In yet another example of why we should be cautious about rushing to judgment about matters occurring abroad, the New York Times now says that the photos of Russian soldiers in Eastern Ukraine might not actually be photos of Russian soldiers in Eastern Ukraine.
One would think we would learn, after having been hustled into abandoning our civil liberties in the wake of 9/11 and after having been duped into supporting an invasion of Iraq, that we should be cautious and skeptical about being rushed into belligerency. Robert Parry (Polk Award winner, formerly of AP, Newsweek, and PBS):
Two days after the New York Times led its editions with a one-sided article about photos supposedly proving that Russian special forces were behind the popular uprisings in eastern Ukraine, the Times published what you might call a modified, limited retraction.That the story did not hold up was obvious to me. Just as it's obvious to anyone with historical memory that atrocity stories, calling foreign leaders dictators, and so on--while sometimes true-- are always a part of trying to start unnecessary wars. A week ago, I would have called John Pilger's latest article (Nato's action plan in Ukraine is right out of Dr Strangelove) over the top. But with the news that the Administration will be jumping into the Senkaku/Diaoyu controversy and send troops on exercises in Poland and the Baltics even as Libya, Syria, Egypt, and the Ukraine are simmering makes me wonder.
In the old days of journalism, we used to apply the scrutiny before we published a story on the front page or on any other page, especially if it had implications toward war or peace, whether people would live or die. However, in this case – fitting with the anti-Russian bias that has pervaded the mainstream U.S. press corps – the scrutiny was set aside long enough for this powerful propaganda theme to be put in play and to sweep across the media landscape.
Only now do we belatedly learn what should have been obvious: the blurry photographs provided by the coup regime in Kiev and endorsed by the Obama administration don’t really prove anything. There were obvious alternative explanations to the photos that were ignored by the Times, such as the possibility that these were military veterans who are no longer associated with the Russian military. Or that some photos are not of the same person.
Obligatory disclaimer: Wanting to be cautious in the face of media attempts to rush us into belligerency in the Ukraine does not mean that I am pro-Putin, indifferent to the plight of the Jews and Gypsies of the Ukraine, or a member of the professional left/crypto-right determined to bring down the Obama Administration.
Apologies in advance: I have other commitments today and will be unable to answer comments.
Update: A reader of this diary makes what I think are petty and false comments, saying:
Of course the author of the diary severely twists what actually is in the article, doesn't link to the article, and ignores the fact that some of the "Green Men" are proven to be Russian Cossacks(who are now officially part of Russian state security services) and also some from Crimea.OK, here's the link to the NYT retraction. The authors call into question the very photos about which they earlier so confidently wrote,
[P]hotographs and descriptions from eastern Ukraine endorsed by the Obama administration on Sunday suggest that many of the green men are indeed Russian military and intelligence forces — equipped in the same fashion as Russian special operations troops involved in annexing the Crimea region in February. Some of the men photographed in Ukraine have been identified in other photos clearly taken among Russian troops in other settings.What did my diary quote Parry saying?
the blurry photographs provided by the coup regime in Kiev and endorsed by the Obama administration don’t really prove anything.It's a fair point to ask for links to the originals. But how anyone could say that the author of this diary has "twist[ed]" anything is beyond me. And how he thinks that any of the "green men" have been proven to be Russian state security services will have to remain a mystery, because he doesn't provide a link proving any such thing. As of two days ago, a real journalist wrote:
That is not to say that these “green men” might not be Russian special forces. I have one longtime source who is convinced that they are Russian soldiers (though he has not seen any proof), and another source who insists that the Russian government did not want the uprisings in eastern Ukraine and did not dispatch these men.Proven, sir? Or just more manure that you have swallowed?