Archive for March, 2014

The Iraqi resistance is justified, prosecute the criminals [Workers World]

Posted in Belgium, DU Depleted Uranium weapons, Genocide, George W. Bush, Iran, Iraq, Pentagon, Sanctions as weapon of war, Tony Blair, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on March 31, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By John Catalinotto on March 25, 2014

Workers World newspaper publishes below the statement of the Spanish Campaign Against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI), which summarizes the damages to Iraq caused by aggressive war and occupation on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the U.S.-British invasion on March 19, 2003, and raises demands for prosecution of the responsible war criminals and for reparations for the victims. WW notes that CEOSI is one of the organizers of the April 16-17 commission set for Brussels, Belgium, to make legal demands on the war criminals, mostly from the U.S. and Britain, whose crimes caused so much death and destruction in Iraq.

The illegal war and occupation of Iraq, launched by the international coalition led by the U.S. and Britain, have claimed the lives of nearly two million Iraqis; it has left five million refugees inside and outside Iraqi borders, made more than one million widows and five million orphans [1]. The occupying forces have often used weapons banned by International Conventions, such as depleted uranium ammunition, agent orange and white phosphorus [2]. The planners and the executors of what the international law defines as a crime against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity remain unpunished.

After the Iraqi national resistance forced the U.S. military to withdraw its troops, tens of thousands of advisors, contractors — especially North Americans — and security personnel remain in the country to protect the interests of the United States. Foreign elements have not abandoned their goal of controlling the economic resources of the country, since they face a government unable to guarantee its population’s most basic services.

In addition, various foreign and regional powers, such as the pro-Iranian forces, are fighting each other to gain influence and dominate Iraq using their militias against the Iraqi people.

The political process and the regime imposed are part of the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq. The policy of the regime led by Nuri al-Maliki is based on revenge, totalitarianism and sectarian division; it’s a regime that promotes and encourages acts of terrorism against civilians to prevent Iraq from regaining its sovereignty after decades of sanctions, war and occupation. According to the most conservative data, the death toll caused by the violence in the past year is around 8,000 [3]. To this number at least 169 executions carried out without the standard legal guarantees must be added. Iraq ranks third in the use of death penalty after China and Iran. [4]

At the beginning of 2011, the different peaceful protests that began to struggle [and] fight against the occupation — involving trade unions, students, human rights activists, etc.,— unified their efforts in what was called the February 25th Movement [5] and reached a national level.

This peaceful resistance was suppressed by the state and intentionally ignored by the mainstream media, which largely led to its disappearance. However, this long journey of struggle and growing popular discontent has been the root of the popular revolution that we are witnessing today in Iraq.

Since late 2012, these demonstrations and popular and peaceful sit-ins have resumed in some western provinces; they have been spread to the south and have reached the capital, Baghdad. [6] Despite the government nonstop attempts to put an end to the protests, they have continued till now, especially in central and west Iraqi provinces, where people have been suffering persecution and the regime’s sectarian policies. There are many reasons for the people to take [to] the streets: corruption, sectarianism, unemployment, lack of access to basic services, illegal arrests, etc., which derive from the foreign occupation and from a class rule that triggers hatred, division, power struggles and the plundering of the national resources. In 2011, the reasons for the popular revolution were crystal clear in the mottos demanding the withdrawal of the U.S. troops and the removal of the regime.

For more than two months now, the Maliki government has been waging a war against the Iraqi people in several provinces in an attempt to end the popular revolution. Although the protests have been totally peaceful, Maliki has accused the population of these (majority Sunni) areas of being part of or supporting the terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. [7] Without any hesitation, the government continues bombing the civilians, while receiving military aid from the U.S., Russia and Iran. The bombing has caused numerous deaths and new waves of refugees. [8] In response to the government attacks, the population has organized itself into military councils to protect its territory and fight for what all Iraqis — from north to south — have demanded since the beginning of the occupation: prosperity, unity and national sovereignty. [9]

In these critical times to Iraq, CEOSI would like to express its full support for the Iraqi popular revolution — armed and peaceful — and we state that the military councils have been created for self-defense due to the total absence of legal protection and contempt for the law in Iraq; a situation where sectarian and partisan militias run the country and the government, far from ensuring the safety of citizens, exercises state terrorism, so that

We demand:

1. That the aspirations of the Iraqi people’s revolution are acknowledged, as well as the Iraqi right to decide about their own destiny, without any interference after more than 25 years of wars, sanctions, and a new war and illegal occupation.

2. That the International Criminal Court fulfills its legal obligation to investigate and prosecute every single individual or group responsible for committing the war crimes, the crimes against peace and the crimes against humanity that were committed in Iraq from 2003 onwards.

