By Arnold August
Starting on March 23, Canadian state-owned French-language media, Radio-Canada, and private French-language media outlets in Quebec, launched a campaign to sanction a University of Montreal professor. The campaign then spread to a Toronto daily and even into the US. What’s going on? Apparently, it is because the professor concerned is “pro-Russian.” I propose to set the record straight.
Radio-Canada, funded by Canadian taxpayers, dealt a first blow on March 23. Journalist Romain Schué, working for the Radio-Canada French-language news channel RDI, headlined an accusatory article with the ominous word “malaise,” referring to a certain “uneasiness” at the University of Montreal following remarks made by Professor Michael J. Carley on social media. Mr. Schué took snippets from Professor Carley’s Twitter feed, which quickly attracted derogatory comments, fostering the notion of a non-sensical, hair-brained professor. The article was also based on anonymous quotations hostile to Professor Carley. Mr. Schué appears to want to discredit the professor out of hand, dismissing him as “pro-Russian” or “pro-Putin.” Such characterisation intentionally leaves out the fact that Carley is a professor of history with more than 50 years of research and publishing on Soviet and Russian foreign policy. He has done extensive research in Russian archives and seeks to explain Soviet perspectives from a Russian vantage point. There are few people working today in any language who have done as much work on interwar Soviet foreign policy.
It can be surmised that in the current environment of Russophobia, the appellation “pro-Russian” or “pro-Putin” might be more than enough to sink the said professor at the University. Our journalist, Romain Schué, does not seem embarrassed by the ironic fact that his main source of information against the professor is derived from American sources. For example, in denigrating the Strategic Culture Foundation, in which Mr. Carley published some articles, Schué cites the U.S. State Department view that the Strategic Culture Foundation is “managed by Russian information services and is very close to the Kremlin.” Furthermore, the source provided by Mr. Schué to discredit a Carley tweet about the strike against the maternity hospital in Mariupol, was a Radio-Canada program on its own RDI channel specializing in supposedly “decoding fake information” (dealt with in detail below). This media outlet relies in turn on the American ABC and allied British BBC. This situation requires some serious contemplation. In any case, as a historian, by using Russian and other sources, Professor Carley clarifies and expands the Russian perspective. He may be taking sides, but this position stems from a reading of sources, studies and his own investigative trips to Russia. He is an expert with a long-term view of relations between Russia and the West.
The manner in which Mr. Schué’s article is written demonstrates an increasingly ugly attempt to keep the US-Canada-NATO narrative on the Ukraine-Russia conflict as airtight as possible. I have rarely seen such an effort made to impose a blanket media blackout. It is the sort of atmosphere that prevails when a country is at war, and Canada is indeed now at war with Russia, using Ukraine as proxy.
The original article published by RDI on March 23 that led to the accusations against the professor is translated into English from the original French. However, the current updated French version includes a very brief reference to an April 4 press release issued by Professor Carley. The main thrust of the article remains the same. Read the English here to reach your own conclusions.
Who is Professor Michael J. Carley?
According to the University of Montreal website, Michael Jabara Carley was born in Brooklyn, New York and studied at George Washington University and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. After having been professor of history at Akron University (Ohio), he became director of the Department of History at the University of Montreal (2007-2014). As a full professor, he pursues his research on relations between the USSR/Russian Federation and Western countries.
He was a member of CÉRIUM (Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal – University of Montreal Centre for International Studies and Research) but was dropped unceremoniously with the stroke of a pen by the director of that Centre, simply on the basis of the RDI article.
Professor Carley is a specialist in international relations in the 20th century and on the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. His research interests focus on relations of the Soviet Union with Western Europe and the United States between 1917 and 1945. He is the author of three books (two of which have been translated into several languages) and about 100 articles and essays on French intervention in the Russian Civil War (1917-1921), on Soviet relations with the Great Powers between the two world wars, on questions of “appeasement,” on the origins and conduct of the Second World War, and on topical issues. He is the author of over 115 book chapters, and his articles has been the recipient of some 15 awards. His works have been published in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia and elsewhere, and translated into a dozen languages.
