by Stephen Lendman
Media scoundrels march in lockstep with imperial US policies. Truth is systematically suppressed. One-sided misreporting, commentaries and analysis substitute.
The New York Times is a longstanding lead instrument of US propaganda. On March 13, it headlined "Russian Troops Mass at Border with Ukraine," saying:
"...Russia massed troops and armored vehicles in at least three regions along Ukraine's eastern border on Thursday, alarming the interim Ukraine government about a possible invasion and significantly escalating tensions in the crisis between the Kremlin and the West."
Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine. Reports suggesting otherwise are false. They're malicious propaganda. They're standard scoundrel media practice.
Russian forces are conducting military exercises in Rostov, Belgorod, Tambov and Samara regions.
Moscow's Defense Ministry said their goal is achieving unit cohesiveness and combat readiness on unfamiliar territory and untested ranges.
Drills are in two stages. In stage one, "commanders and contingent of infantry, artillery and tank detachments gained experience during route marches from permanent dispositions in a combined method: afoot, by train and by air transport to final march objectives with further deployment afield."
"They followed up issues of cooperation with representatives of Russian Railways (RZD) and of uploading equipment on flat wagons."
Featured was a "set of practical trainings, when servicemen within their units have worked the standards of driving military and special equipment on unfamiliar territory, route reconnaissance, engineer reconnaissance, fortification of positions and special tactical training."
"In the planned activities, special focus is placed on stealth of movement and camouflage security in staging areas."
Unit commanders "are training the methods of staging different types of combat, detachment control and control of fire when fulfilling the combat training missions, learning to act unconventionally, fooling the enemy and achieving unexpectedness."
"During the training, a complex, combat type tactical environment with imitation of actions of the imaginary enemy is created."
During stage two, military units "at the ranges will master a set of practical exercises aimed at combat cohesiveness of units, with firearms training and battle firing, and the commanders will also check their ability to control artillery fire."
Exercises will continue through late March. Moscow has nothing to hide. Its Defense Ministry gave Ukraine permission to overfly territory bordering both countries.
Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said:
"We have decided to allow such a flight. We hope that our neighbors are assured that there is no military activity that threatens them on the border."
Illegitimate Ukrainian putschist defense minister Igor Tenyukh lied. He claimed Russia massed 220,000 troops, 1,800 tanks and over 400 helicopters in regions bordering Ukraine.
"Ukrainian military officials know full well that the entire (Russian) Southern and Western Military Districts put together don't have that much equipment," said Antonov.
"The only way you could arrive at that number of soldiers would be if you counted their families."
"I would dissuade Mr Tenyukh from adding fuel to the fire of the crisis, which is what he appears to be doing."
"He openly outlined the reasons for this himself, when he asked the Ukrainian parliament to issue him with more funding."
IlIegitimate Ukraine president Arseniy Yatsenyuk addressed the 6th emergency Council session this month on Ukraine.
He lied claiming Russian "military aggression" in Crimea. He urged Security Council members to end what doesn't exist.
Moscow UN envoy Vitaly Churkin addressed Council members. He denied notions of Russian aggression.
"Russia does not want war and neither do the Russians, and I'm convinced the Ukrainians don't want that either," he said.
"We don't see any basis to consider the issue in such terms," he added.
He expressed support for Crimeans right for self-determination. He called choosing it in this case "an extraordinary measure." A "legal vacuum exists," he said.
It "emerged as a result of an unconstitutional, violent coup d'etat carried out in Kiev by radical nationalists, as well as direct threats by the latter to impose their order on the whole territory of Ukraine."
Crimeans reject putschist authority. They have every right to do so. Staying free depends on it. They want no part of lawless neo-Nazi rule.
Kiev continues provocative training exercises in eastern Ukraine. They began last week. They threaten greater turmoil. According to Antonov:
"Staging exercises in an area that is gripped by mass protests against the new regime which came to power as a result of a coup is a risky endeavor, which could further destabilize the political situation in Ukraine."
NATO began its own. Air and Black Sea drills are in progress. Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania were deployed.
NATO air patrols over Baltic states continue. On March 13, Stars and Stripes headlined "US Army to proceed with planned exercise in Ukraine."
Pentagon chiefs "chose to go ahead with an exercise in Ukraine while canceling the one in Russia demonstrates Western support for Kiev in its confrontation with Moscow," it said.
It's scheduled in Lviv near Poland's border. According to Pentagon officials:
It's to "promote regional stability and security, strengthen partnership capacity, and foster trust while improving interoperability between USAREUR (US Army Europe), the land forces of Ukraine, and other (NATO and partner) nations."
