‘Washington has miscalculated the wishes of Ukrainian people’
Annie Machon is a former intelligence officer for MI5, the UK Security Service, who resigned in the late 1990s to blow the whistle on the spies’ incompetence and crimes with her ex-partner, David Shayler. Drawing on her varied experiences, she is now a public speaker, writer, media pundit, international tour and event organiser, political campaigner, and PR consultant. She is also now the Director of LEAP, Europe. She has a rare perspective both on the inner workings of governments, intelligence agencies and the media, as well as the wider implications for the need for increased openness and accountability in both public and private sectors.
RT:What do you think of the CIA Director John Brennan's “surprise” visit to Kiev just days before this crackdown we're now seeing in eastern Ukraine?
Annie Machon: It’s very interesting timing. The heads of the major Western intelligence agencies tend to have their diaries fairly well locked down for months in advance, so for him to suddenly have made this trip shows either they were very keen to solidify, to cement certain working relationships with their new allies, or they see that things are spinning out of control and they are trying to regain that control.
RT:If you were going to put money on it, what would it be?
AM: Probably trying to regain control. I mean there is no secret about the fact that State Department official Victoria Nuland boasted that since the fall of the Soviet Union, America has pumped in around $5 billion into Ukraine to try and pedal influence in that country. So I don’t think there is any doubt that Washington has been meddling with the internal politics of the Ukraine and continues to do so. But this time they have miscalculated the wishes of the Ukrainian people.
RT:Now that Kiev's deployed the full force of its military on the activists in the East, what is Washington likely to do?
AM: I think it’s going to bottle it, they won’t make a loud noise and try to intimidate people. But I can’t see they have the power or the will really to intervene at this point. As we saw as well with their misadventures across the Middle East and the North Africa of the last four years, they have had their nose blooded a little bit. And we saw them back down over Syria where they backed certain insurgency groups there, who then turned out to be the people they were condemning as potential terrorists, so they had to back down. I think in Ukraine they are going to have to do the same thing. They have miscalculated the level of support they would receive, they've miscalculated the wishes of the people. They try to claim that the Crimean referendum was illegitimate, with 95-97 percent of people saying “We want to be part of Russia.” And they are trying to bring democracy to the wide world but condemn it when other peoples want their own democracy.
RT:Ukraine's government and its Western allies have been pointing the finger at Russia over the latest events in the East. Are these claims backed by any solid evidence? Russia is asking the West for proof but there isn’t any.
AM: Neither side has perfectly clean hands in this. As I said, Victoria Nuland, the State Department official, has posted that the US have pumped $5 billion to try to stabilize or to try to pedal influence within Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union. Of course this is power politics, of course major powers will all do this. But the US has been caught with its pants down this time.
RT:Meanwhile, NATO's beefing up its military presence on Russia's borders. Do you see this as some kind of deterrent or default Cold War-style brinkmanship?
AM: I think over the last 20 years, the US has this old-fashion imperialist victorious sort of ambitions. But actually Russia is pushing back. It’s like history starts when the Western media says it starts. So they ignore the fact that this provocation has been building across this region, particularly in Ukraine of the last few years stoked by the US. And then they report the fact that it is undemocratic when Russia tries to protect Russian-speaking people. No apologies for either side but it is hypocritical that the US can intervene on humanitarian interventions and bomb countries across the Northern Africa and Middle East, including Yugoslavia in the late 1990s and that’s seen as ok. When Russia tries to do the same sort of thing that is seen as bad. It’s a double-standard… hypocrisy.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.