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For The Record  

FTR #803 Walkin’ The Snake in Ukraine

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

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

This description contains information not included in the original broadcast.

Swoboda leader Oleh Tiahnybok salutes. Top-ranking Ukrainian defense official Andriy Parubiy was a founding member of the party.

Muslim Brotherhood Coat of (ahem) Arms

Introduction: The ongoing, Orwellian coverage of the civil war resulting from the OUN/B-derived coup in Ukraine is analyzed in terms of the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk, a book we feel is far more than just a novel. In that book the SS go underground (true), build up their economic muscle (true) and buy into the “opinion-forming media” (true.) Following a series of terrorist attacks on the U.S. involving WMD’s, martial law is decalred and the Underground Reich, which has infiltrated the military, takes over the United States.

In this program we note that OUN/B elements are at the forefront in the representation of events in Ukraine to the general public, thereby manipulating puplic opinin in the very manner that Serpent’s Walk details.

(We have covered the ascension of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a number of programs: FTR #’s 777778779780781782, 783784794800.)

Almost obscured is the fact that a Pravy Sektor banner was flown from the Interior Ministry building in Slovyansk after its capture by pro-government forces. A tweet from a BBC journalist discloses that information.

Exemplary of the manipulation of public opinion is the uncritical coverage of Swoboda member Andriy Parubiy, the highest ranking defense official in Ukraine. He is quoted at length, in an authoritative context on the conflict, with no comment on the fact that he is a Nazi.

We should not be surprised that the Pravy Sektor banner should fly over the Interior Ministry building in Slovyansk after its capture by pro-government forces. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry mustered the Azov Battalion, which, despite the Ministry’s denials, is obviously Nazi in character.

Before visiting the subject of the downed Malaysian Airlines plane, we recap some of the historical elements of the evolution and ascension of the OUN/B successor government in Ukraine.

Pravy Sektor Activist

The downing of the Malaysian airliner takes place against the background of unrestrained, all-out warfare by the Ukrainian government against the civilian population of Eastern Ukraine.

Although are media are uncritically accepting the Ukrainian government’s assertion that separatists (with Russian backing) brought down the plane, the courageous Robert Parry is reporting that U.S. reconnaissance satellites may well have recorded Ukrainian government forces firing the fatal missile.

The “Go-To-Guy” for much of world political and journalistic opinion in the downing of the Malaysian airliner is Michael [“Mykhailo”] Bociurkiw, head of the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

Bociurkiw is a former assistant editor for the Ukrainian Weekly, which manifests a definite pro-OUN/B, anti-OSI stance.

Bociurkiw also networks with a Malaysian Muslim Brotherhood nexus with evidentiary tributaries running in the direction of the political milieu underlying the “disappearance” of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. That same network also overlaps the Al-Taqwa milieu implicated in the jihadist activity in Chechnya and elsewhere in the Caucasus, as well as the Boston Marathon bombing.

Program Highlights Include: The fact that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s flight flew through roughly the same airspace as MH 17, roughly a half-hour earlier; the fact that the SA-11 “BUK” missile system requires a seperate radar tracking vehicle to operate properly–there is no indication that the seperatists have such a vehicle; review of John Loftus’ work heading the OSI (routinely disparaged in the Ukrainian Weekly); review of Anwar Ibrahim’s links to both the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Zaharie Shah, the pilot of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; the presence of a large contingent of AIDS researchers on MH 17; links between Michael Bociurkiw’s Malaysian Muslim Brotherhood networkers and the Nation of Islam; the unlikely coincidence of Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jong, who was booked to fly on both Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and MH 17.

1a. Serpent’s Walk summarizes its thesis on the back cover:

Serpent’s Walk by “Randolph D. Calverhall;” Copyright 1991 [SC]; National Vanguard Books; 0-937944-05-X; Notes from back cover.

. . . . It assumes that Hitler’s warrior elite – the SS – didn’t give up their struggle for a White world when they lost the Second World War. Instead their survivors went underground and adopted some of their tactics of their enemies: they began building their economic muscle and buying into the opinion-forming media. A century after the war they are ready to challenge the democrats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Americans, who have begun to have their fill of government-enforced multi-culturalism and ‘equality.’

1b. The broad­cast addresses the shap­ing of pub­lic opin­ion in such a way as to sway the pub­lic to a fascist/Nazi viewpoint.

Serpent’s Walk by “Randolph D. Calverhall;” Copyright 1991 [SC]; National Vanguard Books; 0-937944-05-X; pp. 42-44.

. . . . Hell, if you can con granny into buying Sugar Turds instead of Bran Farts, then why can’t you swing public opinion over to a cause as vital and important as ours?’ . . . In any case, we’re slowly replacing those negative images with others: the ‘Good Bad Guy’ routine’ . . . ‘What do you think of Jesse James? John Dillinger? Julius Caesar? Genghis Khan?’ . . . The reality may have been rough, but there’s a sort of glitter about most of those dudes: mean honchos but respectable. It’s all how you package it. Opinion is a godamned commodity!’ . . . It works with anybody . . . Give it time. Aside from the media, we’ve been buying up private schools . . . and helping some public ones through philanthropic foundations . . . and working on the churches and the Born Agains. . . .

2. Highlighting an important fact, deliberately omitted by our media, a BBC journalist noted a Pravy Sektor flag flying over Slovyansk, shortly after the city was “liberated” by Ukrainian pro-government forces.

“Pravyi Sektor/Ukrainian Insur­gent Army (red & black) flag was fly­ing from Inte­rior Min. build­ing in #Slovyansk today. Dan­ger­ous & wor­ry­ing— Will Ver­non (@BBCWillVernon) July 7, 2014

3.The Ukrainian defense establishment is still headed by Andriy Parubiy of Swoboda. Our media quote him in a lengthy, authoritative way, with no comment whatsoever on the nature of his Nazi affiliation.

“Ukraine Military Finds Its Footing Against Pro-Russian Rebels” by David M. Herszenhorn; The New York Times; 7/7/2014.

. . . .  “I am convinced that there are many other countries which are not ready — properly speaking, their armed forces are not ready, are unprepared, for this type of war,” Mr. Parubiy said in an interview last week. “We, of course, studied the experience of both Croatia and Israel, but here a lot of new features are added. And, if Russia sees that this experience is successful, this experience can very easily be used in any Baltic countries, and even in Belarus and Kazakhstan.”

Mr. Parubiy invoked Igor Girkin, a Russian military intelligence officer who has been a commander of the insurrection in eastern Ukraine, under the name of Igor Strelkov. “If we do not stop Putin here,” Mr. Parubiy said, “nobody knows where his Girkins will appear next.”

In the interview, Mr. Parubiy laid his hands on a table and, exhaling in disgust, described the paralysis of the initial response to the insurgency.

“The key tactic of Russian saboteurs is: Capture a building, station an armed garrison there and have a picket around, mostly Communists, who would provide a human shield,” he said, offering an example he witnessed. “They had it this way in Luhansk. There is a five-story building where each window is a firing spot and, right next to the building, are 500 people — a picket.

“When we tell Alpha, a special unit of the S.B.U., whose purpose is to fight terrorists, to enter the building and conduct the operation, they tell us, ‘Take away the people because the operation can only be conducted when we are able to enter without a scuffle with civilians,’ ” he said. “When we tell the interior troops to make a corridor and drag away civilians, they say, ‘How can we do that when terrorists in windows point guns at us? We’re not able to fulfill this task.’ ”

The military was so underfinanced that the government issued a plea for donations from citizens. Some of the country’s richest businessmen used their personal fortunes to create militias that are now effectively part of a new national guard.

“As one colleague from the United States said, we have to repair a plane during flight,” Mr. Parubiy said. . . . .

4. Next, we present an arti­cle about a trend that may well intensify the fight­ing: for­eign neo-Nazis continue to swell the ranks of the Ukrainian military formations. The neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed and armed by the inte­rior min­istry, and the bat­tal­ion leader is also the leader of the “Social National Assem­bly.” We are informed by the interior min­istry, is NOT a neo-Nazi group, even though it pro­claims that it’s fight to “lib­er­ate the White Race” and wants to severely pun­ish inter­ra­cial con­tacts. The min­istry assured us that there are no for­eign fight­ers nor any neo-Nazis any­where to be seen.

“Ukraine Con­flict: ‘White power’ War­rior from Swe­den” by Dina New­man; BBC News; 7/16/2014.

The appear­ance of far-right activists, both for­eign and home-grown, among the Ukrain­ian vol­un­teers fight­ing in east Ukraine is caus­ing unease.

Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with seven years’ expe­ri­ence in the Swedish Army and the Swedish National Guard. He is cur­rently fight­ing with the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a pro-Ukrainian vol­un­teer armed group in east­ern Ukraine. He is known to be dan­ger­ous to the rebels: report­edly there is a bounty of nearly $7,000 (£4,090; 5,150 euros) on his head.

In a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion from an undis­closed loca­tion, Mr Skillt told me more about his duties: “I have at least three pur­poses in the Azov Bat­tal­ion: I am a com­man­der of a small recon­nais­sance unit, I am also a sniper, and some­times I work as a spe­cial coor­di­na­tor for clear­ing houses and going into civil­ian areas.”

As to his polit­i­cal views, Mr Skillt prefers to call him­self a nation­al­ist, but in fact his views are typ­i­cal of a neo-Nazi.

“It’s all about how you see it,” he says. “I would be an idiot if I said I did not want to see sur­vival of white peo­ple. After World War Two, the vic­tors wrote their his­tory. They decided that it’s always a bad thing to say I am white and I am proud.” [Compare this with the notes on the back cover of Serpent’s Walk covered in item #1, as well as the excerpt in item #2–D.E.]

‘One stray liberal’

Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white peo­ple. His next project is to go fight for Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-Assad because he believes Mr Assad is stand­ing up to “inter­na­tional Zionism”.

Not all of Mr Skillt’s views are widely shared in the Azov Bat­tal­ion, which is about 300-strong in total.

He says his com­rades do not dis­cuss pol­i­tics much, though some of them may be “national social­ists” and may wear swastikas. On the other hand, “there is even one lib­eral, though I don’t know how he got there”, he adds, with a smile in his voice.

Mr Skillt says there is only a hand­ful of for­eign fight­ers in the Azov Bat­tal­ion and they do not get paid. “They see it as a good thing, to come and fight,” he explains. How­ever, Mr Skillt is expect­ing more for­eign­ers to join soon: he says there is now a recruiter who is look­ing for “seri­ous fight­ers” from out­side Ukraine.

The key fig­ures in the Azov Bat­tal­ion are its com­man­der, Andriy Bilet­sky, and his deputy, Ihor Mosiychuk.

Andriy Bilet­sky is also the leader of a Ukrain­ian organ­i­sa­tion called the Social National Assem­bly. Its aims are stated in one of their online publications:

* “to pre­pare Ukraine for fur­ther expan­sion and to strug­gle for the lib­er­a­tion of the entire White Race from the dom­i­na­tion of the inter­na­tion­al­ist spec­u­la­tive capital”

* “to pun­ish severely sex­ual per­ver­sions and any inter­ra­cial con­tacts that lead to the extinc­tion of the white man”

This, accord­ing to experts, is a typ­i­cal neo-Nazi narrative.

‘For­eign journalists’

The Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed and armed by Ukraine’s inte­rior min­istry. A min­is­te­r­ial adviser, Anton Gerashchenko, got angry when I asked him if the bat­tal­ion had any neo-Nazi links through the Social National Assembly.

“The Social National Assem­bly is not a neo-Nazi organ­i­sa­tion,” he said.

“It is a party of Ukrain­ian patri­ots who are giv­ing their lives while the rich Euro­peans are only talk­ing about sup­port­ing Ukraine. When, may I ask, will Eng­lish peo­ple come here and help us fight ter­ror­ists sent by Russia’s Pres­i­dent [Vladimir] Putin, instead of lec­tur­ing us on our moral val­ues or people’s polit­i­cal affiliations?”

Mr Gerashchenko was adamant, how­ever, that there were no for­eign cit­i­zens fight­ing in the Azov Battalion.

“There are for­eign jour­nal­ists, from Swe­den, Spain and Italy, who have come to report on the heroic achieve­ments of the fight­ers in their strug­gle against ter­ror­ism,” he said.

He insisted he had never heard of Mikael Skillt, the Swedish sniper. . . .

5. A Pando Daily story notes the extent of the carnage in the Ukrainian civil war, as well as the omission by our news media of key details.

“The Fog of Twitter: Ukraine’s Civil War and the Limits of Social News Gathering” by Yasha Levine; Pando Daily; 7/3/2014.

Just in case you missed it, there’s a real fucking civil war raging in Eastern Ukraine. On July 2, a day after newly elected billionaire President Petro Poroshenko called off a ceasefire, residential areas in several towns and villages in the Lugansk and Donestk regions came under intense shelling and air bombardment.

The town of Slavyansk, which has seen a lot of fighting, was shelled. The Ukrainian Air Force bombed the village of Stanytsia Luhanska. The attack obliterated an entire residential area, shredding houses, people and pets, and littering the area with pieces of intestines, toes and cats — yes, dead kitties. There are several very graphic videos of the aftermath — faces of death delivered to YouTube for global viewing within a few dozen minutes of it happening.

Here’s one of the less graphic videos from strike on Stanytsia Luhanska, where at least 10 people were killed and many more injured. . . .

. . . . But you wouldn’t know any of this from the U.S. news media, which has been soft-censoring and whitewashing anything that could show the Ukrainian government in a bad light from the very beginning of the conflict. The New York Times alluded to yesterday’s”ground assaults and air bombardments” and mumbled something about “civilian casualties” — but made it unclear who was doing the shooting or the dying. Other newspapers are equally mum on Ukraine’s attack on Ukrainian civilians. Meanwhile, US cable network news pretends none of this even exists.

For its part, the U.S. State Department praised Ukraine’s “restraint” and accused Russia of exaggerating — if not being behind — the attacks on civilians. . . . .

6. A Nation article further develops the silence surrounding what is taking place in Ukraine.

“The Silence of Amer­i­can Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities” by Stephen F. Cohen; The Nation; 6/30/2014.

The regime has repeat­edly car­ried out artillery and air attacks on city cen­ters, cre­at­ing a human­i­tar­ian catastrophe—which is all but ignored by the US political-media estab­lish­ment.

For weeks, the US-backed regime in Kiev has been com­mit­ting atroc­i­ties against its own cit­i­zens in south­east­ern Ukraine, regions heav­ily pop­u­lated by Russian-speaking Ukraini­ans and eth­nic Rus­sians. While vic­tim­iz­ing a grow­ing num­ber of inno­cent peo­ple, includ­ing chil­dren, and degrad­ing America’s rep­u­ta­tion, these mil­i­tary assaults on cities, cap­tured on video, are gen­er­at­ing pres­sure in Rus­sia on Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin to “save our compatriots.”

The reac­tion of the Obama administration—as well as the new cold-war hawks in Con­gress and in the estab­lish­ment media—has been twofold: silence inter­rupted only by occa­sional state­ments excus­ing and thus encour­ag­ing more atroc­i­ties by Kiev. Very few Amer­i­cans (notably, the inde­pen­dent scholar Gor­don Hahn) have protested this shame­ful com­plic­ity. We may hon­or­ably dis­agree about the causes and res­o­lu­tion of the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, the worst US-Russian con­fronta­tion in decades, but not about deeds that are ris­ing to the level of war crimes, if they have not already done so.

* * *

In mid-April, the new Kiev gov­ern­ment, pre­dom­i­nantly west­ern Ukrain­ian in com­po­si­tion and out­look, declared an “anti-terrorist oper­a­tion” against a grow­ing polit­i­cal rebel­lion in the South­east. At that time, the rebels were mostly mim­ic­k­ing the ini­tial Maidan protests in Kiev in 2013—demonstrating, issu­ing defi­ant procla­ma­tions, occu­py­ing pub­lic build­ings and erect­ing defen­sive barricades—before Maidan turned rag­ingly vio­lent and, in Feb­ru­ary, over­threw Ukraine’s cor­rupt but legit­i­mately elected pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovych. (The entire Maidan episode, it will be recalled, had Washington’s enthu­si­as­tic polit­i­cal, and per­haps more tan­gi­ble, sup­port.) Indeed, the prece­dent for seiz­ing offi­cial build­ings and demand­ing the alle­giance of local author­i­ties had been set even ear­lier, in Jan­u­ary, in west­ern Ukraine—by pro-Maidan, anti-Yanukovych pro­test­ers, some declar­ing “inde­pen­dence” from his government.

Con­sid­er­ing those pre­ced­ing events, but above all the country’s pro­found his­tor­i­cal divi­sions, par­tic­u­larly between its west­ern and east­ern regions—ethnic, lin­guis­tic, reli­gious, cul­tural, eco­nomic and political—the rebel­lion in the south­east, cen­tered in the indus­trial Don­bass, was not sur­pris­ing. Nor were its protests against the uncon­sti­tu­tional way (in effect, a coup) the new gov­ern­ment had come to power, the southeast’s sud­den loss of effec­tive polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the cap­i­tal and the real prospect of offi­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion. But by declar­ing an “anti-terrorist oper­a­tion” against the new pro­test­ers, Kiev sig­naled its inten­tion to “destroy” them, not nego­ti­ate with them.

On May 2, in this incen­di­ary atmos­phere, a hor­rific event occurred in the south­ern city of Odessa, awak­en­ing mem­o­ries of Nazi Ger­man exter­mi­na­tion squads in Ukraine and other Soviet republics dur­ing World War II. An orga­nized pro-Kiev mob chased pro­test­ers into a build­ing, set it on fire and tried to block the exits. Some forty peo­ple, per­haps many more, per­ished in the flames or were mur­dered as they fled the inferno. A still unknown num­ber of other vic­tims were seri­ously injured.

Mem­bers of the infa­mous Right Sec­tor, a far-right para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion ide­o­log­i­cally aligned with the ultra­na­tion­al­ist Svo­boda party, itself a con­stituent part of Kiev’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment, led the mob. Both are fre­quently char­ac­ter­ized by knowl­edge­able observers as “neo-fascist” move­ments. (Hate­ful eth­nic chants by the mob were audi­ble, and swastika-like sym­bols were found on the scorched build­ing.) Kiev alleged that the vic­tims had them­selves acci­den­tally started the fire, but eye­wit­nesses, tele­vi­sion footage and social media videos told the true story, as they have about sub­se­quent atrocities.

Instead of inter­pret­ing the Odessa mas­sacre as an imper­a­tive for restraint, Kiev inten­si­fied its “anti-terrorist oper­a­tion.” Since May, the regime has sent a grow­ing num­ber of armored per­son­nel car­ri­ers, tanks, artillery, heli­copter gun­ships and war­planes to south­east­ern cities, among them, Slovyansk (Slavyansk in Russ­ian), Mar­i­upol, Kras­noarmeisk, Kram­a­torsk, Donetsk and Luhansk (Lugansk in Russ­ian). When its reg­u­lar mil­i­tary units and local police forces turned out to be less than effec­tive, will­ing or loyal, Kiev hastily mobi­lized Right Sec­tor and other rad­i­cal nation­al­ist mili­tias respon­si­ble for much of the vio­lence at Maidan into a National Guard to accom­pany reg­u­lar detachments—partly to rein­force them, partly, it seems, to enforce Kiev’s com­mands. Zeal­ous, barely trained and drawn mostly from cen­tral and west­ern regions, Kiev’s new recruits have report­edly esca­lated the eth­nic war­fare and killing of inno­cent civil­ians. (Episodes described as “mas­sacres” soon also occurred in Mar­i­upol and Kramatorsk.)

Ini­tially, the “anti-terrorist” cam­paign was lim­ited pri­mar­ily, though not only, to rebel check­points on the out­skirts of cities. Since May, how­ever, Kiev has repeat­edly car­ried out artillery and air attacks on city cen­ters that have struck res­i­den­tial build­ings, shop­ping malls, parks, schools, kinder­gartens and hos­pi­tals, par­tic­u­larly in Slovyansk and Luhansk. More and more urban areas, neigh­bor­ing towns and even vil­lages now look and sound like war zones, with tell­tale rub­ble, destroyed and pock­marked build­ings, man­gled vehi­cles, the dead and wounded in streets, wail­ing mourn­ers and cry­ing chil­dren. Con­flict­ing infor­ma­tion from Kiev, local resis­tance lead­ers and Moscow make it impos­si­ble to esti­mate the num­ber of dead and wounded noncombatants—certainly hun­dreds. The num­ber con­tin­ues to grow due also to Kiev’s block­ade of cities where essen­tial med­i­cines, food, water, fuel and elec­tric­ity are scarce, and where wages and pen­sions are often no longer being paid. The result is an emerg­ing human­i­tar­ian catastrophe.

Another effect is clear. Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” tac­tics have cre­ated a reign of ter­ror in the tar­geted cities. Pan­icked by shells and mor­tars explod­ing on the ground, men­ac­ing heli­copters and planes fly­ing above and fear of what may come next, fam­i­lies are seek­ing sanc­tu­ary in base­ments and other dark­ened shel­ters. Even The New York Times, which like the main­stream Amer­i­can media gen­er­ally has deleted the atroc­i­ties from its cov­er­age, described sur­vivors in Slovyansk “as if liv­ing in the Mid­dle Ages.” Mean­while, an ever-growing num­ber of refugees, dis­pro­por­tion­ately women and trau­ma­tized chil­dren, have been flee­ing across the bor­der into Rus­sia. In late June, the UN esti­mated that as many as 110,000 Ukraini­ans had already fled to Rus­sia and about half that many to other Ukrain­ian sanctuaries.

It is true, of course, that anti-Kiev rebels in these regions are increas­ingly well-armed (though lack­ing the government’s arse­nal of heavy and air­borne weapons), orga­nized and aggres­sive, no doubt with some Russ­ian assis­tance, whether offi­cially sanc­tioned or not. But call­ing them­selves “self-defense” fight­ers is not wrong. They did not begin the com­bat; their land is being invaded and assaulted by a gov­ern­ment whose polit­i­cal legit­i­macy is arguably no greater than their own, two of their large regions hav­ing voted over­whelm­ingly for auton­omy ref­er­enda; and, unlike actual ter­ror­ists, they have not com­mit­ted acts of war out­side their own com­mu­ni­ties. The French adage sug­gested by an Amer­i­can observer seems applic­a­ble: “This ani­mal is very dan­ger­ous. If attacked, it defends itself.”

* * *

Among the cru­cial ques­tions rarely dis­cussed in the US political-media estab­lish­ment: What is the role of the “neo-fascist” fac­tor in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” ide­ol­ogy and mil­i­tary oper­a­tions? Putin’s posi­tion, at least until recently—that the entire Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment is a “neo-fascist junta”—is incor­rect. Many mem­bers of the rul­ing coali­tion and its par­lia­men­tary major­ity are aspir­ing European-style democ­rats or mod­er­ate nation­al­ists. This may also be true of Ukraine’s newly elected pres­i­dent, the oli­garch Petro Poroshenko. Equally untrue, how­ever, are claims by Kiev’s Amer­i­can apol­o­gists, includ­ing even some aca­d­e­mics and lib­eral intel­lec­tu­als, that Ukraine’s neo-fascists—or per­haps quasi-fascists—are merely agi­tated nation­al­ists, “garden-variety Euro-populists,” a “dis­trac­tion” or lack enough pop­u­lar sup­port to be significant.

Inde­pen­dent West­ern schol­ars have doc­u­mented the fas­cist ori­gins, con­tem­po­rary ide­ol­ogy and declar­a­tive sym­bols of Svo­boda and its fellow-traveling Right Sec­tor. Both move­ments glo­rify Ukraine’s mur­der­ous Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors in World War II as inspi­ra­tional ances­tors. Both, to quote Svoboda’s leader Oleh Tyah­ny­bok, call for an eth­ni­cally pure nation purged of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum,” includ­ing homo­sex­u­als, fem­i­nists and polit­i­cal left­ists. And both hailed the Odessa mas­sacre. Accord­ing to the web­site of Right Sec­tor leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was “another bright day in our national his­tory.” A Svo­boda par­lia­men­tary deputy added, “Bravo, Odessa…. Let the Dev­ils burn in hell.” If more evi­dence is needed, in Decem­ber 2012, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment decried Svoboda’s “racist, anti-Semitic and xeno­pho­bic views [that] go against the EU’s fun­da­men­tal val­ues and prin­ci­ples.” In 2013, the World Jew­ish Con­gress denounced Svo­boda as “neo-Nazi.” Still worse, observers agree that Right Sec­tor is even more extremist.

Nor do elec­toral results tell the story. Tyah­ny­bok and Yarosh together received less than 2 per­cent of the June pres­i­den­tial vote, but his­to­ri­ans know that in trau­matic times, when, to recall Yeats, “the cen­ter can­not hold,” small, deter­mined move­ments can seize the moment, as did Lenin’s Bol­she­viks and Hitler’s Nazis. Indeed, Svo­boda and Right Sec­tor already com­mand power and influ­ence far exceed­ing their pop­u­lar vote. “Mod­er­ates” in the US-backed Kiev gov­ern­ment, obliged to both move­ments for their violence-driven ascent to power, and per­haps for their per­sonal safety, rewarded Svo­boda and Right Sec­tor with some five to eight (depend­ing on shift­ing affil­i­a­tions) top min­istry posi­tions, includ­ing ones over­see­ing national secu­rity, mil­i­tary, pros­e­cu­to­r­ial and edu­ca­tional affairs. Still more, accord­ing to the research of Pietro Shakar­ian, a remark­able young grad­u­ate stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan, Svo­boda was given five gov­er­nor­ships, cov­er­ing about 20 per­cent of the coun­try. And this does not take into account the role of Right Sec­tor in the “anti-terrorist operation.”

Nor does it con­sider the polit­i­cal main­stream­ing of fascism’s dehu­man­iz­ing ethos. In Decem­ber 2012, a Svo­boda par­lia­men­tary leader anath­e­ma­tized the Ukrainian-born Amer­i­can actress Mila Kunis as “a dirty kike.” Since 2013, pro-Kiev mobs and mili­tias have rou­tinely den­i­grated eth­nic Rus­sians as insects (“Col­orado bee­tles,” whose col­ors resem­ble a sacred Rus­sia orna­ment). More recently, the US-picked prime min­is­ter, Arseniy Yat­senyuk, referred to resisters in the South­east as “sub­hu­mans.” His defense min­is­ter pro­posed putting them in “fil­tra­tion camps,” pend­ing depor­ta­tion, and rais­ing fears of eth­nic cleans­ing. Yulia Tymoshenko—a for­mer prime min­is­ter, tit­u­lar head of Yatsenyuk’s party and runner-up in the May pres­i­den­tial election—was over­heard wish­ing she could “exter­mi­nate them all [Ukrain­ian Rus­sians] with atomic weapons.” “Ster­il­iza­tion” is among the less apoc­a­lyp­tic offi­cial mus­ings on the pur­suit of a puri­fied Ukraine.

Con­fronted with such facts, Kiev’s Amer­i­can apol­o­gists have con­jured up another ratio­nal­iza­tion. Any neo-fascists in Ukraine, they assure us, are far less dan­ger­ous than Putinism’s “clear aspects of fas­cism.” The alle­ga­tion is unwor­thy of seri­ous analy­sis: how­ever author­i­tar­ian Putin may be, there is noth­ing authen­ti­cally fas­cist in his ruler­ship, poli­cies, state ide­ol­ogy or per­sonal conduct.

Indeed, equat­ing Putin with Hitler, as emi­nent Amer­i­cans from Hillary Clin­ton and Zbig­niew Brzezin­ski to George Will have done, is another exam­ple of how our new cold war­riors are reck­lessly dam­ag­ing US national secu­rity in vital areas where Putin’s coop­er­a­tion is essen­tial. Look­ing ahead, would-be pres­i­dents who make such remarks can hardly expect to be greeted by an open-minded Putin, whose brother died and father was wounded in the Soviet-Nazi war. More­over, tens of mil­lions of today’s Rus­sians whose fam­ily mem­bers were killed by actual fas­cists in that war will regard this defama­tion of their pop­u­lar pres­i­dent as sac­ri­lege, as they do the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted by Kiev.

7. In stories on successive days, Robert Parry has noted that a reliable intelligence informant maintains that U.S. surveillance satellite photos appear to show the missile being fired by a “Buk” missile battery being operated by [possibly drunk] Ukrainian military personnel.

“Airline Horrors Spur New Rush to Judgement” by Robert Parry; Consortium News; 7/19/2014.

. . . . Regarding the shoot-down of the Malaysian jetliner on Thursday, I’m told that some CIA analysts cite U.S. satellite reconnaissance photos suggesting that the anti-aircraft missile that brought down Flight 17 was fired by Ukrainian troops from a government battery, not by ethnic Russian rebels who have been resisting the regime in Kiev since elected President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown on Feb. 22.

According to a source briefed on the tentative findings, the soldiers manning the battery appeared to be wearing Ukrainian uniforms and may have been drinking, since what looked like beer bottles were scattered around the site. But the source added that the information was still incomplete and the analysts did not rule out the possibility of rebel responsibility. . . .

8a. Parry is also among the few to note the Swoboda affiliation of Andriy Parubiy, in charge of defense matters for Ukraine. U.S. policy is beholden unto an Underground Reich milieu centered on the heirs to the OUN/B.

“What Did U.S. Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?” by Robert Parry; Consortium News; 7/20/2019.

. . . . The dog-not-barking question on the catastrophe over Ukraine is: what did the U.S. surveillance satellite imagery show? It’s hard to believe that – with the attention that U.S. intelligence has concentrated on eastern Ukraine for the past half year that the alleged trucking of several large Buk anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia to Ukraine and then back to Russia didn’t show up somewhere.

Yes, there are limitations to what U.S. spy satellites can see. But the Buk missiles are about 16 feet long and they are usually mounted on trucks or tanks. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 also went down during the afternoon, not at night, meaning the missile battery was not concealed by darkness.. . .

. . . . What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.

The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site, the source said.

Instead of pressing for these kinds of details, the U.S. mainstream press has simply passed on the propaganda coming from the Ukrainian government and the U.S. State Department, including hyping the fact that the Buk system is “Russian-made,” a rather meaningless fact that gets endlessly repeated.

However, to use the “Russian-made” point to suggest that the Russians must have been involved in the shoot-down is misleading at best and clearly designed to influence ill-informed Americans. As the Post and other news outlets surely know, the Ukrainian military also operates Russian-made military systems, including Buk anti-aircraft batteries, so the manufacturing origin has no probative value here.

. . . . In recognition of the key role played by the neo-Nazis, who are ideological descendants of Ukrainian militias that collaborated with the Nazi SS in World War II, the new regime gave these far-right nationalists control of several ministries, including the office of national security which is under the command of longtime neo-Nazi activist Andriy Parubiy.[See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine, Through the US Looking Glass.”]

It was this same Parubiy whom the Post writers turned to seeking more information condemning the eastern Ukrainian rebels and the Russians regarding the Malaysia Airlines catastrophe. Parubiy accused the rebels in the vicinity of the crash site of destroying evidence and conducting a cover-up, another theme that resonated through the MSM.

Without bothering to inform readers of Parubiy’s unsavory neo-Nazi background, the Post quoted him as a reliable witness declaring: “It will be hard to conduct a full investigation with some of the objects being taken away, but we will do our best.” . . .

8b. Robert Parry also contributes an article noting possible “spin” on the story–that a Ukrainian army “defector” may have fired the missile.

“The Mystery of a Ukrainian Army ‘Defector'” by Robert Parry; Consortium News; 7/22/2014.

As the U.S. government seeks to build its case blaming eastern Ukrainian rebels and Russia for the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the evidence seems to be getting twisted to fit the preordained conclusion, including a curious explanation for why the troops suspected of firing the fateful missile may have been wearing Ukrainian army uniforms.

On Tuesday, mainstream journalists, including for the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, were given a briefing about the U.S. intelligence information that supposedly points the finger of blame at the rebels and Russia. While much of this circumstantial case was derived from postings on “social media,” the briefings also addressed the key issue of who fired the Buk anti-aircraft missile that is believed to have downed the airliner killing all 298 people onboard.

After last Thursday’s shoot-down, I was told that U.S. intelligence analysts were examining satellite imagery that showed the crew manning the suspected missile battery wearing what looked like Ukrainian army uniforms, but my source said the analysts were still struggling with whether that essentially destroyed the U.S. government’s case blaming the rebels.

The Los Angeles Times article on Tuesday’s briefing seemed to address the same information this way: “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.”

That statement about a possible “defector” might explain why some analysts thought they saw soldiers in Ukrainian army uniforms tending to the missile battery in eastern Ukraine. But there is another obvious explanation that the U.S. intelligence community seems unwilling to accept: that the missile may have been launched by someone working for the Ukrainian military.

In other words, we may be seeing another case of the U.S. government “fixing the intelligence” around a desired policy outcome, as occurred in the run-up to war with Iraq. . . .

9. President Putin’s plane flew through roughly the same area less than an hour before. American mainstream media have been contemptuous of Russian media speculation that the missile may have been intended for President Putin’s plane. In light of the statements of lethal intent against Putin by the OUN/B heirs now governing Ukraine, such a possibility is not to be taken so lightly, in our opinion.

“With Jet Strike, War in Ukraine is Felt Globally” by Peter Baker; The New York Times; 7/19/2014.

. . . . Mr. Putin was also in the air above Eastern Europe that afternoon, as he was returning from a six-day tour of Latin America aboard his presidential Airbus, referred to as Aircraft No. 1 by the media. The Russian jet apparently passed near the doomed Malaysian plane, both flying in roughly the same airspace over Warsaw at 33,000 feet some 37 minutes apart, according to an Interfax report. He got on the telephone with Mr. Obama shortly after landing. . . . 

. . . . The coincidental proximity of Mr. Putin’s plane even led to conspiracy theories that whoever destroyed the Malaysia jet was actually trying to target the Russian president. Rossiya 24, the state-run cable network, played past clips of Ukrainian public figures saying they wished Mr. Putin dead and then interviewed supposed experts about how the two planes might have been confused.

Mr. Putin released a statement 40 minutes after midnight, blaming Ukraine. “Certainly,” he said, “the government over whose territory it occurred is responsible for this terrible tragedy.” . . . .

10. Accusations against the rebels center on the assertion that they had the Russian-made “Buk” SA-11 missile system. That system’s ability to effectively distinguish between a military and a civilian aircraft is dependent on an independent, mobile tracked vehicle with the radar and electronics necessary to make such a distinction. There is no indication that the rebels have such a vehicle.

“A Missile Radar Might Have Saved Malaysian Plane” by Danika Kirka, John-Thor Dahlburg; Talking Points Memo; 7/19/2013.

If Ukrainian rebels shot down the Malaysian jetliner, killing 298 people, it may have been because they didn’t have the right systems in place to distinguish between military and civilian aircraft, experts said Saturday.

American officials said Friday that they believe the Boeing 777 was brought down by an SA-11 missile fired from an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power said the Russians might have provided technical help to the rebels to operate the systems.

But to function correctly, an SA-11 launcher, also known as a Buk, is supposed to be connected to a central radar command — as opposed to acting alone — to be certain of exactly what kind of aircraft it is shooting at.

From the information that has come to light so far, the rebels don’t appear to have such systems, said Pavel Felgenhauer, a respected defense columnist for Novaya Gazeta, a Moscow-based newspaper known for its critical coverage of Russian affairs.

“They could easily make a tragic mistake and shoot down a passenger plane when indeed they wanted to shoot down a Ukrainian transport plane,” he said.

On Friday, Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency also quoted Konstantin Sivkov, director of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, as saying Buk missiles “should be provided with external systems of target identification, that is, radio-location systems. It’s an entire system. And the insurgents certainly don’t have radio-location.”

Without a backup, a missile can be fired by operators who are not totally sure of what they are aiming at.

“Just seeing a blip on a radar screen was in no away sufficient to make a targeting decision,” said Keir Giles, associate fellow for international security and Russia and Eurasia programs at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. “You need an additional radar system to which these weapons systems can be connected for additional information.” . . . .

. . . . A NATO military officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said a Buk launcher, which is a self-propelled tracked vehicle resembling a tank, is ordinarily under the orders of a separate command post vehicle.

“In a totally textbook way of setting up, the command post vehicle assigns targets and designates the firing units — launcher 1 or launcher 2,” the NATO officer said. . . . .

11. In the wake of the rhetorical/political firestorm over the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, we note that the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) is front and center in the “investigation” into the event.

“OSCE Describes Process for Identifying Bodies from MH17 Attack” by Simon Santow; ABC  News; 7/21/2014.

The OSCE has told AM it has finally obtained better access on the ground near the site where MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine. The spokesman for the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Michael Bociurkiw, says they have seen some remains and bodies stored in refrigerated rail wagons in the town of Tores. He says after the earlier chaos, there’s now greater co-operation but there are still plenty of concerns about getting access for crash investigators and of securing the perimeter of the area 24 hours a day.

12a. We put the quotation marks around “investigation” because the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission is headed by one Michael [“Mykhailo”] Bociurkiw. A Canadian citizen of Ukrainian extraction, he was an assistant editor for the Ukrainian Weekly.

Issues of the periodical available online point to a “pro-OUN/B” bias.

PDF copies of issues are available at their website. This issue appears fairly representative, and manifests a definite anti-OSI, pro Republican Heritage Groups Council bias. (The RHGC is the Nazi/ABN wing of the GOP, discussed at length in FTR #465, among other programs. It heavily overlaps the OUN/B.

A 1987 letter from the World Jewish Congress’ general counsel notes an apparent anti-OSI bias on the part of articles written by Bociurkiw. Note that the Office of Special Investigations was the Justice Department unit charged with investigating Nazi war criminals living the U.S.

The unit was formerly headed by John Loftus, who resigned his position as head of OSI as the Reagan administration was taking office because many of the people he was investiagating held staff positions with Reagan.

Bociurkiw’s position with the OSCE apparently places yet another OUN/B advocate in the mix, charged with “investigating” actions taken by a government inextricably linked with OUN/B heirs such as Swoboda, Pravy Sektor and the Ukrainian National Congress.

February 2, 1987

VIA AIR CANADA FOR DELIVERY 2/3/87

Ms. Janet Bendon

Director of Communications

Canadian Jewish Congress

1590 Avenue Docteur Penfield

Montreal, Quebec H3G 1C5

CANADA

Re: Michael Bociurkiw

Dear Janet:

Enclosed, in accordance with your request of this date, is a nearly complete run of The Ukrainian Weekly (Jersey City, N.J.) from Vol. LIII, No. 40 (October 6, 1985) through Vol. LV, No. 4 (January 25, 1987).  These 61 issues come from my personal library, and I appreciate your assurance that they will be returned to me by courier at your earliest opportunity.

As I indicated on the phone, Michael Bociurkiw is a frequent contributor to the newspaper.  Indeed, one of his articles appears on the front page of the oldest of the enclosed issues (October 6, 1985), under the byline “Mykhailo” Bociurkiw.  Vol. LIII, issue no. 50 (December 15, 1985) reports that he has been named Assistant Editor of the newspaper.  As you can see, I have made a practice of noting on the front page of each issue those pages which contain articles of interest (which, of course, would include all articles, editorials, opinion pieces, advertisements, etc. regarding Nazi crimes and their perpetrators).  Where more than one article of interest appears on a particular page, I generally have noted this fact through the use of parentheticals.  I am convinced, by the way, that many of the unbylined “Nazi stories” were penned by Mr. Bociurkiw.  In any event, the anti-OSI, anti-Nazi prosecution bias in Bociurkiw’s written output and in the newspaper generally will be readily apparent as you read through the enclosed issues. . . .

Sincerely yours,

 

Eli M. Rosenbaum

General Counsel

12b. Representative of The Ukrainian Weekly‘s pro-OUN/B coverage is this obituary of OUN/B leader Jaroslav Stetsko (also “Stetzko”). Note that the OUN/B is also known as the OUN’s “revolutionary faction.”

Nowhere in this story do you see anything about OUN/B’s murderous collaboration with the Nazis, nor the fascist nature and Third Reich origin of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations.

“Yaroslav Stetzko, Nationalist Leader and Former Prime Minister Dies” by Ihor Diaboha; The Ukrainian Weekly; 7/13/1986.

Yaroslav Stetzko, head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (revolutionary faction) and prime minister of Ukraine during World War II, died Saturday at the age of 74 after a prolonged illness. He is survived by his wife Slava, head of the ABN Correspondence. . . .

. . . In February, 1940, following the split in the OUN, Mssrs. Bandera and Stetzko assumed the leadership of the OUN’s revolutionary leadership.

Plans were immediately set in motion to proclaim the establishment of Ukraine’s independence. This was further expanded with other political parties through  Mr. Stetzko’s role in the Ukrainian National Committee.

Independence was proclaimed on June 30, 1941, less than two weeks after Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Russian occupied territories. Mssrs. Bandera and Stetzko, the revolutionary leadership and other nationalistic figures were imprisoned in concentration camps by the Nazis. Mr. Stetzko’ s work on behalf of the Ukrainian nation and its independence continued after the war.

In 1947 he was elected chairman of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations, which had its roots in the clandestine Conference of Captive Nations convened by General Taras Chuprynka in 1943. Mr. Stetzko served as its only chairman.

In 1968, Mr. Stetzko was elected head of the OUN(r) central leadership.

Mr. Stetzko’s anti-Communist activity extended beyond Ukrainian affairs. As chairman of the European Freedom Council and a member of the presidium of the World Anti-Communist League. Mr. Stetsko met with international leaders and various statesmen impressing on them the need to wage a freedom campaign on behalf of captive nations.

Among the Western leaders he met were President Ronald Reagan and Vice-President George Bush.

The funeral liturgy was to be offered on Saturday, July 12, at the Ukrainian catholic cathedral in Munich. Burial was to follow at the Walfriedhoff Cemetery.

13. Bociurkiw has networked with a Malaysian Muslim Brotherhood-connected milieu that overlaps the International Institute of Islamic Thought and–by extension–that of the pilot of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

Interestingly and, perhaps significantly, Bociurkiw edited a puff-piece book about Dr. Mahathir Mohammed,  a hardline fundamentalist Muslim and–like prominent Malaysian Muslim Brother Anwar Ibrahim–a former Malaysian Prime Minister. Mahathir Mohammed is a raving anti-Semite, as are the OUN/B knock-off groups like Swoboda and Pravy Sektor.

The book is titled: Mahathir: 22Years, 22Voices.

In addition to an introduction written by Michael Bociurkiw, another was written by Abdullah Badawi. Both Mahathir Mohammed and Abdullah Badawi were proteges of Muhammad M. Abdul Rauf, a Malaysian Muslim Brother and a personal student of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan El-Banna.

In turn, Abdul Rauf was very close to the IIIT, one of the organizations raided in the Operation Green Quest Raids of 3/20/2002. Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was piloted by Zaharie Shah, a devotee of Anwar Ibrahim, another former Malaysian Prime Minister and prominent Malaysian Muslim Brother. Ibrahim was also a co-founder of the IIIT and a lobbying client of Grover Norquist. Recall that the flight computer on 370 appears to have been re-programmed in the cockpit.

For more about Shah, Ibrahim and the downing of Flight 370, see FTR #790.

Also worth noting is the fact that Rauf has networked with the milieu of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam!

As strange as it might appear to be at first, a jihadist/Nazi link vis a vis Russia is not strange at all. Russia appears to be undergoing a pincers movement, with Western intelligence-connected fascist elements driving East through Ukraine and Western intel-backed jihadists coming from the south.

It should be remembered that there is evidence that Western intelligence elements appear to support jihadists in Chechnya and elsewhere in the Caucasus. The IIIT and the El Haramain charity discussed in FTR #381 are linked to Al-Taqwa. The Operation Green Quest raids–with the IIIT at the epicenter of the SAAR network raided in that operation, is inextricably linked to Al-Taqwa and Third Reich intelligence agent Youssef Nada. Al-Taqwa, in turn, dovetails with the Underground Reich in a number of ways.

“Name: Muhammad M. Abdul Rauf”; Unmasking the Muslim Brotherhood in America.

SUSPICIOUS AND/OR HOSTILE ACTIVITIES:

  • Strongly advocated establishment of sharia law in America
  • Established Islamic “trust” controlling land and management of New York Islamic Cultural Center, which employed at least two Egyptian MB imams, that, after 9/11 blamed the atrocities on Israel. One said American would “exterminate” the Jewish people like Hitler if they knew.
  • Co-authored book and regularly collaborated with hard line MB leader Ismaʾil R. Al-Faruqi, a mid 1980s co-founder of the Herndon, Va.-based IIIT, long suspected of broadly funding terror.
  • Regularly collaborated with IIIT and Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), both among the 29 “friends” listed in the 1991 Mohammed Akram internal MB memorandum outlining secret plans to replace U.S. Constitutional democracy with sharia law.
  • Instructed hard-line Islamic leader Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who served as Malaysian prime minister from 2003 to 2009.
  • Close associate and friend of former Malaysian prime minister and active anti-Semite Mahathir Mohamad, who in 2002, incited global anti-West financial war as a “jihad worth fighting for.” . . . .
  • Rauf also greatly admired the “accomplishments” of American Muslim Society (AMS) founder W. D. Mohammed (Oct. 30, 1933–Sept. 9, 2008), the former Nation of Islam leader  who regularly met Muslim Brotherhood leaders, attended their meetings and accepted gifts from their chief donors. In July 1997, Mohammed attended the 22nd annual Islamic Circle of North America convention in Pittsburgh. In 2000 Mohammed joined Muslim Brother and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) general secretary Sayyid Sayeed in welcoming Louis Farrakahn into the “mainstream” of American Sunni Islam.

14. We also note in passing that MH 17 went down with an important group of AIDS researchers on board, viewed by some observers as greatly setting back international AIDS research. Neither the Muslim Brotherhood nor the OUN/B milieu are sympathetic to gays. (The EuroMaidan demonstrations featured the beating of a number of gays, although it received little publicity.)

It is also worth noting in passing that there is disturbing evidence that AIDS was deliberately created. IF any of the now-deceased researchers was aware of, and/or investigating this, that would have provided motive for the Underground Reich elements that appear to have created the disease to dispose of them.

“Delegates to Melbourne AIDS Summit on Doomed Flight 17” by Rick Morton; The Australian; 7/18/2014.

More than 100 AIDS activists, researchers and health workers bound for a major conference in Melbourne were on the Malaysia Airlines flight downed in the Ukraine.

It is believed that delegates to the 20th International AIDS Conference, due to begin on Sunday, will be informed today that 108 of their colleagues and family members died on MH17.

Stunned researchers, activists and development workers arriving at Melbourne Airport paid tribute to AIDS researcher Joep Lange and the other attendees believed killed aboard MH17. . . .

15. Possibly apocryphal under the circumstances, we note the unlikely coincidence of a Dutch cyclist who was booked to fly on both Malaysia Air Flight 370 and MH17. While possible, it is unlikely from an actuarial standpoint. Might there be more to Mr. De Jong than meets the eye? (De Jong, by the way, is one of the most common of Dutch surnames, not unlike “Smith” in English. This would be useful IF he were an operative of some kind.

“Dutch Cyclist Maarten de Jonge Cheats Death Twice after Changing Flights from Both Malaysia Airlines MH17 and MH370” by Adam Withnall; The Independent [UK]; 7/20/2014. 

A Dutch cyclist has revealed how he twice cheated death after changing his plans to fly on both the Malaysia Airlines passenger jets involved in international aviation disasters over the past four months.

Maarten de Jonge, 29, has to travel around the world to compete for Malaysia’s Terengganu cycling team – and in doing so has now had two extraordinary near misses. . . . .
. . . . The cyclist said that he only decided to swap flights at the last minute, after discovering that travelling via Frankfurt today would prove cheaper.

Tweeting a link on Thursday to a Dutch article about the MH17 disaster, De Jonge said: “Had I departed today, then…”

During his interview with the local broadcaster, the cyclist revealed something even more remarkable – that he had also been planning to travel on flight MH370, the Malaysia jet which vanished on 8 March and which remains missing somewhere in the Indian Ocean. . . .

 

Discussion

10 comments for “FTR #803 Walkin’ The Snake in Ukraine”

  1. It sounds like Australia’s plan to send in armed police the MH17 crash site has been rejected for being too risky. That’s probably for the best given the intense battles being waged near the crash site:

    AFP News
    Rebels claim Kiev now controls part of MH17 site
    By Dario Thuburn in Donetsk with Hui Min Neo in Kiev
    7/28/2014

    Ukraine’s army on Monday seized control of part of the vast site where Malaysian airliner MH17 crashed, insurgents said, as the United Nations announced the downing of the plane could constitute a war crime.

    After explosions and fighting blocked a new attempt by Dutch and Australian police to access the east Ukraine crash site, Kiev confirmed that its troops had now entered a string of towns around the scene, including Shakhtarsk, 10 kilometres (six miles) away.

    The unarmed international mission was forced to turn back for the second day running before reaching the site, where the remains of some of the 298 victims still lie since the July 17 disaster.

    Dutch investigators leading the probe said it was now likely that some of these remains may never be recovered.

    “I would love to give a guarantee that all the remains will come back, and all possessions, but… I believe the chances are not very good that we will get it all,” Dutch police chief Gerard Bouman told parliament in The Hague.

    More than 1,100 people have been killed in the fighting engulfing east Ukraine over the past three months, the United Nations said, a toll that does not include the plane crash victims.

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the “horrendous shooting down” of the Malaysian passenger jet in what was then rebel-held territory on July 17, and demanded a “thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation”.

    “This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime,” she said.

    The Red Cross has said Ukraine is now in civil war — a classification that would make parties in the conflict liable to prosecution for war crimes.

    Western powers, which has accused Moscow of fanning the rebellion by supplying it with weapons including the missile system allegedly used to shot down MH17, urged new sanctions against Russia.

    Data from the plane’s black boxes analysed as a part of a Dutch-led probe showed that the crash was caused by shrapnel from a rocket explosion, Kiev said.

    But on the ground, investigators have made little headway into gathering evidence because of the intensifying fighting around the crash site.

    If Kiev manages to cement its latest gains, it could cut off access to main rebel bastion Donetsk from Russia, which stands accused by the West of funnelling arms to the insurgents.

    The rebels did not specify which part of the crash site is now back under Kiev control and there is no confirmation from Ukrainian officials.

    Andriy Lysenko, Ukraine’s military spokesman, claimed that troops were not carrying out any fighting but that “we would occupy (the crash site) once the rebels withdraw”.

    Rebels signalled they were in no mood for retreat.

    The top rebel military commander of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic”, Igor Strelkov, told a press conference: “We are planning to restore the connection between Shakhtarsk and Torez this evening. Our fighters are there now on the attack.”

    The escalating fighting has led authorities in The Netherlands — which lost 193 citizens in the crash — to conclude that it was unrealistic to send an armed mission to secure the site as troops risked getting dragged into the conflict.

    Both sides in Ukraine’s war have traded blame over who is responsible for the chaos around the site, with Kiev accusing the rebels of “destroying evidence” and the insurgents saying army shelling was devastating parts of the site where the plane wreckage is located.

    You have to wonder what international police force that hasn’t been able to reach the crash site for days due to heavy fighting think about comments like:

    Andriy Lysenko, Ukraine’s military spokesman, claimed that troops were not carrying out any fighting but that “we would occupy (the crash site) once the rebels withdraw”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 28, 2014, 5:00 pm
  2. bon appetit

    http://www.armytimes.com/article/20140731/NEWS08/307310070/German-officer-serve-U-S-Army-Europe-s-chief-staff

    German officer to serve as U.S. Army Europe’s chief of staff
    Jul. 31, 2014 – 02:38PM |
    67 Comments

    Gen. Markus Laubenthal is the first German officer to be assigned to U.S. Army Europe. He is the command’s new chief of staff.
    Gen. Markus Laubenthal is the first German officer to be assigned to U.S. Army Europe. He is the command’s new chief of staff. (U.S. Army Europe)

    By Jim Tice
    Staff report
    FILED UNDER
    News
    World News
    A German Army brigadier general who recently served with NATO forces in Afghanistan is assuming duties as the chief of staff of U. S. Army Europe, the first time a non-American officer has held that position.

    Brig. Gen. Markus Laubenthal, most recently the commander of Germany’s 12th Panzer Brigade in Amberg, and chief of staff of Regional Command North, International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan, will be stationed at USAREUR headquarters, Wiesbaden, Germany. He could report to duty as early as Monday.

    Laubenthal also has served as military assistant to the deputy commander of operations and assistant chief of staff of operations for NATO forces in Kosovo.

    As the major staff assistant to USAREUR commander Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell, Laubenthal will synchronize the command’s staff activities much as American predecessors have in the past.

    “This is a bold and major step forward in USAREUR’s commitment to operating in a multinational environment with our German allies,” said Campbell.

    “U. S. and German senior military leaders have been serving together in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan for years. Sustaining the shared capability from this experience will benefit both the U. S. and German armies,” said Campbell who has headed the Army’s largest and oldest overseas command since 2012.

    Posted by participo | July 31, 2014, 11:08 pm
  3. Will a secret “land for gas” deal between Merkel and Putin end the conflict in Ukraine? We’ll see:

    The Independent
    Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis

    Margareta Pagano
    Thursday 31 July 2014

    Germany and Russia have been working on a secret plan to broker a peaceful solution to end international tensions over the Ukraine.

    The Independent can reveal that the peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, hinges on two main ambitions: stabilising the borders of Ukraine and providing the financially troubled country with a strong economic boost, particularly a new energy agreement ensuring security of gas supplies.

    More controversially, if Ms Merkel’s deal were to be acceptable to the Russians, the international community would need to recognise Crimea’s independence and its annexation by Russia, a move that some members of the United Nations might find difficult to stomach.

    Sources close to the secret negotiations claim that the first part of the stabilisation plan requires Russia to withdraw its financial and military support for the various pro-separatist groups operating in eastern Ukraine. As part of any such agreement, the region would be allowed some devolved powers.

    At the same time, the Ukrainian President would agree not to apply to join Nato. In return, President Putin would not seek to block or interfere with the Ukraine’s new trade relations with the European Union under a pact signed a few weeks ago.

    Second, the Ukraine would be offered a new long-term agreement with Russia’s Gazprom, the giant gas supplier, for future gas supplies and pricing. At present, there is no gas deal in place; Ukraine’s gas supplies are running low and are likely to run out before this winter, which would spell economic and social ruin for the country.

    As part of the deal, Russia would compensate Ukraine with a billion-dollar financial package for the loss of the rent it used to pay for stationing its fleets in the Crimea and at the port of Sevastopol on the Black Sea until Crimea voted for independence in March.

    However, these attempts by Ms Merkel to act as a broker between President Putin and the Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, were put on the back-burner following the shooting down of the MH17 plane in eastern Ukraine.

    But insiders who are party to the discussions said yesterday that the “German peace plan is still on the table and the only deal around. Negotiations have stalled because of the MH17 disaster but they are expected to restart once the investigation has taken place.”

    Closer trading ties with the EU have been one of the big ambitions of Mr Poroshenko’s presidency. He has been a staunch supporter of the country’s pro-European movement even though he is unaffiliated to any political party. He was one of the backers of the 2004 Orange Revolution and served as Foreign Minister under Yulia Tymoshenko.

    A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said they had no knowledge of such negotiations taking place. However, the spokesman said he thought it highly unlikely that either the US or UK would agree to recognising Russian control over Crimea. There was no one available at the German embassy’s press office yesterday.

    Reaching a solution to the ongoing dispute is pertinent for the Germans as Russia is their single biggest trading partner. Under Ms Merkel, the Russo-German axis has strengthened significantly and, until the plane shooting, her government had been staunchly against punitive sanctions for commercial but also diplomatic reasons.

    Such strong trade ties between the two countries have also served to strengthen Ms Merkel’s hand and the Russian speaker has emerged as the leading advocate of closer relations between the EU and Russia. “This is Merkel’s deal. She has been dealing direct with President Putin on this. She needs to solve the dispute because it’s in no one’s interest to have tension in the Ukraine or to have Russia out in the cold. No one wants another Cold War,” said one insider close to the negotiations.

    Some of Germany’s biggest companies have big operations in Russia, which is now one of Europe’s biggest car markets, while many of its small to medium companies are also expanding into the country. Although Russia now provides EU countries with a third of their gas supplies through pipelines crossing the Ukraine, Germany has its own bilateral gas pipeline direct to Russia making it less vulnerable than other European countries.

    However, Russia is still the EU’s third-biggest trading partner with cross-border trade of $460bn (£272bn) last year, and the latest sanctions being introduced by the EU towards Russian individuals and banks will hurt European countries more than any other – particularly Germany, but also the City of London.

    Central to the negotiations over any new gas deal with Gazprom is understood to be one of Ukraine’s wealthiest businessmen, the gas broker, Dmitry Firtash. Mr Firtash – who negotiated the first big gas deal between the Ukraine and Russia between 2006 and 2009 – is now living in Vienna fighting extradition charges from the Americans. But he has close relations with the Russian and Ukrainian leaders – he supported Mr Poroschenko – and has been acting as a go-between behind the scenes at the highest levels.

    Since the first critical part of the plan requires Russia end all financial and military support for the rebels in exchange for greater federalism and more powers for the east, but there’s no apparent provision for an end the Kiev government to end its attempts to militarily defeat the rebels, it seems like the key factor in this whole plan is going be the rebels. If they accept that deal and a peace treaty is agreed upon, well, that could be the path forward. But if the rebels don’t accept the plan and the bloody urban war continues or escalates or turns into a massacre, it’s kind of hard to imagine the Russian’s populace standing by given the enormous domestic support given to Putin’s policies towards Ukraine so far. But at least it’s something other than the current madness so hopefully something useful can emerge from these dealings.

    Also, it should be interesting to see what kind of deal Dmity Firtash works out in the gas-sharing negotiations and the Ukrainian public’s response. Really really really interesting.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 1, 2014, 5:06 pm
  4. Posted by Bob In Portland | August 3, 2014, 12:05 pm
  5. FWIW, Berlin is officially rejecting the reports of the secret ‘land for gas’ deal that was secretly getting negotiated between Merkel and Putin:

    The Local
    Germany Edition

    Germany denies ‘land for gas’ deal with Putin

    Published: 31 Jul 2014 09:57 GMT+02:00
    Updated: 31 Jul 2014 09:57 GMT+02:00

    UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been working on a secret peace plan for Ukraine, The Independent newspaper reported on Thursday. The report was later denied by the German government.

    According to the British newspaper The Independent, under the controversial deal, the international community would have to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea. In return, Ukraine’s borders in the east would be stabilized and gas supplies to the Ukraine from Russia would be secured.

    The paper cited sources close to the negotiations claiming the first part of the deal would require Russia to withdraw support for the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

    Ukraine would have to agree to not join Nato and Russia would then offer a long-term agreement with Russia gas giant Gazprom to secure its gas supplies.

    Russia would also pay Ukraine for the loss of rent from the Russian naval fleet in the Crimea caused by the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

    According to the Independent, Merkel has been trying to broker the deal between Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for some time, but it was put on hold after the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

    However, sources told The Independent the “peace plan is still on the table and the only deal around. Negotiations have stalled because of the MH17 disaster but they are expected to restart once the investigation has taken place.”

    “It is in everyone’s interests to do a deal. Hopefully, talks will be revived if a satisfactory outcome can be reached to investigations now taking place as to the causes of the MH17 catastrophe,” insiders said.

    However, the deal is unlikely to be palatable to other Nato countries who have refused to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

    On Wednesday, Germany and other G7 countries issued a statement on Ukraine criticizing Russia and describing the annexation of Crimea as “unacceptable”.

    “We once again condemn Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and actions to destabilize eastern Ukraine. Those actions are unacceptable and violate international law.”

    In other news, the Ukrainian parliament rejected Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s recent resignation, so it sounds like he’s going to be staying on, but the collapse of the governing coalition is still in effect which will allow for the call of snap elections if a new coalition can’t be formed by August 24th. So Yatsenyuk is probably staying, but it remains to be seen if a big shake up in the Kiev parliament is still on the agenda:

    Los Angeles Times
    l Ukraine’s parliament rejects prime minister’s resignation

    By Steven Zeitchik
    July 31, 2014, 2:09 PM

    A week after Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said he wanted to resign, the government offered a reply: You can’t.

    The Ukrainian parliament voted Thursday to keep Yatsenyuk as prime minister. The tally was 109-16 against Yatsenyuk’s resignation. A total of 325 members either abstained or weren’t present.

    According to the Ukrainian Constitution, the parliament must accept the prime minister’s resignation for it to take effect. A majority of the body — 226 members — would have had to offer a no-confidence vote for the resignation to be approved.

    Yatsenyuk will now almost certainly stay — leaving over the parliament’s objections is regarded as career suicide — with some analysts believing he was never committed to exiting the post and had offered his resignation to make a statement about legislative logjam.

    On Thursday, that logjam appeared to ease a bit as the parliament, called in out of recess, voted to approve new funding for the fighting against pro-Russia insurgents via a 1.5% “military duty” and to pass budget changes that would allow Kiev to meet its obligations to the International Monetary Fund per a bailout agreement with that group.

    Yatsenyuk had previously issued a plea to fellow members of parliament to turn out for the special session, calling on them to “vote for these laws and to take the responsibility before the Ukrainian people.” After the bills passed, he took the floor and said, “Ukraine has never declared default and never will.”

    A collapse of the governing coalition that preceded Yatsenyuk’s resignation still applies, which would allow Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to call snap parliamentary elections if party leaders can’t form a new government by Aug. 24. Last Thursday, several parties left the coalition with Yatsenyuk’s Fatherland party, causing the government to collapse.

    The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday also approved a measure that would allow nearly 1,000 Dutch and Australian armed personnel to enter the site to protect investigators, though it remains to be seen if those countries’ governments would want to send in such forces.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 3, 2014, 6:58 pm
  6. The de-Nazification of the public images of Ukraine’s volunteer battalion just got an interesting boost from Newsweek. There’s a new interview of the Swedish neo-Nazi who joined the Azov Battalion last year, Mikael Skillt. It’s a long article with a great deal of detail about Skillt’s experiences on the battlfield. And the take away message of it all? War made Skillt a better person after serving with jews and arabs and blacks, and he’s totally not a neo-Nazi at all:

    Newsweek
    Putin’s War: A Swedish Sniper in Ukraine

    By Nolan Peterson
    8/15/15 at 12:25 PM

    This story first appeared on The Daily Signal.

    KIEV, Ukraine—This was supposed to be a routine reconnaissance mission, but suddenly it became complicated.

    They had been crawling in the woods to stay concealed when the jeep with four separatists inside pulled up and parked along the road a few hundred meters away. They had two options: Start running, or the other thing.

    Mikael Skillt laid a reassuring hand on his Smith & Wesson knife. They would wait until dark.

    Skillt was unusually anxious. Normally before combat he went into what he called “work mode,” shutting off all unnecessary thoughts and emotions. He felt that way now too, behind separatist lines in Ilovaisk in eastern Ukraine. But he also could feel his heart pumping, which was unfamiliar.

    Skillt, a Swede, had killed many men in combat, yet this time would be different. Typically he saw the enemy through a riflescope. His enemy’s death was registered by the faster-than-gravity way that dead men fall to the earth.

    And, in Skillt’s experience, a balaclava normally concealed the enemy’s face. Not that he looked at the faces. That’s what they teach you in sniper school: Never look at the faces.

    When night fell, it was time. The separatists remained parked at the same spot. They had rolled down the windows of the jeep and had been smoking and drinking vodka for a while. They were probably drunk, Skillt thought.

    Creeping up to the vehicle, Skillt took the driver’s side. His friend, another Swede who had joined the Azov Battalion to fight for Ukraine, took the passenger’s side. The man in the driver’s seat was asleep and hanging halfway out the window. Skillt put the knife in and pulled it out.

    The doomed man made a few gurgling sounds and looked at Skillt in terror. He flailed his arms a little bit, but didn’t put up much of a fight. He was gone in 15 or 20 seconds.

    On the passenger side of the jeep, Skillt’s friend did his job. The back door on the driver’s side opened and a man spilt out. He tried to run, but slipped. Skillt lunged. He was a little nervous and slipped too, but he found his mark. He stabbed the man in the eye, breaking off the knife’s blade in the act. Skillt noticed the copper smell of blood.

    He and his friend dragged the bodies into the woods and took up positions to hide. The next morning, another car pulled up. The men inside got out, looked at the tableau of the jeep, which was swimming in blood, then fled.

    “There are times when I can hear that nasty sound,” Skillt, 38, says in his Swedish accent, almost a year later. “The blood going down the windpipe. It’s a very nasty sound. Sometimes when I go to sleep, I can hear the sound and smell the blood. If there’s one thing I wish I could be without, it would be that.”

    Identity Crisis

    Skillt sits in a plywood hut at the Azov Battalion’s barracks in an abandoned industrial park on the outskirts of Kiev. Outside is the sound of hammering as civilian volunteers and troops build a classroom and finish a CrossFit workout area. They are constructing, from scratch, a military training facility for the unit’s more than 1,400 soldiers.

    Periodically, a soldier will open the door to the small room. Seeing Skillt inside, he lowers his head deferentially and apologizes for interrupting.

    “The myth is more exciting than reality,” Skillt says with a sheepish smile. “But when you’re in heavy fire, it feels like all the guns in the world are pointed at your position. So when I, as a sniper, can make the firing stop for a guy, it makes me their hero.”

    In a series of interviews, including visits to the locations of some of the battles in which he participated, The Daily Signal spoke with Skillt to gain an understanding of how his experiences in the Ukraine war have affected him. Descriptions of the battles are based on his recollections as well as news reports and interviews with other Azov Battalion soldiers.

    Skillt has close-cropped, reddish-blond hair and a beard. He has an easygoing demeanor and matter-of-fact way of speaking. He is quick to make a self-deprecating joke. But he rarely breaks eye contact while talking.

    He wears U.S. MultiCam fatigues with a Ukrainian army sniper badge pinned to his left breast. He looks a little softer now than in some of the pictures of him on the front lines, the result of the more sedentary life of an instructor at Azov Battalion’s base in downtown Kiev—and, he says, of the cooking of his girlfriend, Anna. “Ukrainian women don’t like skinny men,” he explains.

    “This may not be the most exciting thing I’ve done,” Skillt adds, “but it’s the most important. I was on the front for nine months, and I have a lot of things I can pass down.”

    ‘Some Things Were Black and White’

    Later, walking through the halls of Azov’s base, just a few hundred meters from Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, Skillt’s prestige among the soldiers is apparent.

    In a unit that eschews traditional military rank and protocol, the men treat Skillt like a commanding officer. Soldiers stand up when he enters a room and pull to the side of the hallway as he passes. Almost everyone greets him with the Azov handshake: Hands grasp forearms and voices intone, “Slava Ukrayini,” which means “Glory to Ukraine.”

    Skillt bear-hugs a tall, tattooed soldier nicknamed Spider. He throws a few lighthearted jabs making fun of Spider’s dating habits.

    “He’s fearless in combat,” Skillt says later. “Absolutely afraid of nothing.”

    Seventeen months ago, Mikael Skillt’s current life would have been unthinkable. Skillt, who had served as a sniper in the Swedish National Home Guard, was a member of Sweden’s far right and a spokesman for several neo-Nazi groups. Before the Ukraine war, he was in and out of jail and working a job in construction.

    Skillt doesn’t shy away from discussing his neo-Nazi past, but talks about it openly, referring to his earlier beliefs as “misguided” and “idiotic.” He claims his service in the Ukraine war shattered his previously held stereotypes and spurred him to abandon National Socialism.

    “I’m not a Nazi, and I don’t believe in National Socialism,” Skillt says. “When I got to Ukraine 17 months ago, I was a real bastard. I had stereotypes against Jews, blacks, Arabs. But I’ve fought with them, and now they are like brothers. Before, some things were black and white. But now I know nothing is certain. Good and bad people come in all colors. The world is very gray.

    “You know,” he adds, “the Mikael from 17 months ago would pick a fight with the Mikael from now. But the Mikael from now would win.”

    Whether because of battlefield compromises necessary for victory or a genuine change of heart, to stand up the Azov Battalion’s training program Skillt also has worked with governments around the world, including Israel, the U.S., and his native Sweden.

    He has helped build the unit from a civilian volunteer battalion with about 100 soldiers into a Ukrainian National Guard battalion sanctioned by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with personnel topping 1,400 and bases throughout Ukraine.

    Despite the unit’s growth, many of the soldiers Skillt trains receive only two weeks of formal instruction before deploying to the front lines. Skillt has studied the training programs of various Western militaries, making hard choices to condense into two weeks a syllabus that usually covers nine months.

    “We focus on weeding out those who will freeze or panic under fire,” he says.

    A Neo-Nazi Minority

    The Azov Battalion has played a key role in the Ukraine war. However, the unit was excluded from Fearless Guardian, a U.S. training mission in Yavoriv, Ukraine, because of a congressional amendment singling it out for an alleged neo-Nazi ideology.

    As proof, Russian and some Western media outlets, as well as several U.S. lawmakers, point to the symbol of the Azov Battalion, which closely resembles the Nazi Wolfsangel.

    Battalion soldiers disagree. They say their symbol stands for “idea of the nation,” which refers to Ukrainian nationalism. In the Ukrainian language, “idea of the nation” is phonetically pronounced “ideya natsiyi,” sometimes spurring what the soldiers claim are misguided Nazi comparisons because of mistranslation.

    Within the Azov Battalion, however, are a minority of soldiers with far-right, neo-Nazi persuasions. And those soldiers do little to hide their beliefs. Some have tattoos of the Nazi swastika and SS symbols. Others wear jewelry with Nazi symbols and read Adolf Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, at night in their bunks.

    But the overwhelming majority of Azov soldiers say they’re fighting for Ukraine’s sovereignty and to repel what they call a “Russian invasion” of their homeland. Those with far-right convictions live and fight side-by-side with soldiers from 22 countries and various backgrounds, including Arabs, Russians and Americans—as well as Christians, Muslims and Jews.

    “Young men often have extreme views,” Skillt says. “But they want to pick the raisins out of the cake. This part is good and that part is bad.” He adds: “In any army there is always a little bit of bad meat. For example, when I was in the Swedish army, I was that little percentage of bad meat. But is a man’s desire to die for his country or a cause any less heroic if he is a nationalist?”

    Skillt says he isn’t a national socialist. He believes in nationalism, he says, and is fighting to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and to stop Russian aggression. He distances himself from the Swedish far right, which, he says, is focused on Muslim immigration into Europe.

    Skillt’s self-proclaimed ideological evolution has left him a pariah among neo-Nazi groups in Sweden. That country’s far-right movement, which largely celebrates Russian President Vladimir Putin for his conservatism and hard line against homosexuality and immigration, frequently accuses Skillt of being on the wrong side of the Ukraine war.

    A July 8 article posted by Nordfront, an online news site for the Swedish Resistance Movement (a militant, neo-Nazi group for which Skillt was a regional commander), provides an example.

    “Skillt,” it says, “has long taken an active part in the U.S.-created civil wars that occurred in Ukraine after the U.S.-sponsored coup d’état in late February last year ousted the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych.” The article is one in a series in which the Swedish Resistance Movement criticizes Skillt for supporting a “Jewish coup regime” in Kiev.

    Nordfront also takes issue with the Azov Battalion, claiming “criminal Jewish billionaire” Igor Kolomoisky finances the unit. “Russia calls me a Nazi bastard, and my old friends in Sweden call me a Jew-lackey,” Skillt says. “I’m having an identity crisis.”

    Prelude to War

    In February 2014, Skillt’s life finally seemed to be going in the right direction. He had a steady job with a decent paycheck, a girlfriend, a house in a Stockholm suburb. He was staying out of trouble.

    In 2009, the same year he left the Swedish military, Skillt was arrested for assault. He landed in jail for two months and spent six weeks in solitary confinement after attacking another inmate.

    In 2011, Skillt ran into trouble with the law again. He confronted an undercover police officer who he says was beating up a drunken hooligan at a soccer game. “I told him I’d shove the baton down his throat if he hit the guy again,” Skillt recalls.

    Because the officer failed to identify himself, Skillt spent only two days in jail. He was sentenced to three months of community service. The arrests made it hard to find work, though. So did his role as a spokesman for Sweden’s most infamous far-right groups. “I was the representative of evil,” he says.

    Skillt had joined the Swedish Resistance Movement in 2003, when he was 26. He rose quickly through the ranks of the neo-Nazi group, becoming the equivalent of a regional commander after one year. He left the group to join the N National Democrats for a year, then jumped to the Party of the Swedes—a neo-Nazi political party that dissolved in May.

    Frustration with the Swedish political system drew Skillt to the far right, he says, adding that he eventually became disillusioned with the movement because of those it attracted. He says: “I realized I was not a national socialist. Many of the people in the nationalistic movements were idiots, and did not behave properly. We attracted a lot of idiots.”

    Skillt’s time in the far-right movement overlapped his service in the Swedish National Guard from 2004 to 2009. He was a sniper, but never deployed or saw combat. He says he turned down opportunities to go on U.N. peacekeeping missions, which were voluntary, because he found the rules of engagement too restrictive. So his military experience left him with unanswered questions.

    “I think almost all guys who go into the military want to see combat sometime,” Skillt says. “I was always seeking adventure, no matter what.”

    In 2011, Skillt says, he was approached by a Jordanian doctor who was traveling throughout Europe recruiting mercenaries for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Lured by the paycheck and adventure, Skillt seriously considered the offer.

    “I would have done it, but the guy just vanished,” he says. “But now I’m very glad I didn’t go.”

    Skillt landed a minimum-wage job with a construction contractor. He wanted to prove himself and move up. By February 2014, he was making about $32,700 a year, and was on track to make about $65,400. He had a stable life and a future.

    And then Ukraine happened.

    Unexpected Purpose

    Cowards. That’s what Skillt thought as he pored over photos and YouTube videos of the carnage playing out on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, in central Kiev.

    The snipers bothered him the most. Why don’t they just shoot the protesters in the leg? he thought. And why shoot protesters at all, anyway? What threat did a man in a motorcycle helmet and a metal shield pose to police in riot gear?

    Civilians were dying. And here he was, working construction. Out of the action. Useless.

    Watching the videos of snipers murdering protesters, Skillt was angry. He considered them cowards. Let’s see if they have any counter-sniper training, he thought. Let’s see if they can survive me.

    “Something woke up in me,” he says. “Maybe it was the warrior mentality.”

    Skillt bought a one-way ticket to Kiev for February 28, 2014. He told his boss he’d be gone for a few days and he tried to explain to his girlfriend why he had to go to Ukraine. “Our relationship went from not the best in the world to the worst,” he says, chuckling. “And that was the end of it.”

    Skillt had a friend in Ukraine who said he had a Saiga 7.62×39 assault rifle waiting for him. But Viktor Yanukovych, then the Ukraine president, fled February 21. By February 25, the revolution was over. When Skillt arrived in Kiev three days later, he had “missed the whole shebang.”

    In March, Russia annexed Crimea. A separatist movement took hold in eastern Ukraine and there was talk of war. Protest groups born on Independence Square began to morph into paramilitary units.

    “We could see something bad was going to happen,” Skillt says. “The only reason we didn’t go to Crimea is because we had no guns.”

    Full Circle

    It’s 2 a.m. at an underground night club in Mariupol, more than a year after Skillt’s first battle. The walls, covered in multicolored lighted tiles, flicker with the heavy bass notes of the Russian techno the DJ is spinning. Despite the war, a 20-minute drive away in Shyrokyne, the dance floor is crowded.

    Skillt is sharing a bottle of cheap vodka and some Red Bulls with Jonas Nilsson, a Swedish army sergeant and friend of more than 10 years. Nilsson and Skillt used to be roommates. They worked for the same construction contractor in Sweden, and Skillt used to help out with the event-planning business Nilsson ran.

    Nilsson has an eclectic background. He’s a former French Foreign Legion soldier and a mixed martial arts fighter who has written a book on gender roles in the modern family. And, like Skillt, he’s a former member of the Swedish Resistance Movement.

    Now Nilsson is an outcast, criticized for his libertarian writings as a freelance journalist on subjects such as social issues and immigration—and for expressing support for Ukraine in its war with Russia.

    A student at the Swedish Defense University, Nilsson is in Ukraine researching Azov and other volunteer battalions. Sweden has so far shied away from allowing similar groups to exist, but concerns over Russian aggression have spurred the historically neutral Scandinavian state to reexamine how its military is organized and even consider the possibility of joining NATO.

    As the night drags on, Nilsson and Skillt trade stories about their time with Sweden’s far right. Skillt talks about his experiences in the Ukraine war, explaining how the transition back to civilian life in Kiev has left him feeling out of place.

    “He has always been a very confident man in his nature, almost to the grade that one might think that he believes he can fight the gods himself,” Nilsson says later: “This is where I find the change in him during this war to be the greatest. He still has his confidence, but he is more humble. Everything isn’t black and white as it maybe once was.”

    ‘War Made Me a Better Person’

    Skillt sits with a former French special forces soldier in the outdoor, tented terrace of a bar in downtown Kiev. A vegetarian, Skillt is eating a pizza, smoking a cigarette and sipping an Americano coffee.

    A soccer game is on TV. Dnipro, a Ukrainian team, is playing Napoli in the Europa League semi-final match. It’s raining outside and getting late. But Azov soldiers in the stadium at the game are going to unfurl an enormous Ukrainian flag.

    Skillt is texting them. He doesn’t want to leave the bar until he sees the flag on TV. As he watches the game he tells war stories, casually laughing off details of life-and-death drama.

    Interrupting the conversation, a young Azov soldier walks up to Skillt’s table and shakes his hand. In his broken, limited Russian, Skillt returns the greeting. He politely declines to join the soldier and his friends for a beer, explaining that he has to be up early the next morning to train new recruits.

    Most nights, Skillt sleeps in a bunk in one of the camp’s plywood huts. He could sleep at his girlfriend’s place, but he feels like he needs to be close to the men. He worries that every minute he misses with the trainees might be a lost opportunity to keep them alive.

    Skillt doesn’t go to the war anymore, but he never truly left it. Over pizza and coffee he talks about combat and “work mode.” He also talks about Ukraine’s future, linking it to his own. He plans to run for parliament in 2019 to help Ukraine “find its own way.”

    “Ukraine has the possibility to build something good,” he says. “If only Russia would leave it be.”

    The bar erupts in celebration when penalty time runs out and Dnipro wins the game, 1-0. The TV screens show Azov’s enormous Ukrainian flag waving in the stands. You can’t hear over the sounds of laughter and cheers in the bar. A breeze carries in the clean smell of rain.

    “War can bring a man to destruction or help him to reach new heights,” Skillt says. “War peels off every layer of your humanity. But, in the end, war made me into a much better person.”

    Meet the new and improved Mikael Skillt! He’s so new and improved and might run for parliament!


    Skillt doesn’t shy away from discussing his neo-Nazi past, but talks about it openly, referring to his earlier beliefs as “misguided” and “idiotic.” He claims his service in the Ukraine war shattered his previously held stereotypes and spurred him to abandon National Socialism.

    “I’m not a Nazi, and I don’t believe in National Socialism,” Skillt says. “When I got to Ukraine 17 months ago, I was a real bastard. I had stereotypes against Jews, blacks, Arabs. But I’ve fought with them, and now they are like brothers. Before, some things were black and white. But now I know nothing is certain. Good and bad people come in all colors. The world is very gray.

    “You know,” he adds, “the Mikael from 17 months ago would pick a fight with the Mikael from now. But the Mikael from now would win.”

    Skillt doesn’t go to the war anymore, but he never truly left it. Over pizza and coffee he talks about combat and “work mode.” He also talks about Ukraine’s future, linking it to his own. He plans to run for parliament in 2019 to help Ukraine “find its own way.”

    Huh, so 17 months of death and conflict allegedly knocked the Nazism out of the guy. Well, it’s possible. Stranger things have happened. But, of course, it’s also quite possible that this is all public relations BS as a result of the US government singling out Azov as a neo-Nazi-infested unit that can’t receive US support.

    Either way, it’s too bad that the Skillt’s alleged war-induced ideological mellowing hasn’t happened more often throughout history. Especially around 70 years ago. That would have been really nice.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 20, 2015, 9:01 pm
  7. Igor Mosiychuk, the neo-Nazi and former Azov battalion second in command who was elected to parliament last year, probably isn’t going to be in parliament much longer:

    Kyiv Post
    Lawmaker stripped of immunity in parliament, arrested (VIDEO)

    by Johannes Wamberg Andersen
    Sept. 17, 2015, 10:15 p.m. | Ukraine

    Outspoken member of parliament Ihor Mosiychuk of the populist Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko saw his political career collapse on Sept. 17 when the Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin showed parliament a video of the lawmaker allegedly negotiating bribes of tens of thousands of dollars and hryvnias.

    Mosiychuk was promptly stripped of his parliamentary immunity and later arrested in the Verkhovna Rada, outside the session hall.

    Commenting on the incriminating video, Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Groysman said “this is a disgrace to the parliament,” and said the dignity of the institution had to be protected “if we have a black sheep in the flock.”

    Groysman then proceeded to have a vote on withdrawing Mosiychuk’s immunity from prosecution included on parliament’s agenda. The Radical Party faction voted for the decision, believing Mosiychuk would get a chance to rebuff the accusations of bribery, party leader Oleh Lyashko later explained.

    But Mosiychuk wasn’t given the floor.

    Instead 262 lawmakers, mostly from the government coalition parties, voted to give the green light to Mosiychuk’s arrest as requested by the general prosecutor. A simple majority of 226 in the 450-seat parliament is required for a decision to be approved.

    Mosiychuk denied the accusations, claiming that the video had been manipulated and assembled from shots taken out of context. He also rejected the video’s claim that bribes were passed to him as marked bank notes would have been used in a special operation against him, and no marked notes were found on his person. “They couldn’t get me for anything, so they made this up,” Mosiychuk said, accusing the president’s camp of framing him.

    The video was indeed composed of several shots, but they appeared genuine and painted an incriminating picture of Mosiychuk demanding money in return for lobbying for business-related issues. “We can protect you from the police … but not from the prosecutors,” Mosiychuk said at one point in the video.

    Lyashko seemed shell-shocked after the video was shown and the vote to strip Mosiychuk of his immunity vote was passed. “I was shocked, I was shocked, when I saw the video … If there is a fair court, then let it work,” he said, adding that if Mosiychuk had violated the law, he should face the consequences. He went on to apologize to his voters.

    Lyashko subsequently regained his composure. He first accused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of staging the scandal as revenge for Lyashko’s party leaving the governing coalition. Analysts previously suggested that the Radical Party had left the coalition because criminal cases were mounting against several of the faction’s lawmakers, including Lyashko. Claiming that the government was persecuting the opposition would be a good defense strategy, analysts said.

    After the vote, a unit of the Alfa special police force in full camouflage uniforms and masks entered parliament to arrest Mosiychuk. Lyashko tried to stall them, arguing that police weren’t allowed to enter parliament.

    “This is lawlessness! This is becoming a dictatorship! Even (ex-President Viktor) Yanukovych didn’t arrest people in parliament,” Lyashko argued, but in vain.

    After Mosiychuk’s arrest, Lyashko turned up the volume. He accused Poroshenko of attempting to offer him bribes and government positions in return for assistance in getting persons linked to the president appointed to state positions.

    Lyashko also said that Poroshenko had defended the interests of gas oligarch Dmytro Firtash, against the interests of the country.

    “I told Poroshenko yesterday that he was corrupt,” Lyashko said.

    Accused of having neo-Nazi sympathies, Mosiychuk was previously in detention for more than two years for attempting to blow up a statue of Vladimir Lenin in the Kyiv suburb of Boryspil. He was released in February 2014 after Yanukovych’s regime tumbled.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 17, 2015, 2:02 pm
  8. Robert Parry has a new piece on the recent Dutch report on the MH17 shootdown. It turns out the “Dutch-led investigation was perhaps compromised by a central role given to the Ukrainian government which apparently had the power to veto what was included in the report.” And as Parry point out, it also turns out critical US intelligence that could purportedly pinpoint the site of the missile launch didn’t make it into the report:

    Consortium News
    MH-17: The Dog Still Not Barking
    October 13, 2015

    Exclusive: The dog not barking in the Dutch report on the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is the silence regarding U.S. intelligence information that supposedly had pinned down key details just days after the crash but has been kept secret, writes Robert Parry.

    By Robert Parry

    The Dutch Safety Board report concludes that an older model Buk missile apparently shot down Malaysia Airline Flight 17 on July 17, 2014, but doesn’t say who possessed the missile and who fired it. Yet, what is perhaps most striking about the report is what’s not there – nothing from the U.S. intelligence data on the tragedy.

    The dog still not barking is the absence of evidence from U.S. spy satellites and other intelligence sources that Secretary of State John Kerry insisted just three days after the shoot-down pinpointed where the missile was fired, an obviously important point in determining who fired it.

    On July 20, 2014, Kerry declared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.”

    But such U.S. government information is not mentioned in the 279-page Dutch report, which focused on the failure to close off the eastern Ukrainian war zone to commercial flights and the cause of the crash rather than who fired on MH-17. A Dutch criminal investigation is still underway with the goal of determining who was responsible but without any sign of an imminent conclusion.

    I was told by a U.S. intelligence source earlier this year that CIA analysts had met with Dutch investigators to describe what the classified U.S. evidence showed but apparently with the caveat that it must remain secret.

    Last year, another source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me they had concluded that a rogue element of the Ukrainian government – tied to one of the oligarchs – was responsible for the shoot-down, while absolving senior Ukrainian leaders including President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. But I wasn’t able to determine if this U.S. analysis was a consensus or a dissident opinion.

    Last October, Der Spiegel reported that German intelligence, the BND, concluded that the Russian government was not the source of the missile battery – that it had been captured from a Ukrainian military base – but the BND blamed the ethnic Russian rebels for firing it. However, a European source told me that the BND’s analysis was not as conclusive as Der Spiegel had described.

    The Dutch report, released Tuesday, did little to clarify these conflicting accounts but did agree with an analysis by the Russian manufacturer of the Buk anti-aircraft missile systems that the shrapnel and pieces of the missile recovered from the MH-17 crash site came from the 9M38 series, representing an older, now discontinued Buk version.

    The report said: “The damage observed on the wreckage in amount of damage, type of damage, boundary and impact angles of damage, number and density of hits, size of penetrations and bowtie fragments found in the wreckage, is consistent with the damage caused by the 9N314M warhead used in the 9M38 and 9M38M1 BUK surface-to-air missile.”

    Last June, Almaz-Antey, the Russian manufacturer which also provided declassified information about the Buk systems to the Dutch, said its analysis of the plane’s wreckage revealed that MH-17 had been attacked by a “9M38M1 of the Buk M1 system.” The company’s Chief Executive Officer Yan Novikov said the missile was last produced in 1999.

    Who Has This Missile?

    The Russian government has insisted that it no longer uses the 9M38 version. According to the Russian news agency TASS, former deputy chief of the Russian army air defense Alexander Luzan said the suspect warhead was phased out of Russia’s arsenal 15 years ago when Russia began using the 9M317 model.

    “The 9M38, 9M38M, 9M38M1 missiles are former modifications of the Buk system missiles, but they all have the same warhead. They are not in service with the Russian Armed Forces, but Ukraine has them,” Luzan said.

    “Based on the modification and type of the used missile, as well as its location, this Buk belongs to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. By the way, Ukraine had three military districts — the Carpathian, Odessa and Kiev, and these three districts had more than five Buk anti-aircraft missile brigades of various modifications – Buk, Buk-M, Buk-M1, which means that there were more than 100 missile vehicles there.”

    But Luzan’s account would not seem to rule out the possibility that some older Buk versions might have gone into storage in some Russian warehouse. It is common practice for intelligence services, including the CIA, to give older, surplus equipment to insurgents as a way to create more deniability if questions are ever raised about the source of the weapons.

    For its part, the Ukrainian government claimed to have sold its stockpile of older Buks to Georgia, but Ukraine appears to still possess the 9M38 Buk system, based on photographs of Ukrainian weapons displays. Prior to the MH-17 crash, ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine were reported to have captured a Buk system after overrunning a government air base, but Ukrainian authorities said the system was not operational, as recounted in the Dutch report. The rebels also denied possessing a functioning Buk system.

    As for the missile’s firing location, the Dutch report said the launch spot could have been anywhere within a 320-square-kilometer area in eastern Ukraine, making it hard to determine whether the firing location was controlled by the rebels or government forces. Given the fluidity of the frontlines in July 2014 – and the fact that heavy fighting was occurring to the north – it might even have been possible for a mobile missile launcher to slip from one side to the other along the southern front.

    The Dutch report did seek to discredit one alternative theory raised by Russian officials in the days after the shoot-down – that MH-17 could have been the victim of an air-to-air attack. The Dutch dismissed Russian radar data that suggested a possible Ukrainian fighter plane in the area, relying instead of Ukrainian data which the Dutch found more complete.

    But the report ignored other evidence cited by the Russians, including electronic data of the Ukrainian government allegedly turning on the radar that is used by Buk systems for targeting aircraft. Russian Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov called on the Ukrainian government to explain the movements of its Buk systems to sites in eastern Ukraine in mid-July 2014 and why Kiev’s Kupol-M19S18 radars, which coordinate the flight of Buk missiles, showed increased activity leading up to the July 17 shoot-down.

    The Dutch-led investigation was perhaps compromised by a central role given to the Ukrainian government which apparently had the power to veto what was included in the report. Yet, what may have spoken most loudly in the Dutch report was the silence about U.S. intelligence information. If – as Kerry claimed – the U.S. government knew almost immediately the site where the fateful missile was launched, why has that evidence been kept secret?

    Given the importance of the conflict in eastern Ukraine to U.S. intelligence, it was a high-priority target in July 2014 with significant resources devoted to the area, including satellite surveillance, electronic eavesdropping and human assets. In his rush-to-judgment comments the weekend after the crash, Kerry admitted as much.

    But the Obama administration has refused to make any of its intelligence information public. Only belatedly did CIA analysts brief the Dutch investigators, according to a U.S. government source, but that evidence apparently remained classified.

    The second source told me that the reason for withholding the U.S. intelligence information was that it contradicted the initial declarations by Kerry and other U.S. officials pointing the finger of blame at the ethnic Russian rebels and indirectly at Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stood accused of giving a ragtag bunch of rebels a powerful weapon capable of shooting down commercial airliners.

    Despite Russian denials, the worldwide revulsion over the shoot-down of MH-17, killing all 298 people onboard, gave powerful momentum to anti-Putin propaganda and convinced the European Union to consent to U.S. demands for tougher economic sanctions punishing Russia for its intervention in Ukraine. According to this source’s account, an admission that a rogue Ukrainian group was responsible would take away a powerful P.R. club wielded against Russia.

    But the release of the Dutch report – without any of that data – indicates that the U.S. government continues to hide what evidence it has. That missing evidence remains the dog not barking, like the key fact that Sherlock Holmes used to unlock the mystery of the “Silver Blaze” when the sleuth noted that the failure of the dog to bark suggested who the guilty party really was.

    “As for the missile’s firing location, the Dutch report said the launch spot could have been anywhere within a 320-square-kilometer area in eastern Ukraine, making it hard to determine whether the firing location was controlled by the rebels or government forces. Given the fluidity of the frontlines in July 2014 – and the fact that heavy fighting was occurring to the north – it might even have been possible for a mobile missile launcher to slip from one side to the other along the southern front.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 14, 2015, 4:57 pm
  9. Here’s something to keep in mind as the conflict in Ukraine continues to simmer: Until there’s a meaningful peaceful resolution that actually results in the kind of situation where the conflict isn’t just deescalated but finally demilitarized too, we aren’t just going to hear a lot more stories about neo-Nazis and other foreign fighters flowing into Ukraine. We’re also going to hear about those same kinds of groups taking weapons and explosives out of Ukraine:

    RFI

    French suspected terrorist held in Ukraine

    by RFI
    Issued on 04-06-2016 • Modified 04-06-2016 to 16:01

    A Frenchman is being held in Ukraine after being caught transporting a large quantity of explosives and weapons across the Polish border. He admitted plans to launch terror attacks in France, sources told a French TV channel that cited evidence that he had far-right sympathies.

    The 25-year-old Frenchman is currently held by Ukrainian police after being arrested at the Polish frontier on 21 May and could be extradited to France.

    At least three rocket-launchers, about 100 detonators, more than 100 kilos of TNT, half a dozen Kalashnikov assault rifles and a number of balaclava helmets were found in his car, according to the M6 TV channel which broke the story on Friday.

    Ukrainian security services had spotted him several days earlier and suspected he was trying to buy weapons.

    M6’s sources said he admitted planning attacks on French territory.

    A search of his home in eastern France found material for making explosives and a T-shirt with the logo of a far-right organisation, the channel reports.

    He has no criminal record and was not on the security services’ radar.

    A source told the Reuters news agency on Saturday that it was not “totally established” that a terror attack was being planned.

    “M6’s sources said he admitted planning attacks on French territory.”
    Keep in mind that, with France gripped with fear over Islamist terror attacks and Marine Le Pen the likeliest beneficiary in the 2017’s elections, if there is another attack, there’s no reason to assume the French far-right group wouldn’t have to actual claimed responsibility for whatever this guy was planning. They could just bomb something and everyone would assume it’s ISIS or al Qaeda, who would probably claim credit anyway. Or maybe they were planning on selling the weapons to local jihadists. Who knows. But with 2017 primed to big a historic political year for France’s far-right due in large part to public fears of Islamist terror attacks and identity politics fueled by a flood of Muslim refugees, this report is a big reminder that 2017 a number of groups are going to ensure that 2017 is an extra crazy year for France.

    Also recall that the foreign extremists operating in Ukraine who might be on the lookout for large amounts of TNT for sale aren’t limited to neo-Nazis.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 4, 2016, 2:50 pm
  10. Here’s some more on the French neo-Nazi’s arms procurement activities in Ukraine: Ukraine’s SBU states that capture man claims he was planning to attack the Euro 2016 games, mosques and synagogues to protest France’s immigration policies and globalization. The SBU also state he admitted to planning on carrying out as many as 15 attacks before and during the Euro 2016 games which start on June 10th and run through July 10th. The SBU claims he purchased the weapons from Ukraine’s Eastern separatists. And while it’s possible that he really was planning a large number of attacks that would be attributed to the French far-right’s grievances, he was obviously making these purchases on behalf of a large number of neo-Nazis if that’s the case when you consider that 20 balaclavas were included in his purchase in addition to the large numbers of weapons and explosives.

    But as the article below also notes, it sounds like the French authorities aren’t fully sold on the theories the SBU is putting forward and are still considering the possibility that he was simply planning on selling the weapons on the black market. And that’s probably a possibility that really can’t be ruled out since selling those weapons to, say, French jihadis and letting the jihadis carrying out attacks instead of the neo-Nazis would accomplish essentially the same neo-Nazi goal of provoking sectarian conflicts.

    At the same time, if this individual really was planning on selling the weapons and explosives on the black market and came up with terror plans as a cover story, whoever he was planning on selling those weapons to must have been some pretty awful individuals for the “I’m planning 15 terror attacks” story to be worth peddling as a cover story. Assuming the story is real.

    So, as is often the case with these kinds of investigations, there’s more questions than answers, although we can be pretty sure that whatever the answer are they’re profoundly unpleasant answers:

    The Local France

    What we know of Frenchman’s ‘plot to attack Euro 2016’

    Published: 06 Jun 2016 14:55 GMT+02:00

    Ukraine intelligence services claimed on Monday they had thwarted a plot to carry out a wave of attacks at Euro 2016. As skeptical French authorities investigate those claims, here’s what we know.

    What was the plot?

    According to the chief of Ukraine’s intelligence agency SBU, a Frenchman was planning to carry out as many as 15 terror attacks “before and during Euro 2016 , which starts on June 10th and runs until July 10th.

    The agency’s chief Vasyl Hrytsak said the alleged plotter planned to blow up “a Muslim mosque, a Jewish synagogue, tax collection organisations, police patrol units and numerous other locations.”

    Who was the man behind the alleged plot?

    He has been named in France as 25-year-old Gregoire Moutaux, though his name has not been officially confirmed. He comes from a little village in eastern France called Nant-le-Petit, which is home to around 80 residents.

    What do we know about him?

    Moutaux worked as an “inseminator” for a local farming cooperative in the Bas-Rhine department, in the Grand-Est region of France near the German border. He often had reason to travel to Ukraine for his job.

    In terms of his background the local prosecutor Dominique Pensalfini-Demorise described him as a “nice kid, intelligent, friendly and always willing to help”.

    “He’s a rather nice guy, who I think is actually rather well-educated. I’ve even invited him over for a glass of wine. I just can’t understand this,” neighbour Jean-Jacques Renck told France 3 TV.

    During searches of his police reportedly found a T-shirt bearing the emblem of an extreme right group in France. Some media reports that balaclavas and explosive materials were also found in his flat, although this remains unconfirmed.

    The SBU’s Grytsak also said the suspect “expressed negative views about his government’s approach to the immigration of foreigners into France, the spread of Islam and globalisation,” hence the reason this is being talked about as a possible extreme right terror plot.

    How was he caught?

    Grytsak said his service became aware in December that a French national had arrived in Ukraine and “began to establish contacts with a number of representatives in the (pro-Russian separatist) east.”

    Ukraine’s eastern war zone has been awash with arms since an insurgency against the pro-Western government in Kiev erupted in April 2014,

    Grytsak said the arrest was made on May 21st when the man was trying to cross into Poland near the Ukrainian frontier town of Yagodyn.

    “He obtained five Kalashnikov rifles, more than 5,000 bullets, two anti-tank grenade launchers, 125 kilogrammes (275 pounds) of TNT, 100 detonators, 20 balaclavas and other things,” said the Ukrainian intelligence chief.

    The video below claims to show his arrest in Ukraine as he tried to cross the border. He was pulled out a car with another individual who has not been named.

    How do we know he was planning terror attacks?

    Other than the statements coming out of Ukraine, we don’t really know anything for certain about the alleged plot.

    There were reports in France on Monday that suggested French authorities were actually skeptical about the claims from Ukraine.

    The Interior Ministry in Paris was apparently treating them with caution. Tellingly France’s specialist counter terrorist investigators have not been put in charge of the probe.

    Currently that is in the hands of the unit that deals with arms trafficking in the eastern city of Nancy. That suggests that for the moment the French still suspect the Gregoire Moutaux may just have been planning to sell the arms on the black market once he was back in France, rather than carry out the reported 15 terror attacks.

    Nevertheless it is expected that the French authorities will demand the suspect be extradite, after which more will become clear.

    Is there a real terror threat from the far right in France?

    Whether this turns out to be a confirmed plot by an individual with far right links or not, there is a clear threat according to French authorities.

    French terror expert Jean-Charles Brisard told The Local on Monday that the details of the plot were worrying but said the French counter terrorist authorities will not underestimate the terror threat from the extreme right.

    “They will not only be looking at the threat from Islamist extremists,” Brisard said.

    He expressed caution saying it was far too early to speculate about the plot and the motives. But we can expect more information to be revealed in the coming days.

    “French terror expert Jean-Charles Brisard told The Local on Monday that the details of the plot were worrying but said the French counter terrorist authorities will not underestimate the terror threat from the extreme right.”
    Yeah, considering that would be a completely insane for French counter terror authorities to underestimate the national security threat posed by the extreme right in a country where the extreme right is so popular it’s poised to win the French presidency next year, we can probably be pretty confident that French counter terror authorities will not underestimate the terror threat from the extreme right. At least for another year.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 6, 2016, 2:02 pm

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