It provocatively antagonizes Russia. What's ongoing escalates tensions further. It's doing it when efforts should focus on defusing them. Polar opposite US policies are chosen.
As of March 3, all exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planned conferences with Russia are suspended or cancelled.
On Friday, John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov met in London. They did so two days ahead of Crimea's March 16 independence referendum.
Moscow/US Ukrainian policies are polar opposite. Putin supports Crimeans right to determine their own future. Washington is firmly opposed.
Conflict resolution is nowhere in sight. A previous March 5 Kerry/Lavrov Paris meeting achieved nothing.
Moscow rejects Washington's imperial agenda. It drew a red line on Ukraine. It's firmly against its joining NATO. At stake is its national security.
It won't tolerate US bases on its borders. Who can blame Putin. He's acting responsibly. He's obligated to do so.
He's doing what America would do. Longstanding Monroe Doctrine principles warn outside powers, stating:
"....as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers."
"(W)e should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety."
Doing so would be impossible to) behold...with indifference."
Meanwhile, Collective Security Treaty Organization nations Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan expressed alarm by NATO's buildup near Belarus' border.
CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha said:
"We cannot ignore the fact that NATO's air group is being consolidated near Belarusian borders." No response is planned, he added.
"We do not consider Russia a participant of the conflict and are not preparing any collective measures to respond to what is happening in the internal conflict in Ukraine," he stressed.
Belarus expressed alarm. Permanent House of Representatives Commission for National Security member Vasily Alekseyeko said NATO encroaching on Belarus' borders requires adequate steps in response.
"We need to clearly analyze the situation and make task-oriented smart decisions," he said.
"Government cannot sit by. Time has shown that one who plays the waiting game is late."
"We are doing the right thing because we protect the independence and security of our state."
President Aleksandr Lukashenko asked Russia to deploy up to 15 extra warplanes to its territory.
He called doing so "a reasonable response" to NATO's buildup.
Minsk "reacted calmly until a large exercise began in Poland which requested reinforcements and larger scope of the exercise," he said.''
Lukasenko reacted to Washington sending around a dozen F-16s and nearly 300 service personnel to Poland.
Six F-15s were sent to Lithuania. They bolster four others sent in January. NATO now patrols Baltic airspace.
Belarus shares borders with Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine. It's justifiably concerned about NATO'S buildup.
Washington long targeted Lukashenko's government for regime change. He opposes US imperial policies.
He didn't permit privatization of state enterprises. He rejects Washington rules. Most Belarusians support him.
They do so for good reason. They get free healthcare, other social benefits, employment and retirement protection, subsidized housing, and more.
According to the World Bank:
"Over the past decade, rapid economic growth translated into remarkable progress in poverty reduction, although the recent (economic) crisis" increased it "modest(ly)."
From 2002 to 2012, poverty declined from 30% to 6.3%. Unemployment is around 1%.
Retirement age for men is 60. For women it's 55. Belarus was the most prosperous Soviet republic.
It has one of the world's lowest inequality rates. Lukashenko remains extremely popular. Big Western Lies target him. He serves popular interests.
His policies are polar oppose America's. It shows. According to Census data, half of US households are impoverished or bordering it.
Around 100 million working age Americans have no jobs. Most others have low-wage/poor-benefit ones. Many are part-time or temp. Insecurity is high.
Last July, AP headlined "Exclusive: Signs of Declining Economic Security," saying:
"Four out of 5 US adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives."
It's a disturbing "sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream."
"Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized US economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend."
Economic insecurity is much worse than government data show. It affects over three-fourths of white Americans.
It's defined as experiencing unemployment some time during working years or needing government aid to survive.
Government data way understate dire economic conditions for most households. Things are much worse than official reports.
Most Americans struggle to get by. Impoverishment or close to it affects them.
It's harder than ever for millions of disadvantaged households to survive. Their numbers grow exponentially. Vital social protections are eroding. It's happening when they're most needed.
Polls show over 80% of Americans mostly distrust government. Congressional approval hit a record low.
America is being systematically thirdworldized. Washington wants all other nations looking the same way. It wants wealth shifted from ordinary people to powerful rich elitists.
It wants predatory Western corporations able to plunder countries freely. Raping and pillaging Ukraine is planned.
Regime change targets other nations. East/West tensions are high. Russia opposes US imperial expansion. Ukraine is a dangerous geopolitical flashpoint. It's is a vital red line to defend.
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.
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