Ukraine’s ‘October Surprise’ – may be coming in September

by Justin Raimondo, from antiwar.com

Yevgeny Panov, under arrest

Yevgeny Panov, under arrest

When a Russian FSB agent and a Russian soldier were killed by a team of Ukrainian saboteurs, and one of the captured Ukrainians was shown on Russian media in handcuffs, US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt tweeted:

US government has seen nothing so far that corroborates Russians allegations of a ‘Crimea incursion’ & Ukraine has strongly refuted them.”

Apparently two dead Russians don’t count for much in Pyatt’s book: perhaps Putin personally killed them, and the whole thing is a set up.
And how has Ukraine “strongly refuted” this accusation? According to the Ukrainian authorities, the captured would-be saboteur, one Yevgeny Panov, was “kidnapped” from his home town in Zaporizhia – a distance of some 200 miles – by the Russians and transported to Crimea. The Ukrainian police have solemnly announced that “We are taking all necessary measures to promptly, fully and impartially investigate all circumstances of this crime.” One has to admire the ability of the Ukrainian authorities to utter the most portentous absurdities with the perfect aplomb of a used car dealer, but of course their skills don’t even begin to approach Pyatt’s. The ambassador followed up his tweet with another that stated:

Russia has a record of frequently levying false accusations at Ukraine to deflect attention from its own illegal actions.”

Speaking of deflection, the lobbying group for NATO, the Atlantic Council, has a long account of the incident here, notable for its obscurantism. However, after going on about various confusing “narratives” – including speculation that the saboteurs may be Russian deserters, or even that they “may not exist at all” – the pretense of objectivity forces the Atlanticists to admit, after several paragraphs of blowing smoke, that, yes,

Because of the arrest of Panov, it has become clear that the Armyansk incident was not invented by the FSB, as many have claimed online, though details provided are difficult to verify.”

Well, that’s progress, at any rate: acknowledging reality. And of course the details are difficult to verify, since Western “news” accounts are heavily colored, like this NPR piece which doesn’t mention that the Russians captured several of the saboteurs, and doesn’t mention Panov, but wonders why the Russians “waited three days” to report the incident. This Bloomberg account has not one detail about the incident: instead, we are treated to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s denials that anything at all took place, “analysis” by an “expert” that “no one trusts” anybody else, calculations on the sinking of the Ukrainian currency, and warnings about how Putin supposedly has a habit of launching military operations in the midst of the Olympic games.
This Associated Press dispatch, published in the New York Times, is similarly bereft of details, and gets the number of Russian casualties wrong: they claim only one Russian died. The rest is “analysis” by various “experts,” claiming that the whole thing is a diversion – oddly, the same line peddled by Ambassador Pyatt – to which are added the author’s own description of Putin’s reaction as “menacing.” The BBC helpfully adds that, while Panov may have been a “volunteer” fighter, he was “more recently” associated with “a charitable organization.”
Since when do members of “charitable” organizations wear camouflage while sneaking over heavily-guarded borders in the dead of night?
So there’s an effective embargo on reliable news from this dark corner of the battlefield between East and West. Yet it’s possible, if we glean facts from disparate sources, to outline how the incident unfolded. CNN, after shilly-shallying for four or five paragraphs – reporting Poroshenko’s denials and Ukrainian military measures to counteract a long-touted and entirely mythical Russian “invasion” – finally coughs up some facts, citing Tass:

The report said Russian forces spotted the ‘saboteurs’ and while attempting to detain them, found ‘20 improvised explosive devices containing more than 40 kilograms of TNT equivalent, ammunition, fuses, antipersonnel and magnetic bombs, grenades and the Ukrainian armed forces’ standard special weapons.’ It said two Russian servicemen were killed in ensuing clashes.”

According to the Russian daily Kommersant, the Ukrainian incursion occurred on August 7, when Russian intelligence detected the entry of a group of seven armed men in an inflatable boat who passed through the Gulf of Perekop from Ukraine, entering Crimean territory near the town of Armyansk. The men were wearing “Soviet-style” camouflage uniforms, apparently trying to give the impression that they were Russian troops. They were intercepted and a shootout followed, in which several on both sides were wounded and one Russian FSB agent was killed. A second confrontation occurred when, the next day, Russian forces identified one of the saboteurs and followed him into an ambush: Ukrainian military positioned on the border opened fire and a second group crossed the border as the FSB personnel pursued their quarry. One Russian soldier was killed in the ensuing exchange.
At least two of the infiltrators were killed, and of those in the first group five were captured: a total of ten people have been detained, including Panov. Some had Russian passports and the majority are residents of Crimea. Kommersant also said those captured admitted they were engaged in sabotage, acting under orders from Ukrainian intelligence; their objective was to plant bombs at tourist sites and incite panic, effectively destroying Crimea’s lucrative tourist industry, although they denied wanting to kill anyone.
Oh, of course not!
Tass is reporting that Panov has not only confessed that the operation was carried out under the direction of the Ukrainian secret service, but he has identified some of them by name. His taped statement was broadcast over the Rossiya’24 news channel.
Now we have Newsweek “reporting” the preposterous Ukrainian “spin” on this botched incursion: it was really a “shootout involving Russian federal security agents (FSB) and Russian armed forces on the Crimean regional border”! Yes, the Russians were shooting at themselves. Ukrainian propaganda usually borders on the fantastic, but this marks a new level of crudity even for them.
So why should we care about this showdown at the Ukrainian corral, anyway?
It’s important because the Ukrainians – like the rest of the world – have been watching the US presidential campaign, and they don’t like what they see. Donald Trump, while disdaining to get involved in Ukraine’s feud with the Kremlin, is asking “Wouldn’t it be good if we could get along with Russia?” This has provoked the Ukrainians into paroxysms of spittle-flecked hysteria.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is openly accusing Donald Trump of being a Russian agent: former CIA chief Mike Morrell, in the process of endorsing her, said Trump is an “unwitting agent” of the FSB. And the “mainstream” media, which is brazenly campaigning on Clinton’s behalf, has been playing the Trump-is-a-Russian-stooge card for all it’s worth.
In short, the leaders of Ukraine hate Trump, have continually denounced him, and are openly rooting for a Clinton victory in November: by launching a terrorist attack on Crimea, and before that trying to assassinate the President of the rebellious Luhansk Republic in eastern Ukraine – they put a bomb under his car, seriously injuring him – they hope to provoke Putin into taking military action. And voila!, we have an “October surprise” – with Hillary taking a hard-line anti-Russian stance, and Trump put in the position of seeming to defend Russian “aggression.”
It’s a perfect set up, for both the Ukrainians – who have been chafing at President Obama’s refusal to provide them with deadly arms – and for Hillary, whose McCarthyite campaign against Trump has taken on all the trappings of a cold war fear-fest of the sort we haven’t seen since the 1950s.
This is the price we pay as a global empire, with our noses stuck in the internal affairs of practically every nation on earth: our clients continually plot and scheme to insert themselves into our internal affairs, including our elections. Intervention is a two-way street.
Russia has lost two servicemen: Putin isn’t going to let this go. And neither are the Ukrainian coup leaders, who came to power by overthrowing the elected President and have a very tenuous hold on power. They need perpetual war scares to keep the populace diverted from their pathetic economic plight and the growing repression exercised by the regime. And certainly Hillary Clinton is ready, willing, and able to use a looming Ukrainian “crisis” to claw her way to the White House – even if she has to risk a nuclear showdown with the Russians. After all, what’s the mere prospect of World War III compared to the supreme importance of installing the First Woman President in the Oval Office?

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.


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Aug 17, 2016 10:06 AM

I tried to find the leaked emails about Soros paying $100,000 to the Guardian for pro-coup/anti-Russia coverage but could not. Could you please provide a link? Thanks!

Aug 16, 2016 9:37 PM

In other Ukraine news, the Soros Foundation email leak has apparently revealed The Guardian was paid $100,000 for post Maidan Ukraine coverage.
I wonder who else pays The Guardian.

Aug 17, 2016 10:10 AM
Reply to  Eric_B

Could you please provide a link to the leaked email that reveals Soros bribed the Guardian with $100,000 for pro-U.S./NATO coverage of Ukraine? I tried to find it googling with no luck, although I found this site-
Is this where you found it? Or another site?

Aug 18, 2016 12:36 PM
Reply to  Eric_B

Okay, I think I found the leaked document which you are referring to- “Media: Build on existing relationships, for example with the Guardian to increase coverage of voices from the New Ukraine – e.g. Maidan: One year on. Work with the alternative press (e.g. Eurozine, Huffington Post, Street Press, Internazionale) as key influencers for the audience we are targeting, for example by funding translations of articles by Ukrainian journalists. Fund individual and organizational grants for investigative reporting with long-stay grants in Ukraine, as well as journalist exchanges, to allow for deeper reporting of stories and for journalists to build their own contacts (instead of relying on Moscow-based reports). Targeted round of newsroom briefings by authoritative experts on Ukraine. Outputs: up to 10 grants for journalists. Tentative budget: $100K” Source of above: go to website “soros.dcleaks.com”, then click on Europe section, then go to- /Ukraine and Europe/europe and ukraine 2015 workplan.docx… Read more »

Eurasia News Online
Eurasia News Online
Aug 16, 2016 4:43 PM

Caliphate of Chaos – make one wrong mistake and you will be all annihilated with or without “Teflon Blond” in the White House or not. Make your choices 😉

Eurasia News Online
Eurasia News Online
Aug 16, 2016 4:42 PM

Reblogged this on Eurasia News Online.

Aug 16, 2016 1:44 PM

Geoffrey Pyatt.
The man who put the ‘ass’ in ambassador.

Empire Of Stupid
Empire Of Stupid
Aug 15, 2016 8:22 PM

Okay, so Vladbad and his evil cohorts made the whole thing up. President Porky and ambassador Pyatt say so and that’s good enough for me. (I’ll avert mine eyes from the dead bodies and the captured saboteurs, oh lord.) Meanwhile, over on a different channel, Hitlery’s screaming about a report in the ol’ reliable NYT about Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, featuring a dusty handwritten ledger and some mysterious figures indicating something or other. So say Ukrainian anti-corruption investigators. (Yes, ROFLWSST that last bit.)
As my ex-work colleagues and I used to say at management’s most recent idiocies, “You couldn’t make this shit up.”

Aug 15, 2016 5:30 AM

Interestingly the official US narrative insists it has no intelligence on Russia’s report of Ukrainian spies trying to infiltrate the Crimean Peninsula, killing a pair of Russian officers. However Vice President Joe Biden foound time on Friday to speak with Ukraine’s president, warning him he must “do his part” in avoiding escalation of tensions with the Russians. This seems to have gone largely unreported in WMSM, but it possibly indicates the growing dissatisfaction by the US with the way things are going [down hill?] in Ukraine. With the USA’s relationship hitting the rocks with Turkey, maybe they are fast becoming tired of Ukrainian half-cocked recklessness? But of course this cannot be stressed in the media as it contradicts the narrative. As for Pyatt’s comments, does anyone seriously take any notice of him in Washington any more? He’s just serving out his time after being held responsible for the Nuland gaff… Read more »

Aug 15, 2016 2:45 AM

Jeffrey Pratt seemed to be under Victoria Nuland in the “Fuhk Europe” phone call..
And more recently I have read that Obama has turned the Ukraine portfolio over to Victoria Jane Nulang, thus benching Frankenstein (John) Kerry regarding Ukraine policy. The last VJN opp with “Yaz” lost Crimea…. Do you think that this latest incident is another lame brained attempt to recoup her past failures…??

Aug 15, 2016 2:55 AM
Reply to  Thomas

Sorry to misspell Victoria Jane Nuland, not Nulang…
Obama Sidelines Kerry @ huffpost.com
Crazy world or as Justin calls it Bizarro world goes on and on…

Aug 15, 2016 1:14 AM

Clearly the Ukrainian action was intended to implicate Russia in an “invasion” tactic aimed against southern Ukraine, all the more to justify a NATO build-up in Ukraine itself or in the Black Sea. Have we all looked at our calendars lately, to see if the month is August, are the Olympic Games on at present, and is The Guardian’s omniscient sage Luke Daniel Harding looking into his crystal ball predicting a Russian invasion of Ukraine?

Aug 15, 2016 12:01 AM

Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin.

Aug 14, 2016 6:35 PM

So the lesson to learn is simple: if you want to be a political leader, you must cold-bloodedly kill some people to provoke a political reaction.
And there I was thinking that all these holier-than-thou politicians who preach Christian values should have actually heard of that Commandment: ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill!’….
Presumably, they are readers of an Orwellian bible which has altered things to ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill except when it is necessary for you and/or your friends to win elections….’?