Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1009 The Deep Politics of Habsburg Redux and The Russia-Gate Psy-Op

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment

 

William “Wild Bill” Dono­van

Intro­duc­tion: In recent pro­grams, we exam­ined com­plex inter­ac­tions between a group of Euro­pean politi­cians dubbed “The Haps­burg Group,” for­mer Trump cam­paign manager/ for­mer advis­er to for­mer Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovuyuch and prob­a­ble U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cer Paul Man­afort, and the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. In turn, mem­bers of the Hab­s­burg family–the Roy­al House of the for­mer Aus­tro-Hun­gar­i­an Empire–have been active through­out Europe and in their for­mer prin­ci­pal­i­ty of Ukraine.

In this pro­gram, we exam­ine the deep pol­i­tics man­i­fest­ing in the Ukraine/Habsburg redux/Liechtenstein dynam­ic.

Before delv­ing into the devel­op­ment of this pow­er polit­i­cal rela­tion­ship, we review the involve­ment of the Hab­s­burgs in Euro­pean inte­gra­tion and the incor­po­ra­tion of Ukraine into the West­ern orbit:

  • Mem­bers of the Hab­s­burg dynasty have been involved in the con­text in which Lee Har­vey Man­afort and the Hab­s­burg Group were operating–European inte­gra­tion in order to ease Ukraine into the West­ern, rather than the Russ­ian orbit. ” . . . .The most strik­ing exam­ple of the trend is the appoint­ment this week of Georg von Hab­s­burg, the 32-year-old-grand­son of Emper­or Karl I, to the posi­tion of Hungary’s ambas­sador for Euro­pean Inte­gra­tion. In neigh­bour­ing Aus­tria, the tra­di­tional heart of Hab­s­burg pow­er, Georg’s broth­er, Karl, 35, was recent­ly elect­ed to rep­re­sent the coun­try in the Euro­pean par­lia­ment. In addi­tion to this, he serves as the pres­i­dent of the Aus­trian branch of the Pan-Euro­pean move­ment. . . . .”
  • Jump­ing for­ward some 14 years from our pre­vi­ous arti­cle, we see that a Hab­s­burg princess was anoint­ed as Geor­gia’s ambas­sador to Ger­many. Note that [now for­mer] Geor­gian pres­i­dent Mikheil Saakashvili endorsed her. Saakashvili became, for a time, the gov­er­nor of the Ukrain­ian province of Odessa! Note, also, the role of the Hab­s­burgs in the final phase of the Cold War: “. . . . The heirs to the Hab­s­burg emper­ors helped speed the down­fall of the Sovi­et empire, par­tic­u­larly by arrang­ing the cross-bor­der exo­dus from Hun­gary to Aus­tria in the sum­mer of 1989 that punched the first big hole in the iron cur­tain. . . .”
  • Karl von Hab­s­burg has been active in Ukraine for some years before estab­lish­ing a radio sta­tion. Karl von Hab­s­burg is the head of the UNPO. Note the Ukrain­ian ori­en­ta­tion and influ­ence of Wil­helm von Hab­s­burg, in World War I through the World War II eras, as well as his anti-Sovi­et activism: ” . . . . A mil­i­tary offi­cer by train­ing, Wil­helm sup­ported Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence strug­gle dur­ing World War I. He fought with Ukrain­ian troops against the Rus­sians, and had schemed and cajoled a myr­iad of politi­cians to sup­port his monar­chial aspi­ra­tions. Almost until his death at the hands of the Sovi­ets in 1948 – he was snatched off the streets of Vien­na and trans­ported to a prison in Kyiv for work­ing as an agent against the Sovi­et Union – Wil­helm believed this slice of the family’s empire could be his. . . .”
  • Fast-for­ward­ing again some five years from our pre­vi­ous two arti­cles and one year after the Euro­Maid­an coup we see that actions speak loud­er than words, and Karl’s new Ukrain­ian radio sta­tion says a lot: “Since 20 Jan­u­ary, a tru­ly Euro­pean radio sta­tion [Note this–D.E.] is broad­cast­ing in Ukraine, its main spon­sor, Karl-Hab­s­burg Lothrin­gen, told EurAc­tiv in an exclu­sive inter­view . . . . Karl Hab­s­burg-Lothrin­gen is an Aus­trian politi­cian and head of the House of Hab­s­burg. Since 1986, he has served as Pres­i­dent of the Aus­trian branch of the Paneu­ro­pean Union. . . .”
  • As we not­ed, “Plan B” for Ukraine might be termed “Plan OUN/B.” Otto von Hab­s­burg formed the Euro­pean Free­dom Coun­cil with Jaroslav Stet­zko, the wartime head of the Ukrain­ian Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist gov­ern­ment that imple­ment­ed Third Reich eth­nic cleans­ing pro­grams in Ukraine. The EFC was close­ly aligned with the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations, head­ed by Stet­zko. The ABN, as we have seen in the past, is a re-nam­ing of the Com­mit­tee of Sub­ju­gat­ed Nations, a con­sor­tium of East­ern Euro­pean fas­cist groups formed by Hitler in 1943.”. . . . The Haps­burg monar­chy helped guide the lead­er­ship in their for­mer pos­ses­sions. The Free­dom Coun­cil was formed by Otto von Haps­burg and Jaroslav Stet­zko at a con­fer­ence in Munich on June 30-July 2 1967, as a coor­di­nat­ing body for orga­ni­za­tions fight­ing com­mu­nism in Europe. EMP H.R.H. Otto von Haps­burg was hon­orary chair­man of the Euro­pean Free­dom Coun­cil, based in Munich, dur­ing the 1980s and allied to the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations (ABN). . . .”

Allen Dulles

Wal­ter Schel­len­berg

The foun­da­tion of the U.S. intelligence/Hapsburg/Underground Reich con­cate­na­tion dates to the peri­od imme­di­ate­ly after World War I: ” . . . .  . . . . The Haps­burgs would desert Ger­many in return for an Amer­i­can com­mit­ment. Sub­si­dized by the Unit­ed States—which brought over to Europe the Pres­i­den­t’s close advis­er Pro­fes­sor George D. Her­ron to impart Wilson’s vital impri­matur—this updat­ed Haps­burg sov­er­eign­ty must com­mit in advance to erad­i­cat­ing the Bol­she­viks. A revi­tal­ized Aus­tro-Hun­gar­i­an buffer zone to fend off Sovi­et pen­e­tra­tion of the Balka­ns turned into a life­long chimera for Dulles, and spurred his devo­tion over the many years to some man­ner of ‘Danu­bian Fed­er­a­tion.’ . . . .”

This rela­tion­ship gained momen­tum dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, with approach­es by the Third Reich to Allied as a Nazi defeat began to take shape.

One of the con­cepts cen­tral to under­stand­ing an exten­sion of the U.S. intelligence/Hapsburg anti-Com­mu­nist alliance is the con­cept of “The Chris­t­ian West”–explained in the descrip­tion for AFA #37: ” . . . . When it became clear that the armies of the Third Reich were going to be defeat­ed, it opened secret nego­ti­a­tions with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the West­ern Allies. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on both sides belonged to the transat­lantic finan­cial and indus­tri­al fra­ter­ni­ty that had active­ly sup­port­ed fas­cism. The thrust of these nego­ti­a­tions was the estab­lish­ment of The Chris­t­ian West. Viewed by the Nazis as a vehi­cle for sur­viv­ing mil­i­tary defeat, ‘The Chris­t­ian West’ involved a Hitler-less Reich join­ing with the U.S., Britain, France and oth­er Euro­pean nations in a transat­lantic, pan-Euro­pean anti-Sovi­et alliance. In fact, The Chris­t­ian West became a real­i­ty only after the ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties. The de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of Ger­many was abort­ed. Although a few of the more obvi­ous and obnox­ious ele­ments of Nazism were removed, Nazis were returned to pow­er at vir­tu­al­ly every lev­el and in almost every capac­i­ty in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. . . .”

Of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance for our pur­pos­es is a “Chris­t­ian West­er” acco­mo­da­tion appar­ent­ly involv­ing Prince Egon Max von Hohen­loe, who mar­ried into the Hab­s­burg fam­i­ly. Oper­at­ing out of Licht­en­stein and trav­el­ing on a Licht­en­stein pass­port, von Hohen­loe served as an inter­me­di­ary between U.S. intel­li­gence and Wal­ter Schel­len­berg, in charge of over­seas intel­li­gence for the SS. (Schel­len­berg was also on the board of direc­tors of Inter­na­tion­al Tele­phone and Tele­graph and became a key oper­a­tive for the post­war Gehlen orga­ni­za­tion.)

The wed­ding of Prince Max Egon von Hohen­loe-Lan­gen­burg

Allen Dulles’s strate­gic out­look embraced and shaped much of what appears to under­lie the Habsburg/OUN/Western intel­li­gence activ­i­ty with regard to Ukraine: ” . . . Pro­nounce­ments alter­nat­ed with rich meals in a Liecht­en­stein chateau; Hohen­lo­he bit by bit exposed his qua­si-offi­cial sta­tus as a spokesman for SS ele­ments with in the Ger­man gov­ern­ment who now looked beyond the ‘wild men’ in con­trol. What casts a longer shad­ow is the out­line of Allen’s geopo­lit­i­cal ideas. The peace he has in mind, Dulles indi­cates, must avoid the excess­es of Ver­sailles and per­mit the expand­ed Ger­man poli­ty to sur­vive, Aus­tria includ­ed and pos­si­bly at least a sec­tion of Czecho­slo­va­kia, while exclud­ing all thought of ‘vic­tors and van­quished . . . . as a fac­tor of order and progress.’ . . . . The resul­tant ‘Greater Ger­many’ would back­stop the ‘for­ma­tion of a cor­don san­i­taire against Bol­she­vism and pan-Slav­ism through the east­ward enlarge­ment of Poland and the preser­va­tion of a strong Hun­gary.’ This ‘Fed­er­al Greater Ger­many (sim­i­lar to the Unit­ed States), with an asso­ci­at­ed Danube Con­fed­er­a­tion, would be the best guar­an­tee of order and progress in Cen­tral and East­ern Europe.’ . . . . ”

Admi­ral Wil­helm Canaris

A for­mer Abwehr offi­cer alleges that he attend­ed a meet­ing in Spain between Abwehr head Wil­helm Canaris, Dono­van and Stew­art Men­zies, chief of MI6–British Intel­li­gence. ” . . . . . . . . An Abwehr offi­cer, F. Jus­tus von Einem, lat­er claimed to have sat in on a care­ful­ly pre­pared meet­ing at San­tander in Spain in the sum­mer of 1943 dur­ing which both Men­zies and Dono­van agreed to Chris­t­ian West­er terms as  reca­pit­u­lat­ed by Canaris per­son­al­ly. If this exchange occurred, Dono­van kept it qui­et. . . .”

Inter­est­ing per­spec­tive on why Dono­van would have “kept it qui­et” can be gleaned  from the account of the fre­quent­ly lethal attempts by four dif­fer­ent authors to write the account of the OSS from the orga­ni­za­tion’s micro­filmed files. We remind lis­ten­ers, in this con­text, that major intel­li­gence ser­vices have pos­sessed tox­ins that will kill with­out leav­ing a trace for a very long time. ” . . . . Pro­fes­sor Cony­ers Read, the Har­vard his­to­ri­an, pro­duced many draft chap­ters before Dono­van him­self asked him to stop work, because he felt the direc­tor’s papers were still too sen­si­tive. Read did not resume his work, for death inter­vened. [#1–D.E.] One of Dono­van’s wartime majors, Corey Ford, then began work on the project in the mid-1950’s, pro­duc­ing a draft man­u­script of what was real­ly a bio­graph­i­cal his­to­ry of Dono­van and the OSS, but again death inter­vened before Ford could com­plete his vol­ume. [#2–D.E.]

After Dono­van’s death in 1959, the project was tak­en over by Whit­ney Shep­ard­son, Dono­van’s chief of secret intel­li­gence dur­ing World War II. For the third time, the author died before com­plet­ing the work. [#3–D.E.] Then came the fourth attempt, this time by Cor­nelius Ryan, the author of The Longest Day. . . .  the work was stopped before it real­ly began; a mid­dle-rank offi­cial at the CIA man­aged to stop the project because he believed the book con­tem­plat­ed by Ryan would be too con­tro­ver­sial. When he found him­self denied access to the direc­tor’s files, Ryan was com­pelled to aban­don the project tem­porar­i­ly. Then he, too died before it was pos­si­ble to resume work. [#4–D.E.]. . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  1. A 1923 busi­ness lun­cheon meet­ing between William Dono­van and Adolf Hitler: ” . . . . As ear­ly as 1923, he [Dono­van] mate­ri­al­ized in Bercht­es­gaden to share a beer in the Gastz­im­mer of a mod­est pen­sion with Adolf Hitler. The clam­my young rab­ble-rouser rant­ed to the sym­pa­thet­ic attor­ney that he, unlike the fam­i­ly dog, could not be beat­en by his mis­er­able father until he wet the car­pet. . . . .”
  2. Dono­van’s role pro­vid­ing polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic intel­li­gence to J.P. Mor­gan to facil­i­tate Amer­i­can invest­ment bankers’ $2 bil­lion invest­ment in Euro­pean infra­struc­ture. ” . . . . He was qui­et­ly approached by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the pre­em­i­nent firm of J.P. Mor­gan and Sons. The coun­try’s most influ­en­tial invest­ment bankers were recon­noi­ter­ing the mar­ket for a $2 bil­lion pack­age of secu­ri­ties around Cen­tral and East­ern Europe. . . .
  3. Com­par­i­son between the func­tion­al role of key Wall Street lawyers who “grad­u­at­ed” to assum­ing deci­sive posts in U.S. intel­li­gence and their sub­se­quent espi­onage activ­i­ties. ” . . . . Dono­van’s pro­fes­sion was rel­e­vant, and it is equal­ly no acci­dent that all three load-bear­ing pro­tag­o­nists through­out this work—Bill Dono­van, Allen Dulles, Frank Wisner—achieved sta­tus in Amer­i­ca by way of impor­tant Wall Street part­ner­ships. In many ways, a trust­ed cor­po­rate attor­ney accom­plish­es sub­stan­tial­ly for his clients what today’s one-stop nation­al intel­li­gence fac­to­ry goes after for its patron: he puts the  deals togeth­er, he damps down crises and flaps, he keeps the process as con­fi­den­tial as pos­si­ble. He finds out every­thing he an and resorts to every means imag­in­able to shape the out­come. He pro­ceeds by the case sys­tem, and prefer­ably one emer­gency at a time. Fur­ther­more, an intel­li­gence ser­vice con­coct­ed by lawyers—men accus­tomed not mere­ly  to spot­ting the prob­lems but also to defin­ing them to their clients and rec­om­mend­ing appro­pri­ate action—is far more like­ly than a tra­di­tion­al mil­i­tary intel­li­gence staff to reach in and con­di­tion pol­i­cy. Attor­neys have a seduc­tive way of sub­or­di­nat­ing their clients, of insin­u­at­ing their leg­erde­main until they become the strate­gic entan­gle­ments. And thus it devel­ops that in many strate­gic entan­gle­ments the lawyers have at least as much con­trol over the out­come as elect­ed offi­cials. . . .”

1a. In his intro­duc­tion to The Old Boys, author Bur­ton Hersh notes the Wall Street legal back­grounds of William “Wild Bill” Dono­van, Allen Dulles and Frank Wis­ner, and opines that the method­ol­o­gy of an intel­li­gence ser­vice is like that of a Wall Street law firm.

The Old Boys: The Amer­i­can Elite and the Ori­gins of The CIA by Bur­ton Hersh; Charles Scrib­n­er’s Sons [HC]; Copy­right 1992 by Bur­ton Hersh; ISBN 0–684-19348–5; p. 3.

 . . . . Dono­van’s pro­fes­sion was rel­e­vant, and it is equal­ly no acci­dent that all three load-bear­ing pro­tag­o­nists through­out this work—Bill Dono­van, Allen Dulles, Frank Wisner—achieved sta­tus in Amer­i­ca by way of impor­tant Wall Street part­ner­ships. In many ways, a trust­ed cor­po­rate attor­ney accom­plish­es sub­stan­tial­ly for his clients what today’s one-stop nation­al intel­li­gence fac­to­ry goes after for its patron: he puts the  deals togeth­er, he damps down crises and flaps, he keeps the process as con­fi­den­tial as pos­si­ble. He finds out every­thing he can and resorts to every means imag­in­able to shape the out­come. He pro­ceeds by the case sys­tem, and prefer­ably one emer­gency at a time.

 Fur­ther­more, an intel­li­gence ser­vice con­coct­ed by lawyers—men accus­tomed not mere­ly  to spot­ting the prob­lems but also to defin­ing them to their clients and rec­om­mend­ing appro­pri­ate action—is far more like­ly than a tra­di­tion­al mil­i­tary intel­li­gence staff to reach in and con­di­tion pol­i­cy. Attor­neys have a seduc­tive way of sub­or­di­nat­ing their clients, of insin­u­at­ing their leg­erde­main until they become the strate­gic entan­gle­ments. And thus it devel­ops that in many strate­gic entan­gle­ments the lawyers have at least as much con­trol over the out­come as elect­ed offi­cials. . . .

1b. Car­ry­ing his obser­va­tions fur­ther, Hersh ana­lyzes the find­ings of the Church Com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing CIA abus­es, see­ing those abus­es as stem­ming from the opaque machi­na­tions of a Wall Street law firm act­ing on behalf of a cor­po­rate client.

 The Old Boys: The Amer­i­can Elite and the Ori­gins of The CIA by Bur­ton Hersh; Charles Scrib­n­er’s Sons [HC]; Copy­right 1992 by Bur­ton Hersh; ISBN 0–684-19348–5; p. 291.

 . . . . “Pol­i­cy direc­tion,” the Church Com­mit­tee experts con­clud­ed, “took the form of con­don­ing and fos­ter­ing activ­i­ty with­out pro­vid­ing scruti­ny and con­trol” or “estab­lish­ing firm guide­lines for approval.” Wis­ner built his covert-action fac­to­ry around pro­ce­dures anal­o­gous to those which pre­vailed in the impor­tant law firms, where high-pow­ered busi­ness get­ters eas­i­ly cor­nered the lucra­tive part­ner­ships, brought in pre­ferred clients, raked off con­tin­gency fees and skirt­ed the more con­tro­ver­sial details when delin­eat­ing touchy cas­es in front of staid senior fig­ures. The key was breadth, inter­nal veloc­i­ty, com­pound­ing bill­able hours. The  impact on soci­ety, like the ethics of the client, appeared beside the point. . . .

2. In numer­ous pro­grams, we not­ed the Amer­i­can invest­ments in Weimar and Nazi Ger­many and the deci­sive effect that cap­i­tal had on Ger­man soci­ety. Dono­van went to Europe and an obvi­ous­ly polit­i­cal­ly-tinged mis­sion to obtain intel­li­gence on devel­op­ments there. J.P. Mor­gan enlist­ed Dono­van to devel­op infor­ma­tion ahead of invest­ing $2 bil­lion in Europe. (A  $ bil­lion was worth far more in the ear­ly 1920’s than today.)

The Old Boys: The Amer­i­can Elite and the Ori­gins of The CIA by Bur­ton Hersh; Charles Scrib­n­er’s Sons [HC]; Copy­right 1992 by Bur­ton Hersh; ISBN 0–684-19348–5; p. 34.

 . . . . Bare­ly returned from Siberia, Ruth Dono­van was dis­heart­ened in Feb­ru­ary 1920 to hear that her hus­band had picked up yet anoth­er excuse to trav­el. He was qui­et­ly approached by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the pre­em­i­nent firm of J.P. Mor­gan and Sons. The coun­try’s most influ­en­tial invest­ment bankers were recon­noi­ter­ing the mar­ket for a $2 bil­lion pack­age of secu­ri­ties around Cen­tral and East­ern Europe. . . .

. . . . This jun­ket in and of itself amount­ed to a kind of one-man intel­li­gence sweep, an effort to assim­i­late, inter­pret, and ulti­mate­ly project as a fin­ished report infor­ma­tion on which both judg­ments and pre­dic­tions might rea­son­ably be based. Dono­van’s notes would amount to a rudi­men­ta­ry ver­sion of what lat­er espi­onage ser­vices would title a nation­al intel­li­gence esti­mate. . . .

3. A “sym­pa­thet­ic” Dono­van met with Adolf Hitler in 1923. This must have been ear­li­er than Novem­ber 9th of 1923, the date of the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler would have been in Lands­berg Prison after that.

The Old Boys: The Amer­i­can Elite and the Ori­gins of The CIA by Bur­ton Hersh; Charles Scrib­n­er’s Sons [HC]; Copy­right 1992 by Bur­ton Hersh; ISBN 0–684-19348–5; p. 55.

. . . . These ear­ly fact-find­ing mis­sions had left the agile, ener­getic attor­ney eager to track events. Months at a time—and nor­mal­ly with­out Ruth—would find him pop­ping up abroad, fre­quent­ly near some polit­i­cal trou­ble-spot. As ear­ly as 1923, he mate­ri­al­ized in Bercht­es­gaden to share a beer in the Gastz­im­mer of a mod­est pen­sion with Adolf Hitler. The clam­my young rab­ble-rouser rant­ed to the sym­pa­thet­ic attor­ney that he, unlike the fam­i­ly dog, could not be beat­en by his mis­er­able father until he wet the car­pet. . . . .

4. The foun­da­tion of the U.S. intelligence/Hapsburg/Underground Reich dates to the peri­od imme­di­ate­ly after World War I: ” . . . .  . . . . The Haps­burgs would desert Ger­many in return for an Amer­i­can com­mit­ment. Sub­si­dized by the Unit­ed States—which brought over to Europe the Pres­i­den­t’s close advis­er Pro­fes­sor George D. Her­ron to impart Wilson’s vital impri­matur—this updat­ed Haps­burg sov­er­eign­ty must com­mit in advance to erad­i­cat­ing the Bol­she­viks. A revi­tal­ized Aus­tro-Hun­gar­i­an buffer zone to fend off Sovi­et pen­e­tra­tion of the Balka­ns turned into a life­long chimera for Dulles, and spurred his devo­tion over the many years to some man­ner of “Danu­bian Fed­er­a­tion.” . . . .”

The Old Boys: The Amer­i­can Elite and the Ori­gins of The CIA by Bur­ton Hersh; Charles Scrib­n­er’s Sons [HC]; Copy­right 1992 by Bur­ton Hersh; ISBN 0–684-19348–5; p. 27.

 . . . . The Haps­burgs would desert Ger­many in return for an Amer­i­can com­mit­ment. Sub­si­dized by the Unit­ed States—which brought over to Europe the Pres­i­den­t’s close advis­er Pro­fes­sor George D. Her­ron to impart Wilson’s vital impri­matur—this updat­ed Haps­burg sov­er­eign­ty must com­mit in advance to erad­i­cat­ing the Bol­she­viks. A revi­tal­ized Aus­tro-Hun­gar­i­an buffer zone to fend off Sovi­et pen­e­tra­tion of the Balka­ns turned into a life­long chimera for Dulles, and spurred his devo­tion over the many years to some man­ner of “Danu­bian Fed­er­a­tion.” . . .

Wal­ter Schel­len­berg

5. One of the con­cepts cen­tral to under­stand­ing an exten­sion of the U.S. intelligence/Hapsburg anti-Com­mu­nist alliance is the con­cept of “The Chris­t­ian West”–explained in the descrip­tion for AFA #37: ” . . . . When it became clear that the armies of the Third Reich were going to be defeat­ed, it opened secret nego­ti­a­tions with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the West­ern Allies. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on both sides belonged to the transat­lantic finan­cial and indus­tri­al fra­ter­ni­ty that had active­ly sup­port­ed fas­cism. The thrust of these nego­ti­a­tions was the estab­lish­ment of The Chris­t­ian West. Viewed by the Nazis as a vehi­cle for sur­viv­ing mil­i­tary defeat, ‘The Chris­t­ian West’ involved a Hitler-less Reich join­ing with the U.S., Britain, France and oth­er Euro­pean nations in a transat­lantic, pan-Euro­pean anti-Sovi­et alliance. In fact, The Chris­t­ian West became a real­i­ty only after the ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties.

The de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of Ger­many was abort­ed. Although a few of the more obvi­ous and obnox­ious ele­ments of Nazism were removed, Nazis were returned to pow­er at vir­tu­al­ly every lev­el and in almost every capac­i­ty in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. . . .”

Of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance for our pur­pos­es is a “Chris­t­ian West­er” acco­mo­da­tion appar­ent­ly involv­ing Prince Egon Max von Hohen­loe, who mar­ried into the Hab­s­burg fam­i­ly. Oper­at­ing out of Licht­en­stein and trav­el­ing on a Licht­en­stein pass­port, von Hohen­loe served as an inter­me­di­ary between U.S. intel­li­gence and Wal­ter Schel­len­berg, in charge of over­seas intel­li­gence for the SS. (Schel­len­berg was also on the board of direc­tors of Inter­na­tion­al Tele­phone and Tele­graph and became a key oper­a­tive for the post­war Gehlen orga­ni­za­tion.)

Chief among the Amer­i­can nego­tia­tors was Allen Dulles. Dono­van also appears to have played a sig­nif­i­cant part.

The Old Boys: The Amer­i­can Elite and the Ori­gins of The CIA by Bur­ton Hersh; Charles Scrib­n­er’s Sons [HC]; Copy­right 1992 by Bur­ton Hersh; ISBN 0–684-19348–5; pp. 102—104.

 . . . . As ear­ly as win­ter of 1942, Schel­len­berg hint­ed to the uneasy Himm­ler that he now intend­ed to launch dis­creet sound­ings. These ranged from Abram Stevens Hewitt in Stock­holm to Theodore Morde, a Read­er’s Digest cor­re­spon­dent in Ankara. Inevitably, Schel­len­berg dis­cov­ered a go-between with lines to Allen Dulles, and ear­ly in 1943 a series of dis­cus­sions ensued.

Thus opened the con­test­ed exchanges between “Mr. Bull” (Dulles) and “Mr. Pauls” (prince Egon zu Hohen­lo­he-Lan­gen­burg). Max Hohen­lo­he had long been an inter­na­tion­al-set acquain­tance of Dulles, a bustling, pol­ished socialite from the Sude­ten­land whose sta­tus as a minor roy­al drew cus­tomers for muni­tions from the Sko­da works, a con­ces­sion Schel­len­berg helped him snag. Hohen­lo­he already bestowed over vast land­ed prop­er­ties in Spain after mar­ry­ing into the Haps­burg fam­i­ly; he was cur­rent­ly hedg­ing his polit­i­cal future by trav­el­ing on a Licht­en­stein pass­port.

 A Canaris famil­iar, Prince Hohen­lo­he caught Schel­len­berg’s atten­tion ear­ly in 1942 by send­ing the ris­ing SD offi­cial his own jaun­diced appraisal of prospects in Europe. With the all-see­ing SD Com­man­der Rein­hard Hey­drich assas­si­nat­ed at the end of May, pos­si­bil­i­ties had obvi­ous­ly widened for the oppor­tunis­tic Schel­len­berg. Bare­ly thir­ty, scarce­ly beyond his baby fat, the Amt VI chief­tain resem­bled an SS doll decked out in death’s-head cam­paign hat and tai­lored parade uni­form.

The wed­ding of Prince Max Egon von Hohen­loe-Lan­gen­burg

With Schel­len­berg’s cau­tious spon­sor­ship, Max Hohen­lo­he trot­ted out a line of pro­vi­sion­al peace pro­pos­als, first with the British Ambas­sador Sir Samuel Hoare—always a soft touch—and the sym­pa­thet­ic Amer­i­can Coun­selor of Embassy Wlliam Wal­ton But­ter­worth (an inti­mate of George Ken­nan’s since Prince­ton), with Vat­i­can sym­pa­thiz­ers, with Fritz Klein, (a friend of both the Dulles broth­ers), and—evidently at the rec­om­men­da­tion of Amer­i­can nego­tia­tors in Lis­bon, where Ken­nan and Colonel Sol­borg were sta­tioned—with Allen Dulles him­self toward the mid­dle of Feb­ru­ary 1943.

 Exact­ly what was agreed upon has become a mat­ter of dis­pute, large­ly because the SS sum­ma­tions of the exchanges appear to have passed through Russ­ian hands on their way to the archives, after which the USSR News Ser­vices wait­ed until 1948 and the upheavals of the Cold War to put them out as dis­patch­es. Nev­er­the­less, much of their thrust is borne out by relat­ed RSHA paper­work, pri­vate jour­nals, and intel­li­gence files from a vari­ety of sources.

What seemed most scan­dalous at the time was Dulles’s report­ed pique with “out­dat­ed politi­cians, emi­gres, and prej­u­diced Jews.” The hope in Amer­i­ca was that these mal­con­tents could be reset­tled, per­haps in “Africa.” As one in close touch with Vat­i­can cir­cles, Dulles main­tained, he strong­ly urged the “Ger­man bish­ops” to “plead Ger­many’s cause” in Amer­i­ca, keep­ing in mind that “it had been the Amer­i­can Catholics who forced the Jew­ish-Amer­i­ca papers to stop their bait­ing of Fran­co Spain.”

This has the look of crumbs spread upon the water. Pro­nounce­ments alter­nat­ed with rich meals in a Liecht­en­stein chateau; Hohen­lo­he bit by bit exposed his qua­si-offi­cial sta­tus as a spokesman for SS ele­ments with­in the Ger­man gov­ern­ment who now looked beyond the “wild men” in con­trol.

What casts a longer shad­ow is the out­line of Allen’s geopo­lit­i­cal ideas. The peace he has in mind, Dulles indi­cates, must avoid the excess­es of Ver­sailles and per­mit the expand­ed Ger­man poli­ty to sur­vive, Aus­tria includ­ed and pos­si­bly at least a sec­tion of Czecho­slo­va­kia, while exclud­ing all thought of “vic­tors and van­quished . . . . as a fac­tor of order and progress.” With­in this decen­tral­ized nation, the impor­tance of Prus­sia must be reduced, to ward off for the future—Dulles is quot­ed direct­ly here—the “inward­ly unbal­anced, infe­ri­or­i­ty-com­plex-rid­den Pruss­ian mil­i­tarism.”

The resul­tant “Greater Ger­many” would back­stop the “for­ma­tion of a cor­don san­i­taire against Bol­she­vism and pan-Slav­ism through the east­ward enlarge­ment of Poland and the preser­va­tion of a strong Hun­gary.” This “Fed­er­al Greater Ger­many (sim­i­lar to the Unit­ed States), with an asso­ci­at­ed Danube Con­fed­er­a­tion, would be the best guar­an­tee of order and progress in Cen­tral and East­ern Europe.” . . . . 

. . . . An Abwehr offi­cer, F. Jus­tus von Einem, lat­er claimed to have sat in on a care­ful­ly pre­pared meet­ing at San­tander in Spain in the sum­mer of 1943 dur­ing which both Men­zies and Dono­van agreed to Chris­t­ian West­er terms as  reca­pit­u­lat­ed by Canaris per­son­al­ly. If this exchange occurred, Dono­van kept it qui­et.

Such explorato­ry talks point­ed well beyond the uproar of the moment. “I have known Max Hohen­lo­he since the days of the war,” Dulles assured a lawyer at Sul­li­van and Cromwell in 1965, apro­pos a legal favor request­ed by the aging prince, “when he worked with me on some rather dif­fi­cult and del­i­cate prob­lems.” The exchanges in Liecht­en­stein amount­ed to a recon­noi­ter­ing. . . .

6. Inter­est­ing per­spec­tive on the Hapsburg/U.S./Underground Reich alliance and the sen­si­tive nature of the deal­ings of OSS/Wall Street oper­a­tives like Dono­van and Dulles can be gleaned by the account of the fre­quent­ly lethal attempts by four dif­fer­ent authors to write the account of the OSS from the orga­ni­za­tion’s micro­filmed files.

When for­mer Lieu­tenant Edwin J. Putzell fell seri­ous­ly ill, he destroyed his copy of the micro­filmed files.

We remind lis­ten­ers, in this con­text, that major intel­li­gence ser­vices have pos­sessed tox­ins that will kill with­out leav­ing a trace for a very long time.

The Last Hero by Antho­ny Cave Brown; New York Times Books [HC]; Copy­right 1982 by Antho­ny Cave Brown; ISBN 0–8129-1021–4; pp. xi-xii.

 In what was his last act of World War II, Major Gen­er­al William J. Dono­van, direc­tor of the Office of Strate­gic Ser­vices, the first Amer­i­can secret intel­li­gence and spe­cial oper­a­tions ser­vice and the orga­ni­za­tion from which sprang the CIA, spent sev­er­al nights at OSS head­quar­ters in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., with his exec­u­tive offi­cer, Lieu­tenant Edwin J. Putzell, Jr., micro­film­ing the direc­tor’s files. Doing the work them­selves because of the polit­i­cal sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the doc­u­men­ta­tion, they pro­duced two copies; Dono­van took pos­ses­sion of one, Putzell the oth­er. The pur­pose of this large oper­a­tion was to pro­vide the basis of his­to­ry of Dono­van’s incum­ben­cy when that became polit­i­cal­ly pos­si­ble.

Sev­er­al starts were made on the work. Pro­fes­sor Cony­ers Read, the Har­vard his­to­ri­an, pro­duced many draft chap­ters before Dono­van him­self asked him to stop work, because he felt the direc­tor’s papers were still too sen­si­tive. Read did not resume his work, for death inter­vened. One of Dono­van’s wartime majors, Corey Ford, then began work on the project in the mid-1950’s, pro­duc­ing a draft man­u­script of what was real­ly a bio­graph­i­cal his­to­ry of Dono­van and the OSS, but again death inter­vened before Ford could com­plete his vol­ume.

After Dono­van’s death in 1959, the project was tak­en over by Whit­ney Shep­ard­son, Dono­van’s chief of secret intel­li­gence dur­ing World War II. For the third time, the author died before com­plet­ing the work. Then came the fourth attempt, this time by Cor­nelius Ryan, the author of The Longest Day. How­ev­er, although Ryan had the sup­port of Dono­van’s friends Pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­how­er and Allen W. Dulles, then direc­tor of cen­tral intel­li­gence, the work was stopped before it real­ly began; a mid­dle-rank offi­cial at the CIA man­aged to stop the project because he believed the book con­tem­plat­ed by Ryan would be too con­tro­ver­sial. When he found him­self denied access to the direc­tor’s files, Ryan was com­pelled to aban­don the project tem­porar­i­ly. Then he, too died before it was pos­si­ble to resume work.

 In all these attempt none of the authors saw the micro­film, except Read, who saw two or three reels hav­ing to do with the OSS’s for­ma­tion. Dur­ing this time Putzell had been tak­en so seri­ous­ly ill that he burned his copy of micro­film rather than leave it unguard­ed in his estate should die. Hap­pi­ly, Putzell did not die; nonethe­less, the only copy of the micro­film out­side the CIA (where in 1982 it was still clas­si­fied) was Dono­van’s. . . .

 

 

 

Discussion

5 comments for “FTR #1009 The Deep Politics of Habsburg Redux and The Russia-Gate Psy-Op”

  1. It’s look­ing like the legal threat fac­ing Paul Man­afort over his “Haps­burg Group” activ­i­ties is sud­den­ly much more threat­en­ing thanks to an appar­ent attempt by Man­afort to influ­ence wit­ness­es. Because Man­afort appar­ent­ly engaged in wit­ness tam­per­ing in an attempt to ensure wit­ness­es to the Haps­burg Group oper­a­tion could get their sto­ries straight. And this wit­ness tam­per­ing all alleged­ly hap­pened mul­ti­ple times. once in twice Feb­ru­ary and April while Man­afort was out of jail on a $10 mil­lion bond.

    Specif­i­cal­ly, the Mueller team is charg­ing that Man­afort’s wit­ness tam­per­ing start­ed short­ly after Feb­ru­ary 23, the day when Man­afort’s long-time con­sult­ing part­ner Rick Gates plead­ed guilty and became a coop­er­at­ing wit­ness with the Mueller probe and the same day when the lob­by­ing charges against Man­afort over the Haps­burg Group lob­by­ing were filed by Mueller. Man­afort report­ed­ly reached out to employ­ees at a pub­lic rela­tions firm over the fol­low­ing week using What­sApp, the encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing app. He appar­ent­ly want­ed them to con­vey a mes­sage to the peo­ple in Europe asso­ci­at­ed with the Haps­burg Group effort. A mes­sage about how impor­tant it is that every­one agree that the Haps­burg Group nev­er ever lob­bied the US. Only the EU.

    He reached out to one employee/witness in late Feb­ru­ary, but when that per­son hung up or ignored his mes­sages he had an inter­me­di­ary start tex­ting them over What­sApp too. The inter­me­di­ary want­ed to make it clear that Man­afort want­ed every­one involved with the Haps­burg Group to agree that it did­n’t involve US lob­by­ing.

    Then in April, the inter­me­di­ary reached out to a dif­fer­ent employee/witness of this pub­lic rela­tions firm to basi­cal­ly make the same request send a mes­sage to the peo­ple involved with the Haps­burg Group. So Man­afort had a strong desire to have every­one get their sto­ries straight.

    Keep in mind that Man­afort already faced poten­tial charges of not reg­is­ter­ing as a for­eign lob­by­ist in vio­la­tion of the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act (FARA) over his work for the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment. And the Haps­burg Group lob­by­ing effort did indeed involve US lob­by­ing accord­ing to reports so Man­afort has an incen­tive for wit­ness tam­per­ing based on that alone. It’s just kind of amaz­ing he did it and got caught because it looks like it’s back to jail for him at this point. And that’s more legal lever­age for Mueller over Man­afort so it will inter­est­ing to see how that plays out.

    Also keep in mind that it’s kind of insane that Man­afort would even try to arrange this kind of cov­er sto­ry about no US lob­by­ing because there’s plen­ty of evi­dence. Mer­cury LLC (one of the con­sult­ing firms that was par­ty of the lob­by­ing effort) filed doc­u­ments last year show­ing 2013 meet­ings with US con­gress­men. And Alfred Gusen­buer, one of the Euro­pean politi­cians lead­ing the Haps­burg Group diplo­mat­ic push, talked about meet­ing with mem­bers of con­gress. Although he denied that he was being paid by Man­afort when meet­ing with the US politi­cians and all four of the Euro­pean politi­cians hired by the Haps­burg Group denied they were paid by Man­afort for their efforts. So we lit­er­al­ly have a sit­u­a­tion where Man­afort was try­ing to secret­ly reach out to the Haps­burg Group politi­cians to con­vey the mes­sage that they all need to stick with the sto­ry that their lob­by­ing efforts were restrict­ed to Europe and instead those same Haps­burg Group politi­cians instead arrived at the cov­er sto­ry that they weren’t involved with Man­afort at all. LOL:

    The New York Times

    Mueller Accus­es Paul Man­afort of Attempt­ed Wit­ness Tam­per­ing

    By Matt Apuz­zo
    June 4, 2018

    WASHINGTON — Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors on Mon­day accused Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­mer cam­paign chair­man, Paul Man­afort, of attempt­ing to tam­per with wit­ness­es in his fed­er­al tax and mon­ey laun­der­ing case.

    In court doc­u­ments, pros­e­cu­tors work­ing for the spe­cial coun­sel, Robert S. Mueller III, said that vio­lat­ed the terms of Mr. Manafort’s release while he awaits tri­al. They asked a fed­er­al judge to revise those terms or send him to jail until tri­al.

    Pros­e­cu­tors said that Mr. Man­afort tried to con­tact wit­ness­es by phone, through an inter­me­di­ary and through an encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing pro­gram. One wit­ness told the F.B.I. that Mr. Man­afort was try­ing to “sub­orn per­jury,” pros­e­cu­tors said. Two wit­ness­es pro­vid­ed the texts to the F.B.I., which also searched Mr. Manafort’s cloud-based Apple account, accord­ing to court records.

    A lawyer for Mr. Man­afort did not respond to a mes­sage seek­ing com­ment. Nei­ther the wit­ness­es nor the inter­me­di­aries were named.

    Mr. Man­afort served as Mr. Trump’s cam­paign chair­man only briefly, but the rela­tion­ship con­tin­ues to haunt the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. Mr. Man­afort is accused of vio­lat­ing fed­er­al lob­by­ing, tax and mon­ey laun­der­ing laws as part of a com­pli­cat­ed scheme in which he he lob­bied for a pro-Rus­sia par­ty in Ukraine and hid pro­ceeds in for­eign bank accounts.

    The wit­ness­es at issue in Monday’s court fil­ing relate to alle­ga­tions that Mr. Man­afort secret­ly retained a group of for­mer Euro­pean offi­cials to act as lob­by­ists on issues relat­ed to Ukraine. Mr. Man­afort paid them 2 mil­lion euros in 2012 and 2013, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    Pros­e­cu­tors say that was part of a secret lob­by­ing cam­paign in the Unit­ed States. Mr. Man­afort argues the lob­by­ing was focused on the Euro­pean Union — a key point in his defense.

    In court doc­u­ments, pros­e­cu­tors accused Mr. Man­afort of try­ing to reach mem­bers of a pub­lic rela­tions firm who could get word to the Euro­peans and help shape their sto­ry. “They should say their lob­by­ing and pub­lic rela­tions work was exclu­sive­ly in Europe,” one of the pub­lic rela­tions offi­cials told the F.B.I. accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    Pros­e­cu­tors pro­vid­ed the judge a sum­ma­ry of con­tacts that they said were made from Feb­ru­ary to April, while Mr. Man­afort was under house arrest on a $10 mil­lion bond.

    “We should talk,” Mr. Man­afort wrote in a What­sApp mes­sage on Feb. 26 to one of the peo­ple at the pub­lic rela­tions firm. “I have made clear that they worked in Europe.”

    When that wit­ness avoid­ed him or hung up, pros­e­cu­tors said, Mr. Man­afort worked through an uniden­ti­fied inter­me­di­ary.

    “Basi­cal­ly P wants to give him a quick sum­ma­ry that he says to every­body (which is true) that our friends nev­er lob­bied in the U.S., and the pur­pose of the pro­gram was E.U.,” the inter­me­di­ary wrote in a Feb. 28 What­sApp mes­sage, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    Then in April, the same inter­me­di­ary sent a mes­sage to anoth­er per­son. “My friend P is look­ing for ways to con­nect to you to pass you sev­er­al mes­sages. Can we arrange that,” the mes­sage read, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    It is not clear exact­ly how the author­i­ties learned of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions, but pros­e­cu­tors said that the wit­ness­es pro­vid­ed them with copies of the mes­sages in recent weeks.

    ...

    Mr. Mueller’s team has pre­vi­ous­ly com­plained about Mr. Manafort’s actions while he awaits tri­al. Pros­e­cu­tors said last year that Mr. Man­afort and a long­time asso­ciate with ties to Russ­ian intel­li­gence helped draft an op-ed arti­cle about his lob­by­ing work.

    ———-

    “Mueller Accus­es Paul Man­afort of Attempt­ed Wit­ness Tam­per­ing” by Matt Apuz­zo; The New York Times; 06/04/2018

    “Pros­e­cu­tors said that Mr. Man­afort tried to con­tact wit­ness­es by phone, through an inter­me­di­ary and through an encrypt­ed mes­sag­ing pro­gram. One wit­ness told the F.B.I. that Mr. Man­afort was try­ing to “sub­orn per­jury,” pros­e­cu­tors said. Two wit­ness­es pro­vid­ed the texts to the F.B.I., which also searched Mr. Manafort’s cloud-based Apple account, accord­ing to court records.

    So Man­afort reached out to two wit­ness­es and both of them pro­vid­ed texts to the FBI. Ouch. And both wit­ness­es appear to be wit­ness­es at a pub­lic rela­tions firm who were in a posi­tion to reach out to the var­i­ous fig­ures in Europe asso­ci­at­ed with the Haps­burg Group lob­by­ing effort. Man­afort reached out to one on Feb­ru­ary 26 over What­sApp, was rebuffed or ignored, and then had an inter­me­di­ary con­tact this same per­son:

    ...
    The wit­ness­es at issue in Monday’s court fil­ing relate to alle­ga­tions that Mr. Man­afort secret­ly retained a group of for­mer Euro­pean offi­cials to act as lob­by­ists on issues relat­ed to Ukraine. Mr. Man­afort paid them 2 mil­lion euros in 2012 and 2013, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    Pros­e­cu­tors say that was part of a secret lob­by­ing cam­paign in the Unit­ed States. Mr. Man­afort argues the lob­by­ing was focused on the Euro­pean Union — a key point in his defense.

    In court doc­u­ments, pros­e­cu­tors accused Mr. Man­afort of try­ing to reach mem­bers of a pub­lic rela­tions firm who could get word to the Euro­peans and help shape their sto­ry. “They should say their lob­by­ing and pub­lic rela­tions work was exclu­sive­ly in Europe,” one of the pub­lic rela­tions offi­cials told the F.B.I. accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    Pros­e­cu­tors pro­vid­ed the judge a sum­ma­ry of con­tacts that they said were made from Feb­ru­ary to April, while Mr. Man­afort was under house arrest on a $10 mil­lion bond.

    “We should talk,” Mr. Man­afort wrote in a What­sApp mes­sage on Feb. 26 to one of the peo­ple at the pub­lic rela­tions firm. “I have made clear that they worked in Europe.”

    When that wit­ness avoid­ed him or hung up, pros­e­cu­tors said, Mr. Man­afort worked through an uniden­ti­fied inter­me­di­ary.

    “Basi­cal­ly P wants to give him a quick sum­ma­ry that he says to every­body (which is true) that our friends nev­er lob­bied in the U.S., and the pur­pose of the pro­gram was E.U.,” the inter­me­di­ary wrote in a Feb. 28 What­sApp mes­sage, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.
    ...

    And the wit­ness sub­born­ing activ­i­ty appeared to flare up again in April, with the same inter­me­di­ary reach­ing out to sec­ond per­son:

    ...
    Then in April, the same inter­me­di­ary sent a mes­sage to anoth­er per­son. “My friend P is look­ing for ways to con­nect to you to pass you sev­er­al mes­sages. Can we arrange that,” the mes­sage read, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    It is not clear exact­ly how the author­i­ties learned of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions, but pros­e­cu­tors said that the wit­ness­es pro­vid­ed them with copies of the mes­sages in recent weeks.
    ...

    So as we can see, the legal jeop­ardy Man­afort faced over the Haps­burg Group is sud­den­ly a lot worse. Thanks to Man­afort’s attempts to com­mu­ni­cate a cov­er sto­ry. A cov­er sto­ry that no US lob­by­ing was involved (aren’t there con­gres­sion­al wit­ness­es in all this?). Which real­ly is anoth­er remark­able twist in all this when you con­sid­er that the Haps­burg Group lob­by­ing effort appears to have been an effort by Man­afort to move Ukraine clos­er to the West and was was all about get­ting past US and EU reser­va­tions about allow­ing Ukraine into a trade union with the EU. That was what the Haps­burg Group was all about. And Vik­tor Yanukovy­ch’s arch-rival Vik­tor Yushchenko was also report­ed­ly involved with it. And that pro-West­ern nature of the Haps­burg group all makes it an even big­ger twist if Man­afort was moti­vat­ed to do this wit­ness tam­per­ing over con­cerns of addi­tion­al charges of not reg­is­ter­ing as a for­eign lob­by­ist. But that’s where we are.

    Final­ly, keep in mind that Trump has already basi­cal­ly pre-col­lud­ed with Man­afort by mak­ing it egre­gious­ly clear he’ll use his par­don pow­ers with wild aban­don. Some­thing he’s made clear for quite some time. It rais­es a fas­ci­nat­ing ques­tion: did Trump’s aggres­sive sig­nal­ing of a will­ing­ness to par­don peo­ple lead to Man­afort being this cav­a­lier in his wit­ness tam­per­ing shenani­gans? Because hav­ing an inter­me­di­ary fol­low up after you’re ini­tial attempts at wit­ness tam­per­ing fail is pret­ty cav­a­lier. And this wit­ness tam­per­ing effort by Man­afort most cer­tain­ly makes him a big­ger poten­tial threat to Trump so it would be a lit­tle iron­ic if Trump’s par­don-sig­nal­ing end­ed up mak­ing peo­ple like Man­afort act with wild aban­don in ways that made them actu­al­ly big­ger threats to Trump by expos­ing them­selves to big­ger legal jeop­ardy. Like a polit­i­cal Mon­key’s Paw: A seem­ing­ly mag­i­cal source of pow­er that ful­fills your wish­es with ter­ri­ble con­se­quences. That sure sounds like Trump’s par­don pow­er these days.

    Could it be that a pre­sumed par­don played a role in fuel­ing Man­afort’s high-risk schem­ing? Or was it not actu­al­ly all that high-risk? Don’t for­get that the Mueller probe has its hands on those texts because the wit­ness­es hand­ed them over. So how many oth­er wit­ness­es is Man­afort, or any­one else in this inves­ti­ga­tion, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with over What­sApp or oth­er encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies? Who knows, but it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how many more ‘get our sto­ries straight with encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions’ sto­ries we see emerge from all the oth­er fig­ures involved in this as the Mueller probe plays out. It’s hard to imag­ine Man­afort is the only one send­ing What­sApp inquiries. Just imag­ine how many sim­i­lar What­sApp con­ver­sa­tion Roger Stone has had. And even if such sto­ries don’t emerge, it seems like a giv­en that such com­mu­ni­ca­tions are tak­ing place and just not caught. And it’s hard to imag­ine they aren’t all find­ing com­fort in Trump’s increas­ing­ly-itchy par­don­ing-hand while they are all send­ing these crim­i­nal texts.

    That’s all part of what makes this an inter­est­ing sto­ry: it’s both impor­tant in terms of under­stand­ing Paul Man­afort’s sto­ry and also a reminder that encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions col­lu­sion attempts are prob­a­bly hap­pen­ing all the time in major legal cas­es these days. That was­n’t an option in the past but it is now. For all we know it could very well be the Gold­en Age of wit­ness tam­per­ing and col­lu­sion (and we would­n’t know if it real­ly is the Gold­en Age). Man­afort’s big mis­take was using What­sApp to con­tact wit­ness­es that were will­ing to turn those mes­sages over to the FBI.

    And that points to anoth­er Mon­key’s Paw-like It’s one of the rea­sons flip­ping some­one like Rick Gates is poten­tial­ly such a big deal: these encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions plat­forms that promise users mes­sag­ing capa­bil­i­ties out­side of law enforce­ment might very well encour­age col­lu­sion and wit­ness tam­per­ing while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly encour­ag­ing the the doc­u­men­ta­tion of that wit­ness tam­per­ing and col­lu­sion. And that means just one per­son can flip and turn over a whole bunch of new evi­dence. Just imag­ine how many mes­sages Rick Gates sent and received over What­sApp or oth­er encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­forms about the Mueller inves­ti­ga­tion before he flipped. Same with Man­afort and all the oth­er peo­ple in this mess who haven’t flipped (and some who have). They are prob­a­bly try­ing to secret­ly com­mu­ni­cate all the time. Most of the time it prob­a­bly goes unde­tect­ed but when they get caught, as in this case with Man­afort, the con­se­quences can be sig­nif­i­cant.

    These encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­forms both encour­age con­spir­a­cy and help expose it. It’s pret­ty fas­ci­nat­ing in a Mon­key’s Paw-ish way. If Trump ends up par­don­ing Man­afort over the wit­ness tam­per­ing doc­u­ment­ed in his What­sApp chats it will be like a Mon­key’s Paw dou­ble-down, using the par­don Mon­key’s Paw to can­cel out the neg­a­tive con­se­quences of the encryp­tion-enable col­lu­sion Mon­key’s Paw (Mon­key’s Paw dou­ble-downs don’t go well). It’s all the­mat­i­cal­ly quite appro­pri­ate when you con­sid­er how Trump, him­self, is sort of the Mon­key’s Paw of politi­cians: the polit­i­cal change he brings comes with extreme­ly trag­ic con­se­quences. It’s a pack­age deal.

