by Stephen Lendman
Propaganda wars precede hot ones. Deception, popular fiction and Big Lies launch them. Intense Russia bashing risks international peace, stability and security.
Washington's imperial war machine is humanity's greatest threat. Permanent war is official US policy.
Presidents wage one after another at their discretion. Imagine challenging Russia irresponsibly. Imagine risking open conflict doing it.
The damn fool in the White House lied claiming Moscow "seek(s) to exert force on a neighboring country." He wrongfully accused Putin of violating international law.
On Tuesday, John Kerry met with Washington-backed putschists in Kiev. He ignored longstanding lawless US aggression.
He was silent about America ravaging and destroying one country after another. He said nothing about its war on humanity.
He outrageously accused Russia of a "brazen act of aggression."
He lied saying it's "clear that Russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further."
"It is not appropriate to invade a country and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve."
"Here in the streets today I didn't see anybody who feels threatened, except for the potential of an invasion by Russia," he added.
On Sunday, he said "(t)he G-8 plus some others and all of them, every single one of them, are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion."
An unnamed State Department official traveling with him said "I think there will be movement on sanctions very likely later in this week."
The official lied claiming a "continued inflow of Russian troops" into Crimea. According to Ukrainian sources he cited, they number 16,000, he said.
Screaming headlines followed. "Ukraine says Russia sent 16,000 troops to Crimea," said one.
Another said "Ukraine crisis deepens as Russia sends more troops into Crimea."
CNN asked: "What Can Obama Do About Russia's Invasion of Crimea?"
Former GW Bush ambassador to Ukraine, John Hebst, lied. He wrongfully accused Russia of "blatant aggression."
He recommends NATO deploying forces in countries with significant Russian populations.
Russian/Ukrainian 1997 Partition Treaty provisions let Moscow maintain up to 25,000 troops in Crimea.
They permit 24 smaller than 100 mm artillery systems, 132 armored vehicles, and 22 military aircraft.
Russian naval and air force units are legally based in Sevastopol. They include:
(1) the 30th Surface Ship Division 11th Antisubmarine Ship Brigade, six warships, and the 197th Landing Ship Brigade.
(2) The 41st Missile Boat Brigade.
(3) The 247th Separate Submarine Division.
(4) The 68th Harbor Defense Ship Brigade.
(5) The 422nd Separate Hydrographic Ship Division.
(6) Two air bases in Kacha and Gvardeysky.
(7) The 1096th Separate Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment.
(8) The 810th Marine Brigade, as well as several other units.
Leasing arrangements run through 2042. If exercised, an additional option is binding until 2047.
Moscow annually writes off $97.75 million in Kiev debt. It does so in payment.
Ukraine and Russia maintain joint military control. Black Sea Fleet related forces are based in Crimea legally. Claiming "blatant aggression" doesn't wash.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia's military "strictly executes the agreements which stipulate the Russian fleet's presence in Ukraine, and follows the stance and claims coming from the legitimate authority in Ukraine and in this case the legitimate authority of the Autonomous Republic Crimea as well."
Russian forces remain on their bases, he added. They're not deployed outside them.
"Those who are now in the Ukrainian parliament do not control the entire territory because people in Crimea and in some other regions do not want to recognize the legitimacy of those who came to power using anti-constitutional methods," he added.
It's their choice. They have every right to make it. They reject putschist lawlessness. They deserve support for doing so.
Lavrov warned Western leaders against supporting lawless Ukrainian power grabbers.
He expressed concern about US/Kiev negotiations. In return for debt bondage masquerading as aid, Washington wants so-called defensive missile systems intended solely for offense in Ukrainian territory.
Doing so will seriously aggravate East/West relations, he stressed.
"Extra measures have been taken to increase vigilance to ensure the Black Sea Fleet facilities security."
He accused Kiev authorities of lawlessly usurping power "in violation of the Ukrainian constitution." Western leaders resort to "double standards," he added.