The international body of justice must ensure that the top military, civil and political leaders, from all those countries that led, supported or carried out the invasion and occupation of Iraq, are accountable for their lies and for the policies that led them to commit these crimes against Iraq and its people. In this regard, the Iraq Commission in the framework of the 18th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers there will be held in Brussels on April 16 and 17. The aim of this commission is to analyze and to implement legal measures that will prevent the criminals from going unpunished.

The International Criminal Court must comply with international law, establish war compensations and require them to be paid, both to civilian victims and to the Iraqi state, whose sovereignty and independence have been abused by acts contrary to the international law currently in force.

The United Nations must take an active and supportive role to aid those national courts that can take legal procedures against those accountable for the crimes committed against a sovereign nation. At this moment, in which the Spanish government has led the way to at least a minimum application of the Law of Universal Jurisdiction, an active defense of justice is particularly important…

Excerpted; full article (w/footnotes) link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/03/25/iraqi-resistance-justified-prosecute-criminals/

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Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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China Voice: Huawei spying betrays blatant U.S. hypocrisy [Xinhua]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-bashing, Internet Global Hegemony, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on March 30, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, March 26 (Xinhua) — Just as a Chinese saying tells of a thief who yells “Stop the thief!”, the United States made a complete fool of itself through years of spying on Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

The New York Times and Germany’s Der Spiegel reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) had tapped Huawei’s email archive, communications between top company officials, and even the secret source code of some of its products.

The irony lies in that Huawei is the very company that the U.S. has denied access to its domestic market for years, claiming that Huawei is a spy for China and a threat to U.S. national security, even though prolonged investigations and hearings have yielded no evidence to substantiate the claims.

Almost invariably, the U.S. has played victim to cyber attacks while blaming China and Chinese enterprises as attackers. The latest scandal shows Washington’s hypocrisy, double standards, and its true face — it might as well be the biggest hacker in the world.

The U.S. is being continually exposed for infiltrating global companies including Google, Apple and Cisco for intelligence.

China’s Foreign Ministry has expressed deep concern and demanded the U.S. explain itself and stop such acts, after news reports of the NSA spying on Huawei, former Chinese leaders, ministries and banks.

The explanation provided thus far is a far cry from trustworthy. The hackneyed old tune is being played anew: national security interests. Such cliches are hardly convincing, instead, they are causing more doubts and questions about the real motive.

Was the NSA trying to impeding Huawei’s growth as a global telecom powerhouse? Even though the U.S. government claim the information it collected will not be passed to Huawei’s rivals, there are no grounds for believing them. Also, it remains to be seen whether reports of Huawei being spied upon will affect its reputation and business globally.

The spying also tried to establish whether the company has any links with China’s military. Was Huawei a sort of “spring board” to other nations that use the company’s products? The stealth of the U.S. is stirring global concerns over cyber security, but at the same time, explicitly exposing the United States’ hypocrisy.

The high moral ground from where the U.S. taunts the rest of the world will crumble beneath its feet, if it fails to convince others it practices what it preaches.

Editor: Zhu Ningzhu

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-03/26/c_133215666.htm

News Analysis: Chances of new talks between Philippine government and communist rebels nil [Xinhua]

Posted in Netherlands, Norway, Philippines on March 30, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Alito L. Malinao

MANILA, March 24 (Xinhua) — While the Philippine government is set to sign a peace accord with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on March 27, the chances of concluding a similar peace deal with the Communist Party of the Philippines ( CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), have become nil.

The refusal of the government to release the two captured leaders of the CPP-NPA, Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma, as demanded by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) , has made the resumption of the talks almost impossible.

The NDFP, the political arm of the CPP-NPA, has called on the government to release the two, saying that they are NDFP consultants and are entitled to immunity from arrest.

Tiamzon, who is chairman of both the CPP and the NPA, and his wife, the CPP secretary general, were captured by the Philippine military on Saturday in a remote village in Cebu province in central Philippines along with five top aides…

…But exiled CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison said that the arrests would not cripple the revolutionary movement in the Philippines “because the roots of the armed revolution remained.”

Sison, now an NDFP consultant and based in Utrecht in the Netherlands, charged that Aquino “is more interested in imprisoning a few NDFP consultants and prejudicing the peace negotiations by violating existing agreements like the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

He said that if the Aquino administration no longer respected the JASIG, signed by the NDFP and the government, “then Mr. Aquino becomes responsible for killing the peace negotiations.”

