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FTR #784 “First, Tame the Intellectuals . . . .”

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. [1] (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Listen: MP3

Side 1 [2]  Side 2 [3]

(We have done eight pro­grams to date about the Ukrain­ian cri­sis: FTR #‘s 777 [4]778 [5]779 [6]780 [7]781 [8]782 [9], 783 [10]784 [11].)

[12]

Pravy Sektor Activist

Introduction: The title of the program is a quote from Adolph Hitler. The full quote is: “First, tame the intellectuals. Then, take them to the fields and hitch them to your racehorses.” It applies directly to the role of American and German political intellectuals and journalists in the fundamental and deliberate misrepresentation of the events in and around the Ukraine.

In the Ukraine, proper, the fascist Swoboda party is taming the intellectuals in an altogether characteristic and–when necessary–brutal fashion. Several Swoboda parliamentary deputies roughed up the director of the largest state TV station [13] in Ukraine and forced his resignation–this because he broadcast excerpts of Putin’s speech about the annexation of Crimea. The assault was led by Ihor Miroshnychenko, the Deputy Chair of the par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on Free­dom of Speech and Infor­ma­tion! He is the same fellow who referred to Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis as a “dirty Jewess.”

Other, similar, events have occurred elsewhere [14]in Ukraine.

[15]

Swoboda leader Oleh Tiahanybok: This is what constitutes "moderation" to our media

Like the U.S. media, the German media have been systematically misrepresenting Swoboda as something other than the fascist organization it clearly is. (Swoboda dominates the Ukrainian government [6], along with its fellow OUN/B derivative organization Pravy Sektor.) We note in passing that the fascist/Nazi nature of the forces now holding sway in Ukraine was empowered by the sytematic, deliberate altering [8] of Ukrainian history under the Yuschenko government.

The slanted media coverage in the U.S. and that in Germany appear to be coordinated, to some extent. Die Zeit has been front and center in downplaying the fascism in Ukraine. Jochen Bittner of that publication is a guest editorial contributor to The New York Times. (We wonder if Serge Schmemann [9] might have something to do with that development.)

Much of the program deals with the nature of the so-called democratic opposition in Russia, about which we’ve heard so much caterwauling of late. In particular, the program highlights the true political cache of Alexei Navalny, recently featured as an op-ed writer in The New York Times.

Hailed as a “democrat” in our media, Navalny might better be termed a “fascionalist”–a xenophobe who is seen as uniting the racist anti-immigrant right in Russia and the corporate, urban middle class.

The program concludes with review of Western intelligence support for Caucasus jihadist elements.

Program Highlights Include: Review of Swoboda’s celebration of the Ukrainian Waffen SS units from World War II; the move by German Green Party delegates to the European Parliament to limit former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s limit to free speech after he openly questioned Germany’s policy toward Ukraine; discussion of a Russian fascist known as “the hatchet;” Navalny’s affinity with Russian neo-fascist elements; review of the role of Arrow-Cross/GOP veteran Laszlo Pasztor in the Free Congress Foundation’s interface with the Russian IRG in the 1990’s.

1. The Orwellian cov­er­age of the Ukraine con­tin­ues, with the absence of cov­er­age in the West of a stun­ning, rep­re­sen­ta­tive action by Swo­boda par­li­men­tary deputies. Angered by a state tele­vi­sion station’s broad­cast of Vladimir Putin’s speech announc­ing the absorp­tion of Crimea into the Ukraine, sev­eral Swo­boda par­lia­men­tary [13] deputies assaulted him and forced him to sign a paper of resignation. The assault was led by Ihor Miroshnychenko, the Deputy Chair of the par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on Free­dom of Speech and Infor­ma­tion! He is the same fellow who referred to Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis as a “dirty Jewess.”

“Nation­al­ist Svo­boda Party mem­bers of par­lia­ment assault First Chan­nel TV man­ager” by Olga Rudenko; Kyiv Post; 3/19/2014. [13]

Sev­eral mem­bers of the nation­al­ist Svo­boda Party scan­dalously assaulted the act­ing CEO of state-owned First National TV chan­nel. On March 18, law­mak­ers Ihor Mirosh­nichenko, Andriy Illenko and Bohdan Beniuk arrived at the TV head­quar­ters with sev­eral other men and forced Olek­sandr Pan­te­ley­monov to quit his post.

In the video, which was first pub­lished by Svo­boda spokesman Olek­sandr Aronets and repub­lished by Ukrain­ska Pravda after Aronets removed it, the mem­bers of par­lia­ment are seen ques­tion­ing Pan­te­ley­monov in his office about Per­shiy broad­cast­ing Russ­ian President’s Vladimir Putin’s speech about Crimea sep­a­ra­tion that took place in Moscow on March 18.

“Our view­ers have the right to know…” Pan­te­ley­monov starts mum­bling expla­na­tions, but gets inter­rupted by the law­mak­ers shout­ing “Know what? Know what?”

In the video, Pan­te­ley­monov is seen try­ing to explain him­self and speak­ing politely, while the law­mak­ers sur­round him and shout rudely.

Mirosh­nichenko, the lead­ing voice of the group, pro­ceeded to accuse Pan­te­ley­monov of direct­ing an edi­to­r­ial pol­icy aimed at dis­cred­it­ing the Euro­Maidan Rev­o­lu­tion at the behest of the for­mer state author­i­ties and demanded that Pan­te­ley­monov leave his post immediately.

Pan­te­ley­monov refused to do so and men­tioned that it was the Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters that con­trolled the TV station.

“Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters is over. I’m telling you — write the paper,” Mirosh­nichenko shouted in the manager’s face as he grabbed him and pulled him through the room to his desk.

Mirosh­nichenko then pushed Pan­te­ley­monov into his chair, Beniuk held him by the neck and Illienko passed him some paper. As Pan­te­ley­monov refused, Mirosh­nichenko and Beniuk beat him and slapped his face.

Even though the video doesn’t show it, the law­mak­ers did force the man­ager to quit.

As soon as the video was posted on the evening of March 18, it went viral and the actions of the law­mak­ers were widely con­demned. Many were con­cerned that such actions com­ing from one of the par­ties that were brought to power after the Euro­Maidan Rev­o­lu­tion would fuel Russ­ian pro­pa­ganda that has focused on vio­lence and nation­al­ism in Ukraine.

“These are not our meth­ods. The actions of these law­mak­ers are unac­cept­able,” was the reac­tion of Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­se­niuk, Svoboda’s political ally.

The assault was also con­demned by Ukraine’s Inde­pen­dent Media Union.

Even Svo­boda party head and Miroshnichenko’s friend Oleh Tyah­ny­bok con­demned the attack. “Such actions were fine yes­ter­day (dur­ing the protests), but now they are inap­pro­pri­ate,” Tyah­ny­bok said in offi­cial statement.

After the scan­dal erupted, Svoboda’s Aronets deleted the video and all the eyes turned to the pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral Oleh Maknit­skiy. Also a Svo­boda party mem­ber, Maknit­skiy is now expected to impar­tially inves­ti­gate the assault.

On the morn­ing of March 19, Makhnitskiy’s office released a state­ment promis­ing to justly deal with the case. Inte­rior Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov also con­demned the assault and said he was ready to have police help the pros­e­cu­tor general’s office in inves­ti­gat­ing the case. . . .

2. The incident described above is, sadly, not atypical of what is going on in Ukraine. Note, also, the systematic German media effort to “put listick on the Nazi” Swoboda organization. Swoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok met with the German Foreign Minister, among others.

“A Fatal Taboo Violation”; german-foreign-policy.com; 3/21/2014. [14]

The raids on TV editorial boards by parliamentarians in the new Ukrainian government, which Germany helped bring to power, is provoking massive protests. Tuesday evening, Svoboda Party MPs stormed the office of the acting President of the National Television Co. of Ukraine (NTU) and forced him to resign with physical blows and verbal insults. A similar incident took place the day before in Chernihiv. Dozens of journalists in Kiev and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media have harshly criticized these attacks, which are in line with Svoboda’s electoral program promising to revoke the licenses of all media “spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda.” Svoboda’s party program calls also for making the day of the founding of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) a national holiday. The UPA had participated in the massacres of Jewish Ukrainians and tens of thousands of Poles – according to estimates, up to 100.000 people. The German Foreign Minister has lent this party international social respectability and German media is characterizing Svoboda not as “fascist,” but merely as “nationalist.” A leading German daily claims that the leader, Oleh Tiahnybok, has led his party “out of the right-wing quagmire.”

Svoboda’s Media Specialist

The raid on the National Television Co. of Ukraine (NTU) carried out by a group of Svoboda parliamentarians and thugs, has provoked new protests against the new Ukrainian government. Under the leadership of MP Ihor Miroshnychenko, the Svoboda activists forced their way into NTU President Oleksandr Panteleymonov’s office, accusing him of serving Russian propaganda interests because he had broadcast excerpts of the speech, Russian President Putin had held that day. They physically assaulted him and forced him to resign. Miroshnychenko is the Deputy Chair of the parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information. A video of the attack can be seen on the internet.[1] [Miroshnychenko is also the fellow who termed Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis “Jew.”

Editorial Cooperation

This has not been the only such incident. According to the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, already on Monday, a group of unnamed individuals stormed the national television office in the Chernigov region, forcing its director, Arkadiy Bilibayev, to resign.[2] The “Right Sector’s” militia occupied the TV station “Tonis” and suggested “editorial cooperation.”[3]

Other Methods

Svoboda’s attacks have sparked protests. In Kiev, dozens of journalists demonstrated against intimidation attempts using force to end non-conformist reporting. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović expressed her “outrage.” The attack on NTU Director in Kiev is a “particularly serious incident,” also because it was perpetrated by members of the freedom of speech and information committee of the Parliament. Svoboda leader Oleh Tiahnybok has now officially dissociated himself from the attack, declaring that his party must “understand” that it no longer is in the opposition and therefore, should use “other methods.” Tiahnybok himself has used violence together with Miroshnychenko, as can be seen on the photo (right) taken in the Kiev parliament. A year ago, Miroshnychenko had made himself a name, when insulting Ukrainian actress, Mila Kunis he referred to her as “Jew.”

“Typical Russian Propaganda”

While its fascist character becomes more evident, from one day to the next, the Svoboda Party has undergone quite a surprising rhetorical carrier in leading German media organs. Whereas, in the fall of 2013, there was a basic consensus that the party was rightwing extremist, it has since gone through a major transformation. As a dwindling number of editorial boards is characterizing Svoboda as “fascist” or “rightwing extremist,” a growing number is using such attributes as “rightwing populist,” “nationalist,” or also, more recently, “national conservative.” Just a few days ago, a German daily wrote that Svoboda, possibly “before 2004, had nurtured rightwing extremist traditions.” However, its leader Oleh Tiahnybok has since “led the party out of this rightwing quagmire.” It would be “difficult to find fascist or anti-Semitic remarks he [Tiahnybok, (editor’s note)] has made over the past few years,” according to the “Tagesspiegel.” Besides, the “fascism accusation” is part “of the typical Russian propaganda.”[4]

Fascist?

If one would take this allegation seriously, various Svoboda activities under Tiahnybok’s leadership in 2013 would no longer be considered “fascist” or “rightwing extremist.” This would include a neo-Nazi “Svenskarnas Party” (Party of the Swedes) meeting, March 23 – 24 2013 in Stockholm, where Svoboda was represented and one of the keynote speakers was from the German NPD party. There would also be Svoboda’s participation at the “Boreal Festival” in mid-September 2013 in Cantù, Italy, where, alongside the “Svenskarnas Party,” also Italy’s neo-fascist “Forza-Nuova” and the “British National Party” were also present, or a meeting of a Svoboda party delegation with Saxony’s NPD regional parliamentary group in late May.[5] The April 28, 2013, commemoration celebration organized by Svoboda in Lviv for the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the “Galician” SS Division, with a Svoboda parliamentarian in Kiev as keynote speaker, would have nothing at all to do with fascism. The next day, Tiahnybok met in Kiev with the German ambassador.[6] According to the “Tagesspiegel’s” allegations, Svoboda’s memorial celebration in October 2013 of the October 14, 1942 founding of the “Ukrainian Insurgent Army” (UPA) would also not qualify as fascist. The UPA had massacred around 100,000 people in the wake of the Nazi occupiers, particularly Jews.

National Holiday

The German government claims that “in the run-up to the 2012 parliamentary elections” Svoboda had revised its electoral program eliminating “rightwing extremist statements” and insisting that, in his telephone conversation with Tiahnybok on April 29, the German ambassador had underlined that “anti-Semitic remarks are unacceptable from the German viewpoint.”[7] But Svoboda’s program is still unambiguous. For example, the party demands that all media organs spreading “anti-Ukrainian propaganda” have their licenses revoked. The parliamentarian Ihor Miroshnychenko used precisely this argument to justify his attack on NTU’s director. According to its electoral program, Svoboda seeks to outlaw “any display of Ukrainophobia” and ban “sexual perversion” – referring also to homosexuality. The party calls for a “state program of patriotic education and hardening the nature of the young generation” and promotes “patriotic organizations.” “Patriotism” would be defined by Svoboda’s view of history: It plans to declare the crimes of the Nazi UPA and of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist (OUN) collaborators a “national liberation struggle” and wants to give UPA veterans “proper privileges,” and declare October 14, the day the UPA was founded, a “national holiday” – the “Day of Ukrainian Weaponry.”[8]

“Gone Wrong More than Once”

When on February 20, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) appeared in public at the side of Svoboda leader Oleh Tiahnybok, he lent that party social respectability as an acceptable cooperation partner. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[9]) A few days ago, former EU-Commissioner, Günter Verheugen (SPD), was unambiguous in his views concerning Svoboda. It is a fatal “violation of a taboo” to accept “real fascists in a government,” Verheugen declared: “Integrating radical forces, has gone terribly wrong more than once in European history. This should not be forgotten.”[10]

3a. Another story in German-Foreign-Policy.com discusses the “Ministry of Truth” as it has operated in Germany. German dailies are distancing themselves from previous commitments to carry the “Russia Today” pages, carried in various Western publications.

More importantly, Die Zeit has helped to set the pace with regard to propagandizing the Ukrainian crisis. Note his links to various transatlantic policy forming groups.

Highlighting the over-the-top nature of the Transatlantic propagandizing of the Ukraine crisis is the move by German Green Party delegates to the European Parliament to limit former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s limit to free speech after he openly questioned Germany’s policy toward Ukraine. (This shouldn’t be too surprising to veteran listeners, as the German Green Party’s roots [16] are anchored not only in the Third Reich but the SS [17].)

“The Free World”; german-foreign-policy.com; 3/17/2014. [18]

In light of the pending incorporation of the Crimea into the Russian Federation, German politicians and media are stepping up their Russophobe agitation. The public’s “understanding for Moscow’s alleged motives” regarding the Crimea, remains “strikingly high,” complains a leading German daily. This reflects the view that Western global aggressions are either “not better or even worse.” In this context, a leading German newspaper, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” has discontinued a Russian PR insert, which it had begun carrying following a lucrative European-Russian economic conference. Another leading publication, the weekly “Die Zeit”, has “apologized” for having printed differentiated articles about the Ukraine. The author, a freelance journalist, had also earned his living, doing editorial work for the above-mentioned Russian PR insert. Last week, the leading German Green Party’s candidate for the European parliamentary elections tabled a motion for a gag order on former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, who had criticized the EU’s Ukrainian policy. This motion, to restrict his right of freedom of expression, has been ultimately rejected by the European parliament, however, not by her Party.

Two Blocks

From a purely strategic point of view, Moscow, with yesterday’s referendum and Crimea’s pending incorporation into the Russian Federation, succeeded in launching a first effective counter-coup against the West’s more than twenty-year offensive. For years now, with the EU’s and NATO’s eastward expansion and its subsequent “Eastern Partnership,” Berlin, Brussels and Washington have been able to attract countries, situated between Russia and the Western Alliance and which had not yet opted for one side or the other. In 2008, the West suffered its first setback, when Russia countered Georgia’s military aggression by Abkhazia and South Ossetia’s de facto secession from that country. From the perspective of power politics, Crimea’s annexation – Moscow’s response to repeated western attempts to take over Ukraine – is the first real effective counter-coup: Unlike Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Crimean Peninsula, in the middle of the Black Sea, is of great geo-strategic importance (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[1]). While business circles are trying to salvage their deals with Russia, Berlin, Brussels and Washington are aggravating the political confrontation. Moscow’s challenge to Western hegemonic claims will not go unanswered.

Free Expression

Currently this is clearly reflected in the leading German media, which is seeking to swing public opinion to approval of the political confrontation. A leading daily, for example, is warning that the public’s “understanding for Moscow’s alleged motives” is still “strikingly high,” reflecting the view that “what the Americans do is not better or maybe even worse.”[2] Proponents of this view can in fact point to numerous US wars over the past few decades and to German aggression, such as in Yugoslavia. Twenty years of repeated western violations of international law – including wars of aggression, also with German participation – accusations of Moscow violating international law in the Crimea, has obviously little impact. The leading media is therefore intensifying the dose.

The Free Market

The current dissention over the daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung’s” monthly PR-insert “Russland Heute” (“Russia Today”) is but one example. “Russia Today’s” official objective is to transmit “a positive image of Russia.” The insert appeared for the first time in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” at the end of 2010, in the immediate aftermath of an economic conference in Berlin’s noble Adlon Hotel. At the conference, Prime Minister Putin had called for an intensification of European-Russian economic relations – making lucrative offers for German industry. Other European and US-American media, for example, the British “Daily Telegraph,” the French “Le Figaro,” Spain’s El País as well as the “New York Times” and “Washington Post” also carry “Russia Today.” The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” declared today that, because of the Crimea conflict, it will no longer carry the pro-Russian insert, co-financed by the Russian government, and, it has also terminated its cooperation with “Russia Today.”[3]

The Free Press

The current escalation in developments has also had an affect on a renowned correspondent for Eastern Europe, who, over the past few weeks, has attracted attention with his differentiated articles on the Ukrainian situation. Moritz Gathmann’s articles had also been published in the on-line edition of the weekly “Die Zeit.” Since 2010, Gathmann, a free-lance journalist, has also been a “guest editor” for “Russia Today.” March 8, the head of the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung’s (WAZ) investigative team, David Schraven, publicly twittered a complaint to “Die Zeit”: “it would be better to say that Moritz Gathmann works in the service of Russla’s propaganda.” Two hours later, the chief-editor of “Die Zeit On-Line,” Jochen Wegner, twittered back: “cooperation terminated.” Since then, “Die Zeit On-Line” has been publishing a disclaimer under each of Gathmann’s articles on its site: “Disclaimer: The author works for the Russian state-co-financed ‘Russland Heute’ journal insert. This does not conform to our basic principles. Therefore, we apologize.” In the current heated debate, this is tantamount to the journalist’s public pillorying. This has made high waves on the media scene. It is not conducive to wage-earning journalists to go against the Russophobe mainstream.

The Free Elites

It should also be noted that there is obviously no contradiction with “Die Zeit On-Line’s” “basic principles” to closely cooperate with Berlin’s and Washington’s foreign policy networks. For example, “Die Zeit” editor Jochen Bittner had participated in a cooperation project sponsored by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and the “German Marshall Fund,” which – promoted by the Policy Planning Staff of Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – wrote the study, “Elements of a Foreign Policy Strategy for Germany.” Critics draw parallels between the contents of the project paper “New Power. New Responsibility”[4] and standpoints expressed in Bittner’s articles. “Die Zeit” has published no “disclaimer” under his articles. The same applies to the articles written by “Die Zeit’s” co-producer, Josef Joffe. His texts became one of the subjects of a media science dissertation published last year. The author arrives at the conclusion that Joffe not only mingles in “elite transatlantic ideological circles (…), supplemented with an EU component” – a reference to his membership in diverse organizations for German and transatlantic foreign policy – but, he even promotes key objectives of the German or transatlantic establishments, in part as propaganda within his texts. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[5])

The Free Speech

The level reached by the intensification of Russophobe agitation can be seen in an attempt by a “Green” European parliamentarian to partially strip former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of his right to freedom of speech. Schröder recently spoke quite critically on the EU’s Ukraine policy and during a public event declared “I wonder if it was the right thing to do, to place a culturally divided country, such as the Ukraine, before the alternative: association agreement with the EU or customs agreement with Russia.” Rebecca Harms, the leading Green Party candidate in the upcoming European parliamentary elections, issued a statement saying that she considers Schröder’s statements “part of a campaign” to “win more sympathy for Putin.” Last Thursday, together with another Green Party politician, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, she, therefore, tabled a motion in the European Parliament that the parliament finds Schröder’s statement “regrettable” and “reiterates” that the former German Chancellor “should refrain from making public statements on Russia.”[6]

Only a Test Run

With amazement, the European Parliament has rejected an attempt by the German Greens to restrict the right to freedom of expression in a precedence case. Nevertheless, this incident is but an indication that still standing democratic taboos could be broken in the current frenzy of Russophobe agitation, without consequences for the perpetrators. The power struggle over the Ukraine, as the backdrop, is perceived in Berlin as a “test run” [7] for the new German foreign policy. To be successful, this new policy must win broad popular support at home – by any means necessary.

3b. Note that Jochen Bittner is a contributor to the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times.

“Jochen Bittner” [The Opinion Pages]; [19]The New York Times [19]

4a. Indicative of the dogmatic editorial slant that The New York Times brings to the Ukraine crisis, an op-ed piece by Alexey Navalny was presented, with no discussion of the political nature of this creature.

“How to Punish Putin” by Alexey Navalny; The New York Times; 3/19/2014. [20]

As I write this, I am under house arrest. I was detained at a rally in support of anti-Putin protesters who were jailed last month.

In September, I ran for mayor of Moscow as a pro-reform, pro-democracy opposition candidate and received almost a third of the vote despite having no access to state media. Today, my blog, which was until recently visited by over two million readers per month, has been blocked as “extremist” after I called for friendly ties with Ukraine and compliance with international law.

For years, I have been telling journalists that President Vladimir V. Putin’s approval rating would soon peak and then tumble. Russia’s economy is stagnant, I said, and the Russian people would soon weary of the president’s empty promises. Even a rally-round-the-flag military adventure — a “little war,” as it’s known in Russia — would be impossible, I believed. Russia no longer had enemies.

Then, on Feb. 28, Russia sent troops to Ukraine in precisely such a “little war.” I admit that I underestimated Mr. Putin’s talent for finding enemies, as well as his dedication to ruling as “president for life,” with powers on par with the czars’. . . .

4b.  The coalition that assembled to attempt the ousting of Vladimir Putin embraces liberals, leftists and “nationalists”–that’s New York Times code for fascists, a word that American journalists seldom use. That coalition–strained because of the prominence of fascist in its midst–is reminiscent in some ways of the one that ousted the authoritarian Hosni Mubarak. That event, as we have seen, has led to the rise of the Islamofascist Muslim Brotherhood [21] in Egypt.

In the event that the Russian coalition succeeds in its goal of ousting Putin (something the U.S. and the fossil fuel companies would love to see), will we see the fascists elements seizing control? Russian and Egyptian societies differ greatly, but fascists have historically been quite successful at seizing power through democratic means and then denying democratic process to their opponents and former coalition partners.

Should the fascists–excuse me “nationalists”–either gain power or sustain a sufficiently high profile to affect both policy and perception, among the possible effects of that might be to drive the oil-rich Caucasus [22] to secede from Russia.  This would no doubt be much to the liking of Western oil companies, who’ve coveted that region for decades. One of the fascists’ rhetorical and ideological points concerns hostility toward people from that region.

The residents of the Caucasus will not be doing the Varsity Rag if the enmity toward them is institutionalized by the ruling political interests.

The best known of the leaders of the Russian opposition, a “fascionalist” named Alexei Navalny, is seen as capable of uniting the Doc Martens-wearing cadre of the far right and the disenchanted and economically embattled middle class. A political union of that type might well sweep into power, recapitulating the combination of racism/xenophobia and economic suffering so effectively used by fascists through the decades.

“Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny: Uniting Nationalists and the Urban, Educated Middle Class”; Aid Netherlands; 12/31/2011. [23]

. . . . Why Navalny? One reason is that declarations like “I will slit the throats of these cattle,” though metaphorical, are no mere puffery. Unlike many in the Russian opposition, Navalny puts his words into action, and in a climate where more than a few government critics have met their demise, this action puts his life on the line. Yet, he remains fearless. “It’s better to die standing up that live on your knees,” he told the New Yorker’s Julia Ioffe last spring. With that kind of gumption, it’s safe to say that Navalny has become a nagging pain in the ass of Russia’s corrupt elite. He’s done so not by staging rallies, leading a political organization, or seeking political office. Navalny is an activist of the 21st century: his weapons are a blog, Twitter, and a crowdsourcing website. His army is motley of “network hamsters” ready to root out big moneyed corruption by combing through dry contracts posted on his site Rospil. The results are impressive. Since Rospil’s creation in December 2010, Navalny and his army are responsible for the cancelling of $1.2 billion worth of state contracts. Given all this, it’s amazing that someone has yet to slit his throat.

But Navalny is more than an anti-corruption crusader and renowned blogger. The thirty-five year old Muscovite lawyer is also emblematic of two forces that were once supporters of Putin, but are now increasingly turning against him: the urban, educated middle class, or ROG (russkie obrazovannye gorozhane) as pundit Stanislav Belkovskii has dubbed them, and Russians with nationalist sympathies. On the surface these two groups appear antithetical to each other. The former are often described as “hipster-gadget-lovers” (khipstery-gazhetomany) more interested in Moscow’s cafes, clubs, and sushi bars, and, until two weeks ago, showed no interest in politics besides ranting on their Live Journal blogs and Twitter accounts. The nationalists are portrayed as racist working class street thugs whose sense of Russian victimhood speaks through fists and boots to the heads of migrants from Central Asia and the North Caucasus. Nevertheless, both groups share common ground: they’re by and large suspicious of the West and the Russian liberals who extol its values, patriotic, despise corruption, view immigrants as destroying the integrity of the Russian nation and increasingly loathe Putin and his cronies. With a foot in each world, Navalny is emerging as the logical person who could unite them around a new mass political movement based on what Alexei Pimenov recently called “an anti-corruption pathos plus the national idea.” . . . .

5. One of the Russian fascists–Maksim  Martsinkevich–has the nickname “The Hatchet.” One wonders if he knows Makis Voridis, the Greek fascist [24] minister of transportation and intrastructure who has the nickname “the Hammer.”

“Russian Liberals Growing Uneasy with Alliances” by Michael Swirtz; The New York Times; 1/29/2012. [25]

. . . . For more than two decades, Russian liberals have been warning of the dangers posed by nationalism, often portraying it as a greater threat to freedom and stability in this multiethnic country than the soft authoritarianism of Mr. Putin, Russia’s once and probably future president. In recent years, the nationalist movement has become large and increasingly malignant, responsible for a pattern of racist violence against non-Slavs that includes kidnapping, torture and murder. Nationalists have taken responsibility for several beheadings.

But in the effort to drive out Mr. Putin, the opposition, driven by liberal and middle-class Russians, has nonetheless reached out to nationalists, seeing them as a vital bulwark at a critical moment.

Before he could make his case, Mr. Bikbov was drowned out by a mixture of applause and boos, prompting the moderator to remove his question from the discussion. One audience member called him a “liberal fascist.”

As the nascent opposition movement prepares for its next major day of protest, set for Feb. 4, the tentative embrace of an alliance with nationalists has emerged as a defining step — but the consequences of such a move are far from certain. . . .

. . . . Mr. Ponomaryov said he initially resisted the inclusion of nationalist leaders, but relented when members agreed to sign a pact denouncing xenophobia and racism. A delegation of 10 nationalists will join an equal number of representatives from left-wing and liberal groups and a delegation of the politically unaffiliated in the leadership committee of the so-called Citizens Movement, which will coordinate future actions. There are limits to the liberals’ tolerance, however. When an avowed white supremacist, Maksim Martsinkevich, nicknamed the Hatchet, made the top three in an online vote for speakers at the second protest, organizers stepped in, denying him the microphone . . .

6. On Navalny’s position within the Russian “opposition.” Note that he participated in a march by the racist “nationalists,” some of whom raised their hands in a Nazi salute.

“Alexei Navalny, Key Engine Behind Russian Protests” by Lynn Berry and Vladimir Sachenkov [AP]; Salon.com; 12/27/2011. [26]

. . . . Navalny took part in last month’s Russ­ian March in which thou­sands of nation­al­ists marched through Moscow to call on eth­nic Rus­sians to “take back” their coun­try, some rais­ing their hands in a Nazi salute.

Many Rus­sians resent the influx of dark-skinned Mus­lims into Moscow and other cities. Many also resent the dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of bud­get money sent to Chech­nya and other Cau­ca­sus republics, seen as a Krem­lin effort to buy loy­alty after two sep­a­ratist wars.

Navalny defends his asso­ci­a­tion with nation­al­ists by say­ing their con­cerns are wide­spread and need to be addressed as part of any broad move­ment push­ing for demo­c­ra­tic change, but many in the lib­eral oppo­si­tion fear that he is play­ing with fire.

Some oppo­si­tion lead­ers also seem alarmed by Navalny’s soar­ing popularity.

“We are already see­ing signs of a Navalny cult,” Vladimir Milov wrote in a col­umn in the online Gazeta.ru. “I wouldn’t be sur­prised if grand­moth­ers from the provinces start show­ing up here ask­ing where they can find him so he can cure their illnesses.” . . .

7a. Again, imagine if Navalny were to become Russian president:

“Russian Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny: Uniting Nationalists and The Urban, Educated Middle Class” by Sean Guillory; Exiled Online; 12/26/2011. [27]

. . . . Among his other nationalist fits, he wrote off the neo-fascist Movement Against Illegal Immigration as harmless as “girl scouts”; declared that immigrants “will NEVER assimilate” and are a “bomb under our future”; called on Russians to arm themselves against “Muslim-looking criminals,” supported the nationalist inspired “Stop Feeding the Caucasus” campaign, and most recently joined the organizing committee of the yearly nationalist powwow, the Russian March. . . .

7b. We wonder how many of the “urban middle class” about whom we hear so much may have evolved from some of the IRG elements in the 1990’s that networked with Laszlo Pasztor–the Hungarian fascist who headed the GOP’s ethnic outreach organization and was also the Free Congress Foundation’s [5] point man interfacing with Boris Yeltsin’s IRG.

“The Free Con­gress Foundation Goes East” by Russ Bel­lant and Louis Wolf; Covert Action Infor­ma­tion Bul­letin #35; Fall/1990.

With the rapid pace of polit­i­cal change sweep­ing East­ern Europe and the Union of Soviet Social­ist Republics, many oppor­tu­ni­ties have emerged for west­ern inter­ests to inter­vene in the pol­i­tics of  that region. In some cases, such a vac­uum has been cre­ated that vir­tual strangers to the area sev­eral years ago are now able to actively par­tic­i­pate in chang­ing those soci­eties from within.

These inter­ven­tions are not only being prac­ticed by main­stream orga­ni­za­tions. The involve­ment of the United States Far Right brings with it the poten­tial revival of fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions in the East. One U.S. group, the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, has been plahy­ing a role in East­ern Euro­pean and Soviet pol­i­tics and has ties to Boris Yeltsin and the Inter-Regional Deputies Group (IRG) in the U.S.S.R.

The Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion (FCF) was founded in 1974 by Paul Weyrich as the Com­mit­tee for the Sur­vival of a Free Con­gress. Weyrich, who had started the Her­itage Foun­da­tion the year before, was heav­ily funded by the Coors fam­ily for both organizations.

Weyrich has kept one foot in the right wing of the Repub­li­can Party while dal­ly­ing with the racist Right and the extreme Chris­t­ian Right. In 1976, for instance, he and a hand­ful of other New Rights (William Rusher, Mor­ton Black­well, Richard Viguerie) attempted to take over the seg­re­ga­tion­ist  Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dent Party (AIP), formed by George Wal­lace in 1968. The AIP was an amal­gam of Ku Klux Klan and John Birch Soci­ety elements. . . .

. . . . The IRG was estab­lished by Andrei Sakharov, Boris Yeltsin and oth­ers in the sum­mer of 1989. By the end of that year, a train­ing school had been estab­lished for can­di­dates to put for­ward the IRG pro­gram. Their elec­toral suc­cess this year pro­pelled Yeltsin to the lead­er­ship of the Russ­ian Soviet Social­ist Repub­lic. He imme­di­ately began forg­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive rela­tion­ships with the deeply reac­tionary lead­ers of the Lithuan­ian Sajudis party. The IRG has also served as a source of right-wing pres­sure on Gor­bachev to dis­man­tle social­ism and the Soviet Union itself.

One of the key dan­gers in this agenda is the polit­i­cal vac­uum it cre­ates, allow­ing ultra-nationalist forces in a num­ber of republics to take power. Such nation­al­ist and fas­cist ele­ments are already evi­dent in Lithua­nia and the Ukraine. In the lat­ter repub­lic, the pro-Nazi Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) has gained influ­ence in sev­eral par­ties and has mobi­lized large demon­stra­tions that honor OUN lead­ers who abet­ted Hitler’s war on the East­ern Front. Sim­i­larly, sev­eral deputies Sajudis deputies served in Ger­man mil­i­tary units in 1944, and Sajudis has made dec­la­ra­tions against eth­nic Rus­sians liv­ing in Lithua­nia. Accord­ing to some reports, Poles have also been denigrated.

It should also be noted that the “rad­i­cal reformer” Boris Yeltsin has dal­lied with Pamyat, the fore­most Russ­ian fas­cist group to emerge in the last sev­eral years. Pamyat’s vir­u­lent anti-Semitism com­pares to the crude pro­pa­ganda of the early Ger­man Nazi Party in the 1920’s.

The FCF is not entirely dis­con­nected from the his­tory of the OUN. The Trea­surer of the FCF board is George­town Uni­ver­sity Pro­fes­sor Charles Moser. Moser is also serves on the edi­to­r­ial advi­sory board of the Ukrain­ian Quar­terly, pub­lished by the Ukrain­ian Con­gress Com­mit­tee of Amer­ica, a group dom­i­nated by the OUN. The Ukrain­ian Quar­terly has praised mil­i­tary units of the Ger­man SS and oth­er­wise jus­ti­fied the OUN alliance with the Third Reich which reflects the fact that the OUN was polit­i­cally and mil­i­tar­ily allied with Hitler and the Nazi occu­pa­tion of the Ukraine.

The OUN, an inter­na­tional semi-secret cadre orga­ni­za­tion head­quar­tered in Bavaria, has received finan­cial assis­tance from the late Franz Joseph Strauss, the right­ist head of the Bavar­ian state. Strauss also had a work­ing rela­tion­ship with Weyrich. . . .

. . . . Finally, FCF’s insin­u­a­tion into the pol­i­tics of the East must be judged by their selec­tion of Las­zlo Pasz­tor [28] to head their Lib­er­a­tion Sup­port Alliance, “which seeks to lib­er­ate peo­ples in Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean Nations.”

Pasztor’s involve­ment in East Euro­pean pol­i­tics began in World War II when he joined the youth orga­ni­za­tion of the Arrow Cross, the Nazi party of Hungary.

When the Arrow Cross was installed in power by a Ger­man com­mando oper­a­tion, Pasz­tor was sent to Berlin to help facil­i­tate the liai­son between the Arrow Cross and Hitler.

Pasz­tor was tried and served two years in jail for his Arrow Cross activ­i­ties after an anti­com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment was elected in 1945. He even­tu­ally came to the U.S. and estab­lished the eth­nic arm of the Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee for Richard Nixon. He brought other Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors from the East­ern front into the GOP. Some were later found to have par­tic­i­pated in mass mur­der dur­ing the war.

The dor­mant Arrow Cross has sur­faced again in Hun­gary, where there have been attempts to lift the ban on the orga­ni­za­tion. Pasz­tor spent sev­eral months in Hun­gary. When Weyrich later con­ducted train­ing there, he was pro­vided a list of Pasztor’s con­tacts inside the country. Weyrich reports that he con­ducted train­ing for the recently formed and now gov­ern­ing New Demo­c­ra­tic Forum.

Pasz­tor claims to have assisted some of his friends in Hun­gary in get­ting NED funds through his advi­sory posi­tion with NED. In 1989 he spoke at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion under the spon­sor­ship of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), a multi­na­tional umbrella orga­ni­za­tion of emi­gre fas­cists and Nazis founded in alliance with Hitler in 1943. It is led by the OUN. Pasz­tor spoke for the “Hun­gar­ian Orga­ni­za­tion” of ABN, which is the Arrow Cross. . . . .

8. The pro­gram concludes by reviewing a fright­en­ing arti­cle about appar­ent U.S. sup­port for a Georgia-based jihadi con­fer­ence. Rich with fos­sil fuels, the Cau­ca­sus region has long been the focal point of hos­tile activ­ity by for­eign inter­ests look­ing to secure those resources for them­selves, wrest­ing the area away from Rus­sia and/or the for­mer Soviet Union. In FTR #646 [29], we looked at the Bush administration’s close national secu­rity con­nec­tions to the Geor­gian repub­lic, result­ing in a secu­rity agree­ment with that state, con­cluded on the eve [30] of Obama’s inauguration.

In FTR #773 [31], we looked at the Boston Marathon bombing, apparent blowback from the Western-backed Caucasus jihadist war.

One can but won­der if petro­leum con­stituen­cies in the West are look­ing to use Mus­lim Brotherhood-connected ele­ments [32] to foment the inde­pen­dence of those regions. The areas are also piv­otal in the tran­sit of heroin, in addi­tion to logis­ti­cal sup­port for the war in Afghanistan.

In turn, it can be safely sur­mised that Rus­sia will not give these areas up. What is to be understood here, is that the West is engaging in low-intensity warfare against Russia. Undoubtedly, that has much to do with Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.

“Gorin: More Details on the Georgia-Hosted Jihadi Con­fer­ence Emerge” by Julia Gorin; Jihad Watch; 4/12/2010. [33]

An analy­sis pub­lished Mon­day by Defense & For­eign Affairs offers some cor­rob­o­ra­tion for the Georgia-hosted, U.S.-approved jihadi con­fab in Decem­ber, the men­tion of which seemed to upset some readers.

Here are the rel­e­vant excerpts from the 16-page analy­sis, which is subscription-only and there­fore not linkable:

Mean­while, Geor­gia is actively seek­ing to exploit the spread of jamaats [jihadist mini-societies] in the North Cau­ca­sus in order to go after the Russ­ian pipelines in hope of ensnar­ing the US into actively sup­port­ing a new con­fronta­tion with Rus­sia. In early Decem­ber 2009, Tbil­isi orga­nized a high-level meet­ing of jihadists groups from the Mid­dle East and West­ern Europe in order “to coor­di­nate activ­i­ties on Russia’s south­ern flank.” The Geor­gian Embassy in Kuwait, for exam­ple, arranged for travel doc­u­ments for jihadists from Jor­dan, Saudi Ara­bia and the Gulf States. (There is a large and very active Chechen/Circassian com­mu­nity in Jor­dan since the 19th Cen­tury that is heav­ily rep­re­sented in the intel­li­gence ser­vices and the mil­i­tary.) In Tbil­isi, Deputy Min­is­ter of Inter­nal Affairs Lord­kipanadze was the host and coor­di­na­tor. The meet­ing was attended by sev­eral Geor­gian senior offi­cials who stressed that Saakashvili him­self knew and approved of the under­tak­ing. The meet­ing addressed the launch of both “mil­i­tary oper­a­tions” in south­ern Rus­sia and ide­o­log­i­cal war­fare. One of the first results of the meet­ing was the launch, soon after­wards of the Russian-language TV sta­tion First Caucasian.

The jihadists of the North Cau­ca­sus — includ­ing the Arab com­man­ders in their midst — came out of the early Decem­ber 2009 meet­ing con­vinced that Tbil­isi is most inter­ested in the spread of ter­ror­ism. The meet­ing was attended by, among oth­ers, Mohmad Muham­mad Shabaan, an Egypt­ian senior com­man­der who is also known as Seif al-Islam and who has been involved in Cau­ca­sus affairs since 1992. He took copi­ous notes. Accord­ing to Shabaan’s notes, the Geor­gian gov­ern­ment wants the jihadists to con­duct “acts of sab­o­tage to blow up rail­way tracks, elec­tric­ity lines and energy pipelines” in south­ern Rus­sia in order to divert con­struc­tion back to Geor­gian territory.

Geor­gian intel­li­gence promised to facil­i­tate the arrival in the Cau­ca­sus of numer­ous senior jihadists by pro­vid­ing Geor­gian pass­ports, and to pro­vide logis­ti­cal sup­port includ­ing the reopen­ing of bases in north­ern Geor­gia. Russ­ian intel­li­gence was not obliv­i­ous of the meet­ing. Seif al-Islam and two senior aides were assas­si­nated on Feb­ru­ary 4, 2010. The Rus­sians retrieved a lot of doc­u­ments in the process. Moscow sig­naled its dis­plea­sure shortly after­wards when the pres­i­dents of Rus­sia and Abk­hazia signed a 50-year agree­ment on a Russ­ian mil­i­tary base in order to “pro­tect Abkhazia’s sov­er­eignty and secu­rity, includ­ing against inter­na­tional ter­ror­ist groups”.

A major issue still to be resolved is the extent of the US culpability.

The same analy­sis recalls when this mis­guided approach was used in the Balkans, and out­lines how, in order to not alien­ate Mus­lims while we tried to con­tain ter­ror from the Mid­dle East, we for­ti­fied ter­ror in the Balkans and jump-started the global jihad:

Ini­tially, the US-led West­ern inter­ven­tion in the for­mer Yugoslavia was aimed first and fore­most to sal­vage NATO (and with it US dom­i­nance over post-Cold War West­ern Europe) from irrel­e­vance and col­lapse. As well, the sup­port for the Mus­lims of Bosnia became the counter-balance of the US con­fronta­tion with jihadism in the Mid­dle East. Anthony Lake, US Pres­i­dent Bill Clinton’s National Secu­rity Adviser, for­mu­lated the logic for the US-led inter­ven­tion on behalf of the Mus­lims. The US national inter­est “requires our work­ing to con­tain Mus­lim extrem­ism, and we have to find a way of being firm in our oppo­si­tion to Mus­lim extrem­ism while mak­ing it clear we’re not opposed to Islam. If we are seen as anti-Muslim, it’s harder for us to con­tain Mus­lim extrem­ism. And if we stand by while Mus­lims are killed and raped in Bosnia, it makes it harder to con­tinue our pol­icy,” Lake argued. That in the process the US would end up part­ner­ing with, sup­port­ing and arm­ing, the very same jihadist forces Clin­ton was seek­ing to con­tain meant noth­ing to Wash­ing­ton. The only thing Wash­ing­ton cared about was the image of a US ral­ly­ing to the res­cue of a Mus­lim cause.

Note that in the 90s the U.S., like Britain, per­mit­ted and facil­i­tated ter­ror­ist net­works to oper­ate in Bosnia and Kosovo for the pur­pose of Serb-killing, and along with Ger­many we trained Alban­ian and Mid­dle East­ern ter­ror­ists in Alba­nia. Sure enough, the same decade saw U.S. offi­cials par­tic­i­pat­ing in a Decem­ber 1999 meet­ing in Azer­bai­jan very sim­i­lar to the Decem­ber 2009 meet­ing in Tbil­isi, where “pro­grams for the train­ing and equip­ping of muja­hedin from the Cau­ca­sus, Cen­tral and South Asia, and the Arab world were dis­cussed and agreed upon.” The men­tion of this meet­ing comes in as the analy­sis gives back­ground on how we decided to sup­port ter­ror­ism against Russia:

By 1999, the US had given up on rec­on­cil­ing Azer­bai­jan and Arme­nia in order to con­struct pipelines to Turkey, and instead Wash­ing­ton started focus­ing on build­ing pipelines via Geor­gia.
For such a project to be eco­nom­i­cally viable, the Russ­ian pipelines would have to be shut down. Hence, in early Octo­ber 1999, senior offi­cials of US oil com­pa­nies and US offi­cials offered rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Russ­ian “oli­garchs” in Europe huge div­i­dends from the pro­posed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline if the “oli­garchs” con­vinced Moscow to with­draw from the Cau­ca­sus, per­mit the estab­lish­ment of an Islamic state, and close down the Baku-Novorossiysk oil pipeline. Con­se­quently, there would be no com­pe­ti­tion to the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. The “oli­garchs” were con­vinced that the high­est lev­els of the Clin­ton White House endorsed this ini­tia­tive. The meet­ing failed because the Rus­sians would hear noth­ing of the US proposal.

Con­se­quently, the US deter­mined to deprive Rus­sia of an alter­nate pipeline route by sup­port­ing a spi­ral­ing vio­lence and ter­ror­ism in Chechnya….The Clin­ton White House sought to actively involve the US in yet another anti-Russian jihad as if reliv­ing the “good ol’ days” of Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, seek­ing to sup­port and empower the most vir­u­lent anti-Western Islamist forces in yet another strate­gic region.

In mid-December 1999, US offi­cials par­tic­i­pated in a for­mal meet­ing in Azer­bai­jan in which spe­cific pro­grams for the train­ing and equip­ping of muja­hedin from the Cau­ca­sus, Cen­tral and South Asia, and the Arab world were dis­cussed and agreed upon. This meet­ing led to Washington’s tacit encour­age­ment of both Mus­lim allies (mainly the intel­li­gence ser­vices of Turkey, Jor­dan, and Saudi Ara­bia) and US “pri­vate secu­rity com­pa­nies” (of the type that did Washington’s dirty job in the Balkans while skirt­ing and vio­lat­ing the inter­na­tional embargo the US for­mally sup­ported) to assist the Chechens and their Islamist allies to surge in spring 2000. Cit­ing secu­rity con­cerns vis-à-vis Arme­nia and Rus­sia, Azer­bai­jan adamantly refused to per­mit train­ing camps on its soil.

Now, just to keep our — includ­ing my — heads straight, let’s remind our­selves that this exer­cise that Robert Spencer was good enough to let me engage in on these pages was not a defense of Rus­sia; it was not meant to start an argu­ment about how bad or how not-that-bad Rus­sia is. The point is that for­eign rela­tions in a mad world require find­ing enough com­mon ground with not-so-great states so that we can work together where we can work together. It’s to min­i­mize the messi­ness of things. Why, when we had Rus­sia in its his­tor­i­cally most maleable form, did we insist on pro­vok­ing and pro­vok­ing and pro­vok­ing? Why did we make a bad sit­u­a­tion like Rus­sia worse when we had an oppor­tu­nity to make it bet­ter? As with all prob­lem­atic coun­tries that we nonethe­less find areas of coop­er­a­tion with, we nar­rowed even those areas by deal­ing with the Rus­sians in the bad faith that had been their trade­mark. Simul­ta­ne­ously, we moved away from pick­ing the lesser evil in a given con­flict, and started sid­ing with the greater.

It’s a sur­real sit­u­a­tion indeed when the actions of my sav­ior coun­try put me in the posi­tion of hav­ing to “defend” Rus­sia, whose peo­ple my par­ents thank their lucky stars to not have to live among any­more. I myself am a self-proclaimed Rus­so­phobe; I just had no idea how much more patho­log­i­cal America’s Rus­so­pho­bia is. So for some­one who is loath to visit even Brighton Beach, I find myself in a sur­pris­ing posi­tion here, point­ing out where we went wrong and shoved Rus­sia back into old behaviors.

Infu­ri­at­ingly pre­dictably, one of the com­ment posters sug­gested that the line I’m tak­ing here is one that’s paid for by Rus­sia. The same “tip” was offered to Robert by a fel­low blog­ger — in that tone of pro­vid­ing “some friendly, pro­fes­sional, and cau­tion­ary advice.” The likes of which I’m all too famil­iar with by now. (One Wall St. Jour­nal fix­ture advised me, “Your views on this [the Balkans] are deeply misjudged…You’re not doing your career any favors.” Thanks. Good thing I don’t have a career, then.) It cer­tainly would be nice if any­one paid me for any­thing I do, but it wasn’t to be in this lifetime.

Regard­less, it shouldn’t seem strange for some­one to be point­ing out that our for­eign pol­icy is being guided by peo­ple with a stronger anti-Russian agenda than anti-jihad agenda. And notice where this kind of think­ing has got­ten us. Take the past two decades of West­ern pol­icy and media cov­er­age in the Balkans, which were based on infor­ma­tion that made its way into reporters’ note­books directly from the Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion of the Bosn­ian Gov­ern­ment run by the fun­da­men­tal­ist Mus­lim wartime pres­i­dent Alija Izetbe­govic. The tem­plate was used again when politi­cians, reporters, NGOs and human rights orga­ni­za­tions duti­fully repeated what was com­ing out of the KLA-run news­pa­pers and other pro­pa­ganda organs of the Kosovo sep­a­ratists. And so in ser­vice to con­sis­tency, hav­ing got­ten into this hole, we’ve kept dig­ging. With our Yugoslavia inter­ven­tion, as the Defense & For­eign Affairs analy­sis points out, we’ve ended up “demo­niz­ing the Serbs and the world of East­ern Chris­tian­ity as a whole.” Such that we’ve arrived at a place where the word “Byzan­tine” is now used to mean prim­i­tive or unciv­i­lized. While the Mus­lim world and Islamic her­itage rep­re­sent the height of cul­ture, tra­di­tion, her­itage and civilization.

One inter­est­ing thing about the reac­tions to call­ing the U.S. on its aggres­sive alien­ation of Rus­sia via, for exam­ple, the use of jihadists is the sense of out­rage and shock at the sug­ges­tion that Amer­ica would sup­port these vio­lent groups, fol­lowed imme­di­ately by a defense or jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of such tac­tics (e.g. “we *should* help the Chechens against the Rus­sians”). Mean­while, these oh-so-incendiary alle­ga­tions hap­pen to coin­cide with overtly stated inten­tions and poli­cies. (See the late Sen­a­tor Tom Lan­tos and his ilk applaud­ing the cre­ation of a U.S.-made Mus­lim state in Europe, which the jihadists should “take note of,” Lan­tos hoped.)