Things remain tense. Relations are strained. Obama bears full responsibility. His imperial policy has its own dynamic. It's recklessly out-of-control.
The damn fool risks open conflict with Russia. He created potentially the gravest crisis since WW II.
Putin acted responsibly. He prioritizes Russian security. Washington threatens it.
Russia's upper house Federation Council gave him final say on deploying additional forces to protect the safety and security of Russian nationals.
Crimean authorities requested Moscow's help. So did Ukraine's legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych. He did it in writing.
Putin hasn't deployed additional forces so far. Claims otherwise are false. US officials repeat them. So do screaming headlines.
Washington is playing a dangerous game. Confronting Moscow irresponsibly risks open conflict.
According to the Moscow Times, Russia "has 150,000 troops on high alert near" Ukraine's border. At the same time, deployment orders to Crimea weren't issued.
On Saturday, Russia's upper house Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvihenko said a "limited number" of troops might be sent to bolster Black Sea Fleet security.
Russia bashing continues. It's ongoing daily. It's vicious. It's outrageous. It includes a litany of misinformation, lies and damn lies.
Vladimir Putin is public enemy number one. On March 4, neocon Washington Post editors headlined "Mr. Putin might actually believe his own Ukraine propaganda."
It asked if he "lost touch with reality..." An ad hominem attack called his speech "indistinguishable from the propaganda of his state television network."
WaPo is a virtual US government house organ. New owner Jeff Bezos has CIA ties. He's in bed with the devil. He got a $600 million contract.
It's double what he paid to buy WaPo. In November, he said: "We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA."
Bezos has a disturbing history of currying favor with national security officials. WaPo lost credibility altogether.
At stake perhaps is much more than meets the eye. Expect business more than ever to continue.
WaPo anti-Putin propaganda is intense. It's malicious. It's ongoing daily.
WaPo editors lied claiming his comments reflect "a wild assortment of claims, many of them demonstrably false."
Another lie said "thousands of Russian troops have entered Crimea since Friday..."
One more criticized his "bizarre (press conference) performance." He's "insulated...from the truth about events both abroad and at home," they claimed
They support stiff sanctions. They call it "essential (for) the United States and the European Union (to) move quickly to compound the financial costs of the 'invasion.' "
They want Obama and Congress to "freeze the assets of top Russian officials and target Russian banks for exclusion from the US financial system."
"That could provide the wake-up call that Mr. Putin desperately needs," they said.
They support illegitimate xenophobic, ultranationalist, hate-mongering, anti-Semitic neo-Nazi putschists.
They oppose democratic freedoms. They're on the wrong side of history.
WaPo columnist Charles Krauthammer espouses extreme neocon views. He's no journalist. He's paid to lie.
He's a hard-right propagandist. He's ideologically over-the-top. Hyperbole substitutes for hard facts.
On February 27, he headlined "Putin's Ukraine gambit," saying:
His mission is "restor(ing) Russian despotism by dismantling its nascent democracy. And then, having created iron-fisted 'stability,' march."
It bears repeating what earlier articles stressed. Russia's democracy shames America's sham version.
Putin is geopolitically polar opposite Obama. He respects international law. He wants it obeyed. He supports peace and stability.
He believes nation-state sovereignty is inviolable. He forthrightly opposes lawless aggression.
He challenges US imperialism responsibly. Don't expect Krauthammer to explain.
He supports Ukrainian putschists. He called their coup a "struggle for freedom." He lied claiming Putin's policy "leaves Ukraine naked to Russian pressure."
He's taking full advantage, he said. He's "flaunting his leverage." Ukraine has a choice, he added.
It "will (either) fall to Russian hegemony or finally determine its own future - if America balances Russia's power."
He wants "full-throated American support..." He wants Ukraine subjugated by IMF debt bondage.
He wants Western corporations able to plunder its resources freely. He wants its people exploited for profit.
He wants Ukraine given "a chance to breathe." Its last breath of freedom under his hardline/neoliberal formula.
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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