Yanukovich and Kabbah 320


My old boss Mark Lyall Grant, UK Ambassador to the United Nations, is a deeply unpleasant man.  But he was quite right to dismiss Russia’s legal pretext for invading Ukraine on the basis of an invitation letter from ex-President Yanukovich.

The problem is Mark Lyall Grant is the last person in world to have moral authority to do this, as he was directly involved in drafting an invitation letter from ex-President Kabbah of Sierra Leone inviting Britain to invade Sierra Leone, which Britain then did.  Mark Lyall Grant said at the UN yesterday about Yanukovich that:  “We are talking about a former leader who abandoned his office, his capital and his country, whose corrupt governance brought his country to the brink of economic ruin”.  Exactly the same things could have been said about Kabbah, whose government had been massively corrupt – and was again when restored, and who issued his invitation to invade from a five star hotel in London after living in exile in Guinea.

The unspeakable horrors of the Sierra Leonean civil war have led to a lazy mainstream media accepting Sierra Leone as the “good” invasion.  But the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone were not a spontaneous outbreak of human evil, they were caused by the massive corruption of ruling coastal elites in both Sierra Leone and neighbouring Liberia, compared to the appalling poverty and lack of basic services and education for those in the hinterland.  It is one of the ironies of history that the elites were the descendants of slaves returned with the very best of intentions by the US and UK, educated and given much charitable provision, who controlled the state and then set to exploiting the hinterland tribes ruthlessly from the “hut wars” of the 1880’s on.  The eruption of massive scale diamond mining from the 1960’s on escalated levels of corruption, warlordism and violence and almost continual military rule.  Laudable attempts to foster democracy did nothing to lessen corruption.  The dreadful atrocities of the RUF and Kamajors were a result of the tribal eruption that ensued.

What the British invasion did was simply to put the old corrupt elite safely back in place, and make the minerals secure for western interests.  Even more valuable than the diamonds is Sierra Leone’s rutile mine, the world’s single most profitable mine.  Following the British invasion guess who suddenly became a director of that mine? Valerie Amos, who was one of the ministers who authorized the invasion, and is now at the UN in charge of pushing for war in Syria.

I always opposed the doctrine of “liberal intervention” and still do.  But those who invented “the right to protect” were stupid enough to believe that they would forever be the only military power strong enough to seize assets in other countries.  For the historian, the “right to protect” and “liberal intervention” are precisely the same as excuses given for imperial grabs throughout the millennia.

Invading another territory is wrong when the British do it, and it is wrong when the Russians do it.  It is quite simply untrue that ethnic Russians were under threat in the Ukraine.  International law always recognizes and deals with the government actually in power in the country.  If ousted leaders are accepted as having in the right to call in freeing invasion to restore them, the world would be in a state of perpetual war.

Plainly Russian actions are illegal.  They do have an agreed right to station forces in Crimea.  It is impossible to tell at the moment if the agreed numbers have been exceeded, but the Russian production of Yanukovich’s letter would certainly appear to indicate that.  But Russian actions in blocking roads and blockading Ukrainian military bases on Ukrainian soil are plainly illegal.

Russia is behaving as what it is, an imperialist thug.  The British and the United States indeed lack any moral authority to make such a statement.  But I do not suffer from that handicap, and nor do you.

 

 

PS The story of my Sierra Leone involvement is in my book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo.  This is available for free download in a number of places around the web, including here.

 

 


320 thoughts on “Yanukovich and Kabbah

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  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Herbie

    Wouldn’t you agree that midwives play a useful and generally constructive rôle in society? Taken overall, they surely add to the sum total of human happiness?

    ********************

    Support your local hospital (and midwife)!

  • Herbie

    “Wouldn’t you agree that midwives play a useful and generally constructive rôle in society? Taken overall, they surely add to the sum total of human happiness?”

    They only call it “midwifing”, habby.

    The reality is much closer to bad parenting.

  • CanSpeccy

    You’d think before blathering on about Russians demographic decline one would first do a quick google search.

    In fact, Russia’s population is increasing and its birthrate, although far below replacement, is rising.

