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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  • Clark

    John Goss, thinking of what the US did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki makes me feel like crying; on occasions, I have. Oh, I know those two bombs only account for a small fraction of the deaths of WWII, I know the US couldn’t manufacture nukes fast enough and basically only had their bluff to project. It’s just the vast, overwhelming destructive force used against unprepared families. All those people, the young and old, their pets, their homes, all the links between them and what they meant to each other, all their love and care for each other, all just gone in an eye-blink, just flattened, smashed, vaporised, not a trace left. And then around them the survivors, seared, burned, irradiated and in agony, and everything they recognised just a second ago utterly obliterated. It’s unimaginable. And then America did it again.

  • fred

    I personally would like to see justice done and see Putin’s name on a list of people awaiting trial at The Hague. Below Bush and Blair and all the others. Any other way would not be justice.

    While they can call water boarding “enhanced interrogation” and make it not torture they should not be able to call the Russian soldiers in Crimea an invasion. Take a look at some pictures of the D Day landings, that’s what an invasion looks like, take a look at the invasion of Iraq.

  • Clark

    Wikispooks and others, when you consider Craig’s perspective, consider his experiences. Consider the torturer Karimov of Uzbekistan, a typical product of the break-up of the Soviet Union and still connected to the Russian power base. Consider Uzbekistan’s torture and the Andijan Massacre. Consider all the asylum seekers Craig has helped to escape from that Russian-supported system, who would disappear and suffer agony if their government got hold of them again, just for speaking the truth.

    Craig has been much closer to the atrocious monster which is the Russian political system than most of us will ever be. He knows it in a way most of us never can, and wouldn’t ever want to. He only just managed to save Nadira from it. Read Murder in Samarkand again.

  • John Goss

    Clark, I couldn’t agree more. There was a classic photograph of children trying to get away from the city with a little girl naked in the middle of the road. She survived, but the images of Hiroshima will never leave her mind. Here is another, because from the WWII, through Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia and all the more recent drone-strikes, there appears to be something in the US government psyche that makes them think that death and wounding of non-Americans does not hurt.


  • KingofWelshNoir

    Clark & John

    Yup, and the conventional fire-bombing of Tokyo – over 100,000 burned to death in deliberately created firestorm – was even more horrific, if such a thing is possible.

  • wikispooks


    I know you mean well but spare me the lectures please. “The monster that is the Russian political system” eh? Now precisely which ‘political system’ would that be?

    The Tzarist; the Bolshevik; the Yeltsin/Jewish oligarch financed-Russia plundering-Western backed coup regime of 1992-99 whose non-extraditable criminals now keep our ‘national game’ afloat and are thus lauded as heroes; or the Present one struggling to prise Russia from the Western maw?

    I can easily credit you with being plain naive. Much less so Craig.

    And I just listened to Craig’s last/latest?? political party spokesman Vince Cable on the subject. EXACTLY the same diagnosis “Putin the thug must back-off and stop supporting the illegal so-called self-defence militias” – ILLEGAL SO_CALLED SELF-DEFENCE MILITIAS I kid you not – “springing up in the Eastern ukraine”. If Cable had 10% the popular support Putin does he’d have something to crow about. Same goes for ALL our political leaders. Which planet do they, Craig and the entire western MSM – singling in unison from EXACTLY the same hym sheet – inhabit I have to ask myself? ZOB? Don’t you find it just an itsy-itsy-ITSY-bit odd?

  • John Goss

    Hague has had talks with Kerry regarding the future of Russia. What this means is that Kerry has given him his instructions from our masters across the Atlantic.

    There is no way that Russia will send a senior politician to talk with an unelected government’s acting foreign minister of Ukraine. The stupidity of Hague believing that this might be a possibility shows just how naive our key representatives are. Our western governments, instead of offering open cheques for a government (of thugs and Nazis) that has overthrown the elected government, should be working towards elections, because that is what democracy is about. The west is trying to blow this up into something bigger than what it is. If those who have currently appointed themselves wish to stand for election then there is no reason why they should not.

  • wikispooks

    And here’s confirmation of what cognitively unimpaired followers of events in the Ukraine who studied the contemporary video and similarly knee-jerk western reporting were close to certain about about soon afterwards. It was NOT Yanukovych’s security police shooting at the Maidan protestors – and killing 13 policemen in the process; it was those orchestrating their own beloved protestors – classic Gladio-style black-ops stuff IOW.

    Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders – leaked EU’s Ashton phone tape

    Another pesky ‘Victoria Nuland’-like embarrassment eh? – but I’m sure A way will be found to rationalise it away. “It was all the fault of the victims” – or simply ignoring it.

  • Clark

    Wikispooks, I’m referring to the Russian system that Craig has had to have dealings with, which he has written about many times, which plunged Ukraine into the lethal depths of winter by turning off Gazprom’s the gas, which has taken over the Russian news media, which throws journalists out of windows, which performed false-flag terrorism on its own citizens; need I go on? Do I need to find you links on this very site, this catalogue of Craig’s own experiences and insights?

    I know that the other governments are no better, and so does Craig. But you can’t let one criminal off just because some other criminal did something else.

  • AlcAnon/Squonk

    Another leaked phone call.

    Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders – leaked EU’s Ashton phone tape

    The snipers who shot at protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders, according to a leaked phone conversation between the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister, which has emerged online.

    “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition,” Paet said during the conversation.

    “I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh,” Ashton answered.

    The call took place after Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Kiev on February 25 at the peak of clashes between the pro-EU protesters and security forces in the Ukrainian capital.

    …Paet also recalled his conversation with a doctor who treated those shot by snipers in Kiev. She said that both protesters and police were shot at by the same people.

    “And second, what was quite disturbing, this same Olga [Bogomolets] told as well that all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides,” the Estonian FM stressed.

    Ashton reacted to the information by saying: “Well, yeah…that’s, that’s terrible.”

    “So that she then also showed me some photos she said that as a medical doctor she can say that it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened,” Paet said.

    The file was reportedly uploaded to the web by officers of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) loyal to ousted President Viktor Yanukovich who hacked Paet’s and Ashton’s phones.

  • Herbie

    Surely it would be a simple matter to ask Ashton and the Estonian foreign affairs minister the about this phone call and the info contained therein?

    Nazis behaving like Nazis is no longer news, I suppose…

  • Phil

    My friend in Kiev has responded to reservations, such as those expressed by Clark and Craig, that this incident was staged. His exasperation, that I am still apparently doubting the revolution as a spontaneous civilian uprising is clear. I do not in any way doubt my friend. I am going to summarise what I take from his email:

    This is a court case. The video makers knew what was happening and had time to plan in advance. This is why they could film the arrival of the defendant and the advancing column. Yes the protesters do glance at the camera but they are not used to being filmed. No big deal.

    Yes the production is slick but so what. Cameras are readily available and everyone has a pc to edit with. Do we think mobile phone quality provides authenticity?

    I think he says the marching and khaki are a result of national service which is mandatory in Ukraine. They have all been army trained.

    Here is a link to an English language report of the court case.

    My friend also explained that such “defence teams” did not exist at the start of the revolution and only started to appear as a result of Police violence. Police violence such as this from last December.

  • Clark

    wikispooks, 12:59 pm; your link seems wrong. Please re-post, preferably with more sources. I don’t want to rely only upon RT for that, no more than I’d rely on BBC for certain things.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Nuke The Daily Mail)

    The Olga Bogolomets/Ashton story only seems to be sourced from .ru sites. And it’s far more likely, if true (pmsl), to be an intercept than a leak, so there’ll never be any independent verification. No-one ever said Putin was more truthful thasn (eg) Blair…

    I guess Ashton will deny it in due course.

  • Clark

    Phil (and please tell your friend in Kiev), I don’t doubt that most motivation for the protests is spontaneous. Whoever organised that group, they wouldn’t have been able to recruit so many volunteers without widespread popular opposition to Yanukovich and his administration.

    Note that the group in the video were using exactly the same shields as the police; echoes of “the same people shooting at both sides”, yes? It’s not the people I’m suspicious of; it’s the leadership. More and more, I’m suspecting convergence at the highest levels, with people’s justified grievances being cynically exploited.

    Arms dealers are notorious for selling to all sides. Conflict is always in their interest.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Nuke The Daily Mail)

    Posted across AlcAnon’s revelation. Still sceptical. If not an utter fake, then an ultimately unattributable intercept.

  • John Goss

    The Nazis apparently include members of the ‘Batkivshchyna’ Sergei Pashinsky and Yuliya Timoshenko. Considering that now there is talk that the sniper may have been from the opposition Pashinsky may be a suspect. In the boot of his car was a rifle with a silencer accidentally caught on one of the protestor’s videos. Sorry it is in Russian. But you get the picture. Before I am attacked by the usual suspects for being pro-Russian I reserve my opinion over this video. I am posting it out of general interest.


  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Makes you sound, Clark, as if you work for British security services where you imply unsolved ‘false flag’ operations are simply the work of the thug in Moscow when they are most probably the work of Anglo-American covert government – like the brutal murder of former KGB agent Alexandr Litvinenko who was threatening to blackmail Western leaders for, among other things, assassinating Swedish statsminister Olof Palme to trigger a non-nuclear conclusion to the USSR.

    Then there are the killings of Gareth Williams, Gudrun Loftus, and Steve Rawlings, among many others.

    The thugs in these assassinations are clearly Western governments.

    And Putin is clearly getting what he wants in the Ukraine – resetting the clock about who governs it and how, and getting the EU to help solve its economic plight rather than NATO imposing its stooges in Kiev.

  • wikispooks

    Sorry about that – YouTube video – Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Catherine Ashton discuss Ukraine over the phone.

    It is also a compelling illustration of the ‘call in the middle of the night’ persuasion that was used to secure the parliamentary votes to ‘oust Yukanovych’ – and everything else that has occurred since.

  • Clark

    Trowbridge H. Ford, 1:44 pm; I’m a private citizen with no affiliation except to Craig’s blog. I publish my contact details. You, or anyone else, are welcome to come to mine and scrutinise my behaviour for as long as you wish; there’s a spare bedroom and I’d be glad of company.

    I did also write: “I know that the other governments are no better…”

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