When he assumed the presidency in 2010, President Benigno Aquino III vowed to work out a peace agreement with the MILF and the CPP-NPA.

But it seems that he is more successful in cooling the Muslim rebellion than the communist insurgency in the country…

…The NDFP has been engaged in peace negotiations with the government for the past 27 years, but the talks have not moved beyond minor agreements.

Negotiators of the government and the NDFP held their last meeting in Norway in February 2011 when they failed to reach an agreement particularly on issues over the release of detained communist rebels and long ceasefire.

In May last year, the government peace panel announced the termination of the peace negotiation and blamed on the NDFP’s preconditions and demands.

According to the military, the guerrillas of the NPA have dwindled to about 4,000 from more than 26,000 in the late 1980s. But NPA debunked this claim, saying that their presence is felt in almost all regions in the country.

As if to prove its strength, the NPA has lately staged coordinated attacks and ambuscades against government troops, particularly in the rural areas.

Editor: Luan

Excerpted; full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2014-03/24/c_133209999.htm

Philippine government attacks Communist Party, arrests two leaders [Workers World]

Posted in Anti-communism, Philippines on March 30, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Workers World staff on March 27, 2014

The following statement was issued on March 23 by the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms the reported arrest yesterday of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria. Tiamzon and Austria are both senior cadres of the CPP Central Committee and consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in peace negotiations with the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH).

At the time of their arrest, both Tiamzon and Austria were performing tasks and duties assigned to them by the CPP and the NDFP. Up to recently, both were busy conducting first-hand investigation into the conditions of the working-class people in the Visayas region whose lives were devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and who continue to suffer from the Aquino [Philippine President Benigno Aquino III] regime’s anti-people, crony-controlled, corrupt and grossly inept response to the calamity…

…The CPP condemns the Aquino regime and its armed forces for filing a slew of trumped-up criminal charges against Tiamzon and Austria. The CPP condemns the media campaign being conducted by Malacañang [Palace, residence and workplace of the president of the Philippines] and the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] to demonize Tiamzon and Austria by depicting them as common criminals.

Such effort by the Aquino regime seeks to draw away attention from the public flak it is getting for its lies, corruption and ineptness, especially at the heels of its monumental failures in addressing the urgent demands of the people of the Visayas devastated by the supertyphoon. The Aquino regime is increasingly isolated from the people because of its contempt and disregard for the socio-economic conditions of millions of workers and peasants who suffer from its wrong economic policies that prioritize the interests of its cronies and its foreign big-business bosses…

…The CPP, together with the workers, peasants and downtrodden masses and all their revolutionary forces, deplore the arrest of Tiamzon and Austria. Their arrest forms part of the general trend of repression under the Aquino regime. Daily, the landlord Aquino seeks to perpetuate the oppressive and exploitative system by unleashing his attack dogs, armed and supported with U.S. military financing, against the peasant masses and workers, who stand up for their rights and voice their demands.

While the wisdom and guidance of individual leaders is important, the advance of the revolutionary struggle depends more on the collective wisdom, determination and organization of the revolutionary masses. The arrest of Tiamzon and Austria will not stop the main trend of advance of the people’s war.

It is the Aquino regime’s puppetry, corruption, brutality and mendacity that teach the Filipino people about the need to wage revolutionary resistance. They are thus ever determined to advance along the path of widespread mass struggles and revolutionary armed resistance in order to achieve national and social liberation.

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/03/27/philippine-government-attacks-communist-party-arrests-two-leaders/

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Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

“We Have Found the Enemy and He Is Us” – NYT’s C.J. Chivers’ schizophrenic war propaganda reflects US foreign policy [Like the Dew / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Afghanistan, Corporate Media Critique, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Media cover-up, Pentagon, Saudi Arabia, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Syria, US imperialism, USA on March 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by John Hickman | Sep 4, 2012

York Times war correspondent C.J. Chivers isn’t covering the War in Syria in the same way that he covered the War in Afghanistan…now the words he uses to identify…Sunni Islamists are strikingly different.

Consider a May 20, 2009 article, “Arms Sent by U.S. May Be Ending Up in Taliban Hands,” in which Chivers details the evidence that ammunition given by the U.S. military to the Afghan military ended up in the hands of the enemy. Who are the enemy? Although he labels their equipment as “Taliban,” the combatants themselves are identified as “insurgents” 13 times. Indeed, “insurgents” is the first word in the piece. Then in an October 27, 2011 article, “Mao’s Rocket’s [sic] and the Eastern Afghan Border War, Part II,” Chivers identifies Sunni Islamists attacking American bases in Afghanistan with rockets as “guerrillas” 5 times, as “insurgents” 3 times, and as “jihadists” twice.

