The Washington Post Will Kill Us All by David Swanson

This article by David Swanson is not to be confused with the one written by Paul Craig Roberts entitled and also published here entitled:  “Will Washington Kill Us All?”.  However, one cannot help note that “Washington” is clearly identified as our primary enemy and the two articles have a great deal in common.

Swanson--Don't Iraq Iran

Posted March 16, 2015

“War with Iran is probably our best option.” This is an actual headline from the Washington Post.

Yes it’s an op-ed, but don’t fantasize that it’s part of some sort of balanced wide-ranging array of varied opinions. The Washington Post wouldn’t print a column advocating peace to save its life — as such an act just might help to do. And you can imagine the response if the headline had been: “Racism is probably our best option,” or “Rape is probably our best option,” or “Child abuse is probably our best option.” Nobody would object: “But they’ve probably had lots of columns opposing child abuse. Surely they can have one in favor, or do you want to shut down debate?” No, some things are rightly considered beyond the range of acceptability. War, in Washington, is not one of them.

Now, war propaganda is illegal under the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights. War itself is illegal under the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the United Nations Charter. But the Washington Post isn’t one to worry about legal niceties.

There was quite a brouhaha last week when 47 senators tried to impede negotiations between the White House / State Department and Iran. Yes, charges of violating the Logan Act were ridiculous. If that was a violation, there have been thousands.  In fact here’s one now from the Washington Post. Iran’s government reads this vicious piece of propaganda just as surely as it reads an “open letter” from 47 sexually repressed climate-denying bible-thumping nimrods with corporate funding. When my town’s government passed a resolution opposing any U.S. war on Iran I was immediately contacted by Iranian media, and our city council members were never charged with undermining the federal government’s so-called foreign policy. But the nonpartisan substance of the critique of the 47 Fools and of the Netanyahu Get-Up-Sit-Down aerobics workout was important and applies equally to the Washington Post:advocating war is immoral, illegal, and idiotic.

It is no secret what war on Iran means: lots of death and suffering — the extreme version being if Israelwere to use its nuclear weapons:

“Iranian cities — owing to geography, climate, building construction, and population densities — are particularly vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a new study, ‘Nuclear War Between Israel and Iran: Lethality Beyond the Pale,’ published in the journal Conflict & Health by researchers from the University of Georgia and Harvard University. It is the first publicly released scientific assessment of what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean for people in the region.

“Its scenarios are staggering. An Israeli attack on the Iranian capital of Tehran using five 500-kiloton weapons would, the study estimates, kill seven million people — 86% of the population — and leave close to 800,000 wounded. A strike with five 250-kiloton weapons would kill an estimated 5.6 million and injure 1.6 million, according to predictions made using an advanced software package designed to calculate mass casualties from a nuclear detonation.

“Estimates of the civilian toll in other Iranian cities are even more horrendous. A nuclear assault on the city ofArak, the site of a heavy water plant central to Iran’s nuclear program, would potentially kill 93% of its 424,000 residents. Three 100-kiloton nuclear weapons hitting the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas would slaughter an estimated 94% of its 468,000 citizens, leaving just 1% of the population uninjured. A multi-weapon strike on Kermanshah, a Kurdish city with a population of 752,000, would result in an almost unfathomable 99.9% casualty rate.”

The barbaric boneheadedness of someone who would write such murder off as acceptable because the victims are not Americans is almost unfathomable. The response would be attacks on U.S. soldiers and U.S. citizens and the United States. The potential for escalation into a global and nuclear war would be significant, particularly with the U.S. playing at war games on Russia’s western border and arming attacks on the government of Syria.

But here comes Joshua Muravchik in the Washington Post. He’s funded by corporate-funded and war-industry-funded institutes. He’s backed all the recent wars, including the war on Iraq. He has no shame, no repentance. He wants more war. And all the many wars that President Obama is happy to wage or provoke just aren’t enough. There must be a war on Iran.

Muravchik calls Iran “violent, rapacious, devious, and redolent with hatred for Israel and the United States” without offering any evidence or explanation, and then claims — contrary to some 17 U.S. and 1 Israeli spy agencies — that Iran “is bound to continue its quest for nuclear weapons.” Imagine submitting an op-ed to the Washington Post that asserted that Iran had never had and does not have a nuclear weapons program. The editors would demand proof. Imaging providing the proof. The editors would reject it out of hand. After all, “both sides” make the same baseless accusations. President Obama and Senator McCain will both tell you that Iran is trying to build a nuke and must be stopped. They’ll just disagree on how to stop it, with Obama proposing a response that fits better with reality than it does with his own rhetoric.

