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Amend the editorial policy of the Ecologist magazine

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The Ecologist has become a conduit for articles misrepresenting Ukraine's popular uprising and its government


Dear Mr Kumar,


We share the magazine's concerns and respect the work that you have done for peace and for the environment. However, the Ecologist's coverage of Ukraine's uprising against a tyrant who sought to steal the right to vote from Ukrainians has been deeply flawed. In any democratic society there must be scope for different points of view to be represented. Unfortunately your magazine has become the conduit for disinformation attacking Ukraine. This material is also damaging to the environmental movement because it provides evidence which supports NATO'S accusation of ties to Russian intelligence.


The piece produced by Israel Shamir which is duplicated on your site dated 21 May 2014 has no connection with the environment:

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2405049/putin_like_hitler_how_did_prince_charles_get_it_so_wrong.html

Shamir, although originally Jewish, has converted to Orthodoxy and has links to neo nazi movements across Europe. While I appreciate that there is scope for different points of view his characterisation of Putin of course omits several key facts regarding the man's views. However, in general, I would question whether an environmental site should provide a platform for Mr Shamir's views on a topic which is only tangentially related to the environment.

The piece presenting Graham W Philips as a journalist detained by an overweaning government is equally problematic. Phillips works for Russia Today a propaganda channel. On one occasion he triggered a proximity flare near a Ukrainian outpost and claimed that the  the Ukrainian army had fired at him:

http://www.interpretermag.com/trip-wire/

A channel which produces reports of this kind and acts as a platform for a Holocaust denier, Ry Dawson, and its agents are of legitimate interest to Ukraine's security services. Phillips was wandering around Ukrainian military positions in an attempt to provoke a response. His eventual arrest was entirely reasonable and proportionate given his outlandish and dangerous behaviour.

The piece by Diana Johnstone presents the specious argument that the minority right wing element in the coalition that formed in Ukraine's Parliament is a Nazi takeover.

http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2389125/ukraine_we_must_not_consent_to_genocide.html

The government is not Nazi but multi ethnic and multi party. Nazis do not hold fair elections. The extreme right only secured 2% in Ukraine's presidential election on 26 May. The account of the Odesa massacre is wildly inaccurate. In fact some individuals who we might describe as pro Russian attacked a peaceful march with firearms killing one of them to provoke a riot. The aim was to generate a violent incident and lamentably they succeeded. However after the fire had started- and it is not clear how it started- the crowd actually tried to rescue the people in the building. The government is multi ethnic and the factitious suggestion that they want to inspire Ukrainians to massacre ethnic minorities is stupid in the extreme. 

http://khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1399333622

The defense of Putin who is the architect of all this mayhem is laughably naive because we actually know the kind of plans that Russia is formulating. Dugin a key strategist in Putin's establishment, is a Fascist who admires the SS and advocates destroying Ukraine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Dugin


The piece could only have been written by someone who was both profoundly anti Western and either misrepresenting or unaware of the political climate in Russia. What does it have to do with the environment? Dugin is one of the Fascists coordinating the separatists many of whom are Nazis:

http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1394442656
http://by24.org/2014/03/30/skype_instructions_for_ukrainian_separatists_from_moscow_captured/
The article by Mike Whitney also purveys the false narrative that Ukraine is now ruled by Nazis. This posture was always ludicrous and is even more so now that the right has been marginalised at the ballot box.  Again the article is written as if a law abiding president had been destabilised. In fact Yanukvych stole over $70bn and corrupted and impoverished society.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/22122013-yanukovychs-ukraine-family-greed-fuels-national-aspiration-oped/
Incidentally Ukraine was the deadliest place on earth from 1933 to 1945 losing more at the hands of Hitler and Stalin than any other European nation. Whitney's stigmatisation of Ukrainians is therefore utterly repugnant.
We understand the need for an opposition to the hegemony of big business and of any political block. However an autocrat who represents his own corporate interests and plays with virulent nationalism cannot fulfill that role  The people of Ukraine have affirmed the sovereignty of the people over the politicians. The revolution was one step on a long path to a world where the hegemony of the oligarchs of East and West will be broken. The left has to reinvent itself and to see that acting as the propaganda megaphone of a regime like Putin's will only result in its further marginalisation and estrangement. Ukraine offers a chance to rethink, to renew. It is not a barrier to Russia but a hand stretched out to the Russian people, and a reminder that the only force capable of challenging the oligarchy is the people.

We urge you to amend your editorial policy and as a first step
- to remove the article by Holocaust denier Shamir and acknowledge its publication was a mistake
- as regards Ukraine to publish articles from Ukrainian sources articulating an alternative to the Putinesque propaganda which you have published to date.
- an apology for taking a biased, Ukrainophobic, editorial line.

Ukraine was the first country to unilaterally disarm its nuclear arsenal which was the third largest stock of nuclear weapons in the world. It was given security guarantees by the nuclear powers, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Russia. Russia has, however persistently flouted these guarantees which were outlined in the Budapest agreement of 1994. We urge you to use your influence as a peace activist to lobby for Russia and the other signatories to adhere to the commitments in the Budapest agreement. If they are broken with impunity then every country which feels threatened will be tempted to develop nuclear weapons. We urge you to ensure that the Ecologist supports the security of the first country to lay down its nuclear weapons rather than acting as a propagandist for its nuclear armed antagonist Russia, which is attempting to destroy its peaceful neighbour.



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