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

For The Record  

FTR #857 Update on Ukraine, the Earth Island Boogie and “Team Snowden”

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by late spring of 2015. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #850.  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012 and con­tained FTR #748.)

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Chechens in Ukraine (pho­to cred­it Reuters)

Pravy Sek­tor

Intro­duc­tion: In addi­tion to fur­ther explo­ration of links between the polit­i­cal forces grouped around Eddie the Friend­ly Spoook (Snow­den) and fas­cists involved with the events sur­round­ing the Maid­an coup, this pro­gram high­lights the dan­gers posed by extrem­ist stances adopt­ed both by the OUN/B heirs in pow­er in Ukraine and their Amen cho­rus in the U.S.

This analy­sis is pre­sent­ed in con­junc­tion with, and against the back ground of, the Earth Island or World Island as it is some­times known.

Stretch­ing from the Straits of Gibral­tar, all across Europe, most of the Mid­dle East, Eura­sia, Rus­sia, Chi­na and India, that stretch of land: com­pris­es most of the world’s land mass; con­tains most of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and most of the world’s nat­ur­al resources (includ­ing oil and nat­ur­al gas.) Geopoliti­cians have long seen con­trol­ling that land mass as the key to world dom­i­na­tion.  The pop­u­la­tion that occu­pies the mid­dle of that stretch of geog­ra­phy is large­ly Mus­lim.

Uti­liz­ing that Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion to con­trol the resources of the Earth Island is a strat­a­gem that has been in effect in the West for a cen­tu­ry.

Among the most influ­en­tial advo­cates of using Islamists as proxy war­riors to con­trol the Earth island is Zbignew Brzezin­s­ki, Jim­my Carter’s for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er and a long-time Gehlen milieu asso­ciate. Brzezin­s­ki uti­lized the Islamist gam­bit to lure the Sovi­et Union into Afghanistan and the pres­ence of Chechen fight­ers oper­at­ing under Pravy Sek­tor admin­is­tra­tive com­mand may very well derive from the same oper­a­tional strat­e­gy.

Exem­pli­fy­ing the reck­less­ness enjoy­ing a degree of rhetor­i­cal chic in Wash­ing­ton, Zbig­niew Brzezin­ski’s son Ian advo­cat­ed before the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee that war­mak­ing pow­ers with regard to Rus­sia be tak­en out of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s hands and giv­en to the top mil­i­tary com­man­der of NATO!

” . . . Today it’s Brzezin­ski’s son Ian who finds Moscow at the root of Amer­i­ca’s prob­lems regard­less of the facts. He recent­ly rec­om­mend­ed to the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee that the author­i­ty to make war on Rus­sia should be tak­en out of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s hands and giv­en to NATO’s top com­man­der, Gen­er­al Phillip Breedlove . . .”

This at the same time that a com­man­der of one of Ukraine’s Nazi/Punisher Bat­tal­ions is call­ing for the war to be car­ried to Rus­sia itself, direct­ly threat­en­ing the Russ­ian cap­i­tal with destruc­tion.

“I would like Ukraine to lead the cru­sades,” said Korchyn­sky, whose battalion’s name is Saint Mary. “Our mis­sion is not only to kick out the occu­piers, but also revenge. Moscow must burn.”

Offi­cial dis­claimers and offi­cial pol­i­cy aside, it appears that the Nazi Pun­ish­er Bat­tal­ions are indeed receiv­ing U.S. train­ing. U.S. advis­ers are only screen­ing mil­i­tary trainees for records of human rights abus­es.
The trainees are vet­ted by Ukraine’s Inte­ri­or Min­istry, which formed the Azov Bat­tal­ion and which has nom­i­nal com­mand over the oth­ers.

The chances are good that the pres­ence of “the Ukrain­ian dias­po­ra’ and “vol­un­teer’ medics and engi­neers” indi­cates a covert oper­a­tion under­way. The pres­ence of ISIS-linked Chechen fight­ers in the Ukrain­ian “vol­un­teer’ bat­tal­ions is prob­a­bly part of the same oper­a­tion.

” . . . In an inter­view with The Dai­ly Beast, Sgt. Ivan Kharkiv of the Azov bat­tal­ion talks about his battalion’s expe­ri­ence with U.S. train­ers and U.S. vol­un­teers quite fond­ly, even men­tion­ing U.S. vol­un­teers engi­neers and medics that are still cur­rently assist­ing them. He also talks about the sig­nif­i­cant and active sup­port from the Ukrain­ian dias­pora in the U.S. . . .”

Threat­en­ing the Poroshenko regime with mil­i­tary action, Pravy Sek­tor and oth­er mil­i­tary ele­ments of the OUN/B heirs gov­ern­ing Ukraine have been push­ing for a dec­la­ra­tion of war by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. Such a dec­la­ra­tion would pre­clude IMF lend­ing to that deeply trou­bled nation.

Much of the pro­gram fur­ther devel­ops the fas­cist real­i­ty of the under­pin­ning of “Team Snow­den.” Joined at the hip with Eddie the Friend­ly Spook and His Friends is the Wik­iLeaks milieu. In addi­tion to appar­ent intel­li­gence con­nec­tions, the Wik­iLeaks polit­i­cal milieu tracks back to the far right in fun­da­men­tal ways.

Wik­iLeaks held forth on the Pirate Bay web site, financed large­ly, by Carl Lund­strom, who also has been a finan­cial lynch­pin for the Swe­den Democ­rats in Swe­den. A mem­ber of that “for­mer” Nordic supe­ri­or­i­ty par­ty was just arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with an appar­ent bomb plot.

The con­nec­tion between Lund­strom and Wik­iLeaks was made by Julian Assange’s close aide Joran Jer­mas, aka “Israel Shamir,” a doc­tri­naire Holo­caust denier. Jermas/Shamir is also part of the polit­i­cal con­stel­la­tion sur­round­ing the MAUP edu­ca­tion­al estab­lish­ment in Ukraine. MAUP is a doc­tri­naire anti-Semit­ic/­fas­cist insti­tu­tion, at which David Duke is a lec­tur­er and instruc­tor. (Lund­strom arranged a Scan­di­na­vian speak­ing tour for Duke, who also net­works with a Russ­ian fas­cist milieu with which Jermas/Shamir oper­ates.)

Snow­den “leak­ing jour­nal­ist of choice” Glenn Green­wald has been finan­cial­ly embraced by the media orga­ni­za­tion of Pierre Omid­yar of EBay. In addi­tion to help­ing to finance the Ukrain­ian coup and bankroll polit­i­cal sup­port for Ukrain­ian Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, Omid­yar is now net­work­ing with the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, a very impor­tant “soft pow­er” insti­tu­tion that is very close to, and fre­quent­ly oper­ates on behalf of, the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

It is impos­si­ble under the cir­cum­stances to cov­er our research into the Ukraine cri­sis. Pre­vi­ous pro­grams on the sub­ject are: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782783784794800803804, 808811817818824826829832833837849850853.

