Activists of the far-right Ukrainian Svoboda party. ‘In the recent elections [it] fell only 0.3% short of the required minimum of 5%’ required to enter parliament. Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images
February 27, 2015 “ICH” – The recent 70th anniversary of
the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose
Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as
history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality
terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites
urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is
suppressed; for it is their fascism.
Obama and friend
“To initiate a war of
aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not
only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing
only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated
evil of the whole.”
Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz
and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its
satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a
million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have
us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by
the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.
Andriy Biletsky, in black T-shirt, commander of Ukraine’s Azov battalion (Tom Parfitt)
Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big
lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent,
repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe
In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 “strike
sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian
targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were
carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that
“most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten”.
Fascist gang in Ukraine
The public sodomising of the Libyan president
Muammar Gaddafi with a “rebel” bayonet was greeted by the then US
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: “We came, we saw, he
died.” His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with
a familiar big lie; he was planning “genocide” against his own
people. “We knew… that if we waited one more day,” said President
Obama, “Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre
that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of
Fighters of the Azov battalion say farewell to their first comrade to die in the war against Russia-backed rebels (Tom Parfitt)
This was the fabrication of Islamist militias
facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be
“a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda”. Reported on
March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato’s inferno, described
by David Cameron as a “humanitarian intervention”.
Secretly supplied and trained by Britain’s
SAS, many of the “rebels” would become ISIS, whose latest video
offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte,
the city destroyed on their behalf by Nato bombers.
Phantom, 23, a fighter in the Azov battalion, outside its HQ in the Ukrainian seaside town of Urzuf Photo: Tom Parfitt
For Obama, Cameron and Hollande, Gaddafi’s
true crime was Libya’s economic independence and his declared intention to stop
selling Africa’s greatest oil reserves in US dollars. The petrodollar is a
pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a
common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and
promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or
not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared
to “enter” Africa and bribe African governments with military
The Azov battalion uses the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf”s Hook) symbol on its banner (Tom Parfitt)
Following Nato’s attack under cover of a
Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu, “confiscated $30
billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the
establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar
The “humanitarian war” against
Libya drew on a model close to western liberal hearts, especially in the media.
In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent Nato to bomb Serbia, because, they
lied, the Serbs were committing “genocide” against ethnic Albanians
in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large
for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men
aged between 14 and 59” might have been murdered. Both Clinton and Blair
evoked the Holocaust and “the spirit of the Second World War”. The
West’s heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal
record was set aside. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told them to
call him any time on his mobile phone.
converted truck with steel shutters used by the Azov battalion and known to the fighters as ‘the Lump of Iron’ (Tom Parfitt)
With the Nato bombing over, and much of
Serbia’s infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries
and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo
to exhume evidence of the “holocaust”. The FBI failed to find a single
mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader
angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda
machines”. A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced
the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both
sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide. The
“holocaust” was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.
Behind the lie, there was serious purpose.
Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood
as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and
major manufacturing was publicly owned. This was not acceptable to the
expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun
a drive east to capture its “natural market” in the Yugoslav
provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht
in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been
struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.
In Washington, the US saw that the struggling
Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans. Nato, then an almost defunct Cold
War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo
“peace” conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were
subjected to the enforcer’s duplicitous tactics. The Rambouillet accord
included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day.
This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia – a country with
bitter memories of the Nazi occupation – and the implementation of a
“free-market economy” and the privatisation of all government assets.
No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; Nato bombs
fell on a defenceless country. It was the precursor to the catastrophes in
Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.
Since 1945, more than a third of the
membership of the United Nations – 69 countries – have suffered some or all of
the following at the hands of America’s modern fascism. They have been invaded,
their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their
elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all
protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as “sanctions”.
The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In
every case, a big lie was deployed.
“Tonight, for the first time since 9/11,
our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” These were opening words of
Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000
military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite
assignment. “The longest war in American history is coming to a
responsible conclusion,” said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed
in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records. The majority
have been killed – civilians and soldiers – during Obama’s time as president.
The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic
crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book ‘The Grand Chessboard:
American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives’, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the
godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if
America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a
popular democracy, because “the pursuit of power is not a goal that
commands popular passion… Democracy is inimical to imperial
mobilisation.” He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed,
a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski,
then President Carter’s National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by
dealing a death blow to Afghanistan’s first and only democracy. Who knows this
In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept
Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges
of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People’s Democratic Party of
Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that
included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights
for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000
political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.
The new government introduced free medical
care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was
launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the
university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan’s
doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers. “Every
girl,” recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon, “could go to high
school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We
used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday
and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin
started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were
terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West
The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet
Union, even though, as former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance later admitted,
“there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution]”.
Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world,
Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its
independence and progress would offer the “threat of a promising
On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly
authorised support for tribal “fundamentalist” groups known as the
mujaheddin, a program that grew to over $500 million a year in U.S. arms and
other assistance. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan’s first secular,
reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that
“the United States’ larger interests… would be served by the demise of
[the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future
social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.” The italics are mine.
The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda
and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of
millions of dollars in cash from the CIA. Hekmatyar’s specialty was trafficking
in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil.
Invited to London, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a “freedom
Such fanatics might have remained in their
tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote
Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political
liberation and “destabilise” the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote
in his autobiography, “a few stirred up Muslims”. His grand plan
coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to
dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the
ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad.
The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them. Operatives who
would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda, were recruited at an Islamic
college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in
Virginia. This was called “Operation Cyclone”. Its success was
celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed
Najibullah – who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help –
was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.
The “blowback” of Operation Cyclone
and its “few stirred up Muslims” was September 11, 2001. Operation
Cyclone became the “war on terror”, in which countless men, women and
children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to
Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer’s message was and remains:
“You are with us or against us.”
The common thread in fascism, past and
present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its “free
fire zones”, “body counts” and “collatoral damage”. In
the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians
(“gooks”) were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai,
is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history
produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb
craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave
Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.
Today, the world’s greatest single campaign
of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings,
mourners at funerals. These are Obama’s victims. According to the New York
Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA “kill list” presented to
him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a
shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution
weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a
drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each
“hit” is registered on a faraway console screen as a
“For goose-steppers,” wrote the
historian Norman Pollock, “substitute the seemingly more innocuous
militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the
reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination,
smiling all the while.”
Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of
superiority. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my
being,” said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the
1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler
devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, “The sovereign is he who decides the
exception.” This sums up Americanism, the world’s dominant ideology. That
it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an
equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as
enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture. I grew up
on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no
idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine,
at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including
in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.
The difference now is that cinema audiences
are invited to wring their hands at the “tragedy” of American
psychopaths having to kill people in distant places – just as the President
himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood’s violence, the actor and
director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie,
‘American Sniper’, which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York
Times described it as a “patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all
attendance records in its opening days”.
There are no heroic movies about America’s
embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to
war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting
the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist
military junta in Athens – as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America.
Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes
against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their
talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the “father” of both the Nazi
V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.
In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics,
eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a
Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the
deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the
Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its “new wave”
hailed by the enforcer as “nationalists”.
This reached its apogee in 2014 when the
Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected
government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and
Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of
the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum”, including gays,
feminists and those on the political left.
These fascists are now integrated into the
Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament,
Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On
February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get “the USA to
give us highly precise modern weaponry”. If he succeeds, it will be seen
as an act of war by Russia.
No western leader has spoken up about the
revival of fascism in the heart of Europe – with the exception of Vladimir
Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the
borderland of Ukraine. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama’s Assistant
Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted
abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She
referred to the German Defence Minister as “the minister for
defeatism”. It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev. The wife of
Robert D. Kagan, a leading “neo-con” luminary and co-founder of the
extreme right wing Project for a New American Century, she was foreign policy
advisor to Dick Cheney.
Nuland’s coup did not go to plan. Nato was
prevented from seizing Russia’s historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in
Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea – illegally annexed to Ukraine
by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 – voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they
had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and
internationally observed. There was no invasion.
At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on
the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleaning.
Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and
laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting
off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions.
More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western
media, they became unpeople escaping “the violence” caused by the
“Russian invasion”. The Nato commander, General Breedlove – whose
name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove
– announced that 40,000 Russian troops were “massing”. In the age of
forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.
These Russian-speaking and bilingual people
of Ukraine – a third of the population – have long sought a federation that
reflects the country’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent
of Moscow. Most are not “separatists” but citizens who want to live
securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and
establishment of autonomous “states” are a reaction to Kiev’s attacks
on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.
On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians
were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The
Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as “another bright
day in our national history”. In the American and British media, this was
reported as a “murky tragedy” resulting from “clashes”
between “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) and “separatists”
(people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).
The New York Times buried the story, having
dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic
policies of Washington’s new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the
victims – “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government
Says”. Obama congratulated the junta for its “restraint”.
If Putin can be provoked into coming to their
aid, his pre-ordained “pariah” role in the West will justify the lie
that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine’s top military commander,
General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US
and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically:
“The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian
Army”. There were “individual citizens” who were members of
“illegal armed groups”, but there was no Russian invasion. This was
not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev’s Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for
“full scale war” with nuclear-armed Russia.
On February 21, US Senator James Inhofe, a
Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms
for the Kiev regime. In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he
claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been
exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s fake pictures of a
Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell’s fake evidence to the UN of
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The intensity of the smear campaign against
Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike
anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America’s most
distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal,
wrote recently, “No European government, since Adolf Hitler’s Germany, has
seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population,
but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet across the West’s
media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this
reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established…
If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did
into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness
over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason.”
In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor
said of the German media: “The use made by Nazi conspirators of
psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some
few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated
to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for
the attack… In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily
press and the radio that were the most important weapons.” In the Guardian
on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war.
“Putin must be stopped,” said the headline. “And sometimes only
guns can stop guns.” He conceded that the threat of war might
“nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement”; but that was fine. He
name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers
that “America has the best kit”.
In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor,
repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he
wrote, “has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of
horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them.
He is still trying to get nuclear ones.” He lauded Blair as a
“Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist”. In 2006, he wrote,
“Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran.”
The outbursts – or as Garton-Ash prefers, his
“tortured liberal ambivalence” – are not untypical of those in the
transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal
Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash’s piece appeared,
published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a
menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: “The F-35.
GREAT For Britain”. This American “kit” will cost British
taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the
world. In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an
increase in military spending.
Once again, there is serious purpose. The
rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its
economy. Kiev’s new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US
State Department official in charge of US overseas “investment”. She
was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship. They want Ukraine for its abundant
gas; Vice President Joe Biden’s son is on the board of Ukraine’s biggest oil,
gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the
infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine’s rich farming soil.
Above all, they want Ukraine’s mighty
neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the
greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want
control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia’s long Arctic
land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed
his country’s economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established
Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.
The responsibility of the rest of us is
clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never
to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that
brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is
to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self
respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust