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Ukraine: where's the beef?

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In response to the European Union's tougher sanctions, Russia adopted sanctions of its own. In turn, Europe is threatening to adopt additional sanctions. Last Monday (August 11), NATO-Secretary General Anders Rasmussen warned a Russian invasion is a 'high probability' taking place under the 'guise of a humanitarian operation'. On August 14, Russian military vehicles were reported to have crossed into Ukraine. (1) What's bothersome watching television or reading newspapers, is the lack of evidence. One wonders: "where's the beef?" (2)

Satellite pictures which were accurate enough to detect nuclear war heads in Cuba in October 1962, surely must be accurate enough to tell whether Russian troops crossed the Ukraine borders. NSA's listening devices should shed some light on the downing of the MH17 flight. Three hours after the crash, Joe Biden, the United States' Vice President, pointed in Russia's direction but gave no proof to corroborate his statement. During his July 18 news conference, Barack Obama also designated Russia as the culprit, while telling his audience he has no evidence to back up his assertion. The uneasy feeling this lack of evidence conveys is reinforced by an examination of the information at hand.

For instance, in the article entitled: "A Bunch of Russian Military Vehicles Have Just Crossed into Ukraine", (1) the reader is led to believe that Russia invaded Ukraine. However, this does not seem to be the case. The article is based on three twitter messages on August 14 by The Guardian's Moscow correspondent, Shaun Walker. Here is what he says: First message (6:49 PM): "Erm ok so this isn't humanitarian aid. Column of over 20 APCs, 10km from the Ukraine border, and heading closer". Second message (7:14 PM): "To clarify. APC column separate to humanitarian convoy, which has halted. Is moving V close to border. But not size of proper invasion force." Third message (8:33 PM): "NB I don't think this was 'the invasion' proper. This is probably what has been happening for a while. Extraordinary to see it though." The last message is clear. There is no invasion. But, the title of the article conveys a different message.

The downing of the MH17 raises questions too. Peter Haisenko, a German pilot, noted that a picture of the cockpit "shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes" of a 30 millimeter caliber." (3) Entry and exit holes indicate the presence of two military aircrafts, each shooting from one side of the airliner. A graze on one wing pointing in the direction of the cockpit confirms the hypothesis. Yet, it is not picked up by the media. Equally troublesome is the live reporting by Olga Ivshina, from the BBC Russian Service, quoting three eyewitnesses mentioning the presence of a military aircraft. (4) The reporting has been removed from the British channel site. The plane's black boxes have been recovered but no information on their content has been given yet.

Rising tension in the absence of evidence reminds one of the long forgotten Spanish-American war. Though the Cuban insurrection against their Spanish rulers was stagnating, press magnate, William Randolph Hearst, sent the famed illustrator Frederic Remington. Remington, bored by the lack of anything newsworthy, cabled to Hearst, "Everything quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. Wish to return." Hearst reportedly replied, "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."

(1)Reuters/Business Insiders, August 14, 2014.

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(2)This question, from a Wendy's advertisement, first used by Walter Mondale in his debate with Gary Hart in March 1984, was made famous by Ronald Reagan in his presidential debate with Jimmy Carter on October 28, 1980.

(3)Revelations of German pilot. Global Research. July 30, 2014.

(4)Deleted BBC Report. Global Research, July 27, 2014.

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Former Vice President Citigroup New York (retired) Columbia University -- Business School Princeton University -- Woodrow Wilson School

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