Muravchik objects to any deal that might be reached with Iran because it will, necessarily and by definition, have Iran’s agreement. A better option, he says, would be the above mass-murder scenario. “What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons?” Iran is abiding by its treaty obligations, unlike the United States or Israel. Its nuclear energy puts it close to nuclear weaponry, but no closer than many other nations including all the Gulf dictatorships to which the West is currently spreading nuclear energy, just as it did to Iran — not to mention the CIA’s handing nuclear bomb plans to Iran and scapegoating Jeffrey Sterling over it. Beyond a negotiated agreement, a little leading by example, the removal of Israel’s nukes, the provision of clean energy, and a coordinated elimination of nuclear energy are entirely doable.

Muravchik knows this. And he knows that anyone you can talk to can work out a deal with you that is far superior to murdering millions of human beings. In fact everyone who’s not a vicious fascist pig knows this. So, there are two solutions in the standard propaganda toolbox: 1) claim Iran cannot be talked to, 2) call Iran a bunch of Nazis:

“Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world. Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only brandished, would vastly enhance Iran’s power to achieve that goal.”

He admits that nuclear arsenals tend not to be used. But he claims that the madmen of Iran, even while exhibiting such rational restraint, would nonetheless spread their imperial conquests. Never mind that the United States has troops in 175 nations while Iran has not attacked another nation in centuries. If Iran can be imagined as behaving the way the United States would, and the United States can be imagined as behaving the way civilized countries do, then violence can be made to seem justified.

But you have to catapult the propaganda: “Sanctions may have induced Iran to enter negotiations, but they have not persuaded it to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons.” There is of course no evidence for the opening claim in that sentence, nor for the concluding lie.

So, what we need, according to the Washington Post’s columnist is another knowingly self-defeating war that makes everything even worse: “Wouldn’t an attack cause ordinary Iranians to rally behind the regime? Perhaps, but military losses have also served to undermine regimes, including the Greek and Argentine juntas, the Russian czar and the Russian communists.” Our over-excited neocon may actually be at the point of imagining that Ronald Reagan invaded the USSR. The Washington Post, if questioned, will tell you that accuracy is not relevant in opinion writing.

And, if at first you kill millions of innocent people while accomplishing nothing: “Wouldn’t destroying much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure merely delay its progress? Perhaps, but we can strike as often as necessary. Of course, Iran would try to conceal and defend the elements of its nuclear program, so we might have to find new ways to discover and attack them. Surely the United States could best Iran in such a technological race.”

Surely. And if not, what’s the viability of life on planet earth in the grand scheme of things? After all, there is some “us” for whom a war on Iran is “our” best option. For this crowd, there is a more important world than this one. It is the world of sacred self-deluded megalomaniacal murderers for whom killing is a sacrament.

And never mind the uncontrollable outbreak of wider war, when you’ve already written off the planet: “And finally, wouldn’t Iran retaliate by using its own forces or proxies to attack Americans — as it has done in Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia — with new ferocity? Probably. ” But, says our sociopathic friend, it is better for the United States to suffer hard losses, while killing lots of Iranians unworthy of any notice, than to suffer the even worse losses that would surely come if an imaginary Iran that behaved like the United States attacked its neighbors and the United States were “drawn in” to those wars.

When you’re starting wars, not on the grounds that fictional weapons of mass destruction will kill you otherwise, not on the pretense of preventing an attack on civilians, but on the grounds that if you don’t start a war now someone else could theoretically start one later, you have set up a logic of Armageddon. And it may kill us all. We may die in part of overdosing on Hollywood movies with happy endings that convince us reality looks like that. But we won’t all die, I feel fairly certain, without the Washington Postcheering death through the door.<--break->

Will Washington Kill Us All? by Paul Craig Roberts

Contents of the Article:
The demonization of Russia and its leader by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and the rest of the American Propaganda Ministry, by almost the entirety of the House and Senate, and by the White House makes reducing the threat of nuclear war impossible.

**Reproduced from:  http://www.greanvillepost.com/2015/04/15/will-washington-kill-us-all/


nuclear_explosion_by_theabp-d59sy3y--TGP PCR

Nuclear Brinksmanship

Did you know that Washington keeps 450 nuclear ICBMs on “hair-trigger alert”?  Washington thinks that this makes us “safe.”  The reasoning, if it can be called reason, is that by being able to launch in a few minutes, no one will try to attack the US with nuclear weapons.  US missiles are able to get on their way before the enemy’s missiles can reach the US to destroy ours.


If this makes you feel safe, you need to read Eric Schlosser’s book, Command and Control.

The trouble with hair-triggers is that they make mistaken, accidental, and unauthorized launch more likely. Schlosser provides a history of almost launches that would have brought armageddon to the world.

In Catalyst, a publication of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Elliott Negin tells the story of Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov.  Just after midnight in 1983 the Soviet Union’s early warning satellite system set off the alarm that 5 US ICBMs were headed for the Soviet Union.

Col. Petrov was supposed to inform the Soviet leader, who would have 8 to 10 minutes to decide whether to launch in retaliation. Who knows what he would have decided. Instead Col. Petrov used his judgment.  There was no reason for the US to be attacking the Soviet Union.  Moreover, Petrov reasoned that an American attack would involve hundreds of ICBMs, possibly thousands.  He checked whether Soviet ground-based radar had detected incoming ICBMs, and it had not.  Petrov decided it was a false alarm, and sat on it.

It turned out that the early warning system had mistaken a pattern of sunlight reflection on clouds as missiles. This was a close call, but Negin reports that “a failed computer chip, and an improperly installed circuit card are some of the culprits” that could initiate nuclear war. In other words, the sources of false alarms are numerous.

Fast forward to today.  Imagine an American officer monitoring the US early warning system.  This officer has been listening to 15 years of war propaganda accompanied by US invasions and bombings of 8 countries.  Terrorist warnings and security alerts abound, as do calls from American and Israeli politicians for nuking Iran.  The media has convinced him that Russia has invaded Ukraine and is on the verge of invading the Baltics and Poland. American troops and tanks have been rushed to the Russian border. There is talk of arming Ukraine.  Putin is dangerous and is threatening nuclear war, running his strategic bombers close to our borders and holding nuclear drills.  The American officer has just heard a Fox News general again call for “killing Russians.”  The Republicans have convinced him that Obama is selling out America to Iran, with Senator Tom Cotton warning of nuclear war as a consequence. We will all be killed because there is a Muslim in the White House.


The criminals in the American political class, serving an immoral and corrupt system, and the media prostitutes who do their bidding, constitute the gravest threat to America and the world.


Why isn’t anyone standing up for America, the patriotic American officer wonders, just as the alarm goes off:  Incoming ICBMs. Are they Russian or Iranian?  Was Israel right after all?  A hidden Iranian nuclear weapons program?  Or has Putin decided that the US is in the way of his reconstruction of the Soviet Empire, which the American media affirms is Putin’s goal?  There is no room for judgment in the American officer’s mind.  It has been set on hair-trigger by the incessant propaganda that Americans call news.  He passes on the warning.

Obama’s Russophobic neocon National Security Advisor is screaming:  “You can’t let Putin get away with this!”  “It might be a false alarm,” replies the nervous and agitated president.  “You liberal pussy!  Don’t you know that Putin is dangerous!?  Push the button!”

And there goes the world.

Considering the extreme Russophobia being created among Americans by the Ministry of Propaganda, the demonization of Vladimir Putin–the “new Hitler,” Vlad the Impaler– the propagandistic creation of “the Russian threat,” the crazed neocon desire for US world hegemony, the hatred of Russia and China as rising rivals capable of exercising independent power, the loss of American Uni-power status and unconstrained unilateral action.  In the midst of these emotions and minds swayed not by facts but by propaganda, hubris, and ideology, there is a great chance that Washington’s response to a false alarm will bring the end of life on earth.

How much confidence do you have in Washington?  How many times has Washington–especially the crazed neocons–been wrong?

Remember the 3-week “cakewalk” Iraq war that would cost $70 billion and be paid out of Iraqi oil revenues?  Now the cost is $3,000 billion and rising, and after 12 years the radical Islamic State controls half of the country.  To pay for the wars the Republicans want to “privatize,” that is, take away, Social Security and Medicare.

Remember “Mission Accomplished” in Afghanistan? Twelve years later the Taliban again control the country and Washington, after murdering women, children, funerals, weddings, village elders, and kids’ soccer games,  has been driven out by a few thousand lightly armed Taliban.

The frustrations of these defeats have mounted in Washington and in the military.  The myth is that we lost because we didn’t use our full force.  We were intimidated by world opinion or by those damn student protesters, or blocked from victory by some gutless president, a liberal pussy who wouldn’t use all of our power.  For the right-wing, rage is a way of life.

The neocons believe fervently that History has chosen America to rule the world, and here we are defeated by Vietnamese guerrillas, by Afghan tribesmen, by Islamist fundamentalists, and now Putin has sent his missiles to finish the job.

Whoever the White House fool is, he will push the button.

The situation is deteriorating, not improving.  The Russians, hoping for some sign of intelligence in Europe, contradict Washington’s anti-Russian lies.  Washington calls truthful contradiction of its own propaganda to be Russian propaganda.  Washington has ordered the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a US government agency, headed by Andrew Lack, a former chairman of NBC news, to counteract an alleged, but non-existent, “Kremlin Troll Army” that is outshouting the Western prostitutes and “perpetuating a pro-Russian dialogue” on the Internet.  In case you don’t remember, Lack is the idiot who declared RT to be a “terrorist organization.”  In other words, in Lack’s opinion, one that he can enforce, a truth-teller is a terrorist.

Lack epitomizes well Washington’s view of truthful reporting: If it doesn’t serve Washington’s propaganda, it is not true. It is terrorism.

Lack hopes to control RT with intimidation:  In effect, he has told RT to shut up and say what we want or we will close you down as a terrorist organization.  We might even arrest your American employees as aiders and abettors of terrorism.

To counteract a Revanchist Russia and its Internet Troll Army, the Obama regime is handing $15,400,000 to the insane Lack to use to discredit every truthful statement that emerges from the English language versions of Russian media.  This amount, of course, will rise dramatically. Soon it will be in the billions of dollars, while Americans are evicted from their homes and sent to prison for their debts.

In his budget request, Lack, who seems to lack every aspect of humanity, including intelligence, integrity, and morality, justified his request, which will be granted, for the hard-earned money of Americans, whose standard of living is falling, with the wild assertion that Russia “threatens Russia’s neighbors and, by extension, the United States and its Western allies.”

Lack promises to do even more: “The US international media is now set forth to refute Russian propaganda and influence the minds of Russians and Russian-speakers in the former Soviet Union,  Europe and around the world.”  Lack is going to propagandize against Russia inside Russia.

Of course, the CIA organizations–the National Endowment for Democracy and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty–will be enriched by this anti-Russian propaganda campaign and will support it wholeheartedly.

Therefore, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ call for cooperation with Russia to take ICBMs off hair-trigger status is unlikely to occur. How can nuclear tensions be reduced when Washington is building tensions as fast as it possibly can?  Washington’s Ministry of Propaganda has reconstructed Putin as Osama bin Laden, as Saddam Hussein, demonized figures, bogymen who evoke fear from the brainwashed American sheeple.  Russia is transformed into al Qaeda lusting for another attack on the World Trade Center and for the Red Army (many Americans think Russia is still communist) to roll across Europe.

Gorbachev was a trick.  He deceived the old movie actor.  The deceived Americans are sitting ducks, and here come the ICBMs.  The crazed views of the American politicians, military, and people are unable to comprehend truth or to recognize reality.

The propagandistic American “media” and the crazed neoconservatives have set humanity on the path to destruction.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, of which I am a member, need to come to their senses. It is impossible to work out a reduction in nuclear threat as long as one side is

going all out to demonize the other.  The demonization of Russia and its leader by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and the rest of the American Propaganda Ministry, by almost the entirety of the House and Senate, and by the White House makes reducing the threat of nuclear war impossible.

The American people and the entire world need to understand that the threat to life on earth resides in Washington and that until Washington is fundamentally and totally changed, this threat will remain as the worse threat to life on earth.  Global Warming can disappear instantly in Nuclear Winter.  

**Original article at:  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/04/15/will-washington-kill-us-paul-craig-roberts/  Also at:  http://www.opednews.com/articles/Will-Washington-Kill-Us-Al-by-Paul-Craig-Roberts-Kremlin_Neocons_Nuclear_Propaganda-150415-309.html

Paul Craig Roberts photo from OpEd NewsPaul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is How America Was Lost.

Can the Working Class Still Change the World? by Kyle Brown

Originally posted on Dandelion Salad:

LightroomRetouch-7072 Image by Daveypants via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

by Kyle Brown
socialistworker.org
April 14, 2015

IN HIS famous speech “Where Do We Go From Here?” Martin Luther King Jr. quoted the then-president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, Walter Reuther, saying, “Power is the ability of a labor union like the UAW to make the most powerful corporation in the world, General Motors, say ‘Yes’ when it wants to say ‘No.'”

View original 3,278 more words

Popular Resistance, A Guide for Activists

 This post is written as a tribute to the founders and developers of Popular Resistance. As of June 2015, their website www.popularresistance.org will be two years old and it is amazing what they have accomplished and the progress they have made.  From all appearances, this is especially due to the commitment and dedication of Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese operating out of Baltimore.  A more complete list of the contributors involved is found by clicking on the “about” button on the home page.  I urge everyone to explore their pages and marvelous articles written every week by also signing on to received their regular newsletter.  They also appear weekly in a radio broadcast known as “Clearing the Fog” available here.

Thomas Baldwin, April 10, 2015.

Uniting our struggles--popular resistancepopresbanner1

POPULARRESISTANCE.ORG

OUR MISSION

With the corporate takeover of federal and state governments, more people are becoming politically active in new and creative ways. A growing culture of resistance is utilizing nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience as a primary tactic, and is forming real democratic organizations to empower local communities—as opposed to working within the corrupt government dominated by a two-corporate party system and within an unfair, big finance, capitalist economy. PopularResistance.org is a resource and information clearinghouse for this movement. From Veterans for Peace to Occupy Wall Street to the Tar Sands Blockade, here you will find links, tools and other resources to help you connect with groups and organizations in the movement. We also provide a daily stream of relevant news articles from around the web, and perhaps the most comprehensivenational events calendar anywhere online. (Feel free to submit your own events.)

PopularResistance.org seeks to aid in bringing movements for peace, justice, economic fairness and environmental protection together into an independent, nonviolent and diverse movement that can end the power of concentrated wealth, shift power to the people and put human needs before corporate greed.

Popular Resistance Process for Change and Revolution:

RESIST!   CREATE!  EDUCATE!  ORGANIZE!  STRATEGIZE!
popular-resistance-movement diagram

resist-iconRESIST:  Strategic direct action and civil disobedience such as strikes, sit-ins and occupations can expose injustice, slow down or stop harmful practices and win specific demands. Below are some direct action groups and campaigns you can join or support. All of them are independent from corporate political parties and use nonviolent tactics and democratic decision-making. We also provide some excellent tools and resources for organizing creative and effective protests and direct actions.

CREATE:  create-iconAlong with direct action and other forms of resistance, a successful movement must also build new institutions based on solidarity, justice and cooperation. From small, worker-owned cooperatives to national advocacy groups, hundreds of thousands of people around the country are working to create democratic and sustainable systems that meet the basic needs of all people. Below are some organizations, tools and other resources to help you get involved creating a new world.

EDUCATE:  educate-iconEducation is the foundation of political change. In this section we provide news and information from organizations and independent media outlets free of corporate and government propaganda. In particular, these groups focus on the fifteen core issues that define today’s national and global crises. We also provide some tools and resources for you to become part of the growing movement of citizens’ media.

ORGANIZE:  organize-iconWhether we are engaging in acts of resistance or creating new, alternative institutions, we need to create sustainable, democratic organizations that empower its members while also protecting against disruption. This section provides information and tools for effective organizing, creating democratic decision-making structures, building coalitions with other groups, and more.

STRATEGIZE:   strategy-icon (1)The section provides information on strategic nonviolence and links to organizations that provide training in nonviolent resistance, effective strategy and creative actions. For more information on a common vision and strategy that unites people into an effective national movement please see our page,about PopularResistance.org

__________________________________________________________

 CLEARING THE FOG RADIO:

 

 

HOW TO CONTACT POPULAR RESISTANCE:

http://www.popularresistance.org/contact-us/

___________________________________

About the editor/publisher:   Thomas Baldwin, Ph.D. has a doctorate in Physics and a Masters degree in Management.  He has had long careers in both physics and management consulting including university appointments as a professor both at the Southern Illinois University and Colorado Technical University.  He has been a corporate consultant to many well known large firms in project management and is currently “officially” retired.  In the last four years or more he has been focusing on applying his skills to better understand the political sector including socioeconomic conditions which are affecting our welfare and basic economic health. He has published or reblogged nearly 200 blogs, many of which were written by him and some of the best from other authors.

 

 

Jump Out of the Pot! Capitalism Can’t Be Fixed From the Inside by William T. Hathaway

doctom2010:

This could well apply to the Neoliberal Democratic Party, too!

Originally posted on Dandelion Salad:

Boiling Frog Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

by William T. Hathaway
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Germany
April 9, 2015

“I’m getting hot,” croaked the frog as he floated in a pot of water from which steam was beginning to rise.

“Me too,” croaked the other frog as she paddled listlessly. “This water used to be warm. Now it’s too hot.”

“Oh well…nothing we can do about it. Maybe it’ll get better.”

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The Battle for Sevastopol by Alevtina Rea

 Sevastopol, after the battle July 1942The Loss of the Aryan Paradise Back Then and

The NATO Pipe-Dream of Today 

 By Alevtina Rea

And thou, my country, what hast thou attained?
Some dear-bought triumphs. Ah! How soiled and stained,
By needless waste of life on hostile soil,
Where want and sickness, nakedness and toil,
Mowed down whole legions of thy warrior braves,
Their promised glories – nameless Crimean graves!

—Janet Hamilton

The supreme importance of the Crimea is due because of its commanding presence in the Black Sea – not to minimize its fascinating history and numerous cultural influences (Roman, Byzantine, German, Huns, Tatar, and Russian, just to name a few). Basically, to control the Crimea is to control the Black Sea. This explains the U.S. and NATO efforts to grab control of the Crimea. According to some of the sources (among a few others, which for obvious reason, are not widely publicized) Western politicians in collusion with the current Ukrainian puppet government planned to open a NATO military school in Sevastopol – a city of historic Russian significance. Its location, right on the border with Russia, would offer the NATO ships almost unlimited control over the region and an opportunity to neutralize the Russian Black Sea Fleet. However, return of the Crimea back to Russia spoiled the game. This dainty morsel was taken right out of NATO’s mouth, so to speak. No wonder then that the Crimea became a stumbling block for the White House as far as the U.S.-Russian politics is concerned. Perhaps Western politicians were unaware that they shared this failure with Nazi Germany. Verily, as Hegel once said, “people and governments never have learned anything from history.” As a result of their own supercilious ignorance, Western politicians who have failed once again to learn from history, have committed another political blunder that will have far-reaching repercussions for the years to come.
The 2013 Russian documentary “Battle for Sevastopol” (not to be confused with the recent release of the fiction film with the same name!), directed by Aleksey Lyabakh, offers a fascinating account of what happened in and around Sevastopol during World War II. It looks first at the period of 1941-42, when Sevastopol was eventually taken by the Nazis, after a lengthy siege. It then turns to the spring of 1944, when it was liberated by the Red Army. One may almost wish this illuminating documentary could be offered to Western politicians to watch so that they could learn the lessons of the past. This documentary is about the German siege of Sevastopol and about the psychological turning point that changed the whole course of the German offensive in the southern region. For the first time, participants from both sides talk about what really happened in the siege of Sevastopol. The film offers an explanation why this particular city is so dear to the heart of the Russian people and uncovers the amazing phenomenon of the city’s defense.

Alya--Hitler at SevastopolFor Hitler, the Crimea was an embodiment of the Aryan heaven. Germanization of the Crimea and making it a crucial part of the Third Reich was Hitler’s idee fixe, or a sheer obsession. In 1941, Hitler said, “Without the Crimea, the war on the East Front doesn’t have a genuine, sacral meaning.” Hitler believed that the Crimean peninsula was a reminder of the ancient kingdom of Goths, the ancestors of the German tribes who once lived by the Black Sea. He also saw it as a harbinger of the future German victorious stamp on the times to come. “Crimean Goths … were the least-powerful, least-known, and almost paradoxically, the longest-lasting of the Gothic communities,” as Wikipedia site says. At the same time it also says that “the exact ethnic origin of the Germanic people in the Crimea is a subject of

(Photo: Hitler’s monster Dora 800 mm Railway Gun. Here the Fuhrer inspects his new weapon, which was first used on Sevastopol, but with relatively little strategic effect. (Speer stands to the right of Hitler, wearing a red armband. Via Flickr. Click to expand.)

debate. … Many Crimean Goths were Greek speakers and many non-Gothic Byzantine citizens were settled in theregion called Gothia by the government in Constantinople.” One can assume that Hitler might have read this with some chagrin. To complicate the story further, there is also a theory that “some Anglo-Saxons who left England after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 arrived in Constantinople in time to help the Byzantines repel an invasion. As a reward, the Byzantine emperor granted them lands near the Sea of Azov in what may have been the Crimean Peninsula.”

Nevertheless, the ethnic origin of the ancient Crimean settlers notwithstanding, Hitler felt that he had legitimate claims on ancient Gothia – and its fabular treasures, as the legend goes – and, thus, the whole Crimea.  “The Crimean peninsula should be free from all the strangers and is inhabited by the Germans only,” he said. Quite hastily, in anticipation of the German rule of this ancient land, Hitler renamed the peninsula to Gotenland, the land of Goths. Sevastopol was renamed “Theoderichshafen,” the Harbor of the king Theodor – Theodoric the Great was the king of the Germanic Ostrogoths (475-526). However, Hitler had to conquer the city of Sevastopol first, and this task was among the most essential ones during his eastern campaign. In fact, per Hitler’s plans, to conquer Sevastopol, Leningrad, and the Caucasus oil fields was more important than the conquest of Moscow. Without his firm control over the Crimea, and, above all, Sevastopol, Hitler couldn’t expect to win in the Black Sea and, therefore, the Caucasus.

The Crimea was easily taken by Hitler’s army in the fall of 1941, but Sevastopol was too hard of a nut to crack. By the end of November of 1941, only Sevastopol remained in the Soviet hands. At this point most of Soviet forces, after their defeat elsewhere, were evacuated in December. Only the Independent Coastal Army, under command of Major-General Ivan Petrov, and the Black Sea Fleet were the city’s main defense force. The long siege was definitely not to Hitler’s liking, and, impatient with the delay of his precious plans, he issued an imperative order to take the city of the Russian glory by December 22, 1941, to commemorate the 6-month anniversary of Germany’s war against the Soviet Union. To conquer Sevastopol, Hitler sent the cream of the German army, as well as the elite Luftwaffe troops. However, the citizens of Sevastopol – and the Coastal Army and Russian Navy – were not impressed. For eight months, they withstood numerous attacks by German assault troops, which were conducted by land, sea and air. Outnumbered and out-equipped, the Soviets fought like daredevils. The precision of the Russian artillery fire was the main reason the Germans could not even approach Sevastopol for more than one month. Boris Kubarsky was in charge of artillery fire-direction, and his spotter post was located in the ruins of the old chapel, on the top of Gosford Mountain. If the Germans only knew where this post was positioned it could have been wiped off from the face of the Earth quite easily. The art of camouflage was essential in this historical battle.

But it was not the only place of heroism that prevented the easy victory over the Crimea. There were quite a few of those, to vexation of the German military brass. On the northern outskirts of Sevastopol are the Mackenzie Heights, from which the city can be seen as on a platter. In October 1941, this strategically important position was attacked by the German troops. For the Russians, to lose this important position was equivalent to losing Sevastopol. The 365th anti-craft battery, under command of Nikolay Vorobyev, covered the northern side of the city and the Sevastopol Bay. Anti-aircraft gunners were firing with such an intensity that the Germans believed that they are dealing with the newest Soviet automatic weapons. If they only knew that total of only 50 people and two anti-aircraft canons of Russian tsarist times (made in 1915) were standing against 9,000 soldiers of the German elite division and the powerful Luftwaffe they would not have believed it!  According to Wikipedia, the latter division in the Crimea “consisted of nine Geschwader (Wings) containing 600 aircraft.” The battle for MacKenzie Heights had turned into a living hell for both sides. This battery position consisted of a bunker, a few trenches and a small fortification. The Germans called it by a big name, Fort Stalin. Such names are not given by accident. “If we take Fort Stalin, Sevastopol will fall,” the Germans said.

Fort Stalin controlled the shortest way by railroad to Sevastopol. The Germans coveted gaining control of this road, and they had to pay the heavy price for it. As reported by one of the German survivors of this battle, “Our plans were thwarted by the fact that everything was very well disguised. We then all thought it was a naked height, and that there are no Russians there.” Fighting around Fort Stalin began on November 1, 1941. The fortitude and resourcefulness of the defenders were decisive factors that helped to hold the MacKenzie Heights for more than seven months. At one point, the Soviets outsmarted a German sniper. Nikolay Vorobyev killed this sharpshooter while tricking him into believing the latter was shooting at the battery commander. Vorobyev had gotten hold of an artillery signal pistol. At the most daring times, Vorobyev shot the signal rocket in direction of German assailers, and German artillery – being misled to where to shoot – targeted their own soldiers. It was definitely not easy to fight the Russians. They used numerous tricks and fought without any regard for their own lives. In the area around Fort Stalin, there were Soviet marines, or the “Black Commissars” as the Germans called them, who’d run toward German positions with a harrowing scream. They preferred to be engaged in the close-in fighting and moved directly toward the Germans while never wavering under fire. There was an armored train that helped to hold the main railroad station, by Mackenzie’s Heights, that swapped hands for quite some time.

At the end, the Germans had their own tricks up their sleeves. Saboteurs – some of them were the same white officers who left Russia after October Revolution – were dressed in the Red Army uniforms and sent to shoot the Fort defenders. As they spoke perfect Russian, they brought a lot of confusion at the end. After Vorobyev was seriously wounded on June 8, 1942, the last battery commander, Ivan Piyanzin, demonstrated such a heroism that the aircraft battery is remembered by historians as the Battery of Piyanzin. On June 13, 1942, the Germans broke through to the battery firing position (translated from http://www.battlefield.ru/365-antiaircraft-battery.html). In this battle, Piyanzin was badly wounded, but the commander could not leave his people at such a critical moment and the German infantry so close to the guns. By Piyanzin’s order, the surviving defenders of the battery, in despair, quickly counterattacked and wrestled the Germans face to face. The Germans were beaten back, but the price of this temporary victory was too high to pay – only a few people survived, all of them wounded.Germans, knowing that the defense forces’ chances of surviving were zilch, and that their food and water supply are running out, quickly regrouped and attacked again – with the support of seven tanks.Realizing that they could not repel this attack by the Germans, Sr. Lieutenant Ivan Piyanzin radioed the following: “We have nothing to fend off with. Almost the entire staff is knocked out of action. Open fire on our position.”

These were the last words by Piyanzin. The Soviet artillery concentrated the fire of a few artillery divisions at the 365th battery location and turned the top of Mackenzie Heights into a mush. All the remaining defenders but one were killed. Pray tell, how did the 50 defenders of the poorly fortified Fort Stalin stop the whole division, numbering about 9,000 soldiers and officers, for such a long time?!  Out of those 50, only two people survived – Nikolay Vorobyev, who was evacuated after being seriously wounded at the beginning of June 1942, and private Petr Lipovenko, who survived under the last artillery fire and, with the broken legs, managed to crawl till the closest Soviet artillery battery, where he took part in another fight and was bayoneted at the end.

The only monument to commemorate the heroism of the Soviet artillerymen who fought here is a monument to Ivan Piyanzin. There are two mass graves in which they buried remains of the soldiers and commanders found at the scene of the battle for the height of 60.0 (military term for this strategic position). Unfortunately, most of the remains were not identified – thus, the tombstones have the inscription, “To the unknown defenders of Sevastopol.” These people gave their lives for the city to live and defend itself. As one of the Russian songs says, “the names of many heroes of yore vanished without a trace. Those who fought hard since then turned into the soil and grass.” When people visit this sacred place, they begin to understand that they walk over the remains that were mixed with rocky dust.

The German siege of Sevastopol was more catastrophic for Hitler than expected, with more than 300,000 German soldiers being killed. Germans were stuck at the approaches to Sevastopol for 250 days– and the precious time was lost. If not for the heroic battle for Sevastopol, the outcome of the battle for Stalingrad could be different. From October 30, 1941, to the beginning of July of 1942, the troops of the Sevastopol defense regiment held the line against the 11th German army under the command of one of the best Hitler’s generals, Erich von Manstein. The main task of the battle for Sevastopol was accomplished – one of the best German armies was pinned down with significant losses, and was prevented from taking part in the attack on Stalingrad or being send to the oil fields of Caucasus.

Two years later, in the spring of 1944, the operation for the liberation of Sevastopol from the German invaders began with the storming of Fort Stalin. In his arrogance, Hitler said, “If the Russians were able to defend Sevastopol for eight months, we must last for eight years.” However, his conceit and presumptuousness were easily shattered. It took only two days for the Red Army to take Fort Stalin, and two more to liberate the city. Despite Hitler’s order to stop the Red Army at whatever cost, the effort to hold on to Sevastopol turned into a catastrophe for the Germans – more than 23,000 soldiers and officers became prisoners of war, and many more were killed. The Soviet flag that was raised over the legendary city on May 9, 1944, became a symbol of the upcoming victory over fascist Germany.

After the Yalta conference in February 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt had a chance to see Sevastopol and see the degree of destruction incurred on this city by the Nazis. In his address to U.S. Congress on March 1, 1944, he said, “I had read about Warsaw and Lidice and Rotterdam and Coventry – but I saw Sevastopol and Yalta! And I know that there is not room enough on earth for both German militarism and Christian decency.” One cannot help but wonder if this U.S. politician – looking on the extent of destruction and death brought around the world by NATO, and, mostly, U.S. military – would agree that western militarism and common, human decency cannot exist simultaneously on this earth.Sevastopol protests against Ukrainian nazism

For additional reading see The Greanville Post:  http://www.greanvillepost.com/2015/04/08/the-siege-of-sevastopol-1941-42-why-crimea-matters-to-russians/

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About the author:  Alevtina Rea is a researcher, analyst and writer and a strong supporter of social justice and human rights. For 7 years (2005 – 2012), she worked as an assistant editor with CounterPunch, a leading left political journal in the Anglophone world that exemplifies, along with The Greanville Post and a small cluster of sites, what an oppositional press should be like. Ms. Rea is a contributing author to CounterPunch, Cyrano’s Journal Today, Uncommon Thought Journal, The Greanville Post, the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, and Russia Insider. She can be reached at rea.alya@gmail.com.