    So how is all this going to play out for Man­afort giv­en that he’s simul­ta­ne­ous­ly fac­ing increas­ing­ly legal per­il from Mueller and increas­ing legal free­dom from Trump? Who knows, but we’re well into Trumpian Mon­key’s Paw ter­ri­to­ry so we can be sure it will involve some sort of amaz­ing tragedy.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 5, 2018, 10:55 pm
  2. And it’s back to jail for Paul Man­afort. Recall that Man­afort’s jail­ing is over the wit­ness tam­per­ing he’s now accused of after it was dis­cov­ered that he (and lat­er Kon­stan­tin Kil­imnik too) was secret­ly try­ing to con­tact the var­i­ous oth­er fig­ures asso­ci­at­ed with the “Haps­burg Group” diplo­mat­ic ini­tia­tive to make sure they were all on the same page regard­ing the cov­er sto­ry that the “Haps­burg Group” had noth­ing to do with their lob­by­ing of the US gov­ern­ment to avoid charges that he vio­lat­ed the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act (FARA).

    Who knows what pos­si­ble legal defense he has at this point. It’s worth not­ing the com­i­cal defense Man­afort’s lawyer had to the wit­ness tam­per­ing charges: “The spe­cial counsel’s dis­agree­ment with Mr. Manafort’s view of this case … does not make it a crime for Mr. Man­afort to com­mu­ni­cate his view to oth­ers, espe­cial­ly when he is not aware of who the Spe­cial Coun­sel may view as wit­ness­es.” That was Man­afort’s defense. He was mere­ly reach­ing out “to oth­ers” to “com­mu­ni­cate his views” and he had not idea these peo­ple were poten­tial wit­ness­es. That was Man­afort’s defense even though the “oth­ers” he was try­ing to con­tact in this case was the Euro­pean mem­bers of Haps­burg Group.

    So it does­n’t look like Paul Man­afort’s legal defense is going to fare very well giv­en his bla­tant wit­ness tam­per­ing. And we still don’t know the name of this pub­lic rela­tions firm or the two peo­ple Man­afort and Kil­imnik reached out to. But there is one par­tic­u­lar orga­ni­za­tion that seems like a like­ly sus­pect: the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine. That’s the Brus­sels-based orga­ni­za­tion set up in 2012 that actu­al­ly arranged for the var­i­ous Haps­burg Group lob­by­ing events in Europe. It appears to have been set up by Vik­tor Yanukovy­ch’s Par­ty of Regions for the pur­pose of lob­by­ing Euro­pean gov­ern­ments and the US to get Ukraine into a the EU-Ukraine trade union over West­ern objec­tions. And, crit­i­cal­ly for Man­afort’s legal sit­u­a­tion, the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine was intend­ed to obscure the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment as the source of that lob­by­ing effort.

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle from Ukrain­ian Week back in April points out, the legal defense Man­afort had against the charges that he was secret­ly orches­trat­ing the Haps­burg Group hinges on the fact that the Euro­pean politi­cians who led the lob­by­ing effort, like for­mer Aus­tri­an Chan­cel­lor Alfred Gusen­bauer, only direct­ly inter­act­ed with two orga­ni­za­tions in his lob­by­ing efforts: this obscure Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine and two Amer­i­can lob­by­ing firms, Mer­cury LLC. Of course, as we’ve seen before, Mer­cury LLC is an Amer­i­can lob­by­ing firm that was report­ed­ly hired by Man­afort (along with the Podes­ta Group) to orches­trate the Haps­burg Group lob­by­ing efforts. And Mer­cury LLC and the Podes­ta Group brought these Euro­pean politi­cians to the US to lob­by US con­gress­men. So if it turns out that Man­afort real­ly was behind the lob­by­ing work the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine and Mer­cury LLC and the Podes­ta Group, he won’t have much of a legal defense. But if he can indeed suc­cess­ful­ly argue that he was not, in fact, orches­trat­ing the work of the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine Man­afort just might be able to pull off that defense against a FARA vio­la­tion. That appears to be the key point he needs to make in his defense unless he has a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent legal strat­e­gy.

    Of course, he now has the wit­ness tam­per­ing charge that looks much hard­er to defend, so he is look­ing legal­ly screwed no mat­ter what. But if he had­n’t tam­pered with those wit­ness­es, his defense would prob­a­bly revolve around main­tain­ing that he was not at all involved with the work of the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine. So if it turns out the poten­tial wit­ness­es Man­afort and Kil­imnik reached out to worked at either the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine or those two US lob­by­ing groups that’s going to look extra bad for his defense because keep­ing a dis­tance between him­self and those enti­ties was pret­ty much his only defense:

    Ukrain­ian Week

    The Haps­burg Group: Old Europe at Yanukovy­ch’s ser­vice?
    New details of the accu­sa­tions against Paul Man­afort reveal the side jobs of retired Euro­pean high-rank­ing offi­cials

    Olha Vorozh­byt
    16 April, 2018

    He served the short­est term as Chan­cel­lor of Aus­tria in the coun­try’s post-war his­to­ry, although his entire pro­fes­sion­al life had been ded­i­cat­ed to his Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. West­ern media include him in lists of those who have advised author­i­tar­i­an lead­ers, in par­tic­u­lar the pres­i­dent of Kaza­khstan, Nur­sul­tan Nazarbayev. Pri­or to the last par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Vien­na, he advised his col­league, Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty chair­man Chris­t­ian Kern, to use the ser­vices of Israeli polit­i­cal strate­gist Tal Sil­ber­stein, which trans­formed the elec­tion cam­paign into the dirt­i­est in Aus­tri­an his­to­ry. He first came to promi­nence in Ukraine as head of the super­vi­so­ry board of the Sus­tain­able Ukraine Foun­da­tion, run by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Myko­la Azarov’s son. Now, every­thing indi­cates that he led the so-called Haps­burg Group – a group of “super VIP” Euro­pean politi­cians that Paul Man­afort hired to white­wash the image of the Yanukovych regime in the West. All this is only a small detail in the biog­ra­phy of for­mer Aus­tri­an chan­cel­lor Alfred Gusen­bauer.

    The charge against Paul Man­afort, pub­lished on the web­site of the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice, refers to the so-called third part of Man­afort and Richard Gates’ lob­by­ing scheme in favour of for­mer Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych. In 2012, Man­afort hired a group of for­mer “top-lev­el Euro­pean politi­cians” to voice posi­tions that were ben­e­fi­cial to Ukraine in the EU and US. Infor­mal­ly, they were dubbed the Haps­burg Group, evi­dent­ly bear­ing in mind the com­mon his­to­ry of the politi­cians’ home coun­tries with the Hab­s­burg dynasty, although the spelling was changed a lit­tle.

    Accord­ing to Man­afort, these, in his own words “super VIP” and “extreme­ly influ­en­tial”, Euro­pean politi­cians would be able to act infor­mal­ly, with­out any vis­i­ble link to the then Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. The group was man­aged by politi­cian A, a for­mer Euro­pean chan­cel­lor who coor­di­nat­ed his efforts with Man­afort. In order to hire these politi­cians, a non-gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tion was cre­at­ed that alleged­ly act­ed accord­ing to Man­afort’s instruc­tions. The charge states that in 2013 or close to that time, the group, along­side politi­cian A, went to Wash­ing­ton in order to pro­vide lob­by­ing ser­vices to politi­cians and con­gress­men there. So who are these politi­cians and did they have direct con­tact with Man­afort and Yanukovych?

    Since only two Euro­pean coun­tries have the posi­tion of “chan­cel­lor” in their gov­ern­ments, it does not require a lot of detec­tive work. Although the doc­u­ment pub­lished by the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice does not men­tion any names, media out­lets around the world imme­di­ate­ly began to report that the group of lob­by­ists was pre­sum­ably head­ed by for­mer Aus­tri­an Chan­cel­lor Alfred Gusen­bauer. Sub­se­quent­ly, offi­cial con­fir­ma­tion was found in the FARA data­base (For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act – a statute pro­vid­ing for the reg­is­tra­tion of all agents act­ing on behalf of a for­eign state in the US). In par­tic­u­lar, it con­tains infor­ma­tion about for­mer Repub­li­can con­gress­man Vin Weber’s lob­by­ing com­pa­ny Mer­cury LLC, which appears in spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion as it was hired by Paul Man­afort to pro­vide ser­vices to the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine, a Brus­sels-based NGO. The main objec­tive of the lat­ter was to improve the image of the Yanukovych regime in the West, although offi­cial­ly it was pre­sent­ed under the guise of rap­proche­ment between Ukraine and the EU. The cen­tre was led by Ger­man Ina Kirsch. In par­tic­u­lar, the Mer­cury LLC report for FARA states that the com­pa­ny decid­ed to launch a series of aware­ness rais­ing events and meet­ings with con­gress­men, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of think tanks and the media in order to high­light the work of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment towards join­ing the pan­theon of West­ern democ­ra­cies. Their speak­ers were rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment and experts from the EU, includ­ing ex-pres­i­dent of Poland Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki, for­mer Aus­tri­an Chan­cel­lor Alfred Gusen­bauer and for­mer Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter and Euro­pean Com­mis­sion head, Romano Pro­di. These activ­i­ties from Mer­cury LLC were com­mis­sioned by the afore­men­tioned Cen­tre in Brus­sels.

    Gusen­bauer, how­ev­er, denies the alle­ga­tions that he worked for Yanukovy­ch’s regime: “I was nev­er involved in activ­i­ties for Yanukovych or the Par­ty of Regions,” the ex-chan­cel­lor of Aus­tri­an stat­ed to the APA when the first sus­pi­cions and alle­ga­tions came to light. In 2012–2013, he was alleged­ly inter­est­ed in bring­ing Ukraine clos­er to the EU. He added that he had tak­en part in events in Paris, Brus­sels and Berlin, so that the EU would con­clude an asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment with Ukraine, but after it became appar­ent in 2013 that there was no per­spec­tive of this hap­pen­ing, he stopped work­ing on it. Gusen­bauer also said that his activ­i­ties were “reward­ed”, but did not spec­i­fy any­thing about the finan­cial details. On the whole, it is dif­fi­cult to dis­agree with the Aus­tri­an Chan­cel­lor when he says that he did not work direct­ly for the Par­ty of Regions and Vik­tor Yanukovych. He had direct con­tact only with the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine and the Amer­i­can lob­by­ist organ­i­sa­tion Mer­cury LLC, although Man­afort’s charge also sug­gest­ed that the “for­mer Euro­pean Chan­cel­lor” act­ed “in con­cert with Man­afort”.

    The Aus­tri­an mag­a­zine Profil.at has cal­cu­lat­ed that in 2012–2013 Gusen­bauer act­ed as a paid advis­er at a min­i­mum of 6–7 events in the EU. He par­tic­i­pat­ed in most of them along­side Romano Pro­di and Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki. Indeed, on Sep­tem­ber 20, 2012, Gusen­bauer, Pro­di and oth­ers dis­cussed the top­ic of “Ukraine on the road to Euro­pean inte­gra­tion” at the Garten­ho­tel Alt­manns­dorf hotel. Gusen­bauer was rep­re­sent­ed there as chair­man of the Ren­ner Insti­tute, the polit­i­cal acad­e­my of the Aus­tri­an Social Democ­rats (lead­er­ship of this organ­i­sa­tion was passed to the cur­rent head of the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, Chris­t­ian Kern, last Decem­ber). As Pro­fil writes, press releas­es on the insti­tute’s web­site ref­er­ence a dis­cus­sion between Gusen­bauer and Pro­di dur­ing this event.

    In Octo­ber 2012, Gusen­bauer, Pro­di and Kwas­niews­ki, as well as Gün­ter Ver­heugen, for­mer EU Com­mis­sion­er for Enlarge­ment in the Romano Pro­di Com­mis­sion, par­tic­i­pat­ed in a meet­ing ini­ti­at­ed by the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine enti­tled “Ukraine and the EU: Elec­tions, Inte­gra­tion and Eco­nom­ic Prospects” . It was organ­ised by the Ger­man Com­mit­tee on East­ern Euro­pean Eco­nom­ic Rela­tions and the Ger­man Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions (DGAP) ana­lyt­i­cal cen­tre. In Novem­ber of that same year, three of the afore­men­tioned politi­cians attend­ed the con­fer­ence “Ukraine: A Strate­gic Cross­roads for Europe”. The event was also cov­ered by The Ukrain­ian Week in an arti­cle that sus­pect­ed Gusen­bauer of lob­by­ing for Vik­tor Yanukovych. Anoth­er event, accord­ing to Pro­fil, took place the fol­low­ing March in Rome, and the same trio was again present. On 5–6 June 2013, Gusen­bauer was in Wash­ing­ton, where he met Amer­i­can con­gress­men along­side rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Mer­cury LLC. Romano Pro­di went to Wash­ing­ton in the spring for the same rea­son. In June, Gusen­bauer mod­er­at­ed the dis­cus­sion “Ukraine on the Road to Vil­nius: Prospects for Sign­ing an Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment” in Brus­sels, in which Romano Pro­di also par­tic­i­pat­ed. In Sep­tem­ber 2013, the three politi­cians met again to par­tic­i­pate in a con­fer­ence on Ukraine in Paris. The Ren­ner Insti­tute was an offi­cial co-organ­is­er of this event.

    Like Alfred Gusen­bauer, Romano Pro­di and Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki deny lob­by­ing in favour of Vik­tor Yanukovych. In a recent inter­view referred to by The New York Times, Romano Pro­di claims that he has nev­er heard of any Haps­burg Group. “It was Gusen­bauer head­ing the group. We made every effort to have peace in Ukraine,” he com­ment­ed. Accord­ing to him, experts and ex-politi­cians met at var­i­ous events and con­fer­ences, but lat­er dis­band­ed when it became clear that “a stronger rela­tion­ship with the Euro­pean Union was impos­si­ble”.

    Ex-pres­i­dent of Poland Alexan­der Kwas­niews­ki also reject­ed the alle­ga­tions of col­lab­o­rat­ing with Man­afort in the local press, say­ing that he had seen the lat­ter only two or three times dur­ing his mis­sion to Ukraine in 2012 and 2013. “At the time, he [Paul Man­afort – Ed.] was an advis­er to Pres­i­dent Yanukovych, whom I also met, so it is nat­ur­al that our paths crossed sev­er­al times,” com­ment­ed Kwas­niews­ki.

    In addi­tion, jour­nal­ists from Tagesschau.de ques­tioned ex-Euro­pean Com­mis­sion­er Gün­ther Ver­heugen regard­ing his links with the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine and pos­si­ble remu­ner­a­tion for par­tic­i­pat­ing in events on Ukraine in 2012–2013. He also denies receiv­ing fees for par­tic­i­pat­ing in them.

    ...

    Trans­lat­ed by Lidia Wolan­skyj

    ———-

    “The Haps­burg Group: Old Europe at Yanukovy­ch’s ser­vice?” by Olha Vorozh­byt; Ukrain­ian Week; 04/16/2018

    “The charge against Paul Man­afort, pub­lished on the web­site of the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice, refers to the so-called third part of Man­afort and Richard Gates’ lob­by­ing scheme in favour of for­mer Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych. In 2012, Man­afort hired a group of for­mer “top-lev­el Euro­pean politi­cians” to voice posi­tions that were ben­e­fi­cial to Ukraine in the EU and US. Infor­mal­ly, they were dubbed the Haps­burg Group, evi­dent­ly bear­ing in mind the com­mon his­to­ry of the politi­cians’ home coun­tries with the Hab­s­burg dynasty, although the spelling was changed a lit­tle.”

    A lob­by­ing effort orches­trat­ed by Man­afort for lob­by the EU and US. That’s how Mueller’s team is char­ac­ter­iz­ing this lob­by­ing effort and if that’s accu­rate Man­afort vio­lat­ed the FARA. And it cer­tain­ly looks like that is indeed the case. Man­afort, in his own words, described the Euro­pean lob­by­ists as “super VIPs” and “extreme­ly influ­en­tial” indi­vid­u­als who could lob­by infor­mal­ly with­out it get­ting linked back to the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. And in order to main­tain that dis­tance a non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion was cre­at­ed that alleged­ly act­ed accord­ing to Man­afort’s instruc­tions:

    ...
    Accord­ing to Man­afort, these, in his own words “super VIP” and “extreme­ly influ­en­tial”, Euro­pean politi­cians would be able to act infor­mal­ly, with­out any vis­i­ble link to the then Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. The group was man­aged by politi­cian A, a for­mer Euro­pean chan­cel­lor who coor­di­nat­ed his efforts with Man­afort. In order to hire these politi­cians, a non-gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tion was cre­at­ed that alleged­ly act­ed accord­ing to Man­afort’s instruc­tions. The charge states that in 2013 or close to that time, the group, along­side politi­cian A, went to Wash­ing­ton in order to pro­vide lob­by­ing ser­vices to politi­cians and con­gress­men there. So who are these politi­cians and did they have direct con­tact with Man­afort and Yanukovych?
    ...

