This article is a translation of "Westblok propaganda probeert beslissing in de Nederlandse Senaat te beïnvloeden"
Cold wars are often characterized by armed conflicts at the fringe and intensified propaganda efforts at the core to capture “hearts and minds” of the people to support the status quo and bolster attempts to gain territory and influence. Ukraine would set an example after the 2014 Maidan coup shifted the sphere of influence in favor of the US-led (pro)western bloc at the expense of the Russians.
Europe tried to support the coup regime to establish its legitimacy by tying the country firmly within European institutions, foremost by swiftly making Ukraine part of a European Association Treaty. Though the procedural route towards this important step at the Cold War fringe – designed to impede Ukraine to arrange a likewise, bilateral treaty with Russia in the first place – should have been rubberstamped bureaucratically, in the Netherlands popular resistance arose.
In a april 2016 referendum ratification of the treaty was defeated. As the results were non-binding Parliament put through ratification easily, which only left the Eerste Kamer – the Dutch Senate – as a possible last barrier.
The referendum could have been a signal to the designers the hearts and minds of the Dutch people needed some further work. So days before the debate in the Eerste Kamer would take place (23 May 2017), an interesting commercial appeared on prime time television. It showed a Ukrainian-Canadian WWII war veteran to disseminate the message that Ukrainians, though in service of the Canadian army, were part of the liberation of the Netherlands from the nazis.
It appeared the commercial was manufactured by the illustrous Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, founded by the International Renaissance Institute, a proxy of US based speculator George Soros. The organization, also receiving funds from the National Endowment for Democracy (de facto the civil branch of the CIA), the US embassy Ukraine and the Dutch state, came to light at March 3rd 2014, a week after the Maidan coup had succeeded in ousting president Yanukovich.
Sponsors of the UCMC as retrieved by wayback machine archive service.
In an article The Duran wrote that the DNC leaks proved foundation of the Center was agreed on at high level of decisionmaking involving next to Soros also US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, in order “to provide professional PR assistance to the Ukrainian government”. In other words, the UCMC was meant to help legitimize the coup regime under the cloak of a NGO front which had western backers behind the screens.
According to Euromaydanpress, another propaganda front organization, the UCMC was founded by “… leading Ukrainian experts in the fields of international relations, communications and public relations. The Center is launched to provide the international community with objective information about events in Ukraine and threats to national security, particularly in the military, political, economic, energy and humanitarian spheres.”
Also interesting, besides the obvious intelligence incrowd taking part, was the site where the Center was located, namely the 3rd floor of Hotel Ukraina at Maidan Square. Perhaps not coincidentally this also was the hotel where Andrej Parubiy – leader of an ultranationalist rightwing extremist paramilitary group - had his headquarters during the revolt. As a matter of fact, this hotel was location of sniper fire which targeted protesters and the police at February 20th, 2014, leaving dozens of dead in what presumably was a false flag operation. It was this massacre that spurred the demise of Yanukovich´ reign.
Pretty informative was also the operation of the UCMC in the first hours after MH17 had crashed on separatist soil. Immediately a coordinated information war was launched in which a retraction of a message allegedly posted by separatist commander Igor- Strelkov – Girkin on social media was deliberately misinterpreted, misrepresented and misquoted to support a narrative a fatal mistake had been made. This narrative was bolstered by publication of a video with intercepted telephone calls by the SBU (Ukrainian secret service), a few hours after the UCMC picked up on the retracted message and disseminated the false story the commander had cheered for a “succesful operation” and the separatists were ¨caught red-handed¨.
After thorough social media investigation it appeared the message had not been written by the commander but was a misinterpretation of events written down by an editor of a pro-separatist message board, who had based himself on the collection of speculative social media outings. Also the SBU tapes were a fraud. It depicted a launchsite not mentioned anytime afterwards in the investigation and very probably showed intercepts about the downing of an Ukrainian jet a day before MH17 was downed.
The goal of the propaganda excercise the UCMC now is peddling in the Dutch media may be interpreted as an attempt to tap into the epic fight for freedom, together with other nations of saviors from the western hemisphere. The myth of the liberator country, using the experience of the good war against nazi monstrosity, is also the foundation the support for our US Hegemon rests upon. We don’t have to look far for a new monster the liberators have to prepare for.
The way to do this is by creating a feeling of mutual destiny based on mutual experiences in the past, or, as Board member of the UCMC Natalya Popovich claims: “We need to make such unique stories popular, for they bring countries together and help them understand we all are much closer than it appears.” So the campaign also has a goal that reaches beyond a ratification. Its aim is to fabricate a common “imagined community” to get the people in (pro)western societies behind the coup regime and obviously against the Russian threat.
At a microlevel the media campaign is meant to influence the political outcome of the debate in the Eerste Kamer regarding ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Treaty, actually targeting the representatives for the eyes of the entire public. In fact they are very frank about it. According to the initiator of the campaign “the banner and material dedicated to this topic is planned in the Dutch newspaper The Telegraph on the eve of final voting for ratification of the EU Association Agreement.”
The attempts to influence the delegates also took place in a more direct lobby, for example by a petition that a group of NGOs addressed to the Eerste Kamer. http://ti-ukraine.org/en/news/appeal-to-the-members-of-the-first-chamber-of-the-states-general-of-the-netherlands-regarding-the-ratification-of-the-eu-ukraine-association-agreement/ The UCMC was also part of this conglomerate of funds, as well as the Max van der Stoel Foundation and an entire caravan of others. The petition showed a full conviction in the idea the current situation in Ukraine – riven by corrupt oligarchs, human rights violations, violence and normalization of rightwing extremism - represents a bright path to peace and democracy somehow.
Bottomline is that through a socalled NGO the representatives in the Dutch Parliament were targeted by an operation to influence the outcome of a political debating process. Though actually this small campaign of the UCMC could be assessed as a very mild attempt to get things done as pleased, one wouldn’t have to imagine what would have happened if a Russian NGO cover organization with ties to the Russian state would try to influence the political process in an opposite direction.
At another level we still should worry about these kinds of organizations. As they are disguising themselves as grassroots organizations, leaning on an image of objectivity and bottom-up activism, information coming from propaganda fronts like the UCMC should be treated with utmost precaution. In fact, to say it bluntly, this socalled media campaign is nothing more than intelligence communities influencing attitudes and political processes. It will be telling to see how the Dutch body politics and journalism will respond to this infringement.