Sunday, May 18, 2014

How the conflict in the Ukraine is seen by the rest of the world

Today I will begin by looking at how the Ukrainian conflict is covered in the international media thanks to this blog's network of 55 correspondents and translators in the following regions: Europe, North America, South America, Middle-East, Russia/CIS, Indian Subcontinent, Far East Asia, Oceania and Africa. Below I am reproducing some reports I selected form those which our correspondents sent me.  This is our first try at that, so we ask for your undersanding and patience with us.

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North America:

B. reports from North Carolina: all news media is owned and operated by the usual mainstream conglomerates, occasionally offering independent regional reports, otherwise merely regurgitating official propaganda funneled through their corporate news feeds.  The majority of people in this region are exceptionalistically (not a word but apropos) pro-U.S. first and foremost, pro-NATO/EU to some degree, although most do not concern themselves with international affairs, and, of course, anti-Russian, some of whom have retained remnants of fear from the Cold War era  "Red Scare" propaganda campaigns, especially older Americans.  Shortly after the putsch, I voiced my concern to the NBC/MSNBC newsroom that their frequent personal attacks and fear mongering against Putin and Russia could possibly create a backlash inciting fear, hate and perhaps violence towards Russians living in the U.S. among those so inclined.

A. reports from Washington DC:   My local paper, The Washington Post, has several reporters focused on Ukraine: Simon Denyer (LOL…how perfect is that name…you just can’t make this chit up…), Frederick Kunkle, Anna Nemstova, Alex Ryabchyn and Michael Birnbaum. The reporting has been typical of MSM propaganda “Kiev-Junta good/Russia bad” with DOS sanctioned adjectives and plot to reinforce its Euromaidan propaganda meme. Usually I only skim the articles because they follow such a predictable well-worn path I could write them myself. However, lately – and particularly in the last few days -- I detected a subtle shift in the rhetoric. The “facts” are leaking into their reporting. Maybe the horrific scenes in Odessa has pushed this “new” journalistic effort. Not that there was much real reporting on Odessa – and certainly WAPO didn’t publish the horrific pictures – but maybe journalists “on the ground” saw these events and were influenced by them. Today, two pictures on page 1 above the fold show a large crowd of normal, peaceful people voting in Maripol and a woman reacting with concern to the killings (by Ukrainian national guard into a crowd of civilians) in Krasnoarmeysk. The caption/quote read “I am not against Ukraine. My children go to a Ukrainian school. But I want peace, stability and not to be afraid.” This quote was attributed to Elena Voronkova, 39, who voted yes. This is a HUGE shift in the matrix at WAPO on page 1. It’s refreshing.  That said, the Op-Ed pages are the same tribal drumbeat BS. In particular – David Ignatius is unreadable. He’s so clearly a CIA/DOS/Zionist tool. It’s embarrassing really. I’m ashamed for him.    Lots of folks are waking-up. Facts on the ground speak for themselves. Even the MSM can’t hide TRUTH forever. These little victories are tell-tail signs there’s a HUGE churning on the foreign desk at MSM. Tick-tock.
J. reports from Canada: Many Canadians are very loyal to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, a crown corporation, and accept its perspective without much question. (Perhaps similar to National Public Radio in the US.) Here are four selected excerpts this morning from CBC news. Notice that while each of the statements is factually true, it amounts to pro-west propaganda. My feeling is that most Canadians accept this kind of reporting without question:
CBC World News, May 12, 2014