Compare those labels with the way Sunni Islamists are identified in the recent news stories Chivers has written about Syria. An August 20, 2012 article, “Life With Syria’s Rebels in an Cold and Cunning War,” describes operations by Sunni Islamists that includes an attack with a truck bomb. Who are they? He identifies them as “fighters” twice and once each as “men,” “armed men,” and “armed rebels.” An August 29, 2012 article, “Many Hands Patch Together Rebel Arsenal,” appearing above the fold, describes them as “rebels” 7 times and as “fighters” 3 times. He does not describe them as “insurgents” and most definitely not as “jihadists.” The closest that Chivers dares approach drawing the forbidden parallel is in writing that their weapons “resemble those seen in the insurgencies fought against Western forces by Iraqis, or against Israelis by Palestinians.” Apparently it is the responsibility of the reader to recall that said Iraqis and Palestinians were also Sunni Islamists.

Let’s recap. Sunni Islamists using improvised weapons and munitions to attack the government of Afghanistan are “insurgents,” “guerrillas” or “jihadists,” while the Sunni Islamists using improvised weapons and munitions to attack the government of Syria are “rebels” or “fighters.” Mind you Chivers is hardly alone in consistently assigning labels with different connotations to the same violent fanatics [sic] in one ongoing war than in another. Reporters for NPR, Fox News and everything in between appear to be obeying that same labeling norm, although few seem quite as fixated on things that go boom.

Although it is tempting to condemn reporters for using patently loaded language, it is important to remember that they work for U.S. news organizations busy competing with one another to produce news that is patriotic, at least in the dumbed down sense of that sentiment: support for U.S. foreign policy when it on the warpath. We could condemn U.S. news organizations for abandoning journalistic neutrality but we would benefit more by asking how it is that we arrived at this rather schizophrenic moment in U.S. foreign policy? How is it that we find ourselves defending the government of Afghanistan from Sunni Islamists but supporting them against the government of Syria?

Part of the answer is that geopolitics makes for strange bedfellows. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab monarchies are financing the Sunni Islamist movements across the region. Overthrowing the Baathist or secular Arab nationalist government of Syria, which draws much of its support from the country’s Shi’a, Druze and Christian minorities, would deprive Iran of an important ally in the region. Of course that leaves unanswered the question of why the U.S. treats Saudi Arabia as an ally and Iran as an enemy.

Another part of the answer is that the U.S. did not win the War in Iraq…

Excerpted; full article link: http://likethedew.com/2012/09/04/we-have-found-the-enemy-and-he-is-us/

U.S. bombing of Serbia, after 15 years [Workers World]

Posted in Fascism, GDR / East Germany, Germany, International Action Center, Kosovo, NATO, Pentagon, Serbia, UNSC, Wall Street, Yugoslavia - former FRY on March 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 25, 2014

by Sara Flounders

The following statement was issued March 24 by the International Action Center in advance of a demonstration outside the United Nations in New York set for 5 p.m. on the same day. It was 15 years ago on this day that the United States began bombing Serbia in its quest to break up Yugoslavia and further expand NATO. The demonstration will demand recognition of Kosovo as part of Serbia and U.S./NATO hands off the Balkans, Ukraine and Russia.

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On the 15th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Serbia, and as new, even more ominous dangers arise in Ukraine and Crimea, it is important to remember history.

Wall Street dominates peoples through the destructive strategy of “divide and rule.” In the Balkans and in Eastern Europe this has meant policies aimed at breaking solidarity among different nationalities and religions by imposing sanctions and economic destabilization and by funding right-wing and fascist organizations and granting immediate recognition to their regimes.

It was U.S. and European Union criminal policy that broke the Yugoslav Federation into six unstable, impoverished micro-states. They executed this crime by bombing Bosnia in 1994 and carrying out a 78-day bombing in 1999 of Serbia, especially the Serbian province of Kosovo. These wars aimed at expanding the U.S.-commanded NATO alliance into the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics.

Despite U.S. and German commitments to the former Soviet Union not to expand NATO one inch further if Soviet troops were withdrawn from East Germany, NATO has now expanded to 12 countries in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics.

After the massive destruction of schools, hospitals, industries and communication in Yugoslavia in 1999, Washington still agreed, in the imposed ceasefire and in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, that Kosovo is historically part of Serbia and would remain an autonomous part of sovereign Serbia, although under U.S./NATO occupation and administration. In 2008, in violation of this signed U.N. agreement, the U.S. recognized the puppet government it had set up and that government’s illegal declaration of independence for Kosovo. The overwhelming majority of the people of Serbia of all nationalities opposed this theft of Kosovo by NATO. They continue to raise the slogan: “Kosovo is Serbia.”