 Listeners/readers are encour­aged to exam­ine these pro­grams and/or their descrip­tions in detail, in order to flesh out their under­stand­ing.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

1. Two dif­fer­ent types of fas­cist cadres are oper­at­ing in tan­dem in Ukraine–in addi­tion to the OUN/B heirs such as the Pravy Sek­tor for­ma­tions, Chechen fight­ers (almost cer­tain­ly allied with some ele­ment of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood) are now fight­ing along­side them and under the Pravy Sek­tor admin­is­tra­tive com­mand.

The Chechen for­ma­tions are described as “broth­ers” of the Islam­ic State.

The Boston Marathon bomb­ing appears to have been blow­back from a covert oper­a­tion back­ing jihadists in the Cau­ca­sus.

“Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 7/7/2015.

In a curi­ous­ly upbeat account, The New York Times reports that Islam­ic mil­i­tants have joined with Ukraine’s far-right and neo-Nazi bat­tal­ions to fight eth­nic Russ­ian rebels in east­ern Ukraine. It appears that no com­bi­na­tion of vio­lent extrem­ists is too wretched to cel­e­brate as long as they’re killing Russ-kies.

The arti­cle by Andrew E. Kramer reports that there are now three Islam­ic bat­tal­ions “deployed to the hottest zones,” such as around the port city of Mar­i­upol. One of the bat­tal­ions is head­ed by a for­mer Chechen war­lord who goes by the name “Mus­lim,” Kramer wrote, adding:

“The Chechen com­mands the Sheikh Mansur group, named for an 18th-cen­tu­ry Chechen resis­tance fig­ure. It is sub­or­di­nate to the nation­al­ist Right Sec­tor, a Ukrain­ian mili­tia. … Right Sec­tor … formed dur­ing last year’s street protests in Kiev from a half-dozen fringe Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist groups like White Ham­mer and the Tri­dent of Stepan Ban­dera.

“Anoth­er, the Azov group, is open­ly neo-Nazi, using the ‘Wolf’s Hook’ sym­bol asso­ci­at­ed with the [Nazi] SS. With­out address­ing the issue of the Nazi sym­bol, the Chechen said he got along well with the nation­al­ists because, like him, they loved their home­land and hat­ed the Rus­sians.”

As casu­al­ly as Kramer acknowl­edges the key front-line role of neo-Nazis and white suprema­cists fight­ing for the U.S.-backed Kiev regime, his arti­cle does mark an aber­ra­tion for the Times and the rest of the main­stream U.S. news media, which usu­al­ly dis­miss any men­tion of this Nazi taint as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.” . . .

. . . . Now, the Kiev regime has added to those “forces of civ­i­liza­tion” — resist­ing the Russ-kie bar­bar­ians — Islam­ic mil­i­tants with ties to ter­ror­ism. Last Sep­tem­ber, Marcin Mamon, a reporter for the Inter­cept, reached a van­guard group of these Islam­ic fight­ers in Ukraine through the help of his “con­tact in Turkey with the Islam­ic State [who] had told me his ‘broth­ers’ were in Ukraine, and I could trust them.”

The new Times arti­cle avoids delv­ing into the ter­ror­ist con­nec­tions of these Islamist fight­ers. . . .

2. Next, we exam­ine an arti­cle writ­ten by Paul Fitzger­ald and Eliz­a­beth Gould, the authors of Invis­i­ble His­to­ry; Afghanistan’s Untold Sto­ry (See FTR #‘s 678, 680, 683, 685.) Dis­cussing Zbig­niew Brzezin­ski’s doc­trine of con­trol­ling Eura­sia by con­trol­ling the “piv­ot point” of Ukraine. Fun­da­men­tal to this analy­sis is the con­cept of the Earth Island or World Island as it is some­times known.

Stretch­ing from the Straits of Gibral­tar, all across Europe, most of the Mid­dle East, Eura­sia, Rus­sia, Chi­na and India, that stretch of land: com­pris­es most of the world’s land mass; con­tains most of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and most of the world’s nat­ur­al resources (includ­ing oil and nat­ur­al gas.) Geopoliti­cians have long seen con­trol­ling that land mass as the key to world dom­i­na­tion.  The pop­u­la­tion that occu­pies the mid­dle of that stretch of geog­ra­phy is large­ly Mus­lim.

Uti­liz­ing that Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion to con­trol the resources of the Earth Island is a strat­a­gem that has been in effect in the West for a cen­tu­ry.

Brzezin­s­ki uti­lized that gam­bit to lure the Sovi­et Union into Afghanistan and the pres­ence of Chechen fight­ers oper­at­ing under Pravy Sek­tor admin­is­tra­tive com­mand may very well derive from the same con­cept.

“Amer­i­ca Piv­ots to Brzezinski’s Delu­sion of Eurasian Con­quest” by Paul Fitzger­ald and Eliz­a­beth Gould; OpE­d­News; 6/4/2015.

Rus­sia his­to­ri­an Stephen Cohen points to the neo­con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­ment for Amer­i­ca’s lat­est out­break of what can only be referred to as late-stage impe­r­i­al demen­tia. Neo­cons Robert Kagan and wife Vic­to­ria Nuland have cer­tain­ly done the heavy lift­ing to make Ukraine the stag­ing ground for what appears to be a NATO blitzkrieg on Moscow. But what­ev­er the deter­mi­na­tion of the neo­con plot, they are only the bark­ing dogs of mas­ter impe­ri­al­ist Zbig­niew Brzezin­s­ki, whose grand design has been creep­ing over the globe since he stepped into the Oval office as Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor to Pres­i­dent Jim­my Carter in 1977.

Brzezin­s­ki stands apart as the inspi­ra­tion for the Ukraine cri­sis. His 1997 book The Grand Chess­board: Amer­i­can Pri­ma­cy and its Geostrate­gic Imper­a­tives lays out the blue­print for how Amer­i­can pri­macists should feel towards draw­ing Ukraine away from Rus­sia because, “With­out Ukraine, Rus­sia ceas­es to be a Eurasian empire.”

Brzezin­ski’s obses­sion derives from British geo­g­ra­ph­er Sir Hal­ford Mackinder’s 1904 def­i­n­i­tion of the Cen­tral-East­ern nations of Europe as the “Piv­ot Area”, whose geo­graph­ic posi­tion made them “the vital spring­boards for the attain­ment of con­ti­nen­tal dom­i­na­tion.” Whether any­one real­izes it, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion’s cur­rent cam­paign against Rus­sia in Ukraine is of Mackinder’s design brought for­ward by Brzezin­s­ki.

To an expert like Stephen Cohen, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion’s indict­ment of Rus­sia over Ukraine “does­n’t cor­re­spond to the facts and above all it has no log­ic.” But a look back forty years reveals that a lot of Cold War think­ing was­n’t fact-based either and it may now be instruc­tive to look for answers to Wash­ing­ton’s cur­rent dose of illog­ic in the covert ori­gins of the U.S. sup­port­ed 1970s war for Afghanistan.

