallied peacefully. They did so for an eight-hour day.
Someone threw a bomb. Police violence followed. Eleven nonviolent protesters were killed. Dozens were injured.
Seven innocent defendants were sentenced to death. Another got 15 years in prison.
Justice was systematically denied. Things are much worse today. Unions are largely busted. Activism is treated harshly.
Police across America are brutal. They don't tolerate what Ukrainian cops did for weeks. It bears repeating. Until last Sunday, they showed remarkable restraint.
Where things go from here remains to be seen. On January 23, RT headlined
"Ceasefire in Ukraine: Barricades doused out, violence an inch from reigniting."
Thursday was day five of violent confrontations. Opposition leaders and government officials are negotiating. It's doubtful whether "they will be able to stop the rioters," said RT.
Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko said both sides agreed on a "quiet period." Protesters promised to refrain from violence. For how long remains to be seen.
Discussions focused on revoking new draconian legislation. Klitschko wants much more besides. He wants what he won't get.
He wants Yanukovych to resign. He wants ministerial resignations. He wants snap elections.
Wednesday negotiations accomplished nothing. Opposition extremists threatened "to go on the offensive." They've been doing it for five days. They did so for weeks last year.
"Protesters remain in Grushevskogo Street," said RT. "Radical anti-government activists" are positioned near Ukraine's parliament building.
Wednesday night throughThursday afternoon, rioters "burn(ed) tires, smash(ed) up streets, and erect(ed) barricades..."
Central Ukraine resembles a war zone. It's filled with smoke, barricades and debris. None of this would be tolerated in America for five minutes. It's continued in Kiev intermittently for weeks.
Former Ukraine President Leonid Kravchuk thanked police. He did so for showing more restraint than rioters deserved.
"I am grateful to the guys and (Ministry of Internal Affairs) Berkut (special units), who are standing there now," he said.
"I do not condone nor approve of the fact that they cleared out the students on November 30, although the right thing to do would be to criticize the person who gave out the order."
"Now they are going through an incredible challenge: being beaten up, having stones and burning mixtures thrown at them, and they stand there and endure."
"Not a lot of countries have militaries that would tolerate such treatment in a similar situation."
For sure not America, Britain, France or other major EU nations. State-sponsored viciousness would follow anything half-resembling Ukrainian violence.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces routinely bludgeon them. They target peaceful resisters. They shoot them in cold blood.
They mass-arrest others. They charge them with terrorism. They attack Gazans by land, sea and air. They fire missiles at nonviolent civilians.
US-supported Egyptian security forces operate the same way. Police state harshness is official policy. So is cold-blooded murder.
Before late Thursday's "quiet period," violent clashes exceeded anything previously seen. Five days of protests left three dead. Hundreds of protesters were injured. So were nearly 200 police.
According to RT:
"Shocking footage showed rioters armed with sticks and flares attacking cordons of security forces surrounding government buildings."
"Donned in orange helmets, the protesters threw stones, debris, and Molotovs directly at police."
"Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs published a video showing a group of officers being suddenly attacked from behind a fence on Monday."
"Petrol bombs are being thrown in the middle of the cordons, setting police uniforms on fire."
Prime Minister Azarov said police are told to use force only against violent protesters.
"Instructions given to law enforcement authorities were simple," he said. "Avoid the use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and prevent violent seizure of government buildings and institutions."
"The question of resignation is in the competence of Parliament," he added. It has sole authority. Yanukovych's coalition holds majority control. They're won't likely vote themselves out of office.
At the same time, added Azarov:
"It is absolutely unrealistic" to hold snap elections. New ones are scheduled "in less than a year."
"Do you think we can hold elections when the central part of Kiev has virtually been occupied by militants? What elections can we talk about when people are rioting?" Restoring stability matters most.
Ukrainian authorities aren't stupid. Nor Russian ones. Ararov called what's ongoing a coup d'etat attempt.
"The building of the Cabinet of Ministers is under siege and the building of the Lviv region's administration has been taken over."
"The people who are fighting against us are militants, not the opposition. These are different things."
"It's a real coup attempt, and everyone who backs this coup should clearly say 'Yes, we support the overthrowing of the lawful administration in Ukraine,' instead of hiding behind peaceful protesters."
"The line was crossed when so-called peaceful (ones) started using Molotov cocktails and taking over state buildings."
No government would tolerate what's ongoing. None should. What follows in Ukraine remains to be seen.
Conflict resolution is nowhere in sight. Don't expect Washington's dirty hands to yield. Nor complicit EU partners.
The battle for Ukraine's soul continues. At stake is preserving its sovereignty.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.