Ray McGovern, a retired CIA officer turned political activist, discusses the risk of a Ukraine bloodbath while the US supports Kiev’s military attacks and Europe’s leaders hold peace talks without John Kerry.
Hey y’all welcome back to the show, I’m Scott Horton, this is my show, The Scott Horton Show. Next up is Ray McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professional for Sanity, formerly with the CIA for 27 years as an analyst, now a peacenik, he travels around giving speeches about peace and he writes forÂ consortiumnews.com and atÂ www.raymcgovern.com. We run virtually everything by him I think atÂ www.antiwar.comÂ as well. The latest is The Risk Of A Ukraine Bloodbath running today atÂ www.antiwar.comÂ you can find it again as well atÂ www.consortiumnews.com. Welcome back Ray how are ya?
RM: Thank you Scott, doing well.
SH: Good, good, happy to have you here. Welcome back again appreciate you keeping up on this very important subject for us. So tell us about this risk of Ukraine bloodbath, you’ve been saying here that the Americans and the Ukrainians have split off from the Europeans on the issue ofÂ negotiation with the East and with Russia, is that right?
RM: Yeah, it’s become very evident in the last days that Poroshenko is acting as a puppet of John Kerry and Victoria Nuland and the other neoconservatives and more important, he thumbed his nose at the rulers, I’m talking about the rulers of France, of Germany and of Russia as they talked on a conference call for two hours on Sunday.
They did everything they could to dissuade him from attacking the east and the south east and instead of renewing the ceasefire arrangement, and he announced very early on Tuesday nothing doing, he was going to unleash, as he said he was going to attack, using a very strong Russian/Ukranian word he is going to attack and free all our lands and of course renewal of hostilities happened immediately.
So one of the stories here, which is most interesting is that the French and the Germans along with the Russians, have split off from John Kerry and company and joined with the Ukrainian foreign minister, the four foreign ministers met in Berlin yesterday. They appealed for a renewal of the ceasefire, I haven’t seen any evidence that this has received any resonance in Ukraine, so we are in a situation where the Germans and the French pretty much dismissed the British as a clone of Washington and have moved together with the Russians, with Sergey Lavrov, their very astute foreign minister pretty much orchestrating this.
They met in Berlin at the invitation of the German foreign minister yesterday and the Ukrainian foreign minister was a part of that and their mutually agreed uponÂ statement calls for a renewal of the ceasefire, now I don’t know how that (unclear audio) because as I say, Poroshenko has unleashed his forces and if there is a bloodbath then Nuland and Kerry may get their wish of more open Russian involvement in protecting what they consider to be Russians and pro-Russian citizens in the eastern Ukraine?
SH: And what do they have to gain from that? Provoking a worse response from Russia? They already lost Crimea?
RM: Well, you know that’s interesting. They want to make it worse, they want to encourage or trap or mousetrap Putin into invading Ukraine, you can imagine the hysteria that the right wing media would drum up at that point and eventually I think the Russians are afraid that they still have designs on Ukraine.
Poroshenko has reiterated that Ukraine is still part, I’m sorry, they still have designs on Crimea, Poroshenko has said that Crimea will always be part of the Ukraine and you know, that is the nub of the problem there. There is this terrifically big warm water port there that the Russians have put their navy in since Catherine The Great, back in the late 18th century as we were going through our own revolution Russia was extending its rule down to, and including, the Crimea.
So if the putsch people, the people who took office and Poroshenko who was elected several weeks ago decide that they really want to give the Russian, the Pro-Russian people the separatists or the people, separatist isn’t really the right word, these are people who were against the coup d’Ã©tatÂ on the 22nd of February.
The President that they had elected was removed and they didn’t like that. They took over some of the towns there and still have sway over them, so what we’ve got is a situation that is very volatile and if Poroshenko sends his heavy artillery and his aircraft into those parts of Ukraine and starts obliterating some of the cities there then this could be very very difficult for Putin to keep his powder dry and not to do something pretty flagrant, all while knowing that that is precisely what Kerry and Nuland and the neo-cons would like him to do to make things still worse for the Ukraine and still worse for Russian-US relations.
SH: Well, so in other words, the ultimate end still is just making sure that America isn’t getting along with Russia although that is a pretty big way to go if they’re willing to provoke the Russians into invading the east just to make the crisis worse. I mean are they, they want to split the country in pieces and just run off with only the west, is that it?
Because after all they were able to spin Russia’s taking of Crimea as the worst thing ever – ‘look it’s the rise of the USSR’ and blah de blah so they already lost the prime real estate that they wanted more than anything else and they were able to make you know PR hay about it, make Russia look like the bad guy about it, mission accomplished there, I don’t thinkÂ anybody would quibble with right? But so, what’s really, I mean if he invades the east he might go all the way to Odessa and take the port and all that and just keep all of eastern Ukraine if they make things that bad, how do they benefit there?
RM: Well the Russians wouldn’t benefit there either. Ukraine is a basket case.
SH: I mean I can see that, it’s hanging a millstone around Russia’s neck, making it look like even more their fault, since they’re making the larger overt move, but it’s still, well maybe they’re stupid and they haven’t really though this through ..
SH: I mean we’re talking about Robert Kagan’s wife, so how bright can she be to be in love with that guy?
RM: Well, that must be some special charm about Robert Kagan that escapes me..
SH: It’s theÂ cocoa puff, stay at home dad thing …
RM: (laughs) But if you look, if you look at the disarray in which US policy is in the middle-east and in Europe, now we have some of our close buddies in Europe, the Germans and the French sort of asserting some independence for the first time since the war, you know, stupidity, idiot ideology if you will can play a big role here, but more important Ukraine is a basket case economically, it’s going to suffer either whether it goes toward the west or to the east and the big price here is strategic significance of Ukraine and of course the still on the books is the Summit Resolution at Bucharest, summit of NATO leaders of April 2008 which said Ukraine will become part of NATO.
Now, this could be interesting in September when NATO meets again at the summit, the meeting in Wales, will they reiterate that desire to have the Ukraine a part of NATO? And if so why?
SH: Alright I’m sorry Ray we gotta stop the bumper music is drowning me out and everything …we gotta take this break but we’ll be right back everybody with the great Ray McGovern, veteran intelligence professional for sanity
SH: Alright y’all, welcome back to the show, I’m Scott Horton, I’m talking with Ray McGovern fromÂ www.consortiumnews.comÂ we also feature what he writes atÂ www.antiwar.comÂ – the Risk of A Ukraine Bloodbath is running today. We’re talking about how the Europeans are saying, ‘Hey let’s work with the Russians and let’s convince Kiev post-putsch government to go ahead and come to some kind of settlement here and the Americans have told the Ukrainains the Kiev government, ‘Don’t listen to Germany, go ahead and keep picking a fight, keep attacking the east, see if we can bait the Russians into making matters worse here for everyone’ and which you know some thing different day around here right Ray?
Tell me this, what about Yarosh and the right sector neo-nazi thugs, aka the national guard of Ukraine who’s training them, who’s arming them, how powerful a force are they and what are they up to now?
RM: Well, tongue and cheek Scott, I have to tell you they’re a force for democracy …
SH: Uh oh
RM :… because my suspicion is the endowment, the new endowment for democracy, some people consider that rightfully so successor to the CIA covert action department, they’ve been arming them and training them in places like Poland and other places that are friendly to this kind of thing for the right amount of remuneration from the United States treasury, so, well, long-winded answer, to be short, is that they’re fascists, they’re trained by people who want to disrupt the Ukrainian government and the worst part of it is that Russia remembers what fascisim is like, Russia remembers what the followers, now the heirs of Stepan Bandera in the Ukraine, what he did in cooperation with Hitler in cleansing the ‘vermon’ from the Ukraine, and the ‘vermon’ were not only Jews in his words, but Russians as well, Poles as well.
So there is a recollection among people of my age at least and maybe even a little younger in Europe about what fascism is like and that I think is part of why Putin and his very able foreign minister Lavrov are appealing to the French and the the Germans because they know, I mean they have a not so recent but very palpable memory of what fascism is like, and they also know what war is like which is something that, even though we have waged war abroad and even though we suffered in 9/11 we don’t really know. And so what I see the French and the Germans doing now is saying, ‘Look, Nuland, relax a little, if you think you can get Crimea back forget about it, if you think you can get Ukraine into NATO forget about it, let’s work this thing out without larger scale hostilities’.
Now the Russians for their part, they have the high cards here. I’m sure they’re telling the Germans and the French, ‘Look we don’t want to do this, but if Ukrainian forces start bloodying up the cities inÂ LuhanskÂ andÂ KramatorskÂ and some of the other places thereÂ in the Donbas area, we’re going to be compelled to enforce a ‘no fly’ zone, shoot planes down, mess up your tanks and so forth, do you really want that?’ and so I think there is a chance that reason may prevail and Poroshenko will kind of pull back if Washington lets him.
The problem is that the fascists, you know, I’m not sure that Poroshenko still has control over these people. They’re doing their right sector, the other fascists kinds of units there are doing their work in the Ukraine and it’s hard to turn it off once it’s turned on.
I don’t think anybody wants a full scale confligation here, but we’re talking about a possibility of a real confrontation between the United States of American and Russia for the first time in 25 years. Now for us, we can have John Kerry our secretary of state, saying in answer to the question they asked him: ‘Well are you aware that this could lead to this kind of confrontation?’ he says, “Oh yeah, we’re quite aware of this, that it could lead to a large scale war, we’ve taken that into account”. Well you know if that’s how blase he is, if that’s how nonchalant he is, then he is even dumber than I thought he was and the operative thing here is if I’m a Russian, I’m going to take that into account and I’m going to say, “Wow, we better stop them right now before they go even further in the Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe and even in Asia”.
SH: Alright, and now how many of these guys are there cos it seems like okay I could see them being, you know, they’re the SA not the SS right? They can mob some buildings and they can win some street fights but can they be sent as an actual national guard force to use you know, real weapons in order to kill lots of people, or they’re still just thugs basically?
RM: Well, you know the Ukrainian army isn’t theÂ cracker jack outfit that Kiev would like to make out it is, these thugs, some of them are highly trained, they can be inserted into Ukrainian units and lead them more effectively, that’s what often happens with these kinds of vanguard units.
SH: And they are the National Guard now, that’s what they call them right and Yarosh from right sector is the head of it?
RM: Sure, the head of the national security apparatus in Kiev is one of the people who facilitated the coup on the 22nd of February, and he’s a well known fascist so what I’m saying here is that we don’t really know how many there are, but in terms of Ukrainian units in that part of Ukraine, the best figures I’ve seen are already 10-20 thousand and that’s a lot when you’re talking about just one region of the Dunbas.
If they’re led, or if they’re infiltrated, or kind of encouraged by these highly trained dissidents, not dissidents but fascists, then you have a more potent fighting force and the problem is, the challenge for them will be, that we’re talking about cities here, we’re talking about cities of a million or two million people, are you going to go and block the block? Against Ukrainian nationalists, Ukrainian pro-Russians or Ukrainians who don’t want to recognize Kiev? Are you going to go and try and do that kind of thing and ethnically cleanse?
I don’t think you want to get involved in that kind of thing, at least if you have any marbles in your head. And so, the task itself is formidable and that’s part of what leads me to believe that reason will finally prevail – Proroshenko will be restrained by Washington and if he can restrain the fascists that have already been let loose, then there could be a ceasefire and meaningful negotiations, that’s my hope.
SH: Well at least the Americans are going to abandon them if not rein them in, I mean they’ve gotta see that coming too? If I was Putin, I would be telling Kiev, “Look the Americans are already off chasing kidnapped girls in Nigeria, and they’re back to Iraq, they don’t have time for you and you know it so come to the table. What are we even fighting about at all right now?” It’s ridiculous.
RM: Yeah, that’s why I finish up this piece reminding or suggesting that somebody else remind Poroshenko of the bloody nose that the Russians gave Georgia, now that was just 6 years ago in 2008, that was right after that NATO summit in April of 2008 where not only the Ukraine but also Georgia that was said to be ..(unclear audio) SaakashviliÂ thought he could give a bloody nose to the Russians and pr-Russians in the adjoining province, he did so he got really trummelled by Russian forces and nobody came to help him, so there’s an example of what happens in the end, you’re right to adduce that example the folks in Kiev should be aware of that.
SH: Alright, thanks very much for your time Ray I sure appreciate it.
RM: Most welcome.