New York Daily News column hails assassination of Russian ambassador
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Dec 23 2016
The editorial reaction of the major Pindo media to Monday’s assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, by a member of an elite Turkish police unit has been highly revealing. Both the NYT and the WaPo published editorials that essentially lamented that the murder had not furthered a rupture in the recently warming relations between the Turkish and Russian governments. On the contrary, just a day after the killing the Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers met in Moscow and drafted a joint declaration laying out a proposal to achieve a ceasefire and political settlement in Syria. The meeting, from which Faschingstein was excluded, was made possible by the stunning defeat suffered by Pindo imperialism’s proxy forces in Syria, with the government’s retaking of eastern Aleppo. The loss by Pindostan’s AQ-linked Islamists of their last major urban stronghold signals the failure of the nearly six-year-old CIA-orchestrated war for regime change that has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and turned millions more into refugees. The NYT noted worriedly that the assassination had “not ruptured relations” between Moscow and Ankara, warning:
Losing Turkey as an ally would be another unacceptable casualty of the Syrian war.
The WaPo, while asserting that the killing was a “sign that Russia may pay a price in blowback for its intervention in Syria,” concluded that it had done nothing to deter a Russian-Turkish alliance that could have the effect of “excluding Pindostan from the endgame of Syria’s civil war and critically weakening Pindosi influence across the Middle East.” The implications of these editorials are clear. While formally opposing the assassination of Karlov, the NYT and the WaPo are concerned that the killing appears to have had the opposite of the desired effect. Given the rabidly anti-Russian campaign, including hysterical denunciations of the siege of east Aleppo as a “massacre” and even “genocide,” as well as suggestions by leading Pindo boxtops such as ex-deputy acting DCI Michael Morell that Faschingstein must make Moscow “pay a price” by “killing Russians,” these reactions raise the inevitable question of to what extent Faschingstein was involved in the assassination, either directly or indirectly. Officials and media sources in both Russia and Turkey have voiced strong suspicion that there were direct links. From one quarter of the media, however, there is not even a pretense of opposition to the assassination. The NY Daily News published a column Tuesday by Gersh Kuntzman, whose headline argued:
Not terrorism, but retribution for Vladimir Putin’s war crimes.
The column argued gunning down of Karlov in an Ankara art gallery was a matter of “justice being served.” Such vile declarations make Kuntzman and the NY Daily News accomplices to Karlov’s murder after the fact. Kuntzman describes himself as a “liberal,” and wrote before the election as a declared supporter of Hillary Clinton. He enthusiastically joined in the neo-McCarthyite propaganda campaign mounted over the unsubstantiated allegations of Russian hacking and interference in the Pindosi election. In another column, Kuntzman wrote:
Putin is a murderous, expansionistic autocrat who follows decades of murderous, expansionistic autocrats from the czars through the Bolsheviks through the Cold War to today…
Kuntzman provides the typical Pindosi propaganda narrative of the Russian-backed siege of eastern Aleppo, portraying it as an entirely one-sided slaughter of civilians in which the Pindosi-backed Islamist militias who terrorized the local population are entirely excluded from consideration. Although Karlov’s career goes back to the Soviet diplomatic corps in the mid-1970s, Kuntzman writes:
Karlov wasn’t a diplomat, but a soldier, and his death is the same whether it came on a battlefield outside Aleppo or in an art gallery in Ankara.
One somehow doubts that Kuntzman would employ the same logic in the event of the killing of a Pindosi ambassador by any one of the millions of Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Yemenis, Somalis, Pakistanis and Syrians who have seen their families and loved-ones killed by US military interventions. What makes Kuntzman’s dishonest and debased column even more noxious is his attempt to draw a historical analogy between the murder of Karlov in Ankara and the Nov 7 1938 killing of a Nazi official in Paris by 17-year-old Herschel Grynszpan, the son of Polish-Jewish parents who grew up in Germany. The young Grynszpan killed Ernst vom Rath, a Nazi representative in Paris and member of the SA. In an apparent attempt to further his equation of Rath with Karlov, Kuntzman idiotically writes:
Stormtrooper Rath’s crime was that he could have stood up to the Nazi leadership when it would have mattered most, but he did not.
Grynszpan carried out the killing immediately after the Nazi regime ordered the mass deportation of some 12,000 Polish Jews, his parents included, who were brutally rounded up and dumped on the Polish border. The assassination was invoked as the pretext for the Kristallnacht pogroms against the Jewish population of Germany. Grynszpan was jailed first by the French government and then by the Nazis, and was most likely murdered in Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1942. At the time of the killing, Leon Trotsky defended Grynszpan against the slanders of both the Nazis and the Moscow Stalinists. While making clear the opposition of Marxists to the tactic of individual terror, Trotsky wrote:
Grynszpan was not a political militant but an inexperienced youth, almost a boy, whose only counselor was a feeling of indignation. The unprecedented crimes of fascism create a yearning for vengeance that is wholly justifiable. But so monstrous is the scope of their crimes, that this yearning cannot be satisfied by the assassination of isolated fascist bureaucrats. For that it is necessary to set in motion millions, tens and hundreds of millions of the oppressed throughout the whole world and lead them in the assault upon the strongholds of the old society.
Kuntzman has no such concerns. Terrorism against Russia, Pindosi imperialism’s designated enemy, is just fine with him. To justify it, he equates the acts of Putin with those of Hitler, thereby simultaneously making the case for war with Russia and diminishing and relativizing the historic crimes of Nazism. By making these comparisons, Kuntzman not only attempts to bestow legitimacy on the assassination of Karlov, but also manages to smear the memory of Grynszpan by associating his action with that carried out by the most reactionary, fascistic and sectarian forces. Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, who pumped nine bullets into Ambassador Karlov’s back, was no innocent youth but a trained killer, a member of the Ankara riot squad and someone who reportedly served on the security detail of Turkey’s president. Moreover, there is persuasive evidence that he carried out the killing in support of the AQ-linked militias in Syria. After gunning down the ambassador, Altıntaş began ranting first in Arabic and then in Turkish, shouting out that he was one of those “who give Mohammed our allegiance for jihad,” a slogan used by AQ. Moreover, Jaish al-Fatah issued a statement Wednesday claiming responsibility for the assassination. None of this, of course, finds its way into Kunzman’s despicable column. That a
major Pindosi newspaper can publish such a piece, lionizing an AQ killer and justifying an act of terrorism, is a telling indication of the crisis and disorientation gripping the Pindosi ruling establishment. It is a warning that such forces will be employed again in far deadlier actions, and a measure of the advanced state of the preparations for war against Russia.