The War in Ukraine: Main Stream vs Independent media

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  Over the past couple of years, I have noticed that there is a distinct difference between the coverage of certain topics, when comparing the major networks to independent journalists and podcasters. The Russia-gate investigation, and then the Twitter Files, which exposed government censorship of social media, are two examples. The war in Ukraine is another.

   Two independent journalists who I discovered during the pandemic, initially worked for traditional media. Matt Taibi was an investigative journalist for Rolling Stone magazine, winning awards for his coverage of the 2008-2009 housing crisis. Glen Greenwald wrote for The Guardian, a U.K. newspaper, then later co-founded The Intercept. Both journalists went on to self-publish on Substack. It was while Greenwald was at the Guardian, that Edward Snowden contacted him about releasing NSA files that showed the extent of federal government spying on American citizens. When he was at the Intercept, Greenwald wanted to write an article critical of the Russia-gate investigation, when he ran into opposition from his editor. At this time most newspapers and TV networks fully embraced the suspicion that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian agents to help him win the 2016 election. Greenwald felt differently, and thought the story didn’t have legs to stand on, so he left the Intercept and started self-publishing on Substack. To my knowledge, most of the Russia-collusion allegations were based on hear-say and were never proven. It appears that Greenwald was right about Russia-gate.

   Some independent journalists have been saying that the U.S. has been poking the bear, Russia, for many years, and maybe the largest poke was the U.S. backed Ukrainian coup in 2014, replacing a pro-Russia president with a pro-West president. This was followed by Russia annexing Crimea, which was the second time Russia has annexed Crimea, the first being in 1783 by Catherine the Great, after wining a war with the Ottoman Empire, giving Russia access to the Black Sea. http://www.saint-petersburg.com/royal-family/catherine-the-great/. It’s my understanding that Russia has maintained a naval fleet in the Crimean coastal city of Sevastopol since that time, except for a 5-6 year period after losing the Crimean War in the 1850’s. For reasons historians aren’t sure of, Khrushchev gave Crimea to Ukraine in the early 1950’s. Because Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev may have believed Moscow would always have control over Ukraine and Crimea. 

   In a recent report, Matt Taibbi discusses a New York Times article which exposed a partnership of the CIA and Ukrainian intelligence, where secret intelligence bases were built along the Russian border, enabling the Ukraine agents to listen in on conversations with Russian commanders and track Russian spy satellites. Here’s an excerpt:

“Over the weekend the New York Times published an epic exposé. “The Spy War: How the C.I.A. Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin,” by Adam Entous and Mitchell Schwirtz, described a decade of CIA-Ukrainian cooperation, featuring details that would never reach public ears under normal circumstances. The opening is worth quoting at length:

Nestled in a dense forest, the Ukrainian military base appears abandoned and destroyed…But that is above ground. Not far away, a discreet passageway descends to a subterranean bunker where teams of Ukrainian soldiers track Russian spy satellites and eavesdrop on conversations between Russian commanders…

The listening post in the Ukrainian forest is part of a C.I.A.-supported network of spy bases constructed in the past eight years that includes 12 secret locations along the Russian border.

Yowza! Officials have long scolded the public that even minor disclosures of “sources and methods” could “risk lives” and must be prevented at all costs. Yet here comes the Times, helping “current and former officials in Ukraine, the United States and Europe” blab a long list of extraordinary details, down to the number of CIA-supported secret bases along the Russian border.”

  An amazing revelation. This is another piece of information that supports what several independent journalists have been saying, that U.S. foreign policy has been provoking Russia.

   In the late 90’s, during Bill Clinton’s second term, NATO began to expand, starting with Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Over a 20 year period, 14 countries joined NATO, two of them, Estonia and Latvia, border Russia. Some independent journalists have compared this NATO expansion towards Russia’s border to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when Russia installed missiles on Cuban soil capable of reaching Washington D.C. in minutes. 

   I believe Putin has said publicly that Ukraine joining NATO was a red line that Russia wouldn’t tolerate, that it would constitute a threat to their national security. This has been a point of discussion with the U.S. and its European allies: Should Ukraine join NATO? 

   The following is an excerpt from an article written by Aaron Mate, an independent journalist who self publishes on Substack. Dec. 2, 2023, Aaron Mate. 

According to Davyd Arakhamia, Russia was “prepared to end the war if we agreed to… neutrality, and committed that we would not join NATO.” But the US and UK stood in the way.”

A top Ukrainian official has newly confirmed that the war could have ended – and tens of thousands of lives could have been saved – had Ukraine and its NATO allies accepted a peace deal with Moscow weeks after the February 2022 invasion.

Davyd Arakhamia is the parliamentary leader of Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, and head of the Ukrainian delegation at the spring 2022 peace talks held in Istanbul. In an interview last month, Arakhamia acknowledged that the Russians “were prepared to end the war if we agreed to – as Finland once did – neutrality, and committed that we would not join NATO.” For Moscow, he added, Ukrainian neutrality was “the key point” and “the biggest thing for them.” …

The following is from an article by Matt Bivens, M.D. Dec. 10, 2023, published on Substack.

“That the White House stepped in to torpedo peace talks for its own ghoulish ends has been attested to now by everyone from top Ukrainian officials and U.S. foreign policy scholars to a former German chancellor and a former Israeli prime minister.

“The Ukrainians did not agree to peace because they were not allowed to. They first had to ask the Americans about everything they discussed,” said former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, in an interview with the newspaper Berliner Zeitung. Schroder participated in mediating the peace talks. He says, “My impression is that nothing could happen because everything else was decided in Washington.”

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also participated in the talks, and when asked about this, he agreed the West had sabotaged the process. “Basically, yes. They blocked it, and I thought they were wrong.”