    That non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion was the Brus­sels-based Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine. And Mer­cury LLC, the US lob­by­ing firm of for­mer GOP con­gress­man Vin Weber, was hired by Man­afort to pro­vide ser­vices for the Cen­tre in its US lob­by­ing efforts, accord­ing to Man­afort:

    ...
    Since only two Euro­pean coun­tries have the posi­tion of “chan­cel­lor” in their gov­ern­ments, it does not require a lot of detec­tive work. Although the doc­u­ment pub­lished by the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice does not men­tion any names, media out­lets around the world imme­di­ate­ly began to report that the group of lob­by­ists was pre­sum­ably head­ed by for­mer Aus­tri­an Chan­cel­lor Alfred Gusen­bauer. Sub­se­quent­ly, offi­cial con­fir­ma­tion was found in the FARA data­base (For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act – a statute pro­vid­ing for the reg­is­tra­tion of all agents act­ing on behalf of a for­eign state in the US). In par­tic­u­lar, it con­tains infor­ma­tion about for­mer Repub­li­can con­gress­man Vin Weber’s lob­by­ing com­pa­ny Mer­cury LLC, which appears in spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion as it was hired by Paul Man­afort to pro­vide ser­vices to the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine, a Brus­sels-based NGO. The main objec­tive of the lat­ter was to improve the image of the Yanukovych regime in the West, although offi­cial­ly it was pre­sent­ed under the guise of rap­proche­ment between Ukraine and the EU. The cen­tre was led by Ger­man Ina Kirsch. In par­tic­u­lar, the Mer­cury LLC report for FARA states that the com­pa­ny decid­ed to launch a series of aware­ness rais­ing events and meet­ings with con­gress­men, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of think tanks and the media in order to high­light the work of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment towards join­ing the pan­theon of West­ern democ­ra­cies. Their speak­ers were rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment and experts from the EU, includ­ing ex-pres­i­dent of Poland Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki, for­mer Aus­tri­an Chan­cel­lor Alfred Gusen­bauer and for­mer Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter and Euro­pean Com­mis­sion head, Romano Pro­di. These activ­i­ties from Mer­cury LLC were com­mis­sioned by the afore­men­tioned Cen­tre in Brus­sels.
    ...

    So if the pub­lic rela­tions firm that Man­afort reached out to over What­sApp to engage in wit­ness tam­per­ing hap­pens to be either the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine or Mer­cury LLC or the Podes­ta Group, that’s going to be real­ly bad for Man­afort’s defense. Not that he had that much of a defense at this point (beyond, of course, the defense that he was actu­al­ly try­ing to pull Ukraine into the West­ern orbit).

    And as the arti­cle notes, it does appear to be true that the Euro­pean politi­cians work­ing on the Haps­burg Group ini­tia­tive nev­er direct­ly took orders from Man­afort. They took their orders from the Cen­tre. That’s why estab­lish­ing that Man­afort was direct­ing the Cen­tre is cen­tral to Mueller’s charges:

    ...
    Gusen­bauer, how­ev­er, denies the alle­ga­tions that he worked for Yanukovy­ch’s regime: “I was nev­er involved in activ­i­ties for Yanukovych or the Par­ty of Regions,” the ex-chan­cel­lor of Aus­tri­an stat­ed to the APA when the first sus­pi­cions and alle­ga­tions came to light. In 2012–2013, he was alleged­ly inter­est­ed in bring­ing Ukraine clos­er to the EU. He added that he had tak­en part in events in Paris, Brus­sels and Berlin, so that the EU would con­clude an asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment with Ukraine, but after it became appar­ent in 2013 that there was no per­spec­tive of this hap­pen­ing, he stopped work­ing on it. Gusen­bauer also said that his activ­i­ties were “reward­ed”, but did not spec­i­fy any­thing about the finan­cial details. On the whole, it is dif­fi­cult to dis­agree with the Aus­tri­an Chan­cel­lor when he says that he did not work direct­ly for the Par­ty of Regions and Vik­tor Yanukovych. He had direct con­tact only with the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine and the Amer­i­can lob­by­ist organ­i­sa­tion Mer­cury LLC, although Man­afort’s charge also sug­gest­ed that the “for­mer Euro­pean Chan­cel­lor” act­ed “in con­cert with Man­afort”.

    The Aus­tri­an mag­a­zine Profil.at has cal­cu­lat­ed that in 2012–2013 Gusen­bauer act­ed as a paid advis­er at a min­i­mum of 6–7 events in the EU. He par­tic­i­pat­ed in most of them along­side Romano Pro­di and Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki. Indeed, on Sep­tem­ber 20, 2012, Gusen­bauer, Pro­di and oth­ers dis­cussed the top­ic of “Ukraine on the road to Euro­pean inte­gra­tion” at the Garten­ho­tel Alt­manns­dorf hotel. Gusen­bauer was rep­re­sent­ed there as chair­man of the Ren­ner Insti­tute, the polit­i­cal acad­e­my of the Aus­tri­an Social Democ­rats (lead­er­ship of this organ­i­sa­tion was passed to the cur­rent head of the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, Chris­t­ian Kern, last Decem­ber). As Pro­fil writes, press releas­es on the insti­tute’s web­site ref­er­ence a dis­cus­sion between Gusen­bauer and Pro­di dur­ing this event.
    ...

    The arti­cle also con­tains some rel­e­vant back­ground on how Alfred Gusen­bauer, the for­mer chan­cel­lor of Aus­tria who appeared to be the lead­ing politi­cian in the effort, end­ed up lob­by­ing for Ukraine: He first came to promi­nence in Ukraine as head of the super­vi­so­ry board of the Sus­tain­able Ukraine Foun­da­tion, run by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter (and for­mer Par­ty of Regions leader) Myko­la Azarov’s son:

    ...
    He served the short­est term as Chan­cel­lor of Aus­tria in the coun­try’s post-war his­to­ry, although his entire pro­fes­sion­al life had been ded­i­cat­ed to his Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. West­ern media include him in lists of those who have advised author­i­tar­i­an lead­ers, in par­tic­u­lar the pres­i­dent of Kaza­khstan, Nur­sul­tan Nazarbayev. Pri­or to the last par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Vien­na, he advised his col­league, Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty chair­man Chris­t­ian Kern, to use the ser­vices of Israeli polit­i­cal strate­gist Tal Sil­ber­stein, which trans­formed the elec­tion cam­paign into the dirt­i­est in Aus­tri­an his­to­ry. He first came to promi­nence in Ukraine as head of the super­vi­so­ry board of the Sus­tain­able Ukraine Foun­da­tion, run by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Myko­la Azarov’s son. Now, every­thing indi­cates that he led the so-called Haps­burg Group – a group of “super VIP” Euro­pean politi­cians that Paul Man­afort hired to white­wash the image of the Yanukovych regime in the West. All this is only a small detail in the biog­ra­phy of for­mer Aus­tri­an chan­cel­lor Alfred Gusen­bauer.
    ...

    But note who else was work­ing on this lob­by­ing effort: Gün­ter Ver­heugen, for­mer Ger­man politi­cian who was EU Com­mis­sion­er for Enlarge­ment (the com­mis­sion­er in charge of allow­ing new coun­tries into the EU). Back in Novem­ber 2017, Ver­heugen pub­licly blast­ed Angela Merkel for oppos­ing Turkey’s bid to joing the EU, so he seems to be very much in favor or expand­ing the EU.

    Ver­heugen, Gusen­bauer, Romano Pro­di and Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki all report­ed­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in a meet­ing ini­ti­at­ed by the Cen­tre. And this meet­ing was orga­nized by the Ger­man Com­mit­tee on East­ern Euro­pean Eco­nom­ic Rela­tions and the Ger­man Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions (DGAP) ana­lyt­i­cal cen­tre. So while the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine appears to be the cutout that was large­ly orches­trat­ing this lob­by­ing effort, it was­n’t the only enti­ty involved. A num­ber of Ger­man enti­ties were involved too:

    ...
    In Octo­ber 2012, Gusen­bauer, Pro­di and Kwas­niews­ki, as well as Gün­ter Ver­heugen, for­mer EU Com­mis­sion­er for Enlarge­ment in the Romano Pro­di Com­mis­sion, par­tic­i­pat­ed in a meet­ing ini­ti­at­ed by the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine enti­tled “Ukraine and the EU: Elec­tions, Inte­gra­tion and Eco­nom­ic Prospects” . It was organ­ised by the Ger­man Com­mit­tee on East­ern Euro­pean Eco­nom­ic Rela­tions and the Ger­man Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions (DGAP) ana­lyt­i­cal cen­tre. In Novem­ber of that same year, three of the afore­men­tioned politi­cians attend­ed the con­fer­ence “Ukraine: A Strate­gic Cross­roads for Europe”. The event was also cov­ered by The Ukrain­ian Week in an arti­cle that sus­pect­ed Gusen­bauer of lob­by­ing for Vik­tor Yanukovych. Anoth­er event, accord­ing to Pro­fil, took place the fol­low­ing March in Rome, and the same trio was again present. On 5–6 June 2013, Gusen­bauer was in Wash­ing­ton, where he met Amer­i­can con­gress­men along­side rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Mer­cury LLC. Romano Pro­di went to Wash­ing­ton in the spring for the same rea­son. In June, Gusen­bauer mod­er­at­ed the dis­cus­sion “Ukraine on the Road to Vil­nius: Prospects for Sign­ing an Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment” in Brus­sels, in which Romano Pro­di also par­tic­i­pat­ed. In Sep­tem­ber 2013, the three politi­cians met again to par­tic­i­pate in a con­fer­ence on Ukraine in Paris. The Ren­ner Insti­tute was an offi­cial co-organ­is­er of this event.
    ...

    Recall the pre­vi­ous reports about how SPD leader Mar­tin Schultz was work­ing with these Haps­burg Group politi­cians in their lob­by­ing efforts, so this is a fur­ther indi­ca­tion of Ger­man efforts work­ing with the Haps­burg Group. So who knows, maybe one of Man­afort’s best defens­es at this point is that those Ger­man efforts were the real guid­ing force behind the Haps­burg Group’s lob­by­ing.

    And as we’ve seen from pri­or report­ing, Gusen­bauer, Pro­di and Kwas­niews­ki all deny work­ing for the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment and nev­er even heard of the “Haps­burg Group”. Kwas­niews­ki claims he only crossed paths with Man­afort two or three times but it was just inci­den­tal:

    ...
    Like Alfred Gusen­bauer, Romano Pro­di and Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki deny lob­by­ing in favour of Vik­tor Yanukovych. In a recent inter­view referred to by The New York Times, Romano Pro­di claims that he has nev­er heard of any Haps­burg Group. “It was Gusen­bauer head­ing the group. We made every effort to have peace in Ukraine,” he com­ment­ed. Accord­ing to him, experts and ex-politi­cians met at var­i­ous events and con­fer­ences, but lat­er dis­band­ed when it became clear that “a stronger rela­tion­ship with the Euro­pean Union was impos­si­ble”.

    Ex-pres­i­dent of Poland Alexan­der Kwas­niews­ki also reject­ed the alle­ga­tions of col­lab­o­rat­ing with Man­afort in the local press, say­ing that he had seen the lat­ter only two or three times dur­ing his mis­sion to Ukraine in 2012 and 2013. “At the time, he [Paul Man­afort – Ed.] was an advis­er to Pres­i­dent Yanukovych, whom I also met, so it is nat­ur­al that our paths crossed sev­er­al times,” com­ment­ed Kwas­niews­ki.
    ...

    So if it turns out Man­afort’s wit­ness tam­per­ing was done to get all of those politi­cians on the same page regard­ing the sto­ry they were going to tell about the US lob­by­ing efforts that’s going to make these denials look pret­ty hol­low.

    All in all, it’s look­ing pret­ty awful for Paul Man­afort. But it’s worth not­ing that much of the infor­ma­tion about this Haps­burg Group case was actu­al­ly report­ed back August of 2016 just days before Man­afort stepped down as Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign chair­man. The writ­ing was on the wall ear­ly on.

    For instance, check out the fol­low­ing Asso­ci­at­ed Press arti­cle from August 17, 2016. The arti­cle talks about the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine and its role lead­ing lob­by­ing efforts in the US via Mer­cury LLC and the Podes­ta Group. And in this arti­cle we have some remark­able admis­sions from peo­ple involved with this case. For starters, Man­afort’s long-time part­ner Rick Gates, who is now coop­er­at­ing with the Mueller probe, telling the AP that he and Man­afort intro­duced the Podes­ta Group and Mer­cury LLC to the Cen­tre and occa­sion­al­ly con­sult­ed with the firms on Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics.

    After being intro­duced to the lob­by­ing firms, the Cen­tre paid the Podes­ta Group $1.13 mil­lion between June 2012 and April 2014 to lob­by Con­gress, the White House Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, the State Depart­ment and oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies and paid the $1.07 mil­lion to Mer­cury LLC to lob­by Con­gress, accord­ing to U.S. lob­by­ing records . So the Cen­tre’s work orches­trat­ing the US lob­by­ing efforts is indis­putable at this point. It’s just a ques­tion of how whether or not Man­afort orches­trat­ed the Cen­tre’s actions. And accord­ing to a for­mer Podes­ta employ­ee, Rick Gates described the Centre’s role in an April, 2012 meet­ing as sup­ply­ing a source of mon­ey that could not be traced to the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment.

    Adding to Man­afort’s legal woes is the con­tra­dic­to­ry state­ments about how the Cen­tre’s work­ing with the Podes­ta Group and Mer­cury LLC got start­ed in the first place. Accord­ing to Tony Podes­ta, his firm worked close­ly with the Cen­tre and with Gates simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. But Podes­ta said Gates was not work­ing for Yanukovych’s polit­i­cal par­ty and said Man­afort was not involved.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, John Ward Ander­son, a cur­rent Podes­ta employ­ee who attend­ed the meet­ing April 2013 meet­ing with Gates, claims, “I was nev­er giv­en any rea­son to believe Rick was a Par­ty of Regions consultant...My assump­tion was that he was work­ing for the Cen­tre, as we were.” So Rick Gates, Man­afort’s long-time right-hand man, was appar­ent­ly work­ing so close­ly with the Cen­tre that Podes­ta Group employ­ees assumed he worked for it. Or at least that’s what they claimed.

    And Rick Gates told the AP that he was work­ing with Man­afort and that both he and Man­afort were work­ing for Yanukovych’s par­ty. Yep. That could­n’t have pleased Man­afort to read that.

    And Vin Weber, who heads Mer­cury LLC, told the AP that Man­afort dis­cussed the project before it began in a con­fer­ence call with Podes­ta and him­self.

    The direc­tor of the Cen­tre, Ina Kirsch, told the AP her group nev­er worked with Man­afort or Gates and said the group hired the Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ists on its own. She said she had met with Man­afort twice but said nei­ther Man­afort nor Gates played a role in its lob­by­ing activ­i­ties.

    Basi­cal­ly, every­one but direc­tor of the Cen­tre gave state­ments that either direct­ly or indi­rect­ly impli­cate Paul Man­afort in orches­trat­ing the Cen­tre’s actions. So, in that sense, Man­afort’s deci­sion to take the extra­or­di­nary risk of reach­ing out to every­one to get their sto­ries straight is at least some­what under­stand­able because almost every­one had already thrown him under the bus back when he was still Trump’s cam­paign chair­man:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    AP Sources: Man­afort tied to undis­closed for­eign lob­by­ing

    By JEFF HORWITZ and DESMOND BUTLER
    Aug. 17, 2016

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign chair­man helped a pro-Russ­ian gov­ern­ing par­ty in Ukraine secret­ly route at least $2.2 mil­lion in pay­ments to two promi­nent Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ing firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effec­tive­ly obscured the for­eign polit­i­cal party’s efforts to influ­ence U.S. pol­i­cy.

    The rev­e­la­tion, pro­vid­ed to The Asso­ci­at­ed Press by peo­ple direct­ly knowl­edge­able about the effort, comes at a time when Trump has faced crit­i­cism for his friend­ly over­tures to Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. It also casts new light on the busi­ness prac­tices of cam­paign chair­man Paul Man­afort.

    Under fed­er­al law, U.S. lob­by­ists must declare pub­licly if they rep­re­sent for­eign lead­ers or their polit­i­cal par­ties and pro­vide detailed reports about their actions to the Jus­tice Depart­ment. A vio­la­tion is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

    Trump shook up his cam­paign orga­ni­za­tion Wednes­day, putting two new long­time Repub­li­can con­ser­v­a­tive strate­gists as chief exec­u­tive offi­cer and cam­paign man­ag­er. It was unclear what impact the shake­up would have on Man­afort, but he retains his title as cam­paign chair­man.

    Man­afort and busi­ness asso­ciate Rick Gates, anoth­er top strate­gist in Trump’s cam­paign, were work­ing in 2012 on behalf of the polit­i­cal par­ty of Ukraine’s then-pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovych.

    Peo­ple with direct knowl­edge of Gates’ work said that, dur­ing the peri­od when Gates and Man­afort were con­sul­tants to the Ukraine president’s polit­i­cal par­ty, Gates was also help­ing steer the advo­ca­cy work done by a pro-Yanukovych non­prof­it that hired a pair of Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ing firms, Podes­ta Group Inc. and Mer­cury LLC.

    The non­prof­it, the new­ly cre­at­ed Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine, was gov­erned by a board that ini­tial­ly includ­ed par­lia­ment mem­bers from Yanukovych’s par­ty. The non­prof­it sub­se­quent­ly paid at least $2.2 mil­lion to the lob­by­ing firms to advo­cate posi­tions gen­er­al­ly in line with those of Yanukovych’s gov­ern­ment.

    That lob­by­ing includ­ed down­play­ing the neces­si­ty of a con­gres­sion­al res­o­lu­tion meant to pres­sure the Ukrain­ian leader to release an impris­oned polit­i­cal rival.

    The lob­by­ing firms con­tin­ued the work until short­ly after Yanukovych fled the coun­try in Feb­ru­ary 2014, dur­ing a pop­u­lar revolt prompt­ed in part by his government’s crack­down on pro­test­ers and close ties to Rus­sia.

    Among those who described Manafort’s and Gates’s rela­tion­ship with the non­prof­it are cur­rent and for­mer employ­ees of the Podes­ta Group. Some of them spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because they were not autho­rized to reveal details about the work and because they remain sub­ject to non-dis­clo­sure agree­ments.

