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NY Times vs RT at Kramatorsk: Mob of militants or local citizens?

12:04 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Three soldiers guard a cement roadblock.

What’s happening in Ukraine? Depends on which reporters you ask.

New York Times: ”Ukraine Military Clashes With Pro-Russia Militants in East

RT: “Those who don’t lay arms, will be destroyed – Ukrainian military op commander

The Ukraine military finally swung into action and took over a military airbase in eastern Ukraine near Kramatorsk. RT chose to emphasize a statement by the general leading the operation:

A Ukrainian general leading the operation against protesters in the east of the country has warned that activists who refuse to lay down their arms will be ‘destroyed.’

‘They must be warned that if they do not lay down their arms, they will be destroyed,’ General Vasily Krutov, first deputy head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) told reporters, as cited by AFP.

While NYT preferred a more traditional gung ho “storming” lead:

The Ukrainian military stormed an airport 25 miles north of this city on Tuesday, beginning what the president called a military operation to confront pro-Russian militants in the eastern part of the country.

RT: “protesters,” “activists”
NYT: “pro-Russian militants”

Both publications also reported on a confrontation between Krutov and a crowd at the base:


At length the commander of the Ukranian operation, Gen. Vasily Krutov, approached the crowd of about 500 gathered behind a barbed wire fence to urge the militants to disperse, to little or no effect. As he was walking away he was roughed up, people in the crowd said, shoved hard enough that his hat fell off.

The situation, described by local reporters as a ‘mob scene,’ persisted throughout the afternoon …


On Tuesday evening, Krutov, who personally supervised the operation in Kramatorsk, appeared before local residents gathered on the airfield. According to RIA Novosti, the SBU [Ukrainian Security Service] official attempted to explain to them that the military had arrived at the site to protect them from ‘terrorists.’ However, the crowd responded shouting they were ‘peaceful citizens.’ The activists then pushed Krutov several times, but were stopped by special forces troops who fired warning shots into the air.

NYT: It’s a “mob scene,” and Krutov simply wants “militants” to disperse, but is “roughed up” and victimized, shoved so hard “his hat fell off.” The reporter reports all of this second-hand, he apparently wasn’t there.
RT: Tells what the crowd said, that they are “peaceful citizens” and not “terrorists.” Apparently a first-hand account.


According to activists, four people were killed and two others injured on Tuesday as troops seized an airfield in the city of Kramatorsk, which had earlier been controlled by protesters.


Russian news media, citing members of the armed opposition to Kiev, reported that several members of a pro-Russian militia had been injured at the airfield in firefights with the Ukrainian military. Later, Russian news media reported four fatalities in the vicinity of the airport.

RT: Straightforward: says four people were killed and two injured, “according to activists.”

NYT: Buries the lead (four people allegedly killed), and apparently the reporter decided not to ask at the scene about deaths and injuries. Instead he chose to watch or read the Russian news media (that most NYT readers, he knows, will consider unreliable), which cited “members of the armed opposition to Kiev.”

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New big Ukraine lie: “Russia amassing troops at the border!!”

1:32 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

First it was “Russia invades Crimea!!” and now it’s “Russia amassing troops at Ukraine border!!” No evidence for either, but if you question the neo-Stalinist line you will be ridiculed as a Putinbot and/or a gullible fool for Soviet, I mean Russian, propaganda.

A lego soldier minifig

Meanwhile in Russia, on the Ukrainian border …

Nonetheless, let’s look at what facts there are. Here’s Britain’s Telegraph, a vociferously right-wing publication, but even they come up empty on Russian troops on the border:

But the Russian invasion force – if it is here – is very well camouflaged. As the fog lifted, murky shapes were revealed as trees, houses and old Lada cars. No tanks emerged from the gloom, no suspicious flights of helicopters passed overhead, and no green painted trucks rumbled down the roads.

In a 200 mile trip along the border region, the only Russian armour on display in this flat landscape was of a much older vintage, and stood on plinths in town squares.

The U.S.-empire-friendly New York Times also tried to find a build up and couldn’t:

But in and around Belgorod, which sits a scant 40 miles from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city and a likely target in case of an invasion, any increased military presence is largely kept out of the public eye. In a region that appears far from being on the brink of war, life continues as normal here, and many residents [dismiss] reports of a buildup as rumors set to discredit Russia.

… ‘Show me the tanks first, show me anything here that proves all this, and then we can talk about an invasion,’ said Pyotr Kudryavtsev, a retiree walking away from the tracks near the Vesyolaya Lopan station south of Belgorod, where scores of military vehicles were filmed being unloaded on March 12. Mr. Kudryavtsev, like other locals interviewed, denied this, saying that the heavy tracks in the mud close to the rails belonged to construction vehicles.

And that “scores of military vehicles” in the video sprung on the local villager? A lie. The video shows six trucks, two jeeps and a half-dozen listless troops.

Finally, here is the other leader of the pro-war troops, the Wall Street Journal, saying in so many words that the U.S. doesn’t have a single photo showing a build up of troops near the Ukraine border:

Military officials said [Russian] camouflaging has further complicated U.S. efforts to assess the size and scope of the military forces being put in place.

‘They have moved into concealed positions,’ said a senior military official.

The official said concealment could be aimed at obscuring images taken by American spy satellites.

Once again, where are the Russian troops massed on the Ukraine border? 50,000 men and the state-of-the-art U.S. spy satellites can’t provide the public a single image? If they had one I’m sure they’d somehow manage to leak it and let us see it.

[See also the evidence provided in Comments 6 and 7 below. Thanks for reminding me, tuezday.]

Yeah, I know, it would be nice to ignore the media’s surreal Ukraine anti-reality show as just meaningless ranting. The ‘powers that be’ can’t really be trumping a mush of fact-free b.s. into a new cold war, can they? But every day the mainstream media in stunning unity keeps on shouting through its megaphone about the big BIG threat that Russia is to Ukraine and, heck, all of Eastern Europe! And I’m pretty darn sure their readers and viewers are tired of it, so they aren’t demanding this obsessive Russia-phobic coverage …

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Richmond Fed chief nails Geithner for insider trading, media ignores story

6:13 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

In the summer of 2007, as storm clouds gathered over the world’s financial system, then-New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner allegedly informed the Bank of America and other banks about the possibility the U.S. central bank would lower one of its critical interest rates, according to a senior Fed official.

Jeffrey Lacker, the head of the Richmond Fed, originally raised the allegation during a Fed conference call in August 2007, and he stuck to his 5-year-old claim against the current U.S. treasury secretary in a statement provided to Reuters on Friday.

But of course the above is a nine-day-old story and no one important has raised a peep about Geithner’s ‘crime’. Looking at the mainstream media, well … Ryan Chittum of the Columbia Journalism Review observes incredulously (link in original):

The New York Times gives this big story perfunctory coverage, downplays it as a “tiff” in the headline, and stuffs it inside the paper. The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and Bloomberg haven’t even touched the story.

I mean, what? You have a Fed president accusing the outgoing Treasury Secretary—one loudly criticized for his closeness to Wall Street—of giving bankers critical inside information, and you’re not going to even flag that?

Chittum cites Zero Hedge as the first to notice the accusation in just disclosed Fed committee minutes, and acknowledges that only Zero Hedge has actually advanced the story to what would seem more red-handed criminality by numerous banking executives, in that those tipped by Geithner acted on his inside information. Chittum writes that Zero Hedge noticed the Lacker takedown of Geithner “came at about 6:15 p.m. on August 16, four hours after stocks had jumped a stunning 4 percent in the span of sixty minutes.” He then quotes Zero Hedge:

Many shorts ended up being carted out of the front door that day, unsure what has just happened. Sure enough, the next day at 8:00 am the Fed did what it had decided the previously it would do, and announce the 50 bps cut to the discount rate to fed funds rate spread…

…the S&P futures moved from a low of 1320 (and 1330 at the 2:00 pm moment that the market saw a mysterious “invisible hand” pushing it higher), all the way to well over 1410 the next day: an unprecedented 90 ES point move in a few hours!

Zero Hedge concludes by crushing all hope with the following observation:

Maybe there is a reason why the Fed has a 5 year delay in disclosing full transcripts. Because something tells us the statute of limitations on pursuing Fed inside information disclosure charges against the soon to be ex-Treasury Secretary will have just expired.

Props to RT’s Max Keiser for his show, which detailed the criminality. Of course, as Max said, Geithner’s acts were actually ‘just’ another ripping apart of the social contract and not criminality, because by design the Statute of Limitations has apparently expired. Damn, post-democracy sucks.

P.S. Here’s the August 16, 2007 conference call transcript:

GEITHNER: Although (the banks) had lots of clarification about what is permitted now under current policies at the discount window, they obviously don’t have any idea that we’re contemplating a change in policy or what might be possible and what we might say or not say going forward…

MR. LACKER. Vice Chairman Geithner, did you say that they are unaware of what we’re
considering or what we might be doing with the discount rate?


MR. LACKER. Vice Chairman Geithner, I spoke with Ken Lewis, President and CEO of
Bank of America, this afternoon, and he said that he appreciated what Tim Geithner was arranging by way of changes in the discount facility. So my information is different from that.

CHAIRMAN BERNANKE. Okay. Thank you. Go ahead, Vice Chairman Geithner.

VICE CHAIRMAN GEITHNER. Well, I cannot speak for Ken Lewis, but I think they have sought to see whether they could understand a little more clearly the scope of their rights and our current policy with respect to the window. The only thing I’ve done is to try to help them understand—and I’m sure that’s been true across the System—what the scope of that is because these people generally don’t use the window and they don’t really understand in some sense what it’s about.