There were no immediate signs of any outright intimidation by pro-Russian forces Sunday, and insurgents near the polls were not wearing their usual balaclavas.  The insurgents in the east have seized government buildings and clashed with government troops and police over the past month. More than 30 people have been reported killed since Ukrainian forces began trying to retake some eastern cities from the insurgents.  Over the past few weeks, the Ukrainian government and the West have accused Russia of trying to destabilize the country or create a pretext for another invasion. Russia — which annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula just days after voters there approved secession in a March referendum — has rejected the accusations.  "The farce, which terrorists call the referendum, will have no legal consequences except the criminal responsibility for its organizers," Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said in a statement Monday.
In Canada The Globe and Mail newspaper is generally considered sympathetic to big business, government and intellectuals, analogous perhaps to The New York Times in the US. It is considered one of two Canadian 'national newspapers.'  Following are two selected excerpts illustrating the language used in today's Globe and Mail report about Sunday's referendum.
The Donetsk People’s Republic was declared Monday by Denis Pushilin, a 32-year-old businessman who is accused of having run a pyramid scheme before emerging last month as the political leader of a pro-Russian rebel movement whose gunmen seized control of government buildings around the Donetsk region.  Almost immediately after declaring sovereignty, Mr. Pushilin appealed to Moscow to absorb Donetsk, which he said had “always been part of the Russian world.” Addressing a packed press conference inside a government building held by pro-Russian gunmen, Mr. Pushilin bemoaned the collapse of the Soviet Union as a “catastrophe.”

C. reports from Greece: Most of the mainstread print media give what appears to be a balanced report of the situation: in their majority they don't offer their own opinion on the referendum and quote all relevant stakeholders. The gist they present is that most of the people in East Ukraine voted in a "controversial" referendum, amidst violence, which has been declared illegal by Kiev, the EU, the USA etc. The West, the media report, accuse Putin of trying to destabilize the region, something which Moscow denies. So, for the unsuspected reader, this is a more or less balanced story, easily digestible. However, the choice of titles for the articles and the language used throughout indicates a pro-American bias. An example is an article from the newspaper Ethnos, which is entitled The referendum in East Ukraine "a criminal farce with the support of the Kremlin", using a quote that came out of Kiev ( Another is of the major newspaper "To Vima", whose main article is entitled A controversial referendum in Donetsk and Lugansk ( . A characteristic example which further exemplifies this is the coverage of the Odessa tragedy which, according to "To Vima", citing BBC, started when pro-Russian activists ambushed football fans heading for the stadium ( This pro-American bias is at the same time voluntary and involuntary, I think. On the one hand, Greece is currently under the occupation of the Troika of course, so most major media cater to that. On the other hand, the editors themselves follow it unconsciously. I worked for years at the Foreign News desk of a major newspaper and saw how they use as their main source the Anglosaxon news agencies (Reuters, AP etc.) so they automatically assume their language and approach on those issues.  The people in Greece definitely don't support the EU and the USA in the Ukrainian crisis; sentiments run very strong against both at the moment. Regarding Russia, even though feelings are traditionally warm towards it, there are two different approaches: a) those exposed to the conventional media (mostly TV) espouse the story of Putin's "aggression" as a trigger in the crisis and fail to see through the propaganda; b) those who actually have even an ounce of political thinking know very well that this is not the case. Alas, the latter are a minority. In general, people who think politically will tell you that Greece should develop further its relations with Russia; people of the status quo or those who have fallen for the propaganda are driven out of fear and will tell you that it's better to be tied to "the chariot of the West". Which is what the Memorandum did to Greece.

C. reports from GermanyThe German media reported the results truthfully but did its best to discredit the referendum. Most articles quote one of the freaks in Kiev to provide the opposing opinion. Furthermore, the German media is emphasizing that nobody will recognize the referendum citing for example German FM Steinmeier (Steinmeier: Referendum ist nicht ernst zu nehmen). But it gets even worse. Bild sent a reporter into eastern Ukraine. He visited several polling stations with his friend "Vladimir" from Donetsk and "Vladimir" voted at least seven times to demonstrate how easy it was to manipulate the referendum (the article is behind a paywall but you can watch a short video about it here). Der Spiegel is following a similar approach. One Spiegel reporter, who was in Mariupol, stressed that there are no lists of registered voters and therefore everybody could vote multiple times. This was reemphasized in another Spiegel article today and has been highlighted by several German media outlets. Of course, nobody mentions the fact that Kiev had refused to hand out these lists. The Süddeutsche Zeitung published a summary of all the "evidence" refuting the validity of the referendum including this phony SBU recording:
"Was für eine Farce"

Mehrfachwähler, gefälschte Stimmzettel und Busladungen voller Separatisten, die aus anderen Landesteilen zur Abstimmung angekarrt wurden: Nach der Volksabstimmung über eine Abspaltung der Ostukraine werden Betrugsvorwürfe laut. Das ganze Referendum, so kommentieren viele, sei eine Farce.
Now the good news: The majority of the German population is fed up with the propaganda and understands the Russian point of view. Although most Germans do not necessarily support Russia in this conflict, they do not support the U.S. or the EU either. Two weeks ago, I wrote an article for Boiling Frogs Post about this issue, which deals with the struggle of the German people against the local oligarchy and AngloZionist influence:
As I mentioned earlier, the revived Monday demonstrations are a major threat to the German establishment and NATO's anti-Russian campaign: Германия - Немцы требуют дружбы с Россией
Another noteworthy development is the recent work of a German satirical television program, which is aired on ZDF (one of Europe's biggest public-service television broadcasters famous for its NATO propaganda): [русские субтитры] - Немецкое телевидение насмехается над Майданом - German TV laughed at Maidan
[русские субтитры] - Новый выпуск немецкого "Дурдома"! О России и Украине

C. reports from France: Articles in the French media about the referendum are without any surprise. They all say the same thing.   But there is something really interesting. Since das Bild's publication of the American mercenaries in Ukraine yesterday, the main-stream newspaper and radio have repercuted this information (le Monde, le Point, Le Figaro, Boursorama, radio Europe1, RTL,..)
"L'hebdomadaire allemand "Bild am Sonntag" révèle que des employés de la société américaine privée Blackwater combattent aux côtés de l'armée régulière ukrainienne.//Environ 400 mercenaires d'une //*entreprise militaire privée américaine, Blackwater, *//opèrent en Ukraine aux côtés des soldats et de la police ukrainienne dans des opérations contre les séparatistes pro-russes, affirme le journal allemand//Bild am Sonntag //ce dimanche 11 mai."
The alternative anglo-french blog gives an interesting analysis of the publication of the Bild the analysis seems true for the French press. Is it the beginning of the "sifflement du ballon qui se dégonfle" "wistle of the balloon that desinflates"? It should be noted that this information, that alternative media had already given sometimes ago, had never been given by the main stream media.

A. reports from Italy: our main newspapers are Corriere della Sera (the one read in foreing countries, it is like a whasington post), LaRepubblica (leftist, it is comparable with NYT and LeMonde) and Sole24ore (economic newspaper). Also there are IlGiornale and Libero (more rightist and, given they are aligned to Berlusconi, more free somehow) and LaStampa (Agnelli's property). 

Summary: as usual Italian media is totally aligned with propaganda. You can find more liberty in not very mainstream media (like the ones owned by Berlusconi - incredible but true). WHat i report below are the main articles dedicated today to Ucraine - which are basically all the same - and an interesting one (last one) by Il, Giornale special reporter with exclusive (but free) videos and audios contents.  My personal understanding is that our media stress a lot any facts that can be used, also if ambiguous, against Russia; putting then aside any neutral news. Also, it is clear to me concertation of western medias but this is not a big finding.   Italians do not trust anyone (neither each other) especially in this strange times with no values. With many doubts, they are basically aligned to US, in any case. Remember that Italy has a long story of getting into a war on the wrong side. Luckily (and quietly disappointing for other countries) we also have the costume to end wars on the right one. I hope this will also be the case.

Three examples:

Corriere della Sera: The news about Ukrains (may 12th, 11.40 am) are in the middle of the web page, not very visibile. The title is: Ucraina, il referendum chiuso con un plebiscito: 95% di sì Ucraina.  First part of the article try to report facts, without biasing them it seems.  Then follows the statement that for the west the referendum is illegal.  The article add that major of Svatove refuses to organize referendum.  Then it is finally written some considerations about the validity of the referendum. The news (like the civilian killed) are reported but not explained to a "normal reader". Also, it is stated that population is knonw about the non validity of referendum but that they do not care, they want to send a signal.

La Stampa: La Stampa, as usual, it is aligned to Corriere and Repubblic in Foreign policy (that is the foreign policy of a country with 300 US bases in its territory, more or a less).  It is interesting that the Ukraine news are above on the web site (LaStampa has more sophisticated readers, usually)

ILGiornale: More interesting ILGiornale, which is currently reporting situation FROM Ukraine having sent there journalist Fausto Biloslavo (by the means of crowfunding funded vy readers).  This article try to provide a more impartial point of view, just telling what Biloslavo sees. 

L. reports from Sweden: Unsurprisingly, there's nothing in Swedish media (Svenska Dagbladet - and Aftonbladet - on Blackwater mercs. They follow their old script and pretend the news doesn't exist; in exceptional cases, such a news that was left out in Sweden but makes it 'round the world usually comes back to the local media a few days later as a twisted one-liner (like "German tabloids have reported that...") with no significance. However, there are reports by Aftonbladet (they just translate a story by CNN) on shootings in Krasnoarmijsk with at least 2 dead.  On the other hand, Balkan media has noticed and reported the "Academy" news, quoting both "Welt am Sontag" and "The Voice of Russia" (they even reminded their readers on last week's news proliferated by German media about "dozens of US alphabet soup agencies' agents counseling Yatz's gubbermint).  The referendum, as well as every other news coming out of Ukraine, is reported on with a pro-Banderastan tone in each and every one of Swedish media (both papers and TV/radio). Balkan media (I visit mostly Serbian and Macedonian) are attempting to be more objective and report on activities transmitted by both sides, though majority of editorials and guest analyses are pro-Russian (coming out of the pens of people that've seen enough of the Empire's goodwill).

Indian Subcontinent

A. reports from India Most of the foreign-news reporting in India comes from the American wire services (AP, Reuters, AFP, etc.)  We all know what that is like.  Normally, this is balanced by excellent commentary by retired diplomats (from the Indian Foreign Service).  The IFS corps is deeply skeptical of Western hegemony.  Being diplomats, they have an institutional bias towards multi-polarity, collaboration, and negotiation. However, because of the Indian elections, the newspapers aren't running those commentaries as they otherwise would.  The election results are announced tomorrow (May 16th), so everyone is focused on that. Overall, India strongly supports Russia regarding the Ukraine.  India has vast experience with Western hypocrisy and deceit (Kashmir, Pakistan, Bangladesh, nuclear non-proliferation, etc.)  Also, Russia is India's closest strategic partner.  There is some wariness regarding the idea of referenda, in general ... Because India is a large, diverse country, India is very concerned about maintaining the unity of the country.  This is a red line for India.


S. reports from Kiev: Right now, I can’t say I read in details, I use it as comparative of « how propaganda » works, instead to find real headlines and infos. I confess it can be quite hard to read it, especially comments during Odessa tragedy.  Many online news are warning against Russian invasion every x days, especially Paruby who organized in Kiev some bomb alert exercises with citizens.  In many area of the city, you have plans and maps where to escape in case of Russian bombing…I start with Kyivpost which was remarkable during Kiev war but started to lose all credibility and became quickly a tool of propaganda. FYI, the Post is «  Independence, Community, Trust » . Interesting program.  I invite you to read how journalists are trying to prove how Odessa killing was impulsed by separatists with the blessing of police forces. I’m always impressed how they create stories from nothing and they only impulse "news" from the West news agency ( you can see this in the home page of the online Post):

as you can read in headlines, 

you can already have an idea of the editors.

The second online news I started to follow was the «  ukrainian pravda » truth…  In the home page, nothing about referendum and Donbass.. nothing visible. until you check down, small lines.

Pravda is quite concerned by «  suspected coup, attacks from Russians or terrorists again government or country ».

There is also an interesting approach of how Bandera is different than Nazis

Banderas think that story has been rewritten and want to clear it. And some useful « mental jam » of Ukr press

this is « hysteria » online news. just to remind you what is the lower level or propaganda…

The communist party has his online news

clearly anti bandera and nazis, 
patriot, calling for referendum and federalism but not «  pro-russian ». Journalists are quite involved against the Pravi Sektor and they take serious position for Odessa Event.

M. in Kiev reports:  Responses to the Lugansk/Donetsk referendum is quite predictable here in Kiev and in line with what I reported last time. Any publication that depends on print sales or has an identifiable location within Ukraine is towing the junta’s line. To not do so invites unwelcome consequences. The main English language source in Kiev, the Kyiv Post, publishes only once a week, on Friday, though they do have web updates during the week. I think this headline says it all…   Donetsk, Luhansk steam through another Soviet-sytle vote, so now what?  And this select quote…
“But the votes needed not to be tallied to know the result. It was clear from the beginning and made even more apparent throughout the day, as Soviet-style tactics of ballot stuffing, manipulation and intimidation were observed at polling stations across the regions: the referendums in the so-called “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk would pass.
Lastly, who do the people support?  That’s difficult. Throughout this whole tortured time, I’ve not seen a great outpouring of support for the junta here in Kiev. Nor have I seen the opposite. Sentiment in social media runs 90% for, but I don’t believe that’s representative of the population as a whole. There was a surprising strong turnout for Victory Day celebrations last week, although there was no official government support for it that I was aware of, beyond Yats bringing some flowers to the main celebration site.  No doubt people are tired of the whole thing.  And, preparations for the May 25 election is extremely subdued compared to past elections.
F. reports from Nigeria: Most media in this part of the world generally do not concern themselves with international news, but to keep their readers, viewers, listeners entertained they usually just copy and edit the BBC or Aljazeera story... which is pro-Empire and anti-Russian. The biggest newspapers in most of Anglo Africa and Nigeria are usually by Pentecostal/Evangelical Christians who are also Christian Zionists. So what you get is the anti-Russian view. The few big private media that will challenge that consensus line are the ones owned by the Muslim publishers. The electronic media owned by the governments usually kiss the boots of the West since their employers are all Western puppets, private electronic media follows the same demarcation as the big newspapers i.e Christian-owned pro-West, Muslim-owned pro-Russia. 
C. reports from New Zealand: The reaction in NZ was fairly muted from what I saw.  The usual party line - it's democracy so we can't condone it  There was one TV# broardcast from Donesk region which was a tad bizarre   The theme was there was intimidation by armed men. As we are being told that it's obvious from the visuals that it was self defense forces GUARDING polling stations. Then it moves on to "poll won't be credible" due to turnout being non representative, whilst showing huge crowds of people young through to very old waiting to vote. Next piece of "evidence" that polls couldn't be trusted was that voting was taking place without checks & balances - that ID were not being checked. Mean while on screen were people in a voting station showing ID & having details recorded.  The whole piece was surreal. The reporter was telling us one thing and the visuals were basically showing the exact opposite. Believe the reporter - don't believe your lying eyes !! A back room revolt ???
NZ media are pretty much following the UKUSA meme - Russia bad, we good.

Fairfax Media while still largely following the West's view do try & balance things They run "Stuff  They run all the main centers papers except Auckland's, our biggest cities (NZ Herald).
E. reports from Australia: It is clear that one valuable benefit with being involved in this enterprise is the number of voices and perspectives- to say nothing of facts- one would never, ever encounter save for the right now, stream of consciousness commentary coming from all the on-the-spot people from everywhere you are. Very cool.  Our Canada rep mentioned the allegiance of Canadians to the CBC. Here it is the ABC and for the consensus reality in Oz, what the ABC reports is gold plated.  But, they are schizo in their coverage.

Their 24 hour continuous NEWS features regular 15 minute updates spinning the expected anti-Russia "invasion" "aggression" Putin bad. Like one of the correspondents mentioned, they report "facts" but the spin creates confusion and lack of clarity. The drum beat suggestion is stoic Western powers enduring the irrational, unpredictable and disruptive influences on the "rebels" "separatists" "gunmen" being "directed" "supported" etc by Russia, by Putin, ambitious and unpredictable Putin intent on expanding his power and sphere of influence.

Then, next thing - between the headline report- will come an interview with a western journalist on the ground where the vote is on-going and we get a report that is fair, sympathetic and even a bit insightful about the reality as the people are living it. This schizo coverage keeps cycling - except when they switch to  the scheduled Radio National stream or the BBC for  the official BS line done with classier accents.  The two major newspaper organisations are Rupert Murdocks News Ltd. the Fairfax Group.

News Ltd flagship newspaper is The Australian. News Ltd also runs some regional newspapers around Australia (Aug 7, 2013 - News Corp Australia titles account for 59% of the sales of all daily newspapers, with sales of 17.3 million papers a week, making it Australia's ...) I won't report their take on anything. You know what they say.  I don't buy that POS (piece of shit) but checking their on-line version today there is NOTHING on anything going in Ukraine. Hard to believe.  The Fairfax papers are the other major newspaper operation here. Their website relegates the Ukraine story to a place of little prominence today BUT their coverage is written by Paul McGeough, the Chief Foreign Corespondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age [Melbourne, Australia]. He has distinguished himself covering Iraq and is a man with clarity and accuracy in his reports that often runs counter to the accepted and promoted editorial stance.  He has done a reasonable job here;
and he has been covering the unfolding events in Ukraine reasonably well;

All in all, here in Oz the general thrust is to maintain the ZioAngloAmerican line. But with reports like McGeough's, the situation is similar to the comments made by the Washington D.C. Subcor- that "facts" are beginning to corrupt the purity of their false narrative.   We are a long way from the Ukraine and Oz is an insular place. Our day in the sun will come (prayfully not!) when the USA calls on us to again (think Vietnam, Iraq) go "All the way with the USA" as they pivot to China with their new aircraft carrier the USS Australia.
Far East Asia:
P. reports from South Korea:  will try to give you a brief review on the reactions of the local press to the referendum that took place in Lugansk and Donetsk, but before that, I would like to remind you that in Korea, these international issues are not so important compared to local issues or issues with neighbor countries. Especially these days, the Korean press is mainly focused on:
- the Sewol ferry tragedy that occures 3 weeks ago (it is still one of the main topic on the news, since the incident surfaced a lot of society issues)
- the repetitive North-Korean "threats", with these days the investigation of so-called North Korean drones

The main information portal and search engine in Korea is called Naver (, so this is where I read some articles concerning the Ukrainian crisis.  From my perspective, some newspapers like Yonhap (Korean version) just relate the fact quite objectively with graphs, without being too much pro-West:

The other newspapers I regularly follow are:
It insists quite on the "illegimitacy" of the referendum by mainly quoting Jen Psaki and using sources from VOA (Voice of America), a pro-US newspaper mainly read by Korean-American citizens.
- The English version of Korea Times ( or Yonhap ( almost do not mention the Ukrainian referendum results

To conclude, in my opinion, even though South Korea is completely under American military occupation and often shows pro-Western opinions on international issues, in the case of the Ukrainian referendum, I think that the local press was less West-oriented (especially if I compare to the French one) or simply did mention much about it. It may be due a will from Korea to reinforce its relations with Russia like for example, last year in November, an agreement was sign between Russia and South Korea to facilitate VISA procedure (
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I hope that this has been an interesting exercise for you, the readers.  For me, it has been a first test and I already see that there is a lot to be improved on, so please be patient with us.  With time, I hope that we can do better.
A big THANK YOU! to all the correpsondents who sent in their reports (I hope that this will encourage the others for the next time) .

Kind regards and many thanks,

The Saker

PS: I am most definitely still looking for correspondents and translators (from any language into English) willing to help the blog.  If you are interested, please email me at vineyardsaker at gmail dot com.  Many thanks!