Every Russian maneuver is now being recklessly construed as a sinister war threat by the Western media - no matter that the Russian maneuvers are entirely in keeping with international law and are a normal part of any nation’s right to movement of its military forces.
The latest “incident” was reported by Britain’s Daily Mail in which a squadron of Russian warships was “escorted” by the British Royal Navy as it sailed through the English Channel.
The Daily Mail headline was spiced with sinister innuendo of Russia doing something untoward, illegal and threatening. ‘Royal Navy catches up with Russian warships to ‘keep an eye’ on Putin’s fleet sailing along the Channel.’
Note the sly demonization of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, by attributing the Russian leader as the personal owner of the warships - as if he were some kind of arch-villain in a cheesy James Bond movie.
The report informs readers: “The Royal Navy has escorted [sic] a squadron of Russian warships sailing through the English Channel [sic]. Four ships passed through the through the Strait of Dover after carrying out military exercises [sic] in the North Sea. HMS Tyne, a Type 45 Destroyer and one of the Royal Navy’s most technically advanced warships, was able to pinpoint and monitor [sic] the movement of the group led by Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov as it approached [sic] the UK.”
The words and tone used by Daily Mail are loaded with malign implication suggesting that the Russian vessels were performing a secretive mission that transgressed international law. The facts are that the Russian ships were at all times in internationally navigable waters, had complied with maritime reporting regulations, and were conducting legitimate military training maneuvers, which is the prerogative of all countries’ navies and is a routine occurrence.
Even a British Ministry of Defense spokesman quoted by the newspaper acknowledged that the Russian warships were not doing anything illegal.
“We are aware that four Russian naval ships have passed through the Dover Strait from the North Sea into the English Channel, which all ships have the right to do under international law,” said the British MoD spokesman.
A British navy source is quoted as saying: “It’s not provocative but we are keeping an eye on them.”
So, the Russian “provocation” is not supported by any facts; it is merely being contrived by the Western media, who are evidently following a political line.
Ever since Washington and its European allies backed the illegal coup in Kiev last February by helping to overthrow the elected government and installing a hostile anti-Russian neo-Nazi regime, the Western powers have been accusing Russia of subversion, annexation and aggression. Thus, Western governments and the Western media have completely turned reality on its head.
The media spin of Russian forces conducting stealthy maneuvers and posing an international threat is part of this Western anti-Russian narrative aimed at distracting from the real cause of insecurity and conflict in Europe.
Earlier this week, General Philip Breedlove, the American commander of the NATO military alliance, was in Kiev reiterating claims that Russia is escalating tensions by acting aggressively, not just in Ukraine, but in the Baltic region and Black Sea. Breedlove went as far as claiming that Russia was militarizing the Crimea with nuclear weapons.
Russia has had a naval base and military forces in Crimea for decades under an internationally recognized agreement with Ukrainian governments - before the West helped overthrow President Yanukovych.
The people of Crimea invoked the Western-backed secession by Kosovo from Serbia in 2008, by voting in March to secede from the Kiev regime and join the Russian Federation.
Russia is therefore not doing anything illegal in Crimea or in international airspace and seas in the Baltic region, the Black Sea, or anywhere else, including that narrow strait between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean that Britain presumptuously calls the “English Channel.”
NATO commander Breedlove has had ample Western media coverage for his assertion that US-supplied fighter jets “have been scrambled” threefold times more this year compared with last year in order “to intercept” Russian military aircraft across Europe.
But, quietly between the lines, NATO spokesmen acknowledge that Russian aircraft have not actually breached any national airspace in all this time. Again, as with the “incident” of the Russian naval vessels passing through waters off Britain, there is no factual basis for the alarmist response. The alarmist response is simply being manufactured in order to give credence to the hoary narrative of “Russian threat.”
The absurd and pernicious logic of this narrative is that any Russian vessel or aircraft, whether civilian or military, anywhere in the world is being tagged as a potential threat. This is the corollary of Western sanctions and NATO military encirclement of Russia.
Russia is little by little being turned into a pariah by Western governments and their media to the extent that Russia is being excluded from its legitimate and normal access to international territorial space.
It is the Western powers that are acting illegally in pursuing this unlawful interdiction of Russia.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the US and its allies continue to build up aggressive military forces around Russia. NATO warplanes have increased their number in the Baltic region by 400 per cent compared with last year. That is a fact, according to NATO’s own information.
The US-led military alliance has spent at least $200 million over the past year in upgrading air bases in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, according to a report last month in the Financial Times.
And the US navy has deployed an increasing number of Aegis missile-capable warships in the Black Sea. All these US and NATO maneuvers on Russia's doorstep are in contravention of binding agreements - the Founding Act of 1997 and the Montreux Convention, respectively.
Ironically, as NATO’s General Breedlove was being hosted by the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev this week, there were low-key US media reports noting that American troops from Fort Carson in Colorado “will deploy for supporting Ukraine.”
The Colorado-based Gazette reports: “US European Command said that a 100-soldier team from the 16,000-soldier division will head to Europe in early 2015 to lead ground forces in ‘Operation Atlantic Resolve.’”
The report added: “Leaders from the division will run a series of training exercises to ensure American forces are ready to fight alongside partners.”
Two significant things about Fort Carson are that it is a base not only for infantry but also for Special Forces trained in unconventional warfare. Its troops are dedicated to European Command of the US army.
European Command is headed up by none other than General Philip Breedlove who wears a second military hat in addition to his NATO one.
It is significant that Breedlove, as NATO leader, is touring Europe rallying a “response” to alleged Russian aggression; then, in the very same week that he is in the anti-Russian regime capital of Kiev, the Pentagon announces that US troops under Breedlove’s European Command are now being dispatched to “support Ukraine.”
Washington is playing European governments like a fiddle. But shamefully while the US is mobilizing war efforts in Europe, Western media are chasing after Russian phantoms in the air and at sea.