As the first Amer­i­cans to gain access to Kab­ul after the Sovi­et inva­sion for an Amer­i­can TV crew in 1981 we got a close-up look at the nar­ra­tive sup­port­ing Pres­i­dent Carter’s “great­est threat to peace since the Sec­ond World War” and it did­n’t hold up. What had been pre­sent­ed as an open and shut case of Sovi­et expan­sion by Har­vard Pro­fes­sor Richard Pipes on the Mac­Neil-Lehrer News Hour could just as eas­i­ly have been defined as a defen­sive action with­in the Sovi­ets’ legit­i­mate sphere of influ­ence. Three years ear­li­er, Pipes’Team B Strate­gic Objec­tives Pan­el had been accused of sub­vert­ing the process of mak­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty esti­mates by invent­ing threats where they did­n’t exist and inten­tion­al­ly skew­ing its find­ings along ide­o­log­i­cal lines. Now that ide­ol­o­gy was being pre­sent­ed as fact by Amer­i­ca’s Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing Sys­tem.

In 1983 we returned to Kab­ul with Har­vard Nego­ti­a­tion Project Direc­tor Roger Fish­er for ABC’s Night­line. Our aim was to estab­lish the cred­i­bil­i­ty of the Amer­i­can claims. We dis­cov­ered from high lev­el Sovi­et offi­cials that the Krem­lin want­ed des­per­ate­ly to aban­don the war but the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion was drag­ging its feet. From the moment they entered office, the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion demand­ed that the Sovi­ets with­draw their forces, while at the same time keep­ing them pinned down through covert action so they could­n’t leave. Though lack­ing in facts and drip­ping in right wing ide­ol­o­gy, this hyp­o­crit­i­cal cam­paign was embraced by the entire Amer­i­can polit­i­cal spec­trum and left will­ful­ly-unex­am­ined by Amer­i­ca’s main­stream media.

At a con­fer­ence con­duct­ed by the Nobel Insti­tute in 1995, a high lev­el group of for­mer US and Sovi­et offi­cials faced off over the ques­tion: Why did the Sovi­ets invade Afghanistan? For­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil staff mem­ber Dr. Gary Sick estab­lished that the U.S. had assigned Afghanistan to the Sovi­et sphere of influ­ence years before the inva­sion. So why did the US choose an ide­o­log­i­cal­ly biased posi­tion when there were any num­ber of ver­i­fi­able fact-based expla­na­tions for why the Sovi­ets had invad­ed?

To for­mer CIA Direc­tor Stans­field Turn­er, respon­si­bil­i­ty could only be locat­ed in the per­son­al­i­ty of one spe­cif­ic indi­vid­ual. “Brzezin­ski’s name comes up here every five min­utes; but nobody has as yet men­tioned that he is a Pole.” Turn­er said. “[T]he fact that Brzezin­s­ki is a Pole, it seems to me was ter­ri­bly impor­tant.”

What Stans­field Turn­er was say­ing in 1995 was that Brzezin­ski’s well-known hatred of Rus­sia led him to take advan­tage of the Sovi­et’s mis­cal­cu­la­tion. But it was­n’t until the 1998 Nou­v­el Obser­va­teur inter­view that Brzezin­s­ki boast­ed that he had pro­voked the inva­sion by get­ting Carter to autho­rize a Pres­i­den­tial find­ing to inten­tion­al­ly suck the Sovi­ets in six months before they even con­sid­ered invad­ing.

Yet, despite Brzezin­ski’s admis­sion, Wash­ing­ton’s entire polit­i­cal spec­trum con­tin­ued to embrace his orig­i­nal false nar­ra­tive that the Sovi­ets had embarked on a world con­quest.

For Brzezin­s­ki, get­ting the Sovi­ets to invade Afghanistan was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to shift Wash­ing­ton toward an unre­lent­ing hard line against the Sovi­et Union. By using covert action, he cre­at­ed the con­di­tions need­ed to pro­voke a Sovi­et defen­sive response which he’d then used as evi­dence of unre­lent­ing Sovi­et expan­sion. How­ev­er, once his exag­ger­a­tions and lies about Sovi­et inten­tions became accept­ed, they found a home in Amer­i­ca’s imag­i­na­tion and nev­er left.

The Brzezin­s­ki-draft­ed Carter Doc­trine put the U.S. into the Mid­dle East with the Rapid Deploy­ment Force, Chi­na became engaged as a US mil­i­tary ally and detente with the Sovi­et Union was dead. The Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion would soon advance on this agen­da with a mas­sive mil­i­tary buildup as well as expand­ed covert actions inside the Sovi­et Union by the Nation­al­i­ties Work­ing Group.

The Pol­ish born Brzezin­s­ki rep­re­sent­ed the ascen­den­cy of a rad­i­cal new breed of xeno­pho­bic East­ern and Cen­tral Euro­pean intel­lec­tu­al bent on hold­ing Soviet/American pol­i­cy hostage to their pre-World War II world view. His ear­ly sup­port for expand­ing NATO into East­ern Europe and Ukraine was opposed by 46 senior for­eign pol­i­cy advi­sors who referred to it in a let­ter to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton as “a pol­i­cy error of his­toric pro­por­tions.” Yet in 1999, the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion, urged on by what Time Mag­a­zine described as “Eth­nic lob­by­ing groups such as the Pol­ish Amer­i­can Con­gress,” began imple­ment­ing the plan.

US pol­i­cy since that time has oper­at­ed in a delu­sion of tri­umphal­ism that both pro­vokes inter­na­tion­al inci­dents and then cap­i­tal­izes on the chaos. A desta­bi­liz­ing strat­e­gy of sanc­tions against Rus­sia, the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary’s train­ing of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard, US troops parad­ing armored vehi­cles with­in 300 yards of Rus­si­a’s bor­der and war­like state­ments by NATO lead­ers can only mean the US is com­mit­ted to Brzezin­ski’s strat­e­gy of seiz­ing the “Piv­ot Area” and hold­ing it.

Today it’s Brzezin­ski’s son Ian who finds Moscow at the root of Amer­i­ca’s prob­lems regard­less of the facts. He recent­ly rec­om­mend­ed to the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee that the author­i­ty to make war on Rus­sia should be tak­en out of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s hands and giv­en to NATO’s top com­man­der, Gen­er­al Phillip Breedlove; a man accused by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment of exag­ger­at­ing the Russ­ian threat in east­ern Ukraine by spread­ing “dan­ger­ous pro­pa­gan­da”.

The time has come for the Amer­i­can pub­lic to be let in on what US for­eign pol­i­cy has become and to decide whether the Brzezin­s­ki fam­i­ly’s per­son­al obses­sion with ful­fill­ing Mackinder’s direc­tive for con­quer­ing the piv­ot of Eura­sia at any cost, should be Amer­i­ca’s goal as well.

3. The Dai­ly Beast has a fas­ci­nat­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of the steps that are in place to assure that no Nazis from are receiv­ing US mil­i­tary train­ing and equip­ment in Ukraine. Despite offi­cial denials that neo-Nazis are being trained, between-the-lines read­ing and analy­sis reveals that this is prob­a­bly untrue. The inte­ri­or min­istry of Ukraine is vet­ting the trainees and it is that min­istry that con­trols the Azov Bat­tal­ion and oth­er, sim­i­lar Nazi units.

“Is Amer­ica Train­ing Neon­azis in Ukraine?” by Will Cath­cart and Joseph Epstein ; The Dai­ly Beast; 7/4/2015.

There are no doubts about the neo-Nazi and white suprema­cist back­ground of the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a mili­tia that has posi­tioned itself at the fore­front of the fight against Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists in east­ern Ukraine. As the founder and head of the bat­tal­ion Andriy Bilet­sky once put it “The his­toric mis­sion of our nation in this crit­i­cal moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final cru­sade for their sur­vival.”

That Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and his pro­pa­gan­dists exploit this fact, using it to build sup­port for their aggres­sion and to under­mine the inter­na­tional effort to help Ukraine defend its inde­pen­dence, is unde­ni­able. But know­ing that, and want­ing to resist that, does not resolve some very impor­tant ques­tions about the basic facts.

What is the rela­tion­ship of the U.S. gov­ern­ment to these peo­ple? Is it train­ing them? Might it arm them? Is this, like the Afghan war of the 1980s, one of those cas­es where we aid and abet the kind of mon­sters who even­tu­ally become our ene­mies? Con­cerns about that pos­si­bil­ity have been grow­ing on Capi­tol Hill.

Because of uncer­tain­ties sur­round­ing the Azov Battalion’s role in the U.S. train­ing ini­tia­tive and wor­ries about the pos­si­ble sup­ply of shoul­der-held anti-air­craft mis­siles to such char­ac­tersthe House unan­i­mously adopt­edbipar­ti­san amend­ments to H.R. 2685, the “Depart­ment of Defense Appro­pri­a­tions Act of 2015.” And one of them specif­i­cally blocks train­ing of the “Ukrain­ian neo-Nazi para­mil­i­tary mili­tia ‘Azov Bat­tal­ion.’” Rep­re­sen­ta­tives John Cony­ers and Ted Yoho spon­sored the amend­ment to the bill, which was passed unan­i­mously by Con­gress.

This is in addi­tion to cri­te­ria estab­lished in an amend­ment to the For­eign Assis­tance Act of 1961, orig­i­nally spon­sored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, known as “the Leahy Vet­ting Process.”The Leahy process con­sists of screen­ing for­eign forces apply­ing for U.S. Gov­ern­ment train­ing and sup­port to cer­tify that they haven’t com­mit­ted any “gross human rights vio­la­tions.” If they are found to have done so, sup­port is with­held.

But the high­ly prob­lem­atic truth is that the U.S. cur­rently has no real way of ensur­ing that mem­bers of neo-Nazi groups like the Azov Bat­tal­ion are not being trained by U.S. forces, because most, if not all, have not com­mit­ted a “gross human rights vio­la­tion.” Even more dif­fi­cult to deter­mine is whether ex‑U.S. mil­i­tary are train­ing cryp­to-Nazis in a pri­vate capac­ity, and the issues speaks vol­umes about the com­plex­i­ties that have to be con­fronted by the Unit­ed States in its efforts to help Ukraine defend itself from the Russ­ian-sup­port­ed seces­sion­ists.

In an inter­view with The Dai­ly Beast, Sgt. Ivan Kharkiv of the Azov bat­tal­ion talks about his battalion’s expe­ri­ence with U.S. train­ers and U.S. vol­un­teers quite fond­ly,even men­tion­ing U.S. vol­un­teers engi­neers and medics that are still cur­rently assist­ing them. He also talks about the sig­nif­i­cant and active sup­port from the Ukrain­ian dias­pora in the U.S. As for the train­ing they have and con­tinue to receive from numer­ous for­eign armed forces. Kharkiv says “We must take knowl­edge from all armies… We pay for our mis­takes with our lives.”

Those U.S. offi­cials involved in the vet­ting process obvi­ously have instruc­tions to say that U.S. forces are not train­ing the Azov Bat­tal­ion as such.They also say that Azov mem­bers are screened out, yet no one seems to know pre­cisely how that’s done. In fact, giv­en the way the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment oper­ates, it’s almost impos­si­ble.

The Ukrain­ian Min­istry of Inte­rior brings what one U.S. offi­cial calls a “mish­mash” of troops, con­sist­ing of vol­un­teers, mem­bers of mili­tia bat­tal­ions and offi­cial army to be trained, and the Leahy process exists to check and see if any have com­mit­ted a “gross vio­la­tion of human rights,” which most like­ly they have not—at least not yet. But much less care is giv­en to the ques­tion of ide­ol­ogy. When offi­cials are asked for details of any kind regard­ing how the vet­ting process actu­ally func­tions, answers are ambigu­ous, details are scarce and the expla­na­tions become con­tra­dic­to­ry.

In an inter­view with The Dai­ly Beast, the U.S. Army Pub­lic Affairs Offi­cer from the 173rd Air­borne Brigade train­ing Ukrain­ian forces in Lviv in west­ern Ukraine, Capt. Steven Mod­ugno, says that no one from the Azov Bat­tal­ion or Right Sec­tor is being trained in Lviv because the embassy uses the Leahy vet­ting process, which is in place to make sure no one has com­mit­ted any kind of gross human rights abus­es. When asked about mem­bers of the Azov Bat­tal­ion who have not com­mit­ted gross human abus­es, more specif­i­cally how they are screened out, he says, “You know that’s actu­ally a great ques­tion. It’s one the State Depart­ment would need to answer.”

The Dai­ly Beast then inter­viewed State Depart­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Press Offi­cer Yari­na Fer­ent­sevych of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. Fer­ent­sevych told us, “At this point, as far as we are aware, no”—that is, no mem­bers of Azov. “Whether or not some may be in the line­up, that is pos­si­ble. But frankly, you know, our vet­ting screens for human rights vio­la­tions, not for ide­ol­ogy. Neo-Nazis, you know, can join the U.S. army too. The bat­tal­ions that are in ques­tion have been inte­grated as part of Ukraine’s Nation­al Guard, and so the idea is that they would be eli­gi­ble for train­ing, but in all hon­esty I can­not tell you if there are any on the list we train. There were not any in the first rota­tion as far as I am aware.”

Fer­ent­sevych con­firms that it is prac­ti­cally impos­si­ble to know which trainees are from which bat­tal­ion, “It’s a mish­mash of folks: vol­un­teers, sol­diers, war heroes, Maid­an veterans—I mean I couldn’t tell you, you know, short of inves­ti­gat­ing the back­ground of each guy.”

At this point, she rec­om­mends that we speak to the press offi­cer of the 173rd Air­borne Brigade. We explain that he actu­ally direct­ed us to her. She laughs. Wel­come to the Unit­ed States Gov­ern­ment.

When we asked PAO Capt. Mod­ugno whether it was pos­si­ble to detect all the Azov guys who are dis­persed into the nation­al guard bat­tal­ions, he told us, “I don’t know if any of them could get through.” He explained that he is not an expert on the Leahy vet­ting process, but, “From what I’ve seen here, I haven’t seen any extrem­ists, I’ve seen patri­ots.” The act­ing head of Ukraine’s nation­al guard, Myko­la Bal­an, told The Dai­ly Beast, “Azov hasn’t been trained by the U.S. mil­i­tary. Cur­rently they are at the front line.”

Regard­ing the Ukrain­ian government’s involve­ment in the vet­ting process, Capt. Mod­ugno explains that one sec­tion of the gov­ern­ment is doing all the heavy lift­ing, “I believe it is the Min­istry of Inte­rior that is pick­ing com­pa­nies to come here.”

The Azov Bat­tal­ion not only answers direct­ly to the Min­istry of Inte­rior, but it is ingrained deeply in that struc­ture. The founder and head of Azov, Andriy Bilet­sky works close­ly with the Ukrain­ian Min­istry of Inte­rior and as the BBC report­ed last year, “The Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed and armed by Ukraine’s inte­rior min­istry.”

Bilet­sky claims, how­ever, that his bat­tal­ion hasn’t been trained by the U.S. mil­i­tary. In a com­ment to The Dai­ly Beast, he said: “No, Amer­i­can army rep­re­sen­ta­tives do not train and had nev­er trained the bat­tal­ion. What I know so far is that there are reg­u­lar train­ing of the Ukrain­ian armed forces and Azov has noth­ing to do with it.”

Capt. Mod­ugno says that he is more of a “boots on the ground type of guy… When it comes to vet­ting and the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, the most I can tell you is that we are train­ing at the request of the gov­ern­ment and where these guys come from and where they go—it is their [the Ukrain­ian government’s] deci­sion not ours.”

As for Amer­i­can pri­vate indi­vid­u­als train­ing Ukraini­ans else­where, Capt. Mod­ugno says, “I can’t tell you that no Amer­i­cans are there because any Amer­i­can who believes in a cause can go any­where in the world. I can tell you in an offi­cial capac­ity, no, there are no Amer­i­can forces east of Kiev.”

When asked if, in an offi­cial capac­ity, any Azov mem­bers have been trained by the U.S. mil­i­tary in the past he says, “I don’t know. I don’t want to say ‘no’ because I am not a big his­tory buff on mil­i­tary train­ing here. As far as I know, no. But I also know the U.S. and oth­er nations have been doing exer­cises here in Ukraine since like 2002. Rapid Tri­dentis one of those exer­cises. I real­ly don’t know what units would come to that because I believe that’s active duty mil­i­tary. So I’m not sure, but I don’t believe so.”

Capt. Mod­ugno con­tin­ues, “As far as who has been trained here on the ground, there were two com­pa­nies that came in the first rota­tion. They were called Jaguar and Chee­tah Com­pany. It is my under­stand­ing they were com­plete com­pa­nies when they came here. They aug­mented them with some of their war heroes from the ATO [Anti-Ter­ror­ism Oper­a­tions] from oth­er loca­tions. They just grad­u­ated this past week. And right now we have the North and East Com­pany. They are kind of a mish­mash of dif­fer­ent units and sol­diers being trained here. Part of the Ukrain­ian government’s intent here is that when they grad­u­ate they’re actu­ally dis­pers­ing them through­out Ukraine so they can take some of these tac­tics and tech­niques and see what they’ve learned… to take back to their units.”

This is exact­ly the con­cern of many about who is being trained by U.S. forces in Ukraine.

“You know, I know I’m about to speak spec­u­la­tively here and I say that because I don’t know the entire process. But I do know that the State Depart­ment is very aware of the con­cerns that many news agen­cies and U.S. cit­i­zens have, that as [The Dai­ly Beast’s]  arti­cle says, we’re train­ing neo-Nazis over here. I’ve seen them. I keep up on the news. I’m not say­ing that’s what we’re doing. I think what is real­ly hap­pen­ing is the U.S. State Depart­ment is tak­ing a seri­ous look at these guys before allow­ing them to come here [to Lviv]. Again, that’s entire­ly spec­u­la­tive. But I think because con­cerns are so high, they’re being very care­ful.”

The cap­tain con­tin­ues describ­ing what he has seen on the ground. “With most of the guys that I’ve seen here though, I haven’t seen any­thing extrem­ist.” In order to con­vey the cul­tural diver­sity he has seen, he begins to name var­i­ous sects of Chris­tian­ity he has come across: “I’ve seen Roman Catholics; I’ve seen Mor­mon sol­diers on the ground both U.S. and Ukrain­ian; I’ve seen Lat­ter Day Saints; I just haven’t seen any­thing too crazy or any­thing you wouldn’t expect from any oth­er mil­i­tary.”

When asked if there are any Jew­ish Ukrain­ian forces he replies, “You know that’s a fair ques­tion and one I can’t answer. I know on the U.S. side we’ve had Jew­ish sol­diers here. I don’t know for the Ukraini­ans.”

Chief of the Office of Defense Coop­er­a­tion for the Unit­ed States Embassy in Ukraine, Col. Cyn­thia Matuske­vich, also denies that U.S. forces are train­ing any­one from the Azov Bat­tal­ion. Col. Matuske­vich says, “The [Ukrain­ian] Nation­al Guard has told us there are none and that they all went through the nor­mal vet­ting process that we’re required to do by the State Depart­ment.”

When asked for specifics on the vet­ting process she says, “Essen­tially, in its near­est sense, it’s like back­ground checks on indi­vid­u­als. I can’t real­ly elab­o­rate, but we check with var­i­ous agen­cies includ­ing the con­sular sec­tion and they just kind of do back­ground checks. I can’t per­son­ally say what hap­pens in D.C. because I’ve nev­er been on that end of the process but the State Depart­ment in D.C. is the ulti­mate clearer—if you want to call it that.”

When asked how the Leahy process weeds out Azov mem­bers, for instance those who have not com­mit­ted “gross human rights vio­la­tions” but iden­tify them­selves with the Nazis and even with the SS, Matuske­vich explains, “Unfor­tu­nately I can’t com­ment any­more—I mean we have Leahy require­ments and we ask for human rights vet­ting but I mean we don’t indi­vid­u­ally inter­view every­one and ask them what their indi­vid­ual philoso­phies are because we know peo­ple could lie. But we do our utmost to abide by the Leahy vet­ting and we work with part­ners that you know we trust and have told us that none of them are mem­bers of those orga­ni­za­tions.”

As for the “part­ners” they work with, Matuske­vich says that they work direct­ly with the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard, “which coor­di­nates all the trainees. They fall under the Min­istry of Inte­rior, so our polit­i­cal sec­tion at the embassy would be the ones who are deal­ing with them… The Ukrain­ian Gov­ern­ment, and I guess it’s in the form of the Min­istry [of Inte­rior] are the ones that nom­i­nate the can­di­dates for the train­ing.”

When asked why the new House amend­ment would be nec­es­sary if the Leahy process was already in place, Fer­ent­sevych said, “That’s a good ques­tion, you should ask the con­gress­man.” So we did.

In an inter­view with The Dai­ly Beast, Rep. John Cony­ers, Jr. (D‑Mich.) said: “This is an impor­tant pre­cau­tion­ary action. The Leahy Law takes the essen­tial retroac­tive step of pro­hibit­ing assis­tance to units that are cred­i­bly alleged to have com­mit­ted gross vio­la­tions of human rights. The issue here con­cerns who is eli­gi­ble for aid in the first place, and Amer­ica must choose allies whose inter­ests and ideas align with ours. Con­gress can—and should—provide addi­tional guid­ance to the exec­u­tive branch when can­di­dates for U.S. secu­rity assis­tance are pub­licly asso­ci­ated with goals that con­flict with our for­eign pol­i­cy.”

Fer­ent­sevych would seem to cor­rob­o­rate the need for the amend­ment, in effect, when she says, “If these guys have vio­lated human rights, then you would think that you would know. But human rights and ide­ol­ogy are two dif­fer­ent things. It’s kind of like hate speech, peo­ple talk trash, it’s one thing, but if they do some­thing about it, oh my God…”

When asked whether the Leahy process would screen out peo­ple with Nazi tat­toos, she responds, “I have no idea… I don’t know. Is it on their neck where all the world can see it? Or is it on their bum, where nobody can see it? I don’t know. I’m not a legal expert.”

...

This is an issue that sim­ply needs more atten­tion than “I don’t know” from the Unit­ed States Gov­ern­ment. Even those most close­ly con­nected to the process seem unclear on the specifics of it.

As Con­gress­man Char­lie Wil­son, the god­fa­ther of Amer­i­can sup­port for the Afghan muja­hedeen once said, look­ing back on the dis­as­ter that fol­lowed their “vic­tory,” “These things hap­pened. They were glo­ri­ous and they changed the world… and then we fu cked up the endgame.” The Unit­ed States’ desire to train Ukrain­ian troops comes from the right place—the need to stop Russ­ian covert and overt aggres­sion. The prob­lem is that the Azov bat­tal­ion is nuz­zled so deeply into the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment that they are near­ly impos­si­ble to weed out.

4. We present anoth­er arti­cle on the exis­ten­tial threat posed by Ukraine’s Nazi vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions. It includes an inter­view of the leader of bat­tal­ion that isn’t report­ed on very much: the Saint Mary Bat­tal­ion. The leader of the bat­tal­ion asserts that the rev­o­lu­tion that began with the Maid­an had been inter­rupted, but would one day be com­pleted. He doesn’t stop there, say­ing, “I would like Ukraine to lead the cru­sades...Our mis­sion is not only to kick out the occu­piers, but also revenge. Moscow must burn.”

It’s a reminder that if the vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions will real­ly do col­lec­tively “march on Kiev” and over­throw the gov­ern­ment in a vio­lent coup, the march­ing doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily end in Kiev.

“Spe­cial Report: Ukraine Strug­gles to Con­trol Mav­er­ick Bat­tal­ions” by Eliz­a­beth Piper and Sergiy Karazy; Reuters; 7/29/2015.

From a base­ment bil­liard club in cen­tral Kiev, Dmytro Korchyn­sky com­mands a vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion help­ing Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment fight rebels in the east. A burly man with a long, Cos­sack-style mous­tache, Korchyn­sky has sev­eral hun­dred armed men at his dis­posal. The exact num­ber, he said, is “clas­si­fied.”

In the eyes of many Ukraini­ans, he and oth­er vol­un­teer fight­ers are heroes for help­ing the weak reg­u­lar army resist pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists. In the view of the gov­ern­ment, how­ever, some of the vol­un­teers have become a prob­lem, even a law unto them­selves.

Dressed in a col­or­ful peas­ant-style shirt, Korchyn­sky told Reuters that he fol­lows orders from the Inte­rior Min­istry, and that his bat­tal­ion would stop fight­ing if com­manded to do so. Yet he added: “We would pro­ceed with our own meth­ods of action inde­pen­dently from state struc­tures.”

Korchyn­sky, a for­mer leader of an ultra-nation­al­ist par­ty and a devout Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian, wants to cre­ate a Chris­t­ian “Tal­iban” to reclaim east­ern Ukraine as well as Crimea, which was annexed by Rus­sia in 2014. He isn’t going to give up his quest light­ly.

“I would like Ukraine to lead the cru­sades,” said Korchyn­sky, whose battalion’s name is Saint Mary. “Our mis­sion is not only to kick out the occu­piers, but also revenge. Moscow must burn.”

Such talk and recent vio­lent inci­dents involv­ing mem­bers of unof­fi­cial armed groups have raised gov­ern­ment con­cerns about rad­i­cals run­ning out of con­trol. Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko now says that all “ille­gal groups” must dis­arm because they threat­en to make the coun­try even more unsta­ble than it already is.

“No polit­i­cal force should have, and will not have, any kind of armed cells. No polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion has the right to estab­lish ... crim­i­nal groups,” Poroshenko said on July 13.

The pres­i­dent said he might leg­is­late for emer­gency pow­ers to deal with armed groups, and that any­one armed who was not a mem­ber of the law enforce­ment agen­cies “will be classed as a ter­ror­ist.”

But inter­views with mem­bers of vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions and Ukraine offi­cials sug­gest it will not be easy for Poroshenko to impose his will. Some bat­tal­ion lead­ers, while osten­si­bly under the con­trol of the gov­ern­ment, are increas­ingly crit­i­cal of Ukraine’s polit­i­cal lead­ers. They want to press them to sack judges seen as favor­ing the rich and pow­er­ful, to oust oli­garchs who con­trol much of the econ­omy and to pros­e­cute the riot police accused of killing more than 100 peo­ple dur­ing protests ear­ly last year.

HAPHAZARD FORMATIONS

Most of Ukraine’s almost 40 vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions grew out of squads of pro­test­ers who bat­tled the Berkut riot police dur­ing the protests on Kiev’s Inde­pen­dence Square, or Maid­an Neza­lezh­nosti, which began in Novem­ber 2013.

After the protests top­pled Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovich, pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists rose up in the east of Ukraine in April, 2014, demand­ing inde­pen­dence from the new gov­ern­ment in Kiev, which they called a “fas­cist regime.” In response, sev­eral lead­ers of the Maid­an protests raced east with fel­low pro­test­ers to try to stop the rebel advance.

Numer­ous brigades and bat­tal­ions formed hap­haz­ardly, with most lead­ers accept­ing any­one will­ing to fight. Ser­hiy Mel­ny­chuk, who found­ed the Aidar bat­tal­ion in east­ern Ukraine and is now a mem­ber of par­lia­ment, said he signed up peo­ple between the ages of 18 and 62 and “from the home­less to pen­sion­ers.”

Irreg­u­lar though the­ses forces were, some acquired weapons from the Defense Min­istry, offi­cials and bat­tal­ion lead­ers said. Oth­ers received mon­ey and equip­ment from wealthy oli­garchs. They became pow­er­ful forces in the strug­gle against pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists.

In an inter­view in Kiev, Mel­ny­chuk, wear­ing a cross around his neck and a wrist­band in the nation­al col­ors of Ukraine, said that he had five men on the day the Aidar bat­tal­ion formed, but 250 with­in two weeks. They had all fought on the Maid­an and “didn’t need mil­i­tary train­ing,” he said.

He con­ceded some Aidar mem­bers ran out of con­trol. “I don’t deny peo­ple were loot­ing there (in east­ern Ukraine),” he said.

Mel­ny­chuk now faces var­i­ous charges from Ukrain­ian pros­e­cu­tors con­nected to his time in the east. They include rob­bery and form­ing an ille­gal group; Mel­ny­chuk denies the charges.

In addi­tion, the human rights group Amnesty Inter­na­tional has doc­u­mented cas­es of abuse which it says were com­mit­ted by mem­bers of Aidar last year and “amount to war crimes.” The alle­ga­tions include abduct­ing and beat­ing men sus­pected of col­lab­o­rat­ing with pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists, and extort­ing mon­ey.

Last year the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment tried to bring Aidar and oth­er vol­un­teer groups under its con­trol. It ordered Aidar to reform into the 24th assault bat­tal­ion as part of Ukraine’s offi­cial forces. Mel­ny­chuk described that order as “crim­i­nal,” but said most of his men had demo­bi­lized or come under offi­cial con­trol by this year.

He and oth­er bat­tal­ion lead­ers said that their sol­diers’ loy­alty did not always lie with the author­i­ties and that some groups still oper­ate beyond offi­cial con­trol.

Mel­ny­chuk was scorn­ful of attempts to crack down on the bat­tal­ions, say­ing such moves had been pro­voked by Rus­sia spread­ing pro­pa­ganda. He said Rus­sia was scared of the bat­tal­ions because the vol­un­teers inflict­ed the most loss­es on the pro-Russ­ian rebels, “so they pre­tend that we eat lit­tle chil­dren for break­fast.”

The polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine remained dif­fi­cult and frag­ile, he said, crit­i­ciz­ing the lack of change in gov­ern­ment. “The (Maid­an) rev­o­lu­tion was inter­rupted by the aggres­sion (in the east) and the patri­ots left Maid­an and went to the east to pro­tect Ukraine,” he said. “Only 10 per­cent of peo­ple in posi­tions of pow­er are new; the rest are all the same, pur­su­ing the same schemes they always did.”

Andriy Filo­nenko, a founder of the Tor­nado bat­tal­ion, was equal­ly defi­ant about accu­sa­tions against his fight­ers. Eight mem­bers of the bat­tal­ion have been accused of crimes includ­ing rape, mur­der and smug­gling. Ukrain­ian offi­cials say one video shows a re-enact­ment of how mem­bers of Tor­nado forced two cap­tives to rape anoth­er man; they also say some 40 mem­bers of the bat­tal­ion have crim­i­nal records.

Filo­nenko told Reuters the charges were ridicu­lous. “I don’t under­stand all this talk about crim­i­nal records,” he said. “All I know is that peo­ple spilt their blood for Ukraine, for the moth­er­land.”

Like Mel­ny­chuk, Filo­nenko said the “old order” was out to pro­tect itself. He said the charges were only made after the Tor­nado bat­tal­ion had uncov­ered what it said was a smug­gling ring involv­ing local politi­cians in east Ukraine. Offi­cials say the charges came before Tornado’s alleged smug­gling dis­cov­ery.

Filo­nenko, who wore a black T‑shirt with a red Ukrain­ian tri­dent on it, defend­ed the battalion’s actions, cit­ing the vio­lence and lack of resources in the east. “It’s a war. They’re not hand­ing out sweets,” he said.

“Think of it this way: There’s a task, for the task you need a vehi­cle to get there and back – but they don’t give you any vehi­cle or petrol to ful­fill the task ... You have to pick up wound­ed ... so what do you do? ... Of course, you stop a car and take it.”

“THEY STEAL A LOT”

Close to bank­ruptcy, Ukraine has strug­gled to imple­ment reforms demand­ed by the Maid­an pro­test­ers. Its police and courts are still wide­ly seen as favor­ing the pow­er­ful, and bribes are still used for every­thing from avoid­ing speed­ing penal­ties to get­ting into good schools.

For some pow­er­ful inter­ests, the rule of force, not law, remains tempt­ing. In March, a group of armed men in com­bat fatigues raid­ed the Kiev offices of the state-owned oil com­pany Ukr­TransNafta. Two par­lia­men­tary deputies accused the bil­lion­aire Ihor Kolo­moisky, who harangued jour­nal­ists at the scene of the raid, of send­ing the masked men into the build­ing after one of his allies had been sacked as chair­man of the com­pa­ny.

Kolo­moisky is wide­ly cred­ited with fund­ing vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions that defend­ed the city of Dnipropetro­vsk and fought against pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists in east­ern Ukraine.

Poroshenko moved to assert his author­ity, meet­ing Kolo­moisky in the after­math of the raid. As a result, Kolo­moisky stepped down as gov­er­nor of Dnipropetro­vsk, in the east of the coun­try, though he remains a pow­er­ful busi­ness fig­ure with polit­i­cal influ­ence. Kolo­moisky did not respond to requests for com­ment.

Inte­rior Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov told Reuters Ukraine was now “reboot­ing” all of its pow­er struc­tures to start with a “clean sheet,” and at the same time try­ing to root out crim­i­nal ele­ments in the bat­tal­ions.

“As in all big com­mu­ni­ties of peo­ple, there are dif­fer­ent types,” he said. “We must tell the truth: Some have loot­ed and we will pun­ish them.”

He said that some armed groups “appro­pri­ated the names” of estab­lished bat­tal­ions and that “no one real­ly knows where they are fight­ing or where they have fought.”

Ukraine’s mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor, Ana­toly Matios, says he is deter­mined to take action. He told Reuters he intends to take mem­bers of Tor­nado bat­tal­ion to court for their alleged offences.

“Who made the deci­sion, turned a blind eye to their crim­i­nal record and allowed them to become police offi­cers? Who gave them weapons and did not fore­see the pos­si­ble trag­ic con­se­quences?” he said in an inter­view at the prosecutor’s office. He said he want­ed to check all police bat­tal­ions “in order not to have a sec­ond Tor­na­do.”

Matios rec­og­nizes that his moves may prove unpop­u­lar. “I under­stand a very large part of soci­ety may even hate me for the thank­less but legal work that we do. It’s not com­fort­able at a min­i­mum.” On July 8, activists poured manure at the front entrance of his office. He described it as a paid-for protest.

...

In his bil­liard club head­quar­ters, com­man­der Korchyn­sky of the Saint Mary bat­tal­ion made his dis­dain for the gov­ern­ment plain. “Like the major­ity of Ukrain­ian peo­ple, I think (the new lead­er­ship) is bad ... They steal a lot. When Yanukovich was steal­ing, that was bad. But these peo­ple are clear­ing up when the coun­try is at war, so they are guilty on two counts. This is maraud­ing.”

He said the rev­o­lu­tion that began with the Maid­an had been inter­rupted, but would one day be com­pleted. He did not say when.