Mr. Bivens full article: https://mattbivens.substack.com/p/ukraines-percolating-hatred-of-america?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email 

   There was an article on this subject published in the Wall St. Journal on Jan. 5, 2024 titled: “Did Ukraine Miss an Early Chance to Negotiate Peace With Russia?”

   I don’t subscribe to the Wall St. Journal so I could only read the headline.

   I think what Mr. Mate and Mr. Bivens are saying is, the U.S. wanted this war. Why? It’s common knowledge that defense contractors profit from war. U.S. actions mentioned above have me wondering whether the war is really about defending Ukraine and democracy. Some independent journalists have mentioned in their articles that Boris Johnson, former UK Prime Minister, was sent to Kiev to squash those peace talks.

 From Bivens’ article:   “[The Russians] were ready to end the war if we accepted neutrality, like Finland once did. If we would make a commitment that we would not join NATO,” Arakhamiia says in a recent interview

However, he continues, “When we returned from Istanbul, [then-British Prime Minister] Boris Johnson came to Kyiv and said: ‘We will not sign anything with them at all, and let’s just fight on’.”

Again, I ask myself, why? At least one independent journalist has suggested that the U.S. military industrial complex is, and will continue to benefit from the war in Ukraine, even when the war ends and it’s time to rebuild. What this journalist is saying is, American corporations, among others, will contribute to rebuilding Ukraine when the war finally ends, with large potential profits. I have never heard any newscaster in main stream media talk about this. Nor do they spend much time, if any, discussing the 2014 coup in Ukraine and U.S. involvement. It is this type of coverage, or lack of coverage, of relevant facts, that has caused me to have less trust in the media, and realize how important independent journalists are.

   When the war in Ukraine first started, numerous times a newscast would start with: “Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” or, “Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.” The word unprovoked was being used over and over. I have learned of events leading up to Russia’s attack, that are part of the history that is relevant to what is happening in Ukraine now. Knowing at least some of the history of Ukraine, Russia and U.S. foreign policy leads me to believe that Russia was provoked, going back over 20 years. That doesn’t justify Russia’s killing of civilians and destroying schools, hospitals, apartment buildings and infrastructure and causing 6 million Ukrainians to flee their country. Unfairly for the American public, I haven’t heard or read about these events leading up to the war in Ukraine being discussed in main stream media. The expansion of NATO or the 2014 coup seem to be off limits. It’s the independent journalists and podcasters who are willing to have an honest, open discussion. 

   It’s been pointed out by independent journalists that Zelensky ran on a platform of making peace with Russia and that he had a landslide victory. Three years later, Russia invades Ukraine and it appears that the U.S. put pressure on him to not accept the Istanbul peace negotiations, which pushed Ukraine into continuing the war, with devastating results for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. Why aren’t journalists and reporters asking the White House, why? Isn’t that their job? To ask the tough questions? Why did the Biden White House pressure Ukraine into continuing the war? 

   One of the criticisms of main-stream-media by Glen Greenwald and Matt Taibbi is that the MSM accepts the information that the federal government gives them as truth, without digging deeper. That’s not investigative journalism, and I believe the general public suffers for it.

   It’s independent journalists who have pointed out the White House’ effort to keep the war in Ukraine going, and now there are some politicians who aren’t so eager to keep funding the war. Where does that leave Ukrainians? If it is true that the White House is responsible for continuing this war against Russia at Ukraine’s expense, where do we go from here? Maybe Glen Greenwald is right again. He calls the people who support what he calls “forever wars”, neocons. I googled neocon and found this definition: Neoconservatives typically advocate the unilateral promotion of democracy and interventionism in international affairs, grounded in a militaristic and realist philosophy of “peace through strength.” They are known for espousing opposition to communism and political radicalism. 

   I’ll leave it to the reader to decide which politicians fall into this category. It crosses party lines. I think you have to go all the way back to John F. Kennedy to find a president that was dedicated to peace. If you start connecting the dots, a picture starts to form. We have gone from the war on terror, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and less than a year after pulling out of Afghanistan we have the war in Ukraine, and now the war in Gaza. When does it end?

Note: Most television networks and many newspapers are owned by 5 or 6 corporations. One exception appears to be Fox News, the Wall St. Journal, and the New York Post, which are all owned by Rupert Murdoch. It was Murdoch’s New York Post that ran the initial Hunter Biden laptop story, and recently the story I mentioned above about the possibility that Ukraine missed an opportunity for peace, just weeks after the war began, published in his newspaper, the Wall St. Journal. The fact that Fox News, the Wall St. Journal and the New York Post are all owned by Murdoch, and not a large corporation, may explain coverage by media under his control may have more freedom to cover topics the rest of MSM won’t.    

   Here’s a list of some independent journalists and podcasters that I feel are committed to the truth and believe in old school journalism: Glen Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Kim Iversen, Stephen Gardner, Seymour Hersh, Chris Hedges, Bari Weiss, Russell Brand, Michael Shellenberger, Judge Napolitano, Megyn Kelly, Aaron Mate. I’m probably forgetting someone, but this is a pretty good list. I also receive emails from The Hill, with links to articles and a podcast they call Rising, a show that recently featured Matt Taibbi discussing how certain facts relating to Russia-gate were deliberately ignored For example, intelligence that suggested that Putin preferred Hillary Clinton over Trump, the exact opposite of what the Russia-gate story portrayed.

 Here’s a link to that interview of Taibbi:  https://thehill.com/video/matt-taibbi-intel-blob-cooked-the-books-in-2016-probe-russians-wanted-hillary-not-trump/9467600/ 

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