Kiev’s War on Freedom
by Stephen Lendman
Western-supported coup-appointed putschists have no legitimacy. Waging war on freedom reflects official Kiev policy.
Washington endorses it. Upcoming sham May 25 elections exclude democracy from ballot choices.
They’re at the same time as Kiev aggression continues. They’re attacking Eastern Ukrainians.
They’re murdering them in cold blood. So-called “anti-terrorist operation(s)” reflect state terrorism writ large.
Fascist regimes operate this way. They reemerged in Europe. Coup-appointed Kiev thugs represent its epicenter.
Upcoming elections are rigged. Democracy is pure fantasy. Results are largely pre-determined.
Washington wants illegitimacy approved. So do rogue EU partners. They endorsed fascism. They deplore freedom.
Illusion substitutes for reality. Hypocrisy for legitimacy. Duplicity for fundamental democratic rights.
What everyone deserves. What fascist ideologues prohibit. What Ukrainians face going forward.
Kiev escalated aggressive war. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashivich said:
“We state that the Kiev authorities are still not ready and do not want to fulfill the decisions agreed upon in the Geneva Declaration of April 17 and developed into a ‘road map,’ which was prepared and officially distributed by the Swiss chairmanship in the OSCE.”
It repudiated violence. Kiev “intensifie(d) (its) punitive operations against its own people…”
It’s waging lawless aggression. It’s “bombard(ing)” Eastern Ukrainian “cities and settlements.”
It’s attacking civilians with “heavy weapons.” It ludicrously claims Sunday’s sham elections represent democracy.
For all Ukrainians. Doing it fairly. Openly. Freely. Leaving no one out.
Under the barrel of a gun. During premeditated aggression. Excluding real choice.
Targeting freedom. Wanting it entirely destroyed. Wanting hardline/top-down ruthlessness replacing it.
Wanting what Ukrainians nationwide deplore. What they reject.
May 22 brought good news and bad. RT International’s stringer journalist Graham Phillips was freed.
He’s lucky to be alive. Things could have turned out otherwise. As long as he’s in Ukraine, he’s endangered. He’s vulnerable.
He was lawlessly abducted. He was held captive for 36 harrowing hours. He had no idea how they’d end.
Thankfully he’s free. But not safe. He’s OK, he said. He was intensively interrogated.
“All my work in order,” he said. “(N)o charges. (N)o deportation.”
(N)o one laid a hand on me in anger. Ukrainian authorities treated me fairly.”
At the same time, it was touch and go. Things might have turned out otherwise.
Throughout his ordeal, RT supported him. So did his colleagues and followers, he said.
“Thank you so much for all your support during this. Some moments were a little bit difficult, but I knew you guys were there supporting me and that meant the world,” he said.
He did so with genuine sincerity. His reporting was special. He did so in the line of fire. He endured clear and present dangers. They remain.
He represents the best of responsible journalism. So do other RT correspondents doing the same thing. And Russian colleagues.
War zone reporting is hazardous. It risks life and limb. Possible abduction, detention, and abuse exacerbate things.
Phillips was taking photos near Mariupol. He did it “dozens of times” before, he said. Without incident.
“I was questioning these soldiers at the checkpoint in Mariupol on what happened on that day, and I’ve done that a lot of times before,” he explained.
“And then they saw that I work for RT, and then things escalated after that. It got more serious this time.”
“They started phoning people and then I was detained. I had my things taken off of me and interrogated quite thoroughly.”
“I was with soldiers at this point at a block post and then the SBU came. This is the Ukrainian Secret Services (SBU).”
Two locals working with him were released. Not him. Around 9PM Monday, he was taken away.
It was after spending around nine hours at a military checkpoint. He was transferred to Zaporozhye at “gun point.”
He was sent to military barracks. “An SBU man made it quite clear that I was under detention,” he said.
Kiev authorities accused him of spying. Working for RT is a “black spot,” they said. He was viewed with “particular wariness,” he explained.