  • Herbie

    Abby Martin takes Craig’s line:

    “RT host Abby Martin condemns Russian incursion into Crimea: on RT”

    Glenn Greewald discusses, and outs the other hypocrites:

    “The vast bulk of the commentary issuing from American commentators about the Russian military action in Ukraine involves condemning exactly that which they routinely advocate and which the US itself routinely does. So suffocating is the resulting stench that those who played leading roles in selling the public the attack on Iraq and who are still unrepentant about it, such as David “Axis of Evil/The Right Man” Frum, have actually become the leading media voices condemning Russia on the ground that it is wrong to invade sovereign countries; Frum thus has no trouble saying things like this with an apparently straight face: “If Russia acts the outlaw nation, can it be expected to be treated as anything but an outlaw?””

    http://zcomm.org/znetarticle/rt-host-abby-martin-condemns-russian-incursion-into-crimea-on-rt/

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    CanSpeecy

    “You’d think before blathering on about Russians demographic decline one would first do a quick google search.

    In fact, Russia’s population is increasing and its birthrate, although far below replacement, is rising.”
    _________________________

    I did better than a “quick google search” – I checked out UN (WHO) figures.

    More importantly, your use of the link you provide is on a par with that of several other Eminences.

    1./ The link indeed shows that the Total Fertility Rate has been rising slightly since 2004 and rose more substantially between 2011 and 2012 – from 1,42 to 1,61. It also says “Rates below two children indicate populations decreasing in size and growing older”.

    2/. Your link does not, however, show that Russia’s population is increasing although that is the impression you seek to give. The effect of the lowish Total Fertility Rate on the total population is compounded by a steady increase in the mortality rate for males: Russia is the only European country where average life expectancy for males is dropping year on year.

    Therefore, you are wrong to claim that Russia’s population is increasing. It is falling.

  • mark golding

    ‘Darfur? It’s been said there is no war against homelessness because there isn’t any money in it.’ Gracious as usual Ben; as Clark tells us ‘greenbacks’ overrule politics or as Craig admits realpolitik. We are conditioned to a material world that is why we accept ‘it as the mark’ omitting the subjective as illusory.

    Machiavellianism is clearly ‘de rigeur’ as in the involvements in Sierra Leone, Ukraine, in Libya, in Syria, in the Iraq genocide and in the ‘war on terror’ – we have forgotten history, forgotten perhaps the 18th century essay by Frederick the Great, King of Prussia and patron of Voltaire rebutting the cold selfishness of a nil moral dimension, instead applying the power of duality.

    Does consciousness reside in our brains? Maybe not. Ego resides in our brains. That fact give us a limited choice. We cannot convert possibilities to actualities. Who gets a choice results in a paradox, a mystery.

    Science proves we can communicate to each other without signals. We can connect intention through non-local or cosmic consciousness which connects all of us.

    Thinking in this way we realise a whole new meaning to the ‘ethics’ Craig favors over the ‘power of might.’

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Loved Kerry’s first move – giving personally the outlaw government in Kiev $1 billion in loan guarantees.

    Wonder how much of the humanitarian assistance will be going to Russia to buy essentials?

    Too bad that the Czar had to settle for Rasputin and not the real thing.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    And Beijing has just justified its military buildup by adopting Russia’s two-prong approach when it comes to using it, not only protecting its territory and sovereignty but also to protect the area’s peace and stability, especially against American interference.

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk, 6:42 pm; just ‘cos it’s on fire doesn’t stop you fanning it.

    Your flies brackets are open, and have been for weeks.

  • fred

    @AlcAnon

    I think this should be a wake up call. Times have changed since the end of the Cold War. Russia has advanced, economically and militarily. They can no longer be sidelined.

    Time to abandon America’s plans for a unipolar world and bring Russia into the fold with the influence their position should afford them. Give them their rightful place in the New World Order.

    There is no need for conflict, Russia would much rather partake peacefully in global decision making, so long as they are given the recognition they feel they deserve.

  • John Goss

    AlcAnon/Squonk 4 Mar, 2014 – 7:25 pm

    I think it’s only sabre-rattling the intercontinental missile test at the Russian test site at Kapustin Yar (Kapusta is cabbage so before being commandeered by the military May well have been a cabbage-growing area).

    However, the Israeli missiles heading for Syria, were shot down by some alien force and I have to agree with Trowbridge, that Russia will not tolerate US intervention in what it considers its domain. All very worrying. Only the Yanks have ever used large-scale nuclear weapons, up to yet. Hope nobody else ever does.

