An abuse always includes at least two – one, who abuses and one abused. Sometimes there are however many more abusers. In the case of the OSCE even a lot more. An unknown number of interest groups and especially the media. And sometimes – but only sometimes – there is such a strange smell in the air. A smell, as if the OSCE is even abused by themselves, and not only is victim of abuse.
I see them literally in front of me, the writers of SPIEGEL and FAZ. As they fell themselves so important and gather at this hotel in Berlin to talk with Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the OSCE in Ukraine, – (almost half) exclusive, of course. Interviewing someone Major, who has a name in the current conflict history, which is written in Europe. They are the spearhead of the free democratic media, these journalists of the „big ones“ in the capital. In Donetsk, in turn, it works like this: Nelja and I got to know by telephone from the press conference of the OSCE 10 minutes prior to the start thereof. We are on the way to by detergent and toilet paper. We stop on the way to the supermarket at the Park Inn, where the OSCE is housed and do our job. Reporting. It is our work here. In Berlin it is certainly done with more glamour. Everything somehow more „Wow!“. Because in Berlin Alexander Hug has probably finally delivered the awaited proof of the atrocious „Separatists“ and the „Russian troops“ to FAZ and Spiegel Online. At least, if you read the articles.
But when one is listening to Alexander Hug at that press conference in Donetsk (after appearance of the FAZ and SPON articles) on March 21, 2016 there is a feeling of horror, when one considers the callousness of the „cavillers“ of the German mainstream in mind. But you also feel, that the OSCE is somehow also part of the game and is not only quoted by the
yellow mainstream press in desired and adventurous contexts, when appropriate. Quoted by people who after the interview dive into Berlin’s nightlife, celebrate and have no idea about the war, because they were never there, while journalists here have their flak jackets in the trunk and often sleep at night with artillery sounds.
FAZ and SPIEGEL play cleverly on the propaganda „musical scale“. „Rarely so, that you can see through it directly …“ as BAP’s Niedecken once sang in „Kristallnaach“. They mix their subtle russophobe opinion with quotes or fragments of sentences from Alexander Hug. And they only refer to „useful“ quotes, put them in a bad context and distort the image until it seems to fit their narratives. It is not only the way they are lying from time to time, it is mainly the way they are not drawing the whole picture. Not a single Western mainstream journalist is sitting here in Donetsk in the press room. I’m the only German here. From the west in general, there are only a Finn and me.
Alexander Hug is the only one who speaks here – may speak. OSCE local staff (about 750) are condemned to silence. So if one wants to know something, one studies the daily OSCE reports or is waiting for Alexander Hug, who now and then emerges in Donetsk for a press conference and on-site visits. If he is not there, ther is silence peace in the OSCE cosmos – at least verbally. In Donetsk at least during the whole time Alexander Hug says not even one time „separatists“. For the FAZ this is too little. They transform their one side vision like – Quote:
„For 85 to 90 percent“ are in such attacks separatists are to be blamed.
Even clearer is the situation where observers are threatened or intimidated. Such attacks come – according to Hug – „exclusively“ from the part of separatists …
Thus are the separatists hinder the OSCE, and the question is: Who is behind them?
All quotes from FAZ (Warum geht das Sterben in der Ukraine weiter?)
The millimeter-accurate play with the quotation marks is almost brilliant.
The SPIEGEL goes even further. It cites Hug even in interview form – Quote:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Your observers are repeatedly prevented from going to certain places. Why?
Hug: In 90 percent of cases it is the separatists who hinder us …
Quotes from SPON (Ukraine-Krise: Europas vergessener Krieg)
Hug is Swiss diplomat. He speaks very carefully and thoughtfully. Always. I experience him personally, since he is here in this war. Alexander Hug does not speak of „separatists“. Never. At least not in Donetsk on camera. As I said, he is Swiss diplomat.
The „difficulties“ increasing „since a few weeks“. Since the fighting has intensified. I learn that the inspections have also massively increased so it also has higher rejection numbers. Everything is somehow relative. Fact is – IF there is something, „which the OSCE from the ground should not see“, you can see it at the latest on the high-resolution satellite and drones images of Americans. But somehow there is nothing to see. And especially the aspect of action and reaction is completely hidden, although this contributes significantly to the understanding of the situation when it is not even essential. There are also rumours, that „after an OSCE visit, the correction of artillery fire onto (rebels) positions are significant and ‚magically'“. Well, I don’t know but I’ve been told several times.