He understands Russian. He speaks it. Questions asked included:
“You are working for Russian TV?”
“What is your purpose?
“Are you a spy?”
At the same time, his interrogators were “all right,” he said. “I mean they fed me.”
“They looked after me, but I was held at gunpoint, and that was quite dramatic,” he stressed.
Early Wednesday, interrogation ended. He was taken to Britain’s Kiev embassy.
At the same time, its defense ministry press service said he was detained for “filming facilities which are forbidden from being filmed.”
Phony charges claim anything. Phillips was lucky. Things could have gotten serious.
He could have been detained longterm. He could have been tortured.
He could have faced kangaroo court proceedings. He could have been imprisoned. He could have been killed.
Russian LifeNews journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko remain detained. They’re held incommunicado.
False charges claim they transported weapons. Others said they aided and abetted terrorists. They’re “members of terrorist groups.”
They’re journalists. They’re not terrorists. They aided no one. They’re not combatants. They were doing their job.
Challenging captors under duress isn’t easy. Or refuting their lies.
On May 22, coup-appointed Kiev national security/defense council head Andriy Parubiy said investigating Sidyakin and Saichenkro continues.
It’s up to “investigator(s) to decide whether to hand them over to the Russian side.”
Putin denounced their detention. “It’s absolutely unacceptable, and, of course, the question arises over the legitimacy of all political procedures in Ukraine,” he said.
He called accusing them of carrying portable air defense system weapons “nonsense.”
Russia’s lower house State Duma passed a statement. It demanded Kiev release both journalists straightaway.
Russia’s upper house Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matvienko said:
“We will succeed in freeing our two journalists and guarantee the freedom of their activities in Ukraine, including during large upcoming internal political events in Ukraine – the presidential election.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed outrage over Kiev denying OSCE representatives permission to visit both journalists. A separate statement said:
“This kind of lawlessness directed against Russian journalists, which has become a regular practice, confirms once again that the Ukrainian side is ignoring basic norms of democracy, in particular, freedom of speech.”
Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Ukraine’s military and security services of “dangerously interfering with press freedom.”
It called for immediately releasing Russian journalists. Deputy Europe and Central Asia director Rachel Denber said:
“We’re deeply worried about the fate and whereabout of (captive) journalists. Detaining (them) and then failing to provide information on what’s happening to them or to respect their due process rights are serious violations that have to end.”
“Failure to provide information on the whereabouts and fate of anyone deprived of their liberty by agents of the state, or those acting with its acquiescence, may constitute an enforced disappearance.” she added.
Acting extrajudicially reflects police state ruthlessness. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki endorses the worst of its dark side.
She supports Kiev lies about Saichenko and Sidyakin supporting terrorism. She claims legitimate journalists doing their job responsibly aren’t what they say they are.
She accepted Kiev Big Lies as facts. She did so at face value. She dodged questions about their veracity.
A next day follow-up statement softened too little to matter. She called on Ukrainian authorities to investigate what happened.
She claimed no further updates on what’s ongoing. She said nothing about refuting irresponsible charges. Effectively she endorsed them.
Separately, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich accused OSCE’s monitoring mission of suppressing vital information.
Inconvenient truths are buried, he said. Outright censorship, he claimed.
Facts are twisted to fit coup-appointed Kiev putschists’ policies.
“We believe that the mission should work with citizens’ direct appeals, especially considering that the tasks of interacting with civil society and monitoring human rights violations are directly sealed in the mission’s mandate,” Lukashevich said.
Ukrainian crisis conditions remain far from resolved. Ongoing conflict continues. It rages out-of-control.
It violates core rule of law principles. It enjoys full Western support. It bears repeating.
It targets Ukrainian freedom. It wants it destroyed altogether. It wants hardline fascist rule replacing it.
It’s up for grabs how things will end. Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters are going all-out for fundamental rights everyone deserves.
Their struggle is ours. They deserve universal support.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.