Professor Carley has recently worked on two major book projects. The first deals with the confrontation between Soviet Russia/USSR and the West from 1917 to 1930. This work, entitled Silent Conflict: A Hidden History of Early Soviet-Western Relations, was published in 2014 by the American publisher, Rowman & Littlefield. The French translation, Une guerre sourde: L’émergence de l’Union soviétique et les puissances occidentales was published by PUM in 2016. A Russian translation was published in 2019. The second project, supported by a major research grant from the Canadian government think tank, SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), focuses on the origins and creation of the “Grand Alliance” against Nazi Germany during World War II. Writing of this second work is now complete in three volumes (1930-1941). Vol. 1 of his trilogy has been accepted for publication. The working title of the trilogy is “A Near-Run Thing: The Improbable Grand Alliance of World War II.”
He speaks, reads and writes English and French, and he reads Russian. One of his articles caught my eye: “Chrystia Freeland: Kiev’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa (2017).” There is widespread unease in Canada as a result of the much-discussed ties between Freeland, currently Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister in the Trudeau government, and Ukrainian neo-Nazis. A great many Canadians might like to figuratively shake the hand of Professor Carley for daring to write such an article, right from within the hallowed halls of academia.
In his article, Mr. Schué tries to ridicule Professor Carley’s tweets about “the Fascists in Ukraine,” “the evacuation of civilians” being blocked by “Azov troops, the Fascists,” adding contemptuously that Carley does not hesitate to share messages from official Russian organizations that “conjure up the presence of Nazis in Ukraine.” Conjure up? The journalist might have discovered evidence right here in Canada, in four fully documented articles in English, followed by other sources in French. Canadian journalists: “A friend of oligarchs and right-wing Ukrainian nationalists: Chrystia Freeland and Canadian imperialism,” by Bruce Katz, Montreal, “The Canadian-led quest to protect US hegemony in Latin America: Chrystia Freeland and Canadian imperialism,” by Bruce Katz, Montreal, “Long history of Ukrainian-Canadian groups glorifying Nazi collaborators exposed by defacing of Oakville memorial,” by Aidan Jonah, Toronto, “America’s Trojan-horse at the heart of the Canadian government: Chrystia Freeland and Canadian imperialism,” by Bruce Katz, Montreal. Taken together, these pieces and many others shed light on the issue, whereas RDI’s Schué goes out of his way to deny and ridicule the fact that the Ukrainian regime is Nazi-infested.
One wonders why the journalist limited himself to just a few characters worth of tweets, while ignoring the in-depth and well-documented articles that Carley himself wrote on the subject, all available in his University of Montreal bio, such as “Why Canada Defends Ukrainian Fascism,” March 2018. Should this source not have constituted one of the main points of information that an ethical journalist might expect to have consulted?
In a recent Canada-based webinar on Ukraine, Canadian peace activist Ken Stone provides full information not only about Ottawa’s 21st-century support for Nazi forces in Ukraine, but Canada’s astonishing but relatively unknown 100-year-long interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine. This intrusion has always taken place on the side of right-wing forces and, since World War II, has easily morphed into [English YouTube] active support for pro-Nazi activities and with subtitles in French.
Still not satisfied? How about an excellent source that Mr. Schué would no doubt hold in high esteem? The reference is President Zelensky himself who declared about the Azov Battalion: “They are what they are. They were defending our country … They are a component of the Ukrainian military.” One can see for oneself in this one-minute confession.
That was Fox News. Even CNN must admit:
Should the journalist feel any “unease” when proven wrong by his colleagues at CNN?
“Unease” directed not against Carley but against Romain Schué’s article
As of 2 PM on March 30, the tweet by Mr. Schué promoting his initial article cited above on state-run media there are 178 tweets and retweets in favour of upholding Carley’s right to freedom of speech (not including the many positive responses to such tweets). In contrast, only 53 tweets indicated that action should be taken against the professor (often very briefly: “Dehors!” “Get out!”), while 59 comments were too ambivalent to be rated.
In the Schué article itself, published on the state-sponsored RDI website, another type of readership has provided a somewhat different outcome. The majority of comments support sanctions against Professor Carley. However, the comments indicate that this option takes the quoted Twitter snippets at face value, with readers completely unaware of Carley’s extensive work and expertise on Russia and the Soviet Union.
Strike against the Mariupol Maternity Hospital
In his article, Mr. Schué also accuses the professor of relaying “false information,” by questioning the alleged Russian bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol. At the core of this story is a pregnant and vulnerable woman. But what proof does the RDI journalist offer of a Russian atrocity? He relies on RDI’s “anti-fake news” program, Les Décrypteurs (The Decoders in English.) Since the Ukraine crisis began, it has dedicated itself to superficially denigrating news items that do not bend to the NATO narrative. On the Russian foreign ministry’s attempt to set the record straight on the Mariupol maternity hospital incident (see below), the program screams “fake” [“Faux”].” In the picture on the left below, it focuses on the Russian allegation that the hospital had been forcefully evacuated by the Azov forces who then took control of the premises for military purposes well before the strike. True or false? We deal with this below, relying on a surprise witness. On the right below, we view the Russian source trying to identify the victim, Marianna Vishemirskaya who, with her newborn child, ran as a virtual loop in all Western media as “a victim of Russia.” The Russians were wrong about her actual role, but spot on regarding the photographer, Evgeniy Maloletka.
The actual victim, Marianna Vishemirskaya, was interviewed. Here, in her own words, is this YouTube video that provides an account of what really happened. Note that she indicates how the patients were forceful evacuated by Azov personnel who replaced them and stole their food. There was no bomb, but rather a strike that could only have come from the Ukrainian side.
In her own words with English subtitles: https://youtu.be/mPo-DSrIEB4
Ms. Vishemirskaya calling out the photographer Evgeniy Maloletka is confirmed by his photo’s byline.
On photographer Maloletka’s Facebook page, after feigning interest in her dire situation by trying to photograph her in the hospital (despite her opposition), he then turns against her to defend the official Ukrainian version that also coincides with that of the Associated Press.
This has been corroborated from the ground in Ukraine. Eyewitnesses explain how the hospital was forcibly evacuated by the Nazi battalion, which then used it as a military base. See [English] the account here.
The point of this journalistic dive into the maternity hospital controversy is not to win people or journalists, such Mr. Schué or RDI’s Les Décrypteurs, over to either the Russian or NATO narrative. However, given that one of the cornerstones of Mr. Schué’s allegations against Professor Carley is the controversy concerning that maternity hospital, the latest revelations point to the necessity for the University of Montreal and the Canadian public to showcase Professor Carley’s expertise, and to continue resisting pressures to sanction him and deny his right to freedom of speech, not to mention academic freedom.
As a Quebecois, it is very disappointing to find that our French-language state media has sunk so far into the abyss of US talking points. In contrast, the tradition of the late 1950s and 60s, when its journalism indeed had some positive features, set it apart from other North America media. It is painfully ironic that the smug Canadian liberal notion that “we are better than the US” does not hold water when it comes to reporting on RDI, such as that by Mr. Schué. For example, this pompous holier-than-thou attitude contrasts to the “bad” FOX News, far to the “right” of the RDI “liberals,” which recently carried a full and uncensored interview with author Dan Kovalik, an analyst who defends the Russian position on Ukraine. The interview was conducted by none other than notoriously right-wing Tucker Carlson, and can be viewed here.
Having followed RDI since the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia crisis, it has become clearer every day that the channel is acting as a mere satellite of US/Canada/NATO infomercials. In other words, the “pro-US” Mr. Schué’s piece is merely the latest episode and part of a pattern. In preparation for a March 14, 2022, Canada-based webinar, a personal invitation was sent to the editors of RDI’s Les Décrypteurs (Alexis de Lancer and Jeff Yates). Letter:
The RDI journalists did not respond. In my webinar presentation, I dealt with the Mariupol maternity hospital issue, prefaced by the long history of the US employing false flag operations as a pretext for invasion or other types of aggression. In addition, I provided further information, with photos taken from the RDI site, clearly indicating that the publicly financed platform is not only increasingly pro-US, but actually embedded in the legion of 1,000 Canadian military personnel fighting and training alongside the Nazi-infested Ukrainian armed forces. This is objective journalism? Those who have been taken in by Mr. Schué should perhaps reconsider. Can RDI be relied upon to make a judgment in the present circumstances. Here is the 10-minute webinar video of my presentation in English, and in French.
Bucha: Professor Carley’s redemption?
This may seem far-fetched seeing that, according to mainstream media, the latest accusation against Russia is a slam dunk, the final nail in the coffin of Russia’s credibility. However, in its enthusiasm to go for the bear’s jugular, NATO may be dragging itself into a major “weapons of mass destruction” fiasco. Before rising to the challenge, and separating fact from fiction, it should be said that Bucha occurred after the Schué article was published. Yet, the defamation of Professor Carley has a very long and unfortunate shelf life. If this type of journalism is allowed to carry on without being challenged, there is no real expiry date. Its one-size-fits-all smear thus automatically deflects against the professor. It is incumbent on us to deconstruct the latest incident.
We have to begin on March 30, in the town of Dmytrivka, around seven miles southwest of Bucha, the day before the Bucha killings that allegedly occurred on the 1st of April. On March 30, a video was proudly shot by Ukrainian soldiers that, according to the New York Times, appears to show Ukrainian troops killing captured Russian soldiers. This story was posted by award-winning journalist Evan Hill who, as his bio shows, is non-partisan.
According to the Times, “a video posted online on Monday (April 4) and verified by The New York Times, appears to show a group of Ukrainian soldiers killing captured Russian troops outside a village west of Kyiv. ‘He’s still alive. Film these marauders. Look, he’s still alive. He’s gasping,’ a man says as a Russian soldier with a jacket pulled over his head, apparently wounded, is seen still breathing. A soldier then shoots the man twice. After the man keeps moving, the soldier shoots him again, and he stops.” Read NYT full article. To view the actual video [viewer discretion advised] click here.
While the RDI correspondent Mr. Schué did not write a follow-up article on Professor Carley, he is continuing his pro-NATO/US crusade. For example, on April 3, he tweeted by screeching “Shocking and dramatic images,” based on a tweet by a well-known Ukrainian boxer personality, Klitschko, who refers to Bucha as “genocide.”
This social media flurry is part of the US/NATO attempt to discredit any opposition to NATO, whether it emanates from Professor Carley or anyone else who dares to resist the airtight Western talking points. Furthermore, Ukrainian sports personality Klitschko, seemingly Mr. Schué’s new favourite journalistic source, features the most hateful pro-NATO Russophobia on his Twitter feed. One tweet features a montage of Putin in a coffin being gleefully watched over by a contented Zelensky. In addition, it is noteworthy that not one of his hundreds of tweets makes any reference to a negotiated peace settlement between Kyiv and Moscow. On the contrary, they promote the Nazi-infested Zelensky government’s never-ending pursuit of war against Russia, even while hypocritically pleading “against war” and for “peace.” Ironically, as Mr. Schue ridicules the professor for taking Nazification in Ukraine seriously, the “pro-Kremlin” allegation of Ukrainian Nazification is actually confirmed by the Klitschko Twitter feed. Readers can judge for themselves (many of the Klitschko tweets and selfie videos are in English.) Thus, it is not surprising that the American CNN, like Mr. Schué, is attracted to Klitschko and likewise promoting him.
Yet, there are alternative interpretations of the “Bucha massacre,” such as this fully-documented article that is worth reading, “Staged Massacre in Bucha,” April 5, 2022. As this article is being written, it is becoming clear to many commentators and journalists, that the “Bucha Massacre” is turning into a typical “weapons of mass destruction” lie, like the one that led to the 2003 US Iraq war. If this is not convincing enough, here is another series of documented articles, with the link on the last article to access them all:
- Fake: bodies of civilians have been lying on the streets of Bucha since March 11
- Fake: “Meduza” proved, civilians in Bucha were killed by Russian troops
- What happened in Bucha? A full analysis of the Ukrainian provocation
- Fake: Russian soldiers killed a young Ukrainian woman in Bucha
- Fake: Russian soldier brags about killing civilians in Bucha
- Fake: Photos of soldiers who killed civilians in Bucha were made public
- Fake: Russian soldiers killed children in Bucha
- Fake: Bodies on the streets of Bucha weren’t laid out on purpose
- Ukrainian special forces found no bodies in Bucha
One point comes to mind. While the fake news about Bucha has emerged since the original Schué article was published, it has since been updated as a result of the press release circulated by Professor Carley’s lawyer concerning the RDI journalist. Yet, Mr. Schué did not bother to bring any of the above information on Bucha to the attention of the Quebec public. Why not? The information is available to everyone. Nor does the following seem to be of interest. On April 7, the Trudeau government’s budget granted 500 million dollars of military aid to the Ukraine in the following terms, as expressed by Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland:
“But the mutilated people of Bucha, shot with their hands tied behind their backs, have shown us that this is not enough. Putin and his henchmen are war criminals. The world’s democracies—including our own—can be safe only once the Russian tyrant and his armies are entirely vanquished.”
Mr. Schué’s Twitter feed does not show any interest in the ongoing debunking of the fake news, and its consequences, about Bucha. He is, however, infatuated with the visit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Kiev, seen walking with Zelensky. We recall when all the journalists in Canada showed contempt and ridicule for the Trump-Johnson duo. Now this has been converted almost overnight into a sycophantic admiration of Boris Johnson, as Mr. Schué’s tweet shows.
“Incredible pictures! First G7 head of state to come to Ukraine, in the streets of Kyiv. Symbolic images that could mark a turning point in Western aid?”
See the video of the Johnson-Zelensky promenade via Mr. Schué’s tweet here:
Now, did the relatively limited, hushed-up exposure of the filmed killings in the town of Dmytrivka’s on March 30 lead to the massively circulated narrative of the 1st of April about Bucha? Did NATO orchestrate an international uproar about Bucha as a cover up for Dmytrivka? Can this be confirmed? Not for the moment. Can the Dmytrivka-Bucha cause-and-effect scenario be discounted? Not for the moment, either. The proof, the Dmytrivka spectre is still haunting NATO to the extent that it is raised quite often even by corporate media. For example, on April 8 CNN interviewed former NATO Supreme Allied Supreme Commander Gen. Wesley Clark and asked him about the executions in Dmytrivka. Clark did not deny that they took place. However, he downplayed them and offered some astonishing reasoning:
“CNN/Jim Sciutto: How do you do that [executions]? How do you manage that? Even as they witness what Russia is doing? CLARK: You’ve got to have training in advance. You’ve got to have people understanding the rules. You’ve got to have command visibility over their actions. But I will tell you, Jim, that this fighting in Ukraine is so brutal. It’s so personal. It’s so painful for these people that I’m not excusing it, but it’s not unexpected. People — the Russians are executing Ukrainian soldiers. They’re executing civilians. They’re doing horrible things. And the passions are running very high. So, I would urge the Ukrainian chain of command to do everything they can to restrain their own soldiers. Those captured Russian soldiers need to be interrogated, brought back (ph). They’re an important intelligence source. Don’t do anything else to them.”
Therefore, as seems to be the case, the haunting suspicion by commentators that Bucha was indeed a grotesque false flag to cover up for Dmytrivka, and that this cynicism still remained a nagging spectre a week after the incident, points toward confirming the eerie feeling that Dmytrivka did in fact result in Bucha. The facts surrounding Dmytrivka-Bucha indicate that this, and other embarrassing issues such as the maternity hospital, cast a very dark shadow of doubt on the journalistic credibility of RDI’s Romain Schué being used to silence Professor Carley.
Perhaps the most damning feature of this controversy is the barely-veiled attempt of a US/NATO-led cover up of Bucha. This is the April 3 pinned tweet by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
On April 5, Twitter concealed the tweet’s content, forcing visitors to click their way to the actual tweet. This is the tweet that was concealed:
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is demanding that the above tweet be restored. Another indication that the NATO allegations appear to be on shaky ground is the following:
The UK, a NATO member that holds the presidency of the UN Security Council at this time, just vetoed a request by Russia to discuss Bucha. Let that sink in. NATO is leveling the most serious charges against Russia and its leaders. However, there is no forensic or other evidence to prove anything. And to top it off, Russia is denied the right to present its case at the UN Security Council.
The Montreal face of the Nazi-infested Ukrainian government
Several other conglomerate media in Quebec, Canada and the US followed the March 23rd RDI/Schué lead. The other pieces offer nothing substantively new. However, in keeping with a commitment to full transparency, they are published here in full, with some minor comments so that readers can reach their own conclusions. Nevertheless, one of these, the most important privately-owned French-language daily in Quebec, La Presse, did offer some originality. Firstly, La Presse saw the opening pioneered by Schué and thus extended his buzz word of “malaise” (unease) to screech in the headline: “Sanctions demanded against a pro-Russian professor.” Secondly, it was the first outlet commenting on the controversy related to Professor Carley’s comments, that is the media promotion of an unconditional, Montreal-based Ukrainian supporter of the Nazi-infested Ukrainian government, Katia Sviderskaya. Ms. Sviderskaya, a student at the University of Montreal, is reported to have said to La Presse:
“If nothing else is done [aside from removing his name from the university’s research institute and some negative comments by the administration] Katia Sviderskaya is convinced that the professor will encourage pro-Russian students to speak up, as happened last month. At the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, she reports that a classmate backed Carley’s arguments. ‘He wrote me to say that he was right on certain points, that the western media was reporting all kinds of things, that there were Nazis in Ukraine…’”
She’s clear that there is an intention to snuff out views different from hers. This self-avowal should have acted as a signal to the University community and the public to drop all the harassment and smearing of the professor. Thirdly, La Presse reported on a petition being circulated at the University against the professor, co-sponsored by Katia Sviderskaya.
One of the two most important private English-language newspapers in Canada, The Globe & Mail, headlined that “Montreal students have launched a petition against a long-time history professor over ‘shocking comments’ he made on social media that supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” Two University of Montreal students, [one of whom is Katia Sviderskaya] have launched a petition against a long-time history professor over “shocking” comments he made on social media that supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Montreal Gazette had its own angle, trying to corner the university with a thinly-veiled threat with this headline: “Université de Montréal defends professor taking pro-Russian stance on Ukraine invasion.
The Journal de Montréal did not mention the petition or the controversy, but did provide Sviderskaya with a free plug.
Newsweek from the US headlined, “Montreal Professor’s Support of Russia’s Ukraine Invasion Prompts Student Petition,” mainly citing The Montreal Gazette.
The evolving situation in Ukraine and its global implications means that someone of the calibre of Professor Carley, commenting as a Russia expert and historian, far from being muzzled or sanctioned, should be allowed to express himself freely, whether one agrees with him or not.
The RDI-led campaign is intended to forbid any divergence from the official US/Canada/NATO line on Ukraine by pressuring the University of Montreal to act against a professor exercising his right to freedom of speech. While officially remaining neutral on the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the University of Montreal has not caved into the demands for action to be taken against Professor Carley.
In conclusion, is the documented evidence above not sufficient to warrant an immediate end to the defamation against Professor Carley? Whether one agrees with him or not, his right to both freedom of speech and academic freedom must be protected. The threatening demands for sanctions should not be repeated, and furthermore he must be reinstated in his position at CÉRIUM, the University’s Center for International Studies and Research. There remains one other outstanding question. Should the state-run RDI and the Professional Federation of Quebec Journalists launch an inquiry into the validity of Mr. Schué’s article and its conformity with journalistic ethics?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Arnold August is an award-winning journalist and author of three acclaimed books. His three books on Cuba-US-Latin America have been acclaimed by experts in the field. In 2013, he was awarded the Félix Elmuza Award by the Association of Cuban Journalists and contributes to outlets in English, Spanish and French in many parts of the world. He serves as a Contributing Editor for The Canada Files.