    Gates told the AP that he and Man­afort intro­duced the lob­by­ing firms to the Euro­pean Cen­tre non­prof­it and occa­sion­al­ly con­sult­ed with the firms on Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics. He called the actions law­ful, and said there was no attempt to cir­cum­vent the report­ing require­ments of the U.S. For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act.

    The heads of both lob­by­ing firms told AP they con­clud­ed there was no oblig­a­tion to dis­close their activ­i­ties to the Jus­tice Depart­ment. Man­afort did not direct­ly respond to AP’s requests to dis­cuss the work, but he was copied on the AP’s ques­tions and Gates said he spoke to Man­afort before pro­vid­ing answers to them.

    Polit­i­cal con­sul­tants are gen­er­al­ly leery of reg­is­ter­ing under the for­eign agents law, because their rep­u­ta­tions can suf­fer once they are on record as accept­ing mon­ey to advo­cate the inter­ests of for­eign gov­ern­ments — espe­cial­ly if those inter­ests con­flict with America’s.

    The for­eign agent law is enforced by a rel­a­tive­ly small divi­sion with­in the counter-espi­onage sec­tion of the Jus­tice Department’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Divi­sion. Its pow­ers are lim­it­ed because it can’t com­pel lob­by­ing firms or oth­ers to turn over doc­u­ments with­out a judge’s approval, but inves­ti­ga­tors rou­tine­ly mon­i­tor news reports for evi­dence of cas­es that raise sus­pi­cions about pos­si­ble vio­la­tions.

    “They read the paper every day,” said Matthew Miller, a for­mer direc­tor of the Jus­tice Department’s pub­lic affairs divi­sion under Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er. “And if they see things that are poten­tial FARA vio­la­tions they send let­ters to the named par­ties.”

    Clinton’s cam­paign man­ag­er, Rob­by Mook, did not urge an inquiry Wednes­day, but said vot­ers should scru­ti­nize any links between Trump’s staff and Russ­ian polit­i­cal inter­ests.

    “Trump’s own views and the Repub­li­can plat­form itself have notably backed Russ­ian views and Russ­ian polices,” Mook said. “It paints a very dis­turb­ing pic­ture and I think the vot­ers need to pay a lot of atten­tion to that.”

    The intent of using the two lob­by­ing firms was unclear, but iron­i­cal­ly, one of firms Man­afort and Gates worked with has strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Clin­ton ties.

    The founder and chair­man of the Podes­ta Group, Tony Podes­ta, is the broth­er of long­time Demo­c­ra­t­ic strate­gist John Podes­ta, who now is cam­paign chair­man for Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton. The head of Mer­cury, Vin Weber, is an influ­en­tial Repub­li­can, for­mer con­gress­man and for­mer spe­cial pol­i­cy advis­er to Mitt Rom­ney. Weber announced ear­li­er this month that he will not sup­port Trump.

    After being intro­duced to the lob­by­ing firms, the Euro­pean non­prof­it paid the Podes­ta Group $1.13 mil­lion between June 2012 and April 2014 to lob­by Con­gress, the White House Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, the State Depart­ment and oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies, accord­ing to U.S. lob­by­ing records.

    The non­prof­it also paid $1.07 mil­lion over rough­ly the same peri­od to Mer­cury to lob­by Con­gress. Among oth­er issues, Mer­cury opposed con­gres­sion­al efforts to pres­sure Ukraine to release one of Yanukovych’s polit­i­cal rivals from prison.

    One for­mer Podes­ta employ­ee, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because of a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment, said Gates described the nonprofit’s role in an April, 2012 meet­ing as sup­ply­ing a source of mon­ey that could not be traced to the Ukrain­ian politi­cians who were pay­ing him and Man­afort.

    In sep­a­rate inter­views, three cur­rent and for­mer Podes­ta employ­ees said dis­agree­ments broke out with­in the firm over the arrange­ment, which at least one for­mer employ­ee con­sid­ered obvi­ous­ly ille­gal. Podes­ta, who said the project was vet­ted by his firm’s coun­sel, said he was unaware of any such dis­agree­ments.

    A legal opin­ion draft­ed for the project for Mer­cury in May 2012, and obtained by AP, con­clud­ed that the Euro­pean Cen­tre qual­i­fied as a “for­eign prin­ci­pal” under the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act but said dis­clo­sure to the Jus­tice Depart­ment was not required. That deter­mi­na­tion was based on the nonprofit’s assur­ances that none of its activ­i­ties was direct­ly or indi­rect­ly super­vised, direct­ed, con­trolled, financed or sub­si­dized by Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment or any of the country’s polit­i­cal par­ties.

    The Podes­ta Group’s CEO, Kim­ber­ley Fritts, said the two lob­by­ing firms had coor­di­nat­ed on the legal con­clu­sion that dis­clo­sure was not nec­es­sary to the Jus­tice Depart­ment.

    “If coun­sel had deter­mined FARA was the way to go, we would have glad­ly reg­is­tered under FARA,” she said in a state­ment to the AP. She said the non­prof­it pro­vid­ed a signed state­ment affirm­ing its inde­pen­dence from Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment.

    Peo­ple involved in the lob­by­ing project offered con­tra­dic­to­ry descrip­tions of how it came about.

    Podes­ta told the AP his firm worked close­ly with the non­prof­it and with Gates simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. But Podes­ta said Gates was not work­ing for Yanukovych’s polit­i­cal par­ty and said Man­afort was not involved.

    “I was nev­er giv­en any rea­son to believe Rick was a Par­ty of Regions con­sul­tant,” said John Ward Ander­son, a cur­rent Podes­ta employ­ee who attend­ed the meet­ing, in a state­ment pro­vid­ed by his firm. “My assump­tion was that he was work­ing for the Cen­tre, as we were.”

    Gates, in con­trast, told AP he was work­ing with Man­afort and that both he and Man­afort were work­ing for Yanukovych’s par­ty.

    Point­ing to Manafort’s involve­ment, Weber told AP that Man­afort dis­cussed the project before it began in a con­fer­ence call with Podes­ta and him­self.

    The direc­tor of the Euro­pean Cen­tre, Ina Kirsch, told the AP her group nev­er worked with Man­afort or Gates and said the group hired the Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ists on its own. She said she had met with Man­afort twice but said nei­ther Man­afort nor Gates played a role in its lob­by­ing activ­i­ties.

    The cen­ter has declined for years to reveal spe­cif­ic sources of its fund­ing.

    ...

    Lob­by­ists in gen­er­al pre­fer not to reg­is­ter under the for­eign agents law because its require­ments are so much more demand­ing, mak­ing their activ­i­ties more open to pub­lic scruti­ny.

    The Jus­tice Depart­ment, for exam­ple, requires those who reg­is­ter as lob­by­ists on behalf of for­eign gov­ern­ments or par­ties to detail the home address­es of lob­by­ists and descrip­tions of all receipts, pay­ments, polit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tions and details about any lec­tures, emails, pam­phlets or press releas­es they cre­ate.

    Lob­by­ing records filed in the U.S. Sen­ate, in con­trast, such as the ones describ­ing pay­ments to the Podes­ta Group and Mer­cury by the Euro­pean Cen­tre, are far less detailed.

    The Jus­tice Department’s own pub­lished guide­lines describe for­eign polit­i­cal par­ties as cov­ered under the law.

    ———-

    “AP Sources: Man­afort tied to undis­closed for­eign lob­by­ing” by JEFF HORWITZ and DESMOND BUTLER; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 08/17/2016

    “Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign chair­man helped a pro-Russ­ian gov­ern­ing par­ty in Ukraine secret­ly route at least $2.2 mil­lion in pay­ments to two promi­nent Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ing firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effec­tive­ly obscured the for­eign polit­i­cal party’s efforts to influ­ence U.S. pol­i­cy.”

    Don’t for­get, this report was from when Man­afort was still Trump’s cam­paign chair­man. He was already get­ting thrown under the bus that ear­ly on. It’s kind of remark­able.

    It’s also kind of remark­able that the Cen­tre was appar­ent­ly set up to obscure the Yanukovych gov­ern­men­t’s role in back­ing the lob­by­ing effort, and yet the Cen­tre’s was ini­tial­ly gov­ern­ment by a board that includ­ed par­lia­ment mem­bers from Yanukovy­ch’s par­ty. And mul­ti­ple peo­ple involved open­ly say Rick Gates was help­ing to direct the whole ini­tia­tive. It was­n’t the best front-group effort:

    ...
    Under fed­er­al law, U.S. lob­by­ists must declare pub­licly if they rep­re­sent for­eign lead­ers or their polit­i­cal par­ties and pro­vide detailed reports about their actions to the Jus­tice Depart­ment. A vio­la­tion is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

    ...

    Man­afort and busi­ness asso­ciate Rick Gates, anoth­er top strate­gist in Trump’s cam­paign, were work­ing in 2012 on behalf of the polit­i­cal par­ty of Ukraine’s then-pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovych.

    Peo­ple with direct knowl­edge of Gates’ work said that, dur­ing the peri­od when Gates and Man­afort were con­sul­tants to the Ukraine president’s polit­i­cal par­ty, Gates was also help­ing steer the advo­ca­cy work done by a pro-Yanukovych non­prof­it that hired a pair of Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ing firms, Podes­ta Group Inc. and Mer­cury LLC.

    The non­prof­it, the new­ly cre­at­ed Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine, was gov­erned by a board that ini­tial­ly includ­ed par­lia­ment mem­bers from Yanukovych’s par­ty. The non­prof­it sub­se­quent­ly paid at least $2.2 mil­lion to the lob­by­ing firms to advo­cate posi­tions gen­er­al­ly in line with those of Yanukovych’s gov­ern­ment.
    ...

    Gates, for his par­ty, acknowl­edges that he and Man­afort intro­duced the Podes­ta Group and Mer­cury LLC to the Euro­pean Cen­tre non­prof­it and occa­sion­al­ly con­sult­ed with the firms on Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics:

    ...
    Among those who described Manafort’s and Gates’s rela­tion­ship with the non­prof­it are cur­rent and for­mer employ­ees of the Podes­ta Group. Some of them spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because they were not autho­rized to reveal details about the work and because they remain sub­ject to non-dis­clo­sure agree­ments.

    Gates told the AP that he and Man­afort intro­duced the lob­by­ing firms to the Euro­pean Cen­tre non­prof­it and occa­sion­al­ly con­sult­ed with the firms on Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics. He called the actions law­ful, and said there was no attempt to cir­cum­vent the report­ing require­ments of the U.S. For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act.

    The heads of both lob­by­ing firms told AP they con­clud­ed there was no oblig­a­tion to dis­close their activ­i­ties to the Jus­tice Depart­ment. Man­afort did not direct­ly respond to AP’s requests to dis­cuss the work, but he was copied on the AP’s ques­tions and Gates said he spoke to Man­afort before pro­vid­ing answers to them.

    Polit­i­cal con­sul­tants are gen­er­al­ly leery of reg­is­ter­ing under the for­eign agents law, because their rep­u­ta­tions can suf­fer once they are on record as accept­ing mon­ey to advo­cate the inter­ests of for­eign gov­ern­ments — espe­cial­ly if those inter­ests con­flict with America’s.
    ...

    And it was after Gates made that intro­duc­tion that the Cen­tre paid the Podes­ta Group $1.13 mil­lion to lob­by Con­gress, the White House Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, the State Depart­ment and oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies and paid Mer­cury LLC $1.07 mil­lion accord­ing to U.S. lob­by­ing records:

    ...
    After being intro­duced to the lob­by­ing firms, the Euro­pean non­prof­it paid the Podes­ta Group $1.13 mil­lion between June 2012 and April 2014 to lob­by Con­gress, the White House Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, the State Depart­ment and oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies, accord­ing to U.S. lob­by­ing records.

    The non­prof­it also paid $1.07 mil­lion over rough­ly the same peri­od to Mer­cury to lob­by Con­gress. Among oth­er issues, Mer­cury opposed con­gres­sion­al efforts to pres­sure Ukraine to release one of Yanukovych’s polit­i­cal rivals from prison.
    ...

    And accord­ing to one for­mer Podest Group employ­ee, Gates him­self described the Cen­tre’s role in an April, 2012 meet­ing as sup­ply­ing mon­ey that could­n’t be traced to the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment:

    ...
    One for­mer Podes­ta employ­ee, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because of a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment, said Gates described the nonprofit’s role in an April, 2012 meet­ing as sup­ply­ing a source of mon­ey that could not be traced to the Ukrain­ian politi­cians who were pay­ing him and Man­afort.
    ...

    And note the legal loop­hole that Mer­cury LLC used to con­cluse that it did­n’t need to reg­is­ter as a for­eign lob­by­ist: their lay­w­ers con­clud­ed that, yes, the Cen­tra was a “for­eign prin­ci­pal” under the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act, but dis­clo­sure was­n’t required because none of its activ­i­tites could be traced back to the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment:

    ...
    In sep­a­rate inter­views, three cur­rent and for­mer Podes­ta employ­ees said dis­agree­ments broke out with­in the firm over the arrange­ment, which at least one for­mer employ­ee con­sid­ered obvi­ous­ly ille­gal. Podes­ta, who said the project was vet­ted by his firm’s coun­sel, said he was unaware of any such dis­agree­ments.

    A legal opin­ion draft­ed for the project for Mer­cury in May 2012, and obtained by AP, con­clud­ed that the Euro­pean Cen­tre qual­i­fied as a “for­eign prin­ci­pal” under the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act but said dis­clo­sure to the Jus­tice Depart­ment was not required. That deter­mi­na­tion was based on the nonprofit’s assur­ances that none of its activ­i­ties was direct­ly or indi­rect­ly super­vised, direct­ed, con­trolled, financed or sub­si­dized by Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment or any of the country’s polit­i­cal par­ties.

    The Podes­ta Group’s CEO, Kim­ber­ley Fritts, said the two lob­by­ing firms had coor­di­nat­ed on the legal con­clu­sion that dis­clo­sure was not nec­es­sary to the Jus­tice Depart­ment.

    “If coun­sel had deter­mined FARA was the way to go, we would have glad­ly reg­is­tered under FARA,” she said in a state­ment to the AP. She said the non­prof­it pro­vid­ed a signed state­ment affirm­ing its inde­pen­dence from Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment.
    ...

    So that all makes Gate’s alleged admis­sion that the Cen­tre was intend­ed to hide the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­men­t’s fund­ing pret­ty incrim­i­nat­ing. It also makes it that much more remark­able that they had Par­ty of Regions mem­bers on the board. Again, it was­n’t the best front-group effort.

    And note the remark­ably con­tra­dic­to­ry sto­ries they all give: Tony Podes­ta told the AP his firm worked close­ly with the Cen­tre and with Gates simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. And anoth­er Podes­ta Group employ­ee said he assumed Gates was a Cen­tre employ­ee:

    ...
    Peo­ple involved in the lob­by­ing project offered con­tra­dic­to­ry descrip­tions of how it came about.

    Podes­ta told the AP his firm worked close­ly with the non­prof­it and with Gates simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. But Podes­ta said Gates was not work­ing for Yanukovych’s polit­i­cal par­ty and said Man­afort was not involved.

    “I was nev­er giv­en any rea­son to believe Rick was a Par­ty of Regions con­sul­tant,” said John Ward Ander­son, a cur­rent Podes­ta employ­ee who attend­ed the meet­ing, in a state­ment pro­vid­ed by his firm. “My assump­tion was that he was work­ing for the Cen­tre, as we were.”
    ...

    And Vin Weber of Mer­cury LLC told the AP that Man­afort dis­cussed the project before it began in a con­fer­ence call with Podes­ta and him­self. That’s a pret­ty big admis­sion:

    ...
    Point­ing to Manafort’s involve­ment, Weber told AP that Man­afort dis­cussed the project before it began in a con­fer­ence call with Podes­ta and him­self....

    But the direc­tor of the Cen­tre, Ina Kirsch, claims to have nev­er worked with Man­afort or Gates and that the Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ing was all the Cen­tre’s own idea. She met with Man­fort twice and Gates had no role:

    ...
    The direc­tor of the Euro­pean Cen­tre, Ina Kirsch, told the AP her group nev­er worked with Man­afort or Gates and said the group hired the Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ists on its own. She said she had met with Man­afort twice but said nei­ther Man­afort nor Gates played a role in its lob­by­ing activ­i­ties.

    The cen­ter has declined for years to reveal spe­cif­ic sources of its fund­ing.
    ...

    So that’s a pret­ty big con­flict of expla­na­tions of the role Man­afort, and espe­cial­ly Rick Gates, played in this lob­by­ing effort.

    And regard­ing the claims of the Podeste­da Group that Gates was work­ing for the Cen­tre and not the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment — which might be pos­si­ble if Gates claimed to be work­ing for the Cen­tre in a com­plete­ly sep­a­rate­ly role for his work for the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment (even though this would be a laugh­able excuse) — note how Gates acknowl­edges to the AP that he was indeed work­ing with Man­afort and work­ing for the Par­ty of Regions (which is basi­cal­ly unde­ni­able):

    ...
    Gates, in con­trast, told AP he was work­ing with Man­afort and that both he and Man­afort were work­ing for Yanukovych’s par­ty.
    ...