If so, he will have to con­front Poroshenko. On July 16, the pres­i­dent, decried the prob­lems posed by unspec­i­fied “inter­nal ene­mies” of the coun­try. He told par­lia­ment: “I will not allow anar­chy in Ukraine.”

5. The  Euob­server has a piece on the grow­ing threat Right Sector’s show­down with Kiev presents to Ukraine and it con­tains this inter­est­ing aspect of the ever evolv­ing sit­u­a­tion: One of the key demands of Right Sec­tor and oth­er vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions is that the gov­ern­ment offi­cially declare war on Rus­sia, based, in part, on claims that they have been engag­ing with Russ­ian troops in the East. But one (of the many) dan­gers asso­ci­ated with the Kiev gov­ern­ment actu­ally declar­ing war on Rus­sia is that the IMF can’t make finan­cial assis­tance pack­ages (aus­ter­ity “bailouts”) to coun­tries at war. And since open war between Ukraine and Rus­sia is a flir­ta­tion with WWIII, we might actu­ally be see­ing a sit­u­a­tion where IMF might actu­ally be pre­vent­ing fur­ther cat­a­stro­phe instead of caus­ing it. That doesn’t nor­mally hap­pen.

“Kiev’s Far-Eight Prob­lem” by Ali­na Polyako­va; Euob­serv­er; 7/24/2015.

Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment has a prob­lem on its hands: A far-right group has tapped into grow­ing frus­tra­tion among Ukraini­ans over the declin­ing econ­omy and tepid sup­port from the West.

Right Sec­tor (Pravy Sek­tor) has a dan­ger­ous agen­da.

In the most direct chal­lenge to Kyiv’s gov­ern­ment, Right Sec­tor announced that it will begin organ­is­ing a nation­al ref­er­en­dum on the population’s dis­trust of Ukraine’s par­lia­ment, cab­i­net, and the pres­i­dent.

A call for an ille­git­i­mate and unmon­i­tored ref­er­en­dum against the gov­ern­ment will nei­ther unite Ukraini­ans nor help Ukraine’s reform­ers nav­i­gate the country’s dif­fi­cult eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion.

The ref­er­en­dum call came at a 21 July ral­ly in Kyiv at which the Right Sector’s leader and only mem­ber of par­lia­ment, Dmytro Yarosh, demand­ed that the government’s “Anti-ter­ror­ist oper­a­tion” (ATO) in east­ern Ukraine be called what it actu­ally is: a war with Rus­sia.

He also called for a full block­ade of the sep­a­ratist-con­trolled regions of Luhan­sk and Donet­sk; and legal­i­sa­tion of all vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions fight­ing in Ukraine’s east, which the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary has been strug­gling to incor­po­rate.

Yarosh refused to give up his seat in par­lia­ment but claimed that Right Sector–which is both a polit­i­cal par­ty and a para­mil­i­tary organisation–would not par­tic­i­pate in the local elec­tions in Octo­ber.

There is a glim­mer of good news for the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment. A major­ity of Ukraini­ans do not sup­port Right Sec­tor. The par­ty holds one seat in par­lia­ment (Yarosh’s) and Yarosh received less than one per­cent of the vote in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in May 2014.

How­ever, the gov­ern­ment would be ill-advised to dis­miss Right Sec­tor out­right. It must do more to address Ukraini­ans’ legit­i­mate con­cerns about their future, but the gov­ern­ment can’t do this alone.

Econ­o­mists agree Ukraine requires a much greater injec­tion of macro-eco­nom­ic assis­tance than the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund’s promised pack­age of $17.5 bil­lion to bring the coun­try back from the brink of col­lapse.

The $50 bil­lion called for by George Soros is the min­i­mum “life­line” that Ukraine needs to sur­vive. With­out this injec­tion of finan­cial sup­port, groups like the Right Sec­tor will con­tinue to make polit­i­cal noise that dis­tracts from the real work that Ukraine’s lead­ers must do.

Right Sec­tor has sure­ly been a thorn in Kyiv’s side.

The group’s meet­ing in Kyiv fol­lowed on the heels of a con­fronta­tion between Right Sec­tor, police, and local author­i­ties in the west­ern town of Mukacheve on 11 July. The shootout left five dead and four­teen wound­ed.

The armed con­flict in Mukacheve was, in part, a result of the government’s push to bring under con­trol the many vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions that have been fight­ing in Ukraine’s east.

Vol­un­teers return­ing from the front lines report fight­ing with reg­u­lar Russ­ian army forces, not Ukrain­ian sep­a­ratists. While the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has repeat­edly said that tens of thou­sands of Russ­ian troops are fight­ing in east­ern Ukraine, it has refused to call the con­flict a war, pre­fer­ring to use the ambigu­ous ATO label.

The gov­ern­ment has a legit­i­mate rea­son for this ambi­gu­ity: call­ing the con­flict a war would cut off Ukraine from much need­ed finan­cial assis­tance from inter­na­tional lend­ing agen­cies, such as the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, which do not pro­vide assis­tance to coun­tries at war.

How­ever, as evi­dence of Russ­ian troops and mil­i­tary bases in Ukraine mounts, vol­un­teer fight­ers have grown frus­trated with the lan­guage from Kyiv’s offi­cials.

As Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s falling approval rat­ings show (17 per­cent accord­ing to some polls), Ukraini­ans are get­ting fed up, too.

This frus­tra­tion should not come as a sur­prise: reform gov­ern­ments are rarely pop­u­lar, and this one has had to push through par­tic­u­larly painful reforms, includ­ing a 400-per­cent increase in gas prices and deep cuts in social pro­grammes.

...

Groups like the Right Sec­tor, which claim to have Ukraine’s nation­al inter­ests at heart, are sim­ply tak­ing advan­tage of pub­lic frus­tra­tion to ratch­et up sup­port for their mis­guided agen­da.

Despite its rev­o­lu­tion­ary rhetoric and anti-gov­ern­ment stance, Right Sec­tor is unlike­ly to suc­ceed: Since inde­pen­dence, Ukraini­ans have shown them­selves to be cau­tious when it comes to sup­port­ing extrem­ist move­ments.

Still, it is impor­tant to take this dis­trac­tion for the gov­ern­ment in Kiev off the table. West­ern lead­ers must con­nect the dots: Ukraine needs eco­nomic relief and polit­i­cal sup­port. With­out this, oppor­tunis­tic and pop­ulist groups will con­tinue to divert atten­tion from the real chal­lenges ahead.

6. Indica­tive of the appar­ent despair expe­ri­enced by much of the Ukrain­ian pop­u­la­tion, a recent elec­tion gar­nered a 35 per­cent turnout.

“This Crazy Ukrain­ian Elec­tion Shows the Coun­try Has a Ways to Go toward Reform” by Dan Peleschuk; Glob­al Post; 7/27/2015.

The old and infirm crammed, cursed and com­plained as they fought for spots in line on Sat­ur­day under the oppres­sive after­noon sun.

On offer at a local park were goody bags of pantry items — things like sun­flower oil and sug­ar — cour­tesy of a well-con­nect­ed mil­lion­aire eager to cast him­self as a man of the peo­ple.

That man, