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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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