    So we have the Podes­ta Group and Mer­cury LLC basi­cal­ly impli­cat­ing both Gates and Man­afort in the Cen­tre’s work, but they all give slight­ly dif­fer­ent sto­ries. In that sense, Man­afort’s deci­sion to take the extra­or­di­nary risk of reach­ing out to every­one over What­sApp to get their sto­ries straight is at least some­what under­stand­able. They clear­ly need­ed to coor­di­nate if they were going to put up a plau­si­ble sto­ry because every­one had a dif­fer­ent sto­ry and most of those sto­ries some­how threw Man­afort under the bus. You don’t have a lot to lose when you’re already under the bus.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 16, 2018, 3:20 pm
  3. @Pterrafractyl–

    Note that the “Ukrain­ian Week­ly” is very close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the OUN/B, and its for­mer assis­tant editor–Michael Bociurkiw–heads the OSCE group mon­i­tor­ing affairs in Ukraine.

    Boci­urkiw was one of the first peo­ple on the site of the crash of Malaysia Air­lines flight MH17.

    He also has close ties to the Malaysian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    This is worth remem­ber­ing, in the the “Ukrain­ian Week­ly” sto­ry men­tions noth­ing about Vik­tor Yuschenko, who was also involved with this milieu and who, of course, is part and par­cel to the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions now in ascen­dance in Ukraine.

    For more about Boci­urkiw, check out, among oth­er programs–FTR #‘s 804 and 803. (http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/walkin-the-snake-in-ukraine-part‑2/ and http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-803-walkin-the-snake-in-ukraine/)

    Keep Up the Great Work!

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 16, 2018, 4:44 pm
  4. @Dave: Here’s a Ukrain­ian Week arti­cle from 2012 that’s actu­al­ly a great exam­ple of that OUN/B ori­en­ta­tion of the pub­li­ca­tion. It’s the arti­cle that was linked to in that April 2018 Ukrain­ian Week arti­cle. The 2012 arti­cle appears to show the “Haps­burg Group” lob­by­ing in action. It’s about two events orga­nized in Paris and Lon­don intend­ed to allow rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment to make a pro-Ukrain­ian case to that Ukraine should be allowed. And those rep­re­sen­ta­tives are indeed Alfred Gusen­bauer and Alexan­der Kwas­niews­ki.

    The piece men­tions how the out­reach events were arranged by the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine, the Brus­sels-based orga­ni­za­tion set up by the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment to act as the front group for this lob­by­ing effort by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment to move Ukraine close to Europe. As the arti­cle makes clear, this lob­by­ing effort was met with gen­er­al skep­ti­cism by the Euro­pean audi­ence, high­light­ing how much resis­tance there was with­in Europe to hav­ing Ukraine join the trade asso­ci­a­tion due to the jail­ing of Yulia Tymoshenko.

    And as the arti­cle also makes clear, the author had pret­ty warm feel­ings towards Svo­bo­da. The piece recounts a point dur­ing the Lon­don con­fer­ence when Leonid Kozhara, Ukraine’s for­eign min­is­ter at the time, was com­ment­ing on the recent elec­tion in Ukraine and Kozhara expressed con­cern about both far left and far right par­ties gain­ing a large share of the vote. The far right par­ty he referred to was Svo­bo­da and he went on to call out Svo­bo­da as pro­mot­ing a Nazi and fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy: “Two rad­i­cal par­ties from the far-right and far-left wings gained a large share of Ukrain­ian votes. This means that the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment will have a new flavour… We are all con­cerned about Svoboda’s state­ments, espe­cial­ly those con­cern­ing eth­nic minori­ties. Svo­bo­da lacks tol­er­ance and we are par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned about its anti-Semit­ic dec­la­ra­tions… Nazi and fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy is banned in Ukraine. Svo­bo­da is a mar­gin­al par­ty. I’d like to assure you that my par­ty will nev­er let Svo­bo­da cross the red line.

    The author of the piece responds to Kozhara’s warn­ings about Svo­bo­da as fol­lows: “Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion, how­ev­er, Kozhara was actu­al­ly forced to admit that it was the actions of his par­ty, includ­ing the pass­ing of the noto­ri­ous lan­guage bill, that pushed many vot­ers to sup­port par­ties promis­ing to resist the government’s anti-Ukrain­ian ini­tia­tives.”

    Keep in mind that the “noto­ri­ous lan­guage bill” was a bill that made Russ­ian an offi­cial lan­guage. Not the ONLY offi­cial lan­guage. Ukrain­ian was still an offi­cial lan­guage. But mak­ing Russ­ian an offi­cial lan­guage was appar­ent­ly a rea­son­able jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for vot­ers to sup­port a far right par­ty of Svo­bo­da accord­ing to the author. The piece then goes on to quote the British Con­ser­v­a­tive MP, John Whit­ting­dale (who is on the advi­so­ry board of the British Ukrain­ian Soci­ety), who observed the Ukrain­ian par­lia­men­tary elec­tions held a month ear­li­er. Whit­ting­dale expressed a lack of con­cern about the sud­den surge in pop­u­lar­i­ty Svo­bo­da because he also con­clud­ed that it was most­ly just patri­ots upset about the lan­guage bill.

    So, yeah, this Ukrain­ian Week arti­cle was filled with all sorts of inter­est­ing details about the Haps­burg Group lob­by­ing effort and also def­i­nite­ly lived up to its pro-far right rep­u­ta­tion:

    Ukrain­ian Week

    A War for the Neigh­bours’ Ears
    The Par­ty of Regions launch­es yet anoth­er cam­paign to white­wash the Yanukovych regime and dis­cred­it the oppo­si­tion. Its mem­bers accuse inter­na­tion­al observers of vio­la­tions and strug­gle to per­suade the West that the elec­tion was demo­c­ra­t­ic in Paris, and talk about threats from Svo­bo­da in Lon­don

    Alla Lazare­va, Bohdan Tsioupine
    26 Novem­ber, 2012

    “Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is first and fore­most a war for the ears of your neigh­bour”, Czech writer Milan Kun­dera once said. This is espe­cial­ly true when it comes to polit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion dur­ing elec­tions. The Par­ty of Regions’ mouth­pieces were also com­pet­ing for the ears of their neigh­bours, among them West­ern Euro­pean researchers, MPs, sen­a­tors and jour­nal­ists. “The gov­ern­ment must also explain its stand­point on the elec­tion”, a col­league in Paris once said. Indeed, the world has quite a few ques­tions for the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment after pho­tos sur­faced show­ing spe­cial Berkut police fetch­ing bal­lots from polling sta­tions in Per­vo­maisk and else­where.

    The lat­est pro­tec­tion cam­paign for the rul­ing par­ty unfold­ed in Paris, led by PR MPs Leonid Kozhara and Ivan Popesku. They held no press con­fer­ences or oth­er pub­lic events dur­ing the first week of Novem­ber, yet met with inter­est­ed par­ties in per­son­al meet­ings, a source claimed.

    The PR has del­e­gat­ed its com­mu­ni­ca­tions in France to Jus­tine Gilles from Fleish­man-Hillard Paris. She pre­vi­ous­ly tried to arrange a vis­it of ex-pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yushchenko to Paris after plac­ing a huge poster of Yulia Tymoshenko on the façade of the Paris mayor’s house. The attempt failed. Now she is offer­ing inter­est­ed par­ties the oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet with Leonid Kozhara, Deputy Head of the Verk­hov­na Rada Com­mit­tee for For­eign Affairs, accord­ing to cor­re­spon­dence attained by The Ukrain­ian Week. The Pres­i­den­tial Admin­is­tra­tion is now rely­ing upon Kozhara’s diplo­mat­ic exper­tise when it comes to its image in the West.

    The Ukrain­ian Week has tried to con­tact Jus­tine Gilles for a meet­ing to speak with the president’s advi­sor about his com­ments on elec­tion vio­la­tions. In an inter­view with the Russ­ian news­pa­per Izves­tia (The News), Kozhara once stat­ed, “Inter­na­tion­al observers are break­ing the law by say­ing that Ukraine’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tion was unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic”. “Mr. Kozhara’s sched­ule is full,” Gilles replied by email, while Kozhara left for Lon­don to talk about the threat of Svo­bo­da at the UK House of Com­mons. In her com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the press and politi­cians, the PR’s French aide intro­duces her­self as an activist from a “Brus­sels-based NGO mon­i­tor­ing Ukraine and every­thing linked to Ukraine’s EU inte­gra­tion”, and not as an employ­ee of the well-known pub­lic rela­tions com­pa­ny whose email address she uses. The NGO she men­tions is known as the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine.

    Its plat­form is cen­tred on Euro­pean inte­gra­tion, the estab­lish­ment of direct con­nec­tions between Ukrain­ian and Euro­pean politi­cians, and dia­logue with civic activists. How­ev­er, its Ukrain­ian co-founders are all PR peo­ple, includ­ing Leonid Kozhara, Vitaliy Kali­uzh­nyi and Yevheniy Heller. In its pub­lic dec­la­ra­tions, the Cen­tre seems to be all about demo­c­ra­t­ic rhetoric, but its activ­i­ties reflect Sovi­et pro­pa­gan­da prac­tices. “I think I attend­ed just one event of the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine,” says an activist from the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty in France. “It was a meet­ing with the Cen­tral Elec­tion Commission’s Mykhai­lo Okhen­dovsky this August. They pub­li­cized the elec­tion law and tout­ed the virtues of the gov­ern­ment, but they did it so unpro­fes­sion­al­ly! A his­to­ry pro­fes­sor who was sit­ting next to me just won­dered qui­et­ly, ‘Who are they kid­ding?’ The address on the invi­ta­tion let­ter was proud­ly stat­ed as Pan­theon-Sor­bonne Uni­ver­si­ty. When we arrived, a young woman redi­rect­ed us to a build­ing next door that had bare­ly any­thing to do with the renowned uni­ver­si­ty. It was on the fourth floor, with no ele­va­tor, and wob­bly chairs.”

    Anoth­er aspect of the Centre’s activ­i­ties is its selec­tive approach to inform­ing its West­ern audi­ence, such as a mail­ing on access to the media sent pri­or to the elec­tion on Octo­ber 7–10. The note stat­ed in Eng­lish and French that oppo­si­tion par­ties received more air­time on Ukrain­ian tele­vi­sion than pro-gov­ern­ment par­ties. This is true accord­ing to the State Radio and Tele­vi­sion Com­mit­tee, but its list of oppo­si­tion par­ties includes Natalia Korolevska’s par­ty, whose pro­mo­tion­al cam­paign out­spent all oth­er par­ties run­ning in the elec­tion.

    UKRAINE’S RULERS WARN OF THE SVOBODA “THREAT”

    On Novem­ber 6, the out­come of Ukraine’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tion was dis­cussed at the British Ukrain­ian Soci­ety round­table at London’s West­min­ster par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee ses­sion hall. Ukraine’s Ambas­sador to the UK Volodymyr Khan­do­hiy elicit­ed grins from the crowd when he sug­gest­ed that the Ukrain­ian and US elec­tions had sim­i­lar­ly unpre­dictable out­comes. How­ev­er, the dis­par­i­ty between the two elec­tions was clear the fol­low­ing day when the Amer­i­cans had suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed their elec­tion and announced a win­ner while Ukraine was still count­ing bal­lots with the help of spe­cial police and mys­te­ri­ous burly men with jour­nal­ist IDs two weeks after elec­tion day. Nobody else talked about sim­i­lar­i­ties between the elec­tions in Ukraine and the US that night.

    Leonid Kozhara spoke on behalf of the PR at the Lon­don dis­cus­sion ses­sions. He seemed per­fect­ly hap­py with how the count­ing went in Ukraine and claimed that the longest delays were in first-past-the-post dis­tricts. Accord­ing to Kozhara, his par­ty bare­ly had any prob­lems in the elec­tion. His biggest con­cerns were about the oppo­si­tion. With a wor­ried expres­sion on his face, he tried to look like a true Euro­pean politi­cian who cares about West­ern val­ues of lib­er­al democ­ra­cy: “Two rad­i­cal par­ties from the far-right and far-left wings gained a large share of Ukrain­ian votes. This means that the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment will have a new flavour… We are all con­cerned about Svoboda’s state­ments, espe­cial­ly those con­cern­ing eth­nic minori­ties. Svo­bo­da lacks tol­er­ance and we are par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned about its anti-Semit­ic dec­la­ra­tions… Nazi and fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy is banned in Ukraine. Svo­bo­da is a mar­gin­al par­ty. I’d like to assure you that my par­ty will nev­er let Svo­bo­da cross the red line.”

    Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion, how­ev­er, Kozhara was actu­al­ly forced to admit that it was the actions of his par­ty, includ­ing the pass­ing of the noto­ri­ous lan­guage bill, that pushed many vot­ers to sup­port par­ties promis­ing to resist the government’s anti-Ukrain­ian ini­tia­tives.

    Even­tu­al­ly, the over­all impres­sion was that Kozhara had failed to accom­plish his key mis­sion. British Con­ser­v­a­tive MP John Whit­ting­dale who observed the Ukrain­ian elec­tion did not sound too con­cerned about Svo­bo­da. He said that some peo­ple in Ukraine also told him that Svo­bo­da fol­lows a fas­cist neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy, but he decid­ed to draw his own con­clu­sions based on what he saw and heard from peo­ple he con­sid­ered reli­able and trust­wor­thy. “A man I know very well, who is fair­ly well edu­cat­ed and informed, accom­pa­nied me on my recent trip to Ukraine. He told me that he was vot­ing for Svo­bo­da. As far as I know, he is not a fas­cist or a neo-Nazi. He is undoubt­ed­ly a Ukrain­ian patri­ot, and he was out­raged by the lan­guage bill. He want­ed to man­i­fest his patri­ot­ic feel­ings. I assume some­thing sim­i­lar takes place in the UK, too. There is frus­tra­tion with the lead­ing polit­i­cal par­ties, and the vot­ers seek alter­na­tives.”

    Anoth­er issue at the Lon­don dis­cus­sion was the assess­ment of Ukraine’s prospects of draw­ing clos­er to Europe. The prospects did not sound too opti­mistic. Par­tic­i­pants who were not part of the Ukrain­ian del­e­ga­tion often men­tioned “selec­tive jus­tice” and com­ments from the audi­ence gave the impres­sion that the West still sees Tymoshenko’s case as a sym­bol of the cur­rent government’s nature.

    Leonid Kozhara strug­gled to dis­pel this, refer­ring to the tri­al over Roman­ian ex-pre­mier Adri­an Nas­tase on charges of cor­rup­tion, and assured Euro­peans that Kyiv sim­ply had not had enough oppor­tu­ni­ties to explain its posi­tion to Europe. In response, he was told that he was speak­ing at the British par­lia­ment at the moment, and that Ukraine is rep­re­sent­ed in a num­ber of Euro­pean orga­ni­za­tions and insti­tu­tions which have been call­ing on its gov­ern­ment to stop anti­de­mo­c­ra­t­ic process­es in the coun­try, and have most­ly been ignored. There­fore, nobody in Lon­don risked reject­ing the prospect of Ukraine’s esca­lat­ing inter­na­tion­al iso­la­tion. Kozhara’s diplo­ma­cy seemed to fail once again. Accord­ing to The Ukrain­ian Week’s sources, the Pres­i­den­tial Admin­is­tra­tion is already look­ing for some­one to replace him as its key mouth­piece in the West.

    KOSTIANTYN HRYSHCHENKO AND HIS FRIENDS

    On Novem­ber 12, the Paris-based École Mil­i­taire host­ed a con­fer­ence titled “Ukraine: A Strate­gic Cross­roads in Europe”, arranged by the Revue Défense Nationale (Nation­al Defence Review) mag­a­zine and Vien­na-based Ren­ner-Insti­tut. Although the con­fer­ence took place in Paris, the con­tacts for ques­tions and ref­er­ences were Bel­gian.

    Ukraine’s Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs, Kos­tiantyn Hryshchenko, was present at the con­fer­ence. He appeared quite con­fi­dent, assur­ing every­one in Eng­lish and French of the Ukrain­ian government’s unfal­ter­ing will to lead Ukraine to EU mem­ber­ship: “Can­di­dates did not debate on inter­na­tion­al issues at all dur­ing the elec­tion. Why? Because all par­tic­i­pants of the polit­i­cal process in Ukraine have a com­mon objec­tive – future mem­ber­ship in the EU.” As he list­ed the government’s accom­plish­ments on the path to bring­ing this objec­tive to life, Hryshchenko men­tioned the new Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure, the “biggest solar pow­er sta­tion in the world under con­struc­tion in Crimea”, and the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment “ini­tialled and ready to be signed.”

    Back­stage, Hryshchenko had a nice chat with some West­ern vis­i­tors whose speech­es were quite friend­ly towards Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment. Ex-Chan­cel­lor of Aus­tria Alfred Gusen­bauer was one of them. “Democ­ra­cy is the vic­to­ry of the major­i­ty over the minor­i­ty. Some of the defeat­ed in Ukraine can­not come to grips with their defeat, hence the prob­lems,” he said. Alexan­der Kwas­niews­ki claimed that the mixed elec­tion sys­tem “is def­i­nite­ly not good for Ukraine or oth­er coun­tries with insuf­fi­cient­ly struc­tured polit­i­cal sys­tems”. “You can offer any sys­tem to a coun­try, and some peo­ple will still crit­i­cize it no mat­ter what,” Gusen­bauer respond­ed. Mean­while, vot­er bribery, vot­er coer­cion and abuse of admin­is­tra­tive resources in FPTP dis­tricts were not men­tioned. “He must be a lob­by­ist from the Par­ty of Regions,” sug­gest­ed an inter­na­tion­al observ­er who had worked at the Ukrain­ian elec­tion as he lis­tened to Gusen­bauer.

    The con­fer­ence went on as a sequence of speech­es rather than a debate. No time was left for ques­tions from the audi­ence, so only the speak­ers had a chance to ask them. Sen­si­tive or con­tro­ver­sial issues were tack­led very gen­tly, with no reproach. “Imper­fec­tions or fal­si­fi­ca­tions?” won­dered Sen­a­tor Hervé Mau­rey, Chair­man of the France-Ukraine Friend­ship Group at the French par­lia­ment. Deliv­ered in a some­what wor­ried tone, his speech seemed the most ade­quate reac­tion to the polit­i­cal devel­op­ments in Ukraine.

    ...

    Although held at the pres­ti­gious École Mil­i­taire, with well-known par­tic­i­pants, high goals and polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, the con­fer­ence lacked some­thing impor­tant. “What did you expect?” a French jour­nal­ist won­dered. “Take an old Sovi­et car, fix it up and hire the best pro­mot­ers in the world to sell it. Will they find buy­ers? I don’t think so. It’s the same thing with the Par­ty of Regions. No mat­ter who pro­motes it in the West, they will nev­er hide its fal­si­fi­ca­tions or stolen vic­to­ries.”

    ———-

    “A War for the Neigh­bours’ Ears” by Alla Lazare­va, Bohdan Tsioupine; Ukrain­ian Week; 11/26/2012

    ““Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is first and fore­most a war for the ears of your neigh­bour”, Czech writer Milan Kun­dera once said. This is espe­cial­ly true when it comes to polit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion dur­ing elec­tions. The Par­ty of Regions’ mouth­pieces were also com­pet­ing for the ears of their neigh­bours, among them West­ern Euro­pean researchers, MPs, sen­a­tors and jour­nal­ists. “The gov­ern­ment must also explain its stand­point on the elec­tion”, a col­league in Paris once said. Indeed, the world has quite a few ques­tions for the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment after pho­tos sur­faced show­ing spe­cial Berkut police fetch­ing bal­lots from polling sta­tions in Per­vo­maisk and else­where.”

    A com­pe­ti­tion for the ears of Ukraine’s West­ern Euro­pean researchers, MPs, sen­a­tors and jour­nal­ists. That’s how this Ukrain­ian Week­ly arti­cle from 2012 char­ac­ter­ized the out­reach effort that we now know as the “Haps­burg Group” lob­by­ing effort.

    But also recall how the role of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment in fund­ing the “Haps­burg Group” of Euro­pean ex-politi­cians was inten­tion­al­ly obscure by run­ning the mon­ey through the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine pub­lic rela­tions orga­ni­za­tion. So it’s inter­est­ing to note that this lob­by­ing effort was led by Par­ty of Regions MPs like Leonid Kozhara and it appeared to be obvi­ous to every­one that the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine was work­ing for the Par­ty of Regions, at least when it came to lob­by­ing in France. As the arti­cle notes, the Par­ty of Regions del­e­gat­ed its com­mu­ni­ca­tions in France to Jus­tine Gilles from Fleish­man-Hillard Paris. But Gilles her­self would intro­duce her­self as an activist of the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine. So if the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine was sup­posed to be a front group that put a dis­tance between the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment and this lob­by­ing effort they did­n’t do a very good job:

    ...
    The lat­est pro­tec­tion cam­paign for the rul­ing par­ty unfold­ed in Paris, led by PR MPs Leonid Kozhara and Ivan Popesku. They held no press con­fer­ences or oth­er pub­lic events dur­ing the first week of Novem­ber, yet met with inter­est­ed par­ties in per­son­al meet­ings, a source claimed.

    The PR has del­e­gat­ed its com­mu­ni­ca­tions in France to Jus­tine Gilles from Fleish­man-Hillard Paris. She pre­vi­ous­ly tried to arrange a vis­it of ex-pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yushchenko to Paris after plac­ing a huge poster of Yulia Tymoshenko on the façade of the Paris mayor’s house. The attempt failed. Now she is offer­ing inter­est­ed par­ties the oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet with Leonid Kozhara, Deputy Head of the Verk­hov­na Rada Com­mit­tee for For­eign Affairs, accord­ing to cor­re­spon­dence attained by The Ukrain­ian Week. The Pres­i­den­tial Admin­is­tra­tion is now rely­ing upon Kozhara’s diplo­mat­ic exper­tise when it comes to its image in the West.

    The Ukrain­ian Week has tried to con­tact Jus­tine Gilles for a meet­ing to speak with the president’s advi­sor about his com­ments on elec­tion vio­la­tions. In an inter­view with the Russ­ian news­pa­per Izves­tia (The News), Kozhara once stat­ed, “Inter­na­tion­al observers are break­ing the law by say­ing that Ukraine’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tion was unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic”. “Mr. Kozhara’s sched­ule is full,” Gilles replied by email, while Kozhara left for Lon­don to talk about the threat of Svo­bo­da at the UK House of Com­mons. In her com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the press and politi­cians, the PR’s French aide intro­duces her­self as an activist from a “Brus­sels-based NGO mon­i­tor­ing Ukraine and every­thing linked to Ukraine’s EU inte­gra­tion”, and not as an employ­ee of the well-known pub­lic rela­tions com­pa­ny whose email address she uses. The NGO she men­tions is known as the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine.

    Its plat­form is cen­tred on Euro­pean inte­gra­tion, the estab­lish­ment of direct con­nec­tions between Ukrain­ian and Euro­pean politi­cians, and dia­logue with civic activists. How­ev­er, its Ukrain­ian co-founders are all PR peo­ple, includ­ing Leonid Kozhara, Vitaliy Kali­uzh­nyi and Yevheniy Heller. In its pub­lic dec­la­ra­tions, the Cen­tre seems to be all about demo­c­ra­t­ic rhetoric, but its activ­i­ties reflect Sovi­et pro­pa­gan­da prac­tices. “I think I attend­ed just one event of the Euro­pean Cen­tre for a Mod­ern Ukraine,” says an activist from the Ukrain­ian com­mu­ni­ty in France. “It was a meet­ing with the Cen­tral Elec­tion Commission’s Mykhai­lo Okhen­dovsky this August. They pub­li­cized the elec­tion law and tout­ed the virtues of the gov­ern­ment, but they did it so unpro­fes­sion­al­ly! A his­to­ry pro­fes­sor who was sit­ting next to me just won­dered qui­et­ly, ‘Who are they kid­ding?’ The address on the invi­ta­tion let­ter was proud­ly stat­ed as Pan­theon-Sor­bonne Uni­ver­si­ty. When we arrived, a young woman redi­rect­ed us to a build­ing next door that had bare­ly any­thing to do with the renowned uni­ver­si­ty. It was on the fourth floor, with no ele­va­tor, and wob­bly chairs.”
    ...

    Also note how the Par­ty of Regions rep­re­sen­ta­tives at these events in Paris were assur­ing the audi­ences of the Yanukovych gov­ern­men­t’s unfal­ter­ing will to lead Ukraine into the EU. As Ukraine’s for­eign min­is­ter put it, the the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment was “ini­tialled and ready to be signed”:

    ...
    KOSTIANTYN HRYSHCHENKO AND HIS FRIENDS

    On Novem­ber 12, the Paris-based École Mil­i­taire host­ed a con­fer­ence titled “Ukraine: A Strate­gic Cross­roads in Europe”, arranged by the Revue Défense Nationale (Nation­al Defence Review) mag­a­zine and Vien­na-based Ren­ner-Insti­tut. Although the con­fer­ence took place in Paris, the con­tacts for ques­tions and ref­er­ences were Bel­gian.

    Ukraine’s Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs, Kos­tiantyn Hryshchenko, was present at the con­fer­ence. He appeared quite con­fi­dent, assur­ing every­one in Eng­lish and French of the Ukrain­ian government’s unfal­ter­ing will to lead Ukraine to EU mem­ber­ship: “Can­di­dates did not debate on inter­na­tion­al issues at all dur­ing the elec­tion. Why? Because all par­tic­i­pants of the polit­i­cal process in Ukraine have a com­mon objec­tive – future mem­ber­ship in the EU.” As he list­ed the government’s accom­plish­ments on the path to bring­ing this objec­tive to life, Hryshchenko men­tioned the new Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure, the “biggest solar pow­er sta­tion in the world under con­struc­tion in Crimea”, and the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment “ini­tialled and ready to be signed.”
    ...

    And it was back­stage of that event were the two Haps­burg Group mem­bers, Alfred Gusen­bauer and Alexan­der Kwas­niews­ki, made their appear­ances. Inter­est­ing­ly, Kwas­niews­ki and Gusen­bauer appeared to be debat­ing with each oth­er over whether or not Ukraine’s mixed elec­tion sys­tem, with Gusen­bauer defend­ing the sys­tem and prompt­ing the com­ment from an inter­na­tion­al observ­er that “He must be a lob­by­ist from the Par­ty of Regions”. So it appears Kwas­niews­ki was more ‘under­cov­er’ as a Haps­burg Group mem­ber:

    ...
    Back­stage, Hryshchenko had a nice chat with some West­ern vis­i­tors whose speech­es were quite friend­ly towards Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment. Ex-Chan­cel­lor of Aus­tria Alfred Gusen­bauer was one of them. “Democ­ra­cy is the vic­to­ry of the major­i­ty over the minor­i­ty. Some of the defeat­ed in Ukraine can­not come to grips with their defeat, hence the prob­lems,” he said. Alexan­der Kwas­niews­ki claimed that the mixed elec­tion sys­tem “is def­i­nite­ly not good for Ukraine or oth­er coun­tries with insuf­fi­cient­ly struc­tured polit­i­cal sys­tems”. “You can offer any sys­tem to a coun­try, and some peo­ple will still crit­i­cize it no mat­ter what,” Gusen­bauer respond­ed. Mean­while, vot­er bribery, vot­er coer­cion and abuse of admin­is­tra­tive resources in FPTP dis­tricts were not men­tioned. “He must be a lob­by­ist from the Par­ty of Regions,” sug­gest­ed an inter­na­tion­al observ­er who had worked at the Ukrain­ian elec­tion as he lis­tened to Gusen­bauer.

    The con­fer­ence went on as a sequence of speech­es rather than a debate. No time was left for ques­tions from the audi­ence, so only the speak­ers had a chance to ask them. Sen­si­tive or con­tro­ver­sial issues were tack­led very gen­tly, with no reproach. “Imper­fec­tions or fal­si­fi­ca­tions?” won­dered Sen­a­tor Hervé Mau­rey, Chair­man of the France-Ukraine Friend­ship Group at the French par­lia­ment. Deliv­ered in a some­what wor­ried tone, his speech seemed the most ade­quate reac­tion to the polit­i­cal devel­op­ments in Ukraine.
    ...

    Intrigu­ing­ly, the Ukrain­ian Week author report­ed­ly had a source who claimed that the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment was already look­ing to find some­one to replace Par­ty of Regions MP Leonid Kozhara as the key mouth­piece for this lob­by­ing effort in in the West due to his inabil­i­ty to win over the Euro­pean audi­ences. So you have to won­der if that lob­by­ing effort ‘face lift’ end­ed up shift­ing more of the lob­by­ing work to Haps­burg Group:

    ...
    Anoth­er issue at the Lon­don dis­cus­sion was the assess­ment of Ukraine’s prospects of draw­ing clos­er to Europe. The prospects did not sound too opti­mistic. Par­tic­i­pants who were not part of the Ukrain­ian del­e­ga­tion often men­tioned “selec­tive jus­tice” and com­ments from the audi­ence gave the impres­sion that the West still sees Tymoshenko’s case as a sym­bol of the cur­rent government’s nature.

    Leonid Kozhara strug­gled to dis­pel this, refer­ring to the tri­al over Roman­ian ex-pre­mier Adri­an Nas­tase on charges of cor­rup­tion, and assured Euro­peans that Kyiv sim­ply had not had enough oppor­tu­ni­ties to explain its posi­tion to Europe. In response, he was told that he was speak­ing at the British par­lia­ment at the moment, and that Ukraine is rep­re­sent­ed in a num­ber of Euro­pean orga­ni­za­tions and insti­tu­tions which have been call­ing on its gov­ern­ment to stop anti­de­mo­c­ra­t­ic process­es in the coun­try, and have most­ly been ignored. There­fore, nobody in Lon­don risked reject­ing the prospect of Ukraine’s esca­lat­ing inter­na­tion­al iso­la­tion. Kozhara’s diplo­ma­cy seemed to fail once again. Accord­ing to The Ukrain­ian Week’s sources, the Pres­i­den­tial Admin­is­tra­tion is already look­ing for some­one to replace him as its key mouth­piece in the West.
    ...

    And while the audi­ences of these events were under­stand­ably con­cerned about issues like the elec­toral integri­ty of Ukraine’s elec­tions or the jail­ing of Yulia Tymoshenko, there did­n’t appear to be much con­cern about the surg­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of Svo­bo­da and the fact that it shocked observers and entered into par­lia­ment for the first time after cap­tur­ing 10 per­cent of the vote in that 2012 elec­tion. At least that’s how this Ukrain­ian Week arti­cle depict­ed it. When the top­ic of Svo­bo­da came up it was dis­missed as mere­ly reflect­ing Ukrain­ian patri­ot­ic sen­ti­ments and out­rage over a law mak­ing Russ­ian one of the offi­cial lan­guages of the coun­try:

    ...
    UKRAINE’S RULERS WARN OF THE SVOBODA “THREAT”

    On Novem­ber 6, the out­come of Ukraine’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tion was dis­cussed at the British Ukrain­ian Soci­ety round­table at London’s West­min­ster par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee ses­sion hall. Ukraine’s Ambas­sador to the UK Volodymyr Khan­do­hiy elicit­ed grins from the crowd when he sug­gest­ed that the Ukrain­ian and US elec­tions had sim­i­lar­ly unpre­dictable out­comes. How­ev­er, the dis­par­i­ty between the two elec­tions was clear the fol­low­ing day when the Amer­i­cans had suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed their elec­tion and announced a win­ner while Ukraine was still count­ing bal­lots with the help of spe­cial police and mys­te­ri­ous burly men with jour­nal­ist IDs two weeks after elec­tion day. Nobody else talked about sim­i­lar­i­ties between the elec­tions in Ukraine and the US that night.

    Leonid Kozhara spoke on behalf of the PR at the Lon­don dis­cus­sion ses­sions. He seemed per­fect­ly hap­py with how the count­ing went in Ukraine and claimed that the longest delays were in first-past-the-post dis­tricts. Accord­ing to Kozhara, his par­ty bare­ly had any prob­lems in the elec­tion. His biggest con­cerns were about the oppo­si­tion. With a wor­ried expres­sion on his face, he tried to look like a true Euro­pean politi­cian who cares about West­ern val­ues of lib­er­al democ­ra­cy: “Two rad­i­cal par­ties from the far-right and far-left wings gained a large share of Ukrain­ian votes. This means that the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment will have a new flavour… We are all con­cerned about Svoboda’s state­ments, espe­cial­ly those con­cern­ing eth­nic minori­ties. Svo­bo­da lacks tol­er­ance and we are par­tic­u­lar­ly con­cerned about its anti-Semit­ic dec­la­ra­tions… Nazi and fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy is banned in Ukraine. Svo­bo­da is a mar­gin­al par­ty. I’d like to assure you that my par­ty will nev­er let Svo­bo­da cross the red line.”

    Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion, how­ev­er, Kozhara was actu­al­ly forced to admit that it was the actions of his par­ty, includ­ing the pass­ing of the noto­ri­ous lan­guage bill, that pushed many vot­ers to sup­port par­ties promis­ing to resist the government’s anti-Ukrain­ian ini­tia­tives.

    Even­tu­al­ly, the over­all impres­sion was that Kozhara had failed to accom­plish his key mis­sion. British Con­ser­v­a­tive MP John Whit­ting­dale who observed the Ukrain­ian elec­tion did not sound too con­cerned about Svo­bo­da. He said that some peo­ple in Ukraine also told him that Svo­bo­da fol­lows a fas­cist neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy, but he decid­ed to draw his own con­clu­sions based on what he saw and heard from peo­ple he con­sid­ered reli­able and trust­wor­thy. “A man I know very well, who is fair­ly well edu­cat­ed and informed, accom­pa­nied me on my recent trip to Ukraine. He told me that he was vot­ing for Svo­bo­da. As far as I know, he is not a fas­cist or a neo-Nazi. He is undoubt­ed­ly a Ukrain­ian patri­ot, and he was out­raged by the lan­guage bill. He want­ed to man­i­fest his patri­ot­ic feel­ings. I assume some­thing sim­i­lar takes place in the UK, too. There is frus­tra­tion with the lead­ing polit­i­cal par­ties, and the vot­ers seek alter­na­tives.”
    ...

    So, assum­ing this Ukrain­ian Week arti­cle was accu­rate­ly describ­ing the zeit­geist of these events, it sounds like the EU audi­ences tar­get­ed by this lob­by­ing effort were gen­er­al­ly resis­tant to the idea of Ukraine mov­ing clos­er to the EU due to con­cerns about Yanukovych gov­ern­ment, but they did­n’t have much prob­lem with the surg­ing Ukrain­ian far right. And giv­en the cur­rent treat­ment of the far right in Ukraine by the West, that 2012 Ukrain­ian Week depic­tion sounds pret­ty plau­si­ble.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 27, 2018, 10:09 pm
  5. Covert Action has done an expose on daugh­ter of the ABN founder Lev Dobri­an­sky Paula Dobri­an­sky about to become one of the most pow­er­ful peo­ple at State.

    http://covertactionmagazine.com/index.php/2018/07/04/a‑fair-question-is-paula-dobriansky-a-neo-banderite/

    Posted by Hugo Turner | July 5, 2018, 7:39 pm

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