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/03/25/u-s-bombing-serbia-15-years/

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Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

“Ukraine and Yugoslavia” by Diane Johnstone [counterpunch]

Posted in Corporate Media Critique, Croatia, Media cover-up, NATO, Pentagon, Russia, State Department, Ukraine, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Yugoslavia - former FRY on March 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 21, 2014

by DIANA JOHNSTONE

“I sometimes get the feeling that somewhere across that huge puddle, in America, people sit in a lab and conduct experiments, as if with rats, without actually understanding the consequences of what they are doing.”

– Vladimir Putin, 4 March 2014

Paris.

Five years ago, I wrote a paper for a Belgrade conference commemorating the tenth anniversary of the start of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. In that paper I stressed that the disintegration of Yugoslavia had been used as an experimental laboratory to perfect various techniques that would subsequently be used in so-called “color revolutions” or other “regime change” operations directed against leaders considered undesirable by the United States government.

At that time, I specifically pointed to the similarities between the Krajina region of former Yugoslavia and Ukraine. Here is what I wrote at the time:

[‘…]Where did the wars of Yugoslav disintegration break out most violently? In a region called the Krajina. Krajina means borderland. So does Ukraine – it is a variant of the same Slavic root. Both Krajina and Ukraine are borderlands between Catholic Christians in the West and Orthodox Christians in the East. The population is divided between those in the East who want to remain tied to Russia, and those in the West who are drawn toward Catholic lands. But in Ukraine as a whole, polls show that some seventy percent of the population is against joining NATO. Yet the US and its satellites keep speaking of Ukraine’s “right” to join NATO. Nobody’s right not to join NATO is ever mentioned.

The condition for Ukraine to join NATO would be the expulsion of foreign military bases from Ukrainian territory. That would mean expelling Russia from its historic naval base at Sebastopol, essential for Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Sebastopol is on the Crimean peninsula, inhabited by patriotic Russians, which was only made an administrative part of Ukraine in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian.

Rather the way Tito, a Croat, gave almost the whole Adriatic coastline of Yugoslavia to Croatia, and generally enforced administrative borders detrimental to the Serbs.

As the same causes may have the same effects, US insistence on “liberating” Ukraine from Russian influence may have the same effect as the West’s insistence on “liberating” the Catholic Croats from the Orthodox Serbs. That effect is war. But instead of a small war, against the Serbs, who had neither the means nor even the will to fight the West (since they largely thought they were part of it), a war in Ukraine would mean a war with Russia. A nuclear superpower. And one that will not stand idly by while the United States continues to move its fleet and its air bases to the edges of Russian territory, both in the Black Sea and in the Baltic, on land, sea and air.

Every day, the United States is busy expanding NATO, training forces, building bases, making deals. This goes on constantly but is scarcely reported by the media. The citizens of NATO countries have no idea what they are being led into. (…)

War was easy when it meant the destruction of a helpless and harmless Serbia, with no casualties among the NATO aggressors. But war with Russia – a fierce superpower with a nuclear arsenal – would not be so much fun.[..’]

So, now here we are five years later, and I am about to attend another commemoration in Belgrade, this time of the fifteenth anniversary of the start of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. And this time, I really have nothing to say. I have already said it, over and over. Others are saying similar things, with more authority, from Professor Stephen Cohen to Paul Craig Roberts. Many of us have warned against the dangerous folly of seeking endlessly to provoke Russia by enlisting her neighbors in a military alliance whose enemy could only be… Russia. Of all Russia’s neighbors, none is more organically linked to Russia by language, history, geopolitical reality, religion and powerful emotions. The U.S. Undersecretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Victoria Nuland, has openly boasted that the United States has spent five billion dollars to gain influence in Ukraine – in reality, in order to draw Ukraine away from Russia and into the U.S. military alliance. It is now no secret that Ms Nuland intrigued even against America’s European allies – who had a less brutal compromise in mind – in order to replace the elected President with the American protégé she calls “Yats”, who indeed was soon installed in a far right government resulting from violent actions by one of the very few violent fascist movements still surviving in Europe.

True, Western media do not report all the facts at their disposal. But the internet is there, and the facts are on the internet. And despite all this, European governments do not protest, there are no demonstrations in the streets, much of public opinion seems to accept the notion that the villain of this story is the Russian president, who is accused of engaging in unprovoked aggression against Crimea – even though he was responding to one of the most blatant provocations in history…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/21/ukraine-and-yugoslavia/