Alexander Hug speaks a lot at the press conference. He calls both sides, when it comes to the shelling of strategic objects, but he is silent when the question is asked of the shooter on civilian targets in the Donbass. 9,000 civilian must have simply died by the conflict. Somehow. He describes in detail the accidental discovery of an anti-tank mine on the road, which the OSCE was traveling on. He tells exactly how he chat with a 81-year-old woman, who lives in the conflict zone for 20 months without electricity. He talks in detail about the besieged and for days bombarded Water filter station which is of vital importance for 400,000 (four hundred thousand) people. He cares about the adjoining chloride storage, that would become a chemical weapon, if it would hit. But he does not call a spade a spade. He does not mention, that the Ukrainian troops are permanently firing to these objectives. Civilian targets. When asked who shoots, the rhetoric remains undetermined. „On several sides of the building there are strikes“, he says. And he is silent (although he speaks), if you want to know which side is the one that refuses direct negotiations between the „parties“ (following the Minsk II agreement). Even if I ask this question 3 times. He remains polite, but he does not say.
The task of the OSCE is – by his own admission – „the establishment of dialogue between the parties“ and „observing the situation and reporting“. So I ask, „Please tell me what you see, if the dialogue can not be established because one side refuses to negotiate? Do you see which side refuses? Which side?“. The answer is: „I can not answer this. I have no mandate.“
This article does not query the misdemeanors of the people’s militia, which exists – there are no doubts. The OSCE reports are very detailed on this. But they are also written by people, not machines. Only on demand the shelling is mentioned on this day. And yes, there were just „coincidentally“ Ukrainian troops, who have shot. Sometimes I wonder what is more annoying – not to get into a building or to come under shelling.
The double standards of German politics and the media, however, in this case occur extremely clearly. Ask them but one hand the indispensable participation of the Syrian „opposition“ and „moderate rebels“ and the increasingly separating Kurds in the negotiations with Assad and Western intermediaries; on the other hand they give a damn, that Kiev refuses to negotiate directly with the self-proclaimed republics. For here are the bad guys, in Syria the good. FAZ and SPIEGEL’s own strange logic, optionally also total Western logic. Eyes shut (if necessary) and go for it. No matter what.
Recent developments in Saizevo with massive Ukrainian bombardment of civilian targets and casualties among the civilian population i. e. remain unmentioned, because the OSCE is afraid to go there without the safety of their employees is guaranteed. It is quite comprehensible, but if an „observer mission“ is not oberving bombing and shelling, but later tries to draw conclusions on site, remain large gaps in coverage. Subsequently „observed“ anything can be possible or even not.
At some point everything becomes clearer. Obviously at the moment when Alexander Hug says: „The OSCE SMM works with the Ukrainie and for Ukraine.“ When did THAT ever said a OSCE head concerning Serbia, as the Kosovo „heroically fought independence“? Racak and Rogovo send „their regards„. The OSCE’s role was one of the most infamous chapter of the NATO attack (or here „Es begann mit einer Lüge“ – WDR-Doku 2001) on Serbia. People who drew attention to the abuses and blatant lies that time were persecuted and defamed.
And it is even clearer when an OSCE choose a side in a conflict – significantly the US Mission to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (a fascinating link moreover). Unambiguous and one-sided – as in the case of N. Savchenko. More obviously one can not be positioned (see here).
What remains on one hand, is the impression that individual protagonists (not all) of the OSCE Mission in Serbia partially have contributed actively to the war in Kosovo against Serbia, respectively other protagonists have in turn not vehemently enough called for the erroneous trends and on the other hand it turns out the OSCE is now the „ultimate tip to the Libra“ in Donbass – but having the opposite sign. But somehow always in the interest of the West.
Have the OSCE and the international public learned from the Kosovo disaster? As said Alexander Hug: „We provide the highest level of objectivity in our work.“. Yes, one would assume. Germany currently has the presidency of the OSCE. That should be enough for care and thoroughness, right? Germany is incidentally the country with the most russophobe sounds in media reporting worldwide. Of course there is no connection.
There is something else between abusers and victims of abuse – you can also LET YOURSELF abuse at least. The smell remains somehow.