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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  • Herbie

    In all of these things you have to look at the context to see who benefits from the event.

    In this case, the Opposition, Yanukovich, the EU and the Russians, had just concluded a deal.

    They’d all excluded the Americans.

    As a result of these shootings the deal was scrapped, the fascists took control of security from the police and Yanukovich did a runner for his life.

    My money is on those who weren’t invited to the party.

    That’d be the Americans. They or their agents are the most likely candidates.

    Fuck the EU, indeed!

  • Ba'al Zevul (Nuke The Daily Mail)

    ‘Mr Paet said he had been making known to Ms Ashton the rumours he heard on a visit to Kiev, that snipers from both sides were involved in the killing of protesters in Independence Square last month.’

    Rumours. Exactly. And his source – possibly the only one – was Olga Bogolomets.
    Here they are:


    And in this Feb 21st CNN report is Bogolomets alleging sniper fire. Without saying whodunnit.


    Radio Free Europe got nearer than that –

    In video shot by Radio Free Europe, men wearing what appear to be government uniforms fired at unseen targets with automatic rifles and a sniper rifle with a telescopic sight. CNN could not immediately confirm their target.

    And RFE is funded by the US Congress. Is Obama hand in glove with Putin? Somehow I doubt it.

  • Herbie

    “Mr Paet said he had been making known to Ms Ashton the rumours he heard on a visit to Kiev, that snipers from both sides were involved in the killing of protesters in Independence Square last month.

    No. That’s not right at all.

    What he said is that the snipers were firing on both sides, police and protesters.

    Either he’s changed his story or the BBC have changed it for him.

  • Phil

    Clark 5 Mar, 2014 – 1:42 pm
    “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?”

    Or maybe they just stole them.

  • DoNNyDarKo

    I’m no expert , but it sounds genuine to me. Why bother with the telephonists bits n pieces if its a studio job ?
    When the CIA did Obama, they didn’t always get the lip syncing right or the beard colour,but it was without any extra nonsense,like them ordering pizza or beer.Ashton sounds every bit as professional as she looks, and the Estonians for almost a week have been flagging the “unelected leaders” of Ukraine as being bad guys.Unelected !! It’s becoming the European way…. Greece , Italy, Ukraine…
    The recording’s been released for the same reasons they released the US ambassadors conversation. To show that they know and they can!! They might just let the NSA record, they log in ,download whatever they want. That would be justice wouldn’t it?
    If it looks like dog shit, smells like dog shit , feels like dog shit, and tastes like dog shit, then its dog shit !!! West guilty. The Russians are guilty of many things but this whole episode has that made in Washington feel about it.
    Meanwhile the western press ignore the biggest story in this because it isn’t in their script.Wonder what “consequences” Hague can come up with for the snipers paymasters ?

  • Ba'al Zevul (Nuke The Daily Mail)

    Herbie – What Paet said was actually pretty ambiguous – he was not expressing himself clearly -, and the RT transcript I quoted above shows it to be so. And it was second-hand.

  • AlcAnon/Squonk

    Curious that the BBC publishes the Estonian response to the tape before it has published any of the tape content (audio or transcript).

    Also the reference to “handwriting” being the same he made is said elsewhere to be a reference to the ballistic signature, identified on bullets that killed both police officers and protesters, being the same from analysis. Not having English as a first language he said “handwriting” instead of “signature”. Any linguists (or not) want to comment on that interpretation?

    If someone does have proof that the same weapon(s) were used to shoot both sides then that is very interesting.

  • Kurtan

    The Americans are on a roll.Come on!


    Why is Ukraine so far fetched?

    None of the new leadership has clean hands or less than a few million dollars.

    And US jump at them with open arms and wallets. Come on!!

  • John Goss

    Herbie, I understood that too. The same people shooting on both sides. By the way, I did not get the impression that Catherine Ashton knew about it Squonk. When she said something like “I didn’t know that” it sounded genuine to me. Perhaps I am too trusting.

    Clark, no I did not miss that, but certainly Craig’s earlier posts, and most of his comments have leaned more towards the unelected government. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the interim Ukrainian prime minister has told the BBC (surprise, surprise) that the government is legitimate. Now my understanding of a legitimate government is one elected by the electorate, not one appointed by a conglomerate of MPs who elected themselves. The electorate does not just comprise people in Kiev, and not all of them are supportive of the rioters, as the article in the Jerusalem Post revealed.

  • Herbie

    Ba’al Zevul

    No. He’s very definitely saying on the tape that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides. They were shooting policemen and protestors.

    And, you know what that means.

    If he’s now changed his story to what you quote above then I’m afraid that’s proof positive that some element of the Western interest was involved.

    My money is on those who were excluded from the deal.

    That’d be the Americans or their agents.

  • John Goss

    Andrew, the article by Paul Craig Roberts seems sound to me. I like his coined phrase presstitutes for MSM arse-lickers.

  • John Goss

    The sniper was “somebody from the new coalition”. At least that was what Urmas Paet was told. But still no mention and in fact there is BBC bresking news that Ban Ki Moon’s representative has been seized.

  • mike

    Let’s nail this one down — There are now neo Nazis in the Ukrainian Government, and “we” helped put them there.

  • mark Golding

    Obama might have gone to Sochi out of gratitude to Putin. Obama might also have stood with Russia’s leader against international terrorists that have taken lives in both America and Russia. Short memories hide the fact Putin persuaded Bashar al-Assad to eliminate his chemical weapons and then went on to ‘grease the wheels’ and thus pave the way for Obama’s opening to Iran and peace.

    We witnessed Putin’s games corrupted, contaminated by threats from Bandar-Bush and amplified by a tainted American media that gave terrorists an early victory and frightened untold numbers of foreign visitors including relatives of the athletes.

    The Sochi games will pass into history and left behind is an unfolding new cold war divide and instability far worse than the fractures of Georgia in 2008.

    When I embrace Putin I do so because I believe he is not a patron of terror, intimidation, shock and awe. He is not a murderer of innocent children in an illegal war, a war that displaced Iraqi families by the million.

    We all live in a ‘thugocracy’ for sure, creating fear, expoiting and embracing terrorism is licentious to the point of being pornographic.

  • John Goss

    Mike, I did not help put the neo-Nazis in power and I disassociate myself from all coup d’état initiated by fascists with possible support from western governments with a known record for destabilising government.

    Mark I certainly prefer Putin to Obama, Cameron, et al.

  • Herbie

    Bully boy Obama talking more nonsense, but watch as he defends his policy from attacks by those who say Putin is running rings around him again.

    He’s trying to deny charges that Putin is tactically or strategically superior.

    So he says that what Putin is doing is not a sign of strength, but a sign of…

    The audience is expecting the word “weakness”, but does he say it? Does he have the balls to say it?

    Bloody right he doesn’t say it!

    Quickly realising that’s not the thing to say to the lesder of a nuclear power, he scratches his arse for a minute and waffles on some non-sequitor Bush-like bollocks about other countries not being impressed ffs.

    Not so easy when you’re facing someone nearly your own size, is it.



  • Tabitha

    Oh for goodness’ sake.

    “When I embrace Putin I do so because I believe he is not a patron of terror, intimidation, shock and awe. He is not a murderer of innocent children in an illegal war, a war that displaced Iraqi families by the million.”

    “Mark I certainly prefer Putin to Obama, Cameron, et al.”

    Chechnya. Chechnya. Chechnya.

  • fred

    “All of this for NEW cold war?, IF so, it was well planned!.”

    Cold war? It would be a bloody freezing war in Germany if Russia turned the gas off.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Can anyone believe the UN being an honest broker in settling the disputes in the Ukraine when it send Robert Serry, a former NATO Deputy Secretary General for Crisis Management, to do the job.

    He’s lucky the armed soldiers did not string him up on a light pole.

    Of course, our free media says nothing about who Serry really is!

    Guess the Secretary General could not get bigger scumbags like former American covert operator Robert Gates to do the job!

  • Herbie

    “Chechnya. Chechnya. Chechnya.”

    Yes indeed, but we have to face up to the fact that the US is by far the greater threat to world peace, and by many orders of magnitude.

    And funnily enough, when asked, that’s what people all over the world are saying.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    How about Robert Serry, a former NATO Deputy Secretary General for Crisis Management, being the UN mediator in the Crimea!

    He’s lucky he didn’t get strung up by the soldiers, once they discovered who he really is.

  • Herbie

    If you remember from Nuland’s leaked conversation:

    “Nuland: OK… one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be heard] I can’t remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?”

    Yup, another of Nuland’s fixers.

  • Herbie

    “Nuland: OK. He’s now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.”

    Isn’t it a pity she didn’t mention whom she wanted to do the sniping…

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Robert Serry, a former NATO Deputy Secretary for Crisis Management, being the UN mediator in the Crimea.

    What will it think of next!

    He’s lucky he didn’t get strung up on a light pole!

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