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Issue #1654      September 3, 2014

Culture & Life

MH17, “fundamental British values” and fascism

The evidence that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by an aircraft, presumed to be Ukrainian, rather than brought down by a Russian missile as claimed by the Kiev junta has been allowed to quietly slip away into silence and obscurity. Even Tony Abbott seems to have stopped strutting the world stage demanding that Russia be brought to book for it.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Embarrassing, or what?

Now The New Straits Times, Malaysia’s flagship English-language newspaper, with close connections to the Malaysian government, has come out and openly accused Kiev of shooting the plane down. Citing “US analysts”, the paper laid out evidence that Ukrainian fighter aircraft attacked the airliner with first an air-to-air missile followed by bursts of 30-millimetre cannon fire.

It cited “experts who had said that the photographs of the blast fragmentation patterns on the fuselage of the airliner showed two distinct shapes – the shredding pattern associated with a warhead packed with ‘flechettes’ and the more uniform, round-type penetration holes consistent with that of cannon rounds.”

Meanwhile, the trade sanctions that the US and their major EU partners rushed to impose on Russia as “retaliation” are causing angst in a number of European capitals. Russia’s response, as could only be expected, was to impose sanctions on imports from the US and Europe. These will not seriously impact on the US, but they will have serious consequences for the EU, whose trade is heavily dependent on Russian food imports.

Last year Russia bought approximately ten percent of the EU’s total exports. The Russian import bans will have most impact on Germany, Poland, Finland, Lithuania and Latvia. However, Ireland will also be hit and Norway will see fish sales to Russia disappear.

If we take into account Tony Abbott’s professed dislike of home-grown jihadists, and also bear in mind the eagerness with which the Australian government copies reactionary policies from Britain, we can presumably expect before long to see Abbott’s ministers getting into a lather about the supposed need to protect kindergarten children from “extremist views”. Because that is what the Tories are doing in Britain.

Nicky Morgan, only recently appointed to the post of Education Secretary, has gone so far as to threaten to withhold state funding from kindergartens that fail to promote what she calls “fundamental British values”. Now, I wonder what they could be? Exiling agricultural labourers to Botany Bay for trying to form a trade union, perhaps. Or joining in the invasion of Iraq on the excuse of finding “weapons of mass destruction” that were in fact non-existent.

On a television news report from Ukraine the other day about Kiev’s forces launching an attack on the “separatists” in the east of the country, the reporter made a point of assuring viewers that the attacking troops were “all volunteers”. That’s probably true, but the reasons for it are not as noble as the reporter tried to imply.

Contrary to the report, the Kiev junta has introduced conscription, but is having trouble getting its conscripts to agree to fight for its divisive nationalism and its all-too-obvious fascism. Across [Western] Ukraine, writes US journalist Greg Butterfield in Workers World, “women gather in dozens to block major highways, carrying signs and banners reading ‘Save Our Boys’ and ‘Stop the Slaughter’.

“Protesters shout down politicians spouting pro-war rhetoric, telling them to ‘go fight your own war’. Young men burn their draft cards amidst reports of hundreds of soldiers surrendering or deserting to a neighbouring country.”

The volunteers who are so eager to fight the Communists and the Russians fall into two groups. One is made up of a new, young generation of Ukrainian fascists, heirs and followers of the Nazis’ war-time protégé Stepan Bandera. Encouraged, financed and protected by Ukraine’s oligarchs – in the same way German capitalists encouraged, financed and protected Hitler and his oh-so-useful Storm Troopers – these extreme right-wing thugs have been given free rein to run riot across the country (except in those areas controlled by anti-Fascist militias).

The other group of “volunteers” are in fact anti-Communist and anti-Russian mercenaries from Saudi Arabia and its clients Kuwait and Yemen, and from its proxy army in Iraq and Syria, the ISIS or Islamic State as it now pretentiously calls itself. These are augmented by volunteers from Israel’s armed forces together with Special Forces elements from NATO countries.

The stakes are high: if the government of Russia can be overthrown, the country broken up into smaller units, vast quantities of raw materials would become available to imperialism, which would also have a free hand then to deal with the emerging threat to its global hegemony: China.

So while the Ukrainian junta pose as the champions of democracy in the region, their reaction to the popular up-swelling of anti-war sentiment is what you would expect from fascists and their backers: repression. Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs announced that it would begin arresting people who agitate against the war using social media.

Resistance in the primarily Russian-speaking south-east has been driven underground by repression from Kiev’s official political police, the SBU, and from the country’s US-funded National Guard. Butterfield again: “As Congress and Obama well know, the National Guard … is composed of neo-Nazis in uniform, culled from the likes of the Right Sector, Maidan Self-Defence and other fascist gangs by Interior Minister [and outspoken fascist] Arsen Avakov.”

And if you still don’t think the threat to the people of Donbas and other eastern regions is real, listen to pro-Kiev journalist Bogdan Boutkevitch: “The biggest problem [in Donbas] is that it is severely overpopulated with people nobody has any use for. … Donbas must be exploited as a resource [but] the most important thing that must be done is that there is a certain category of people that must be exterminated.”

Already Kiev is using ballistic missiles against targets in Donetsk and Lugansk, seeking to knock out water treatment facilities and factories, to unleash toxic chemicals on the population. The resultant mass deaths would then be blamed on the “rebels”, as the downing of MH17 was.

Fascism, anyone?

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