The UN as a Propaganda Nest for the NATO Information Vulture

Portions of the UN’s forthcoming human rights report on Crimea, to be released Tuesday, have been leaked to Foreign Policy magazine, and its findings are far from objective. Indicating yet another instance of institutional bias against the Russian Federation and its interests, Ivan Simonovic, the UN’s Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, has filled the so-called report with bias, misleading reporting, important omissions, one-sided analysis, and in some cases, outright false statements. Considering his history of “biased, prejudiced and nonobjective assessment”, this should not come as a surprise, but it is surprising that such opinions are institutionalized into a nominally neutral organization’s reporting. A brief overview of the leaked document will prove that certain UN “representatives” are more emblematic of NATO’s information objectives than they are of objectivity.

Foreign Policy’s  exclusive report on the document begins by addressing supposed Russian “propaganda” activities in the run-up to the referendum. Through selective omission, it neglects to mention that Russia has the international right to broadcast its media to Ukraine, and when Crimea was part of that country, it was no exception. It may be that Simonovic has taken to the trend of calling any media coming from Russia “propaganda” because Russia’s “chief propagandist”, Dmitry Kiselyov, has been the first journalist to ever be sanctioned by the EU as punishment for exercising his right to free speech (which is supposedly also a “European value”). The report conveniently forgets to mention that Ukraine has banned select Russian media from broadcasting into the country, a move that set a precedent for Lithuania and Latvia’s later censorships.

simonovich-300x191

Ivan Šimonović, Croatian diplomat, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights since 2010.

The report then brazenly alleges that anti-reunification activists were “threatened, detained, and tortured”. Interestingly, this explosive claim has received scant, if any, mainstream exposure in Western media in the past. Had there been seriously believable grounds for this to have occurred, the US and Western media machines would have milked the false narrative as much as they could as soon as the allegations emerged. It is not improbable to imagine CNN dedicating a whole hour towards “investigating” (a.k.a. indoctrinating its audience about) this topic. Because none of this occurred and there is no substantial evidence besides heresay to corroborate this, it is very unprofessional for a UN official of all people to place such rumors into an official report.

Ludicrously, the document continues on to allege that:

The presence of paramilitary and so called self-defense groups as well as soldiers in uniform with insignia, widely believed to be from the Russian Federation, was not conducive to an environment in which voters could freely exercise their right to hold opinions and the right to freedom of expression.

It then has the audacity to state that “it is widely assessed that Russian speakers have not been subject to threats in Crimea.” It smoothly glosses over the fact violent neo-Nazi groups are a serious threat to minorities in Ukraine, and that Pravy Sector has directly threatened the East and Crimea in the past, areas where the Russian minority predominantly resides. Their statements of intent to attack others that don’t agree with them are widely publicized on the internet.

In this light, paramilitary and self-defense groups were an absolute necessity to prevent the radical nationalists from instigating an outbreak of violence. And how does this de-legitimize elections in any way from the West’s perspective? After all, it unilaterally recognized South Sudan’s independence and Afghanistan and Iraq’s elections under the exact same, if not more security-intense, circumstances. Despite Obama’s lie to the contrary, Kosovo’s citizens didn’t even have the opportunity to partake in a referendum, no matter how rigged it could have been without the participation of its native Serbian inhabitants. Focusing on how “The overall climate of uncertainty has led some people, predominantly Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians to leave Crimea” is journalistically irresponsible without providing any figures, whereas the Russian side can solidly point to over half a million seeking refuge within their country. Taken together with the threat that violent nationalists pose to the preservation of human rights for all Ukrainian citizens, it is absolutely false for the report to claim that “tensions have decreased, along with allegations of human rights violations” since the junta came to power. In fact and in proof, the opposite is true.

Amazingly, the report only tangentially mentions the infamous sniper shootings that came to define the climax of EuroMaidan, using a combination of inference and “hint-hint” to draw readers to the conclusion that it was Berkut that shot the rioters and their own men, not mercenaries under the employ of the West and the EuroMaidan’s leaders, as had later been revealed. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin also brought this up, before the UN General Assembly, and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has demanded an unbiased investigation into what really happened. This critical omission would be journalistic negligence by any media corporation, but having it in an official UN document, along with all of the other false and misleading “findings”, is purposeful propaganda aimed against the Russian Federation.

The UN is not supposed to be a propaganda outlet for anyone, owing to its supposedly neutral status as an objective entity, so one must wonder what could possibly be the reasoning behind such an unprofessional and biased report. To its credit, it does address the junta’s lustration obsession and Muzychko’s thuggish intimidation tactics, but such factual inclusions are too far and few between to counter the overwhelming anti-Russian narrative established within the document. The report’s obvious bias makes it look as though NATO’s anti-Russian informational interests have infiltrated the UN and that the military-political organization is using its agents of influence (in this case, Simonovic, whose institutional loyalty is with NATO first and the UN second (he was promoted to his current position in 2010, one year after Croatia joined NATO) to further its agenda. In fact and in form, the UN is quickly mutating into a propaganda nest for the vicious NATO information vulture. Cloaked in the false stereotype of impartiality and neutrality, the UN is the perfect avenue for legitimizing NATO’s propaganda operations against resistant and defiant (R&D) states.

• This article was first published in Oriental Review

Andrew Korybko is an American Master’s Degree student at the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO). Read other articles by Andrew.