  • Richard

    Yes, well said.

    “Liberal Interventionism” was always a fools errand and attended by lies and hypocrisy as well as much blood.

    It is often said that our politicos can’t see past the next election. I have started to suspect that they can’t see past the next expense account.

    Anybody could see that the ‘might is right’ mentality behind Lib Int gave those who will inherit the might in future years equal inheritance to the right. When that day comes, it won’t look anything like so funny. I hope I’ve left my body by then.

    Yes, Russia is wrong. So why set the situation up for them? Fiddle-face Kerry made a prat of himself and his boss last year over Syria and he’s doing the same again. (And don’t even get me started on their lap dogs in London). Sending diplomats to hand out packed lunches to people demonstrating – and subsequently shooting and throwing petrol bombs – in Kiev is so blatant and overt, one can’t help but wonder what they were up to behind the scenes. Depending on the genuine sentiments of the people of Crimea and the east (and I don’t know what they are, though clearly some would like union with Russia – quite possibly, even at this stage a minority) Putin could get what he wants and leave the Fourth Reich with a bankrupt and gas-free Western Ukraine. I wouldn’t trust any of our leaders with a mop and a bucket, let alone affairs of state.

  • John Goss

    “Fiddle-face Kerry made a prat of himself and his boss last year over Syria and he’s doing the same again. (And don’t even get me started on their lap dogs in London).” Yes especially when it was revealed he and his wife and Assad and his wife had dinner together. Almost as bad as Blair hugging and kissing Gaddafi when he was shortly to betray him. A Judas kiss if ever there was one.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2408805/John-Kerrys-cosy-dinner-Syrias-Hitler-Secretary-State-Assad-pictured-dining-Damascus.html

  • craig Post author

    Phil,

    That every government is evil does not strike me as intuitively correct, but unfortunately I have to concede there is a very great deal of empirical evidence on your side.

  • mark golding

    I agree Richard. I Hope you leave to a decent place. Getting to a ‘good’ place is problematic unless of course everyone can go there. We are all connected.

  • Peter Kemp

    That every government is evil does not strike me as intuitively correct, but unfortunately I have to concede there is a very great deal of empirical evidence on your side.

    Power corrupts, absolute power…

    Interesting article in Der Spiegel
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/russian-invasion-of-crimea-will-create-nationalist-problem-in-ukraine-a-956614.html

    New Government on the Ropes

    To be sure, members of the Right Sector — the Ukrainian right-wing militant group — have in fact anointed themselves the new keepers of order and are intimidating officials, police officers and state attorneys. In such circumstances, the transitional government in Kiev needs as much help as it can get to prevent Ukraine from descending into anarchy.

    The pain of a collapsed economy and the IMF about to be let loose in the austerity stakes plus a Russian bear loose in the woods. Bumpy rides ahead.

  • AlcAnon/Squonk

    Never before used prefixes being heard on USAF HFGCS (shortwave) network. More US planes than normal thought to be connected to nuclear contingency operations reported as being in the air on various forums by those who monitor aviation.

    Well I hadn’t planned on going to get some booze tonight. I think I will now just in case!

  • pat

    MSM/politicians/officials are arguing your case 24/7, Craig, yet none of them bothered with any of the following. worthwhile blogs, which could be piling on the pressure in cases such as Sierra Leone or Israel (the list is long), too often take their cues from the official narratives, arguing for & against what the powers-that-be are doing or saying, in other words, being reactionary:

    it must be neat to be able to actually attack other countries as many times as you like, over any prolonged period you like, without world leaders bothering to even comment, & with anonymous officials merely rationalising your behaviour. five attacks since last year – where’s the MSM rage, the UN emergency meetings, the blogosphere?

    24 Feb: NYT: Anne Barnard: Israeli Warplanes Strike Near the Border of Syria and Lebanon
    Israeli warplanes launched two raids near the Syrian-Lebanese border late Monday, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency, raising speculation that Israel might have targeted a weapons convoy to prevent the Syrian government from delivering missiles to its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah.
    Israel has struck Syria at least three times in the past year, according to United States officials, to prevent sophisticated weapons from reaching Hezbollah amid the chaos of Syria’s war. Neither Syria nor Hezbollah has retaliated.
    As usual in these cases, Israeli military and security officials refused Monday night to comment on the raid reports. Israel has maintained a policy of ambiguity in all the previous cases of strikes against weapons convoys or facilities in Syria or near the Syria-Lebanon border, refusing to confirm or deny involvement…
    American officials say that Syria provides a key route for the delivery of Iranian weapons to Hezbollah and has provided arms to the group itself.
    Hwaida Saad and Mohammad Ghannam contributed reporting from Beirut, and Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/world/middleeast/israeli-warplanes-strike-near-the-border-of-syria-and-lebanon.html?_r=0

    Steinitz had another demand the same day – “Steinitz demands that IAEA publish shelved Iran report” – here he takes on Lebanon, with help from Reuters:

    28 Feb: Reuters: Dan Williams: Israel warns Lebanon to curb Hezbollah reprisals for air strike
    Israel warned Lebanon on Friday to prevent threatened Hezbollah retaliation for an alleged Israeli air strike on a site used by the guerrillas on the Syrian border.
    Israel has neither confirmed nor denied carrying out Monday’s strike, in keeping with its silence on at least three such attacks over the past year targeting suspected Hezbollah-bound convoys of advanced weapons from civil war-torn Syria…
    Israel has frequently promised to target Lebanon at large in any new conflict, noting that Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militia, had politicians in the Beirut government.
    “It is self-evident that we see Lebanon as responsible for any attack on Israel from the territory of Lebanon,” Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Friday.
    “It is the duty of the Lebanese government to prevent any terrorist attack – whether a terrorist or missile attack, or any other kind – on the State of Israel,” he told Israel Radio.
    Israel is technically at war with Lebanon and Syria…
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/world/middleeast/israeli-warplanes-strike-near-the-border-of-syria-and-lebanon.html?_r=0
    28 Feb: Reuters: Dan Williams: Israel warns Lebanon to curb Hezbollah reprisals for air strike
    Israel warned Lebanon on Friday to prevent threatened Hezbollah retaliation for an alleged Israeli air strike on a site used by the guerrillas on the Syrian border.
    Israel has neither confirmed nor denied carrying out Monday’s strike, in keeping with its silence on at least three such attacks over the past year targeting suspected Hezbollah-bound convoys of advanced weapons from civil war-torn Syria…
    Israel has frequently promised to target Lebanon at large in any new conflict, noting that Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shi’ite Muslim militia, had politicians in the Beirut government.
    “It is self-evident that we see Lebanon as responsible for any attack on Israel from the territory of Lebanon,” Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Friday.
    “It is the duty of the Lebanese government to prevent any terrorist attack – whether a terrorist or missile attack, or any other kind – on the State of Israel,” he told Israel Radio.
    Israel is technically at war with Lebanon and Syria…
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/world/middleeast/israeli-warplanes-strike-near-the-border-of-syria-and-lebanon.html?_r=0

    peace & goodwill to all.

  • John Goss

    “Never before used prefixes being heard on USAF HFGCS (shortwave) network. More US planes than normal thought to be connected to nuclear contingency operations reported as being in the air on various forums by those who monitor aviation.”

    I’m joining you. There’s a Russian drinking saying, Nichevo, Nichevo, zavtra budyet moloko, for which there is no direct translation but roughly means, let’s get pissed out of our brains, tomorrow we’ll drink milk, or more literally: nothing matters, tomorrow will be milk.

  • pat

    Steinitz is a busy man:

    16 Feb: Arutz Sheva: David Lev: Steinitz: Approving Golan, Jordan Valley Map ‘Right Thing to Do’
    Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz praised the Treasury for approving his periphery benefit map, which includes the Golan Heights
    Among the areas included in the map are the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley, and Southern Hevron Hills, which, Steinitz said, was very appropriate. The idea of the map is to enhance the periphery, he said, and “anyone who wants to enhance the periphery without including the Golan Heights and Jordan Valley is discriminating between residents of the periphery…
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/177524

    when a former adviser to Pres Jimmy Carter can get this published in the left media, i guess you know you are immune from criticism:

    15 Feb: Huffington Post: Lawrence Solomon: Israel’s Enemies Are Too Distracted To Worry About An Attack on Iran
    Because the U.S. acts only in its own best interest, Israel cannot count on the U.S. to remove the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, either over the next few months in Geneva or later. So far, in the hope that the U.S. would come to its rescue or that the mullahs in Iran would be overthrown, Israel has waited rather than taking action…
    It now faces far more complex dangers than it did a year ago, two years ago, or five years ago. Continuing to wait – and to hope for the U.S. or something to save it — would likely only worsen Israel’s predicament…
    There is never a good time for military action but where Israel and Iran are concerned, now is always better than later…
    Most importantly, an attack on Iran now would eliminate a harsh condemnation from the United States, which is heading into mid-term elections, with the U.S. Senate up for grabs…
    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/israel-iran_b_4784019.html

  • oddie

    Russia’s case. lots more at the link:

    4 Mar: Russia Today: Russia is allowed to have 25,000 troops in Crimea…and other facts you didn’t know
    Ukraine’s statement at the UN that 16,000 Russian soldiers have been deployed to Crimea has caused a frenzy among Western media which chooses to ignore that those troops have been there since the late 1990s in accordance with a Kiev-Moscow agreement.
    Western media describes the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as if a full-scale Russian invasion were under way, with headlines like: “Ukraine says Russia sent 16,000 troops to Crimea” and “Ukraine crisis deepens as Russia sends more troops into Crimea,” as well as “What can Obama do about Russia’s invasion of Crimea?”
    It seems they have chosen to simply ignore the fact that those Russian troops have been stationed in Crimea for over a decade.
    Russia’s representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, reminded on Tuesday that the deal surrounding the Black Sea Fleet allows Russia to station a contingent of up to 25,000 troops in Ukraine. However, US and British media have mostly chosen to turn a deaf ear…
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underlined that the country’s military “strictly executes the agreements, which stipulate the Russian fleet’s presence in Ukraine, and follows the stance and claims coming from the legitimate authority in Ukraine and in this case the legitimate authority of the Autonomous Republic Crimea as well.” …
    http://rt.com/news/russian-troops-crimea-ukraine-816/

  • 5566hh

    A fascinating post, Mr Murray. I hope it receives the wide attention that it deserves. By the way, readers here might also be interested in the discussion going on on this topic on the group blog crookedtimber.org .

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    As the Winter-Coup Olymics come to the end of the first fortnight the teams can look back with mixed emotions. Proud to have turned up, but, for most, heartbroken to see the chance of medals slipping away.

    The Neo-Nazis with their baseball bats, molotov cocktails and tin hats got off to an impressive start. Their manager Victoria Nuland had boasted that $5 billion had enabled her to do great things on the transfer market and told the world she expected them to feck both the Ukrainian Government and EU partners. For several days it seemed they would win all the medals. But a few careless laws, appeals to other terrorists to expand the party and a careless threat that they could put together a nuclear weapon in a few months caused unexpected awkwardness from large sections of Ukraine supporters. Some even threw their things out of the changing rooms they had been occupying.

    There was great excitement as the time for the Poker finals drew near. Sadly this event ended chaotically before it even started. The US team had brought only jokers and the Russian team captain “Prince of Darkness” Putin turned up with only a chess board and refused to play by the rules. US captain Kerry withdrew to the changing rooms and was last heard muttering incoherently about “freedom” and “sovereignty”.

    Meanwhile, in the Opinion Throwing event Useful Idiots team’s relentless game paid dividends as the Useless Feckers bored most of the spectators to death and the Mad Conspiracy Theorists were disqualified for the underhanded release of a banned recording of a genuine conspiracy between the US Assistant Secretary of State and the US ambassador to Ukraine.

    http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/february/09/victoria-nulands-ukraine-gate-deceptions.aspx

    Oh dear!

  • Clark

    John Goss, 8:20 pm:

    Only the Yanks have ever used large-scale nuclear weapons…

    The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t large-scale. They were A-bombs, which work on nuclear fission. H-bombs work on nuclear fusion and are hundreds of times more powerful. No H-bomb has ever been used ‘in anger’.

  • fred

    “Apparently the Russians told the Yanks that there would be an intercontinental test in advance.”

    How much in advance they didn’t say.

    “We have been notified of this test earlier this week, it’s not unexpected,” a defence official told the AFP news agency.

    It’s only Tuesday.

  • Ben

    “Well I hadn’t planned on going to get some booze tonight. I think I will now just in case!”

    What are you drinking? I suggest your favorite single-malt with a quarter century waiting for your palate. No time for going cheap on yourself.

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