Vancouver peace activist offers alternative view on Ukraine, claiming government commits war crimes

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      This year, all three major Canadian political parties have expressed strong support for the elected government of Ukraine and have been harshly critical of Russian-speaking rebels in the eastern part of the country.

      That's also been the tenor of the vast majority of Canadian media coverage, which has largely vilified Russian president Vladimir Putin's role in destabilizing the country.

      In the face of this broad consensus, a retired Vancouver aerospace worker and peace activist, Roger Annis, has worked tirelessly to offer a different perspective.

      He's one of the editors of a new website called The New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond. The articles and videos convey the impression that fascist forces within the Ukrainian government are waging war against their own people, even using cluster bombs to suppress democratic and cultural rights.

      Annis, a long-time critic of western intervention in Haiti, spoke at the World Peace Forum in Vancouver in October about the significance of what's happening in Ukraine. (See the video below.)

      Roger Annis outlined his provocative perspective in a speech in October.

      He began by calling the country "hallowed ground" where there was "a very distinct Ukrainian socialist revolution" coinciding with the Russian revolution in 1917 and 1918.

      "It's very important to see this distinctness of Ukraine and the dynamics of the struggle even today for social progress in Ukraine," Annis emphasized. "Part of the struggle is a struggle for a national identity, national affirmation, social justice, language, and cultural rights. These things are incomplete today in Ukraine."

      He pointed out that more people died in Ukraine in the Second World War than anywhere else in Europe as terrific sacrifices were made by Ukrainian people against fascist invaders from Germany and other European countries.

      A new war began last April, which Annis says the government in Kyiv is calling an "antiterrorist operation".

      According to him, it has resulted in "tremendous destruction" as the Ukrainian government has been bombing cities.

      "The humanitarian consequences have been very extreme," he declared in the video. "These have been war crimes carried out today in modern Europe by a government with the backing of the European Union, NATO, Canada, [and] the United States.

      This, in turn, has caused death and injury to thousands; upward of a million refugees have either fled to Russia or western Ukraine, Annis maintained.

      Even though the New York Times and Human Rights Watch have highlighted the use of cluster bombs, there has been "not a peep from a member of Parliament about this", Annis charged.

      He acknowledged that the protest movement against the previous regime was in opposition to a "corrupt capitalist government". But he claimed that the political leadership of this movement came from the "extreme right".

      And this gives Annis five reasons to be concerned.

      "A government of war and austerity is in power in Kyiv since February 2014," he said.

      Secondly, he alleged that the rise of right-wing nationalism and fascism in Ukraine has resulted in fascists being appointed to cabinet. This is unlike in other European countries where the extreme right merely has a foothold in national assemblies.

      Thirdly, Annis said there have been unprecedented attacks on democratic rights in Ukraine, including the banning of political parties and newspapers. "The right to protest is extremely restricted, especially if you're protesting against the war," he said.

      Fourthly, all of this is advancing NATO's footprint deeper into Eastern Europe. And finally, Annis claimed that the war in Ukraine is really a campaign against national rights throughout Ukraine. He argued that the country's strongly centralized government gives little formal rights to local and regional governments or to national minorities.

      It's not a point of view that you'll hear in Canada's House of Commons.

      Comments

      15 Comments

      Steve

      Nov 30, 2014 at 7:50pm

      What a crock! I was there for a few weeks earlier this year, and I saw no Nazis in the streets, but a lot of patriotic Ukrainians wanting the Russian invaders out. They stole Crimea, and now they want to steal the eastern part of the country as well. Blame the Kremlin, not Kiev.

      Gerda van de Windt

      Nov 30, 2014 at 10:07pm

      Finally!!! It's about time that the truth is being reported. If in doubt, google Ukraine, mass graves, genocide, etc. and oh, last week's UN resolution against neo-nazism - 155 countries voted in favour - only three voted against... The US, Canada and Ukraine. Gee, I'm so proud to be a Canadian. NOT!!!

      Dr. Jack

      Nov 30, 2014 at 10:19pm

      Why do you call a stooge for Putin, a "peace activist"??

      Those old enough to remember might know that in the Fifties, the KGB created an organization meant to promote the values of the Soviet Union, which they called the "world peace congress".

      All of the leaders, besides a few naïve westerners, were either active KGB and Soviet block security operatives or covert spies!

      centuries of wars

      Dec 1, 2014 at 7:42am

      I supported Ukraine until they started using Assad tactics against rebel held cities, shelling hospitals and civillians indiscriminately. This whole conflict can be easily negotiated but the West wants to fund a proxy war with Russia. Find and support politicians who aren't warlords, stay out of the bloodbath.

      The circle continues

      Dec 1, 2014 at 10:57am

      LMAO this is wonderful stuff! I well remember "peace activists" like this shilling for Moscow decades ago for cash or Marxist brownie points. Protests never mentioned the Soviet Union by name, only the US and western members of the nuke club were to be singled out for criticism. Carrying signs opposing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan left one at risk of assault by "peace activists" carrying signs opposing US interference in Latin america. This entire position adopted by this "peace activist" comes straight from the FSB website list of "talking points for journalists" and other such claptrap. The excuses and justifications for Russian adventurism could be applied to most of Russia's neighbours and with a few changes in wording would be used to justify Imperial or Soviet era intervention.

      Ostap Bender Sagaydachniy

      Dec 1, 2014 at 11:11am

      Somebody is making a valuable point "proxy war". It's all about the world dominance
      between USA and Russia and Ukraine I'd used as a battlefield no more no less. No changes have been made by a newly elected government in Ukraine nor it will be. The new government knows about the game the country is to play and politicians were well paid for it. Worst case they will leave the country abroad when is needed but naive citizens are fooled again. The idea of national unity a new begining for Ukraine has been used and abused and it will be used agsin if needed as general population will follow the command again and again hoping for a better future. But will be a corrupt lie. Unfortunately Ukraine has a geopolitical location where they are destined to be a battlefield as it is. By two bad guys US and Russia and granted corrupted officials will always play a ball as it was during the second world war as in reality it's the poor ordinary people who care about the country not them. Until the governments mentality will change, oligarchs won't be a filling class there is no hope for Ukraine no matter which way it goes and who supports. Face your real enemies inside your country, fight the corruption stop believe in in national idea fairy tales and things mmitt change. Until then Ukraine will remain a ba battlefield and a corrupted investment instrument for local politicians.

      Pete

      Dec 1, 2014 at 12:01pm

      Roger Annus might be an activist but definitely not a historian..... Why is the argument one sided and no mention of why there really is fighting and innocent people dying for no reason. WHY? - Putin and his imperialistic fantasy to bring back something that looks like what the USSR was. Think, you are going to support an ex KGB agent now President of Russia (or King) who was active during the cold war and had developed his hate for the West? If you believe in freedom you would support Ukraine. The people of Ukraine have given up their lives to try to make a better place to live in their country. Where is Yanukovych and why isn't he being tried for Crimes against humanity after he killed hundreds of protesters? Oh yeah, he's being protected by his crime buddy Putin in Russia. Wonder what Annus is getting from Putin to support his propaganda.

      Ostap Bender Sagaydachniy

      Dec 1, 2014 at 12:48pm

      Pete, you know he is not getting paid by any one it's a nonsense Vancouver is a very neutral city vs Toronto or Ottawa. There is no freedom to support its a story that was sold to Ukrainians many many times during the history. Ukrainians typically bite the bait and nothing ever changes goverment is corrupted and nobody who is at power wants this country to do well. It's not about Putin at this point it's about a country who has been doomed and betrayed by its own people over and over again. Don't buy this freedom bs and don't forget who actually proclaimed Ukraine as one country/republic first...

      Dr. Jack

      Dec 1, 2014 at 2:54pm

      Sorry for my mistake!!

      The KGB run "peace" organization was called the "World Peace Council".

      It was disbanded a number of years later, when even the most naïve realised that they had been duped by the Soviet propaganda.

      Alas, there are always new "agents of influence" appearing on stage from time to time.

      Like in the article above!

      And decent people never learn!!