by Caitlin Johnstone, Caitlin Johnstone:
The other day I stumbled across a 2014 opinion piece in The Guardian titled “It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war” by Seumas Milne, who the following year would go on to become the Labour Party’s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications under Jeremy Corbyn.
I bring this up because the perspectives you’ll find in that article are jarring in how severely they deviate from anything you’ll see published in the mainstream press about Ukraine in 2023. It places the brunt of the blame for the violence and tensions in that nation at that time squarely at Washington’s feet, opening with a warning that the “threat of war in Ukraine is growing” and saying there’s an “unelected government in Kiev,” and it only gets naughtier from there.
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I strongly recommend reading the article in full if you want some perspective in just how dramatically the mass media has clamped down on dissenting ideas about Ukraine and Russia, beginning with the frenzied stoking of Russia hysteria in 2016 and exploding exponentially with the Russian invasion last year. I doubt there’s a single paragraph which could get published in any mainstream outlet in the media environment of today.
Milne writes about how “the Ukrainian president was replaced by a US-selected administration, in an entirely unconstitutional takeover,” and about “the role of the fascistic right on the streets and in the new Ukrainian regime.” He says that “Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia,” and that “you don’t hear much about the Ukrainian government’s veneration of wartime Nazi collaborators and pogromists, or the arson attacks on the homes and offices of elected communist leaders, or the integration of the extreme Right Sector into the national guard, while the anti-semitism and white supremacism of the government’s ultra-nationalists is assiduously played down.” He says that “after two decades of eastward Nato expansion, this crisis was triggered by the west’s attempt to pull Ukraine decisively into its orbit and defence structure.”
In 2014 The Guardian published an op-ed about Ukraine by @SeumasMilne that would be shriekingly condemned as Russian propaganda today. I doubt there’s a single paragraph in this article that could be published in today’s mainstream media environment.https://t.co/Z7zRRbFrVo
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) January 23, 2023
Milne says “Putin’s absorption of Crimea and support for the rebellion in eastern Ukraine is clearly defensive,” and says the US and its allies have been “encouraging the military crackdown on protesters after visits from Joe Biden and the CIA director, John Brennan.” He correctly predicts that “one outcome of the crisis is likely to be a closer alliance between China and Russia, as the US continues its anti-Chinese ‘pivot’ to Asia,” and presciently warns of “the threat of a return of big-power conflict” as Ukraine moves toward war.
To be clear, Milne was not some fringe voice who happened to get picked up for one Guardian op-ed by a strange editorial fluke; he published hundreds of articles with The Guardian over the course of many years, and kept on publishing for a year and a half after this Ukraine piece came out, right up until he went to work for Corbyn. He was on the left end of the mainstream media, but he was very much part of the mainstream media.
This article would of course have drawn controversy and criticism at the time; there were many people who were on the opposite side of the debate in 2014, though they would’ve had a fraction of the numbers of the shrieking conformity enforcers we see on all matters related to Ukraine today. Milne himself says that “the bulk of the western media abandoned any hint of even-handed coverage” after the Crimea annexation, so his article would have been an outlier to be sure. But the fact remains that it was published in The Guardian, and that it would never be published there today.
Seriously, try to imagine an article like that about what happened in Ukraine in 2014 appearing in a mainstream publication like The Guardian in 2023. Can you imagine the hysterics? The histrionic garment-rending from the establishment narrative managers? The social media swarming of Zelenskyite trolls? This is after all the same media environment that pressured CBS to retract its story about how arms shipments to Ukraine weren’t getting where they were supposed to, and pressured Amnesty International to apologize for saying anything about Ukrainian war crimes.
Read More @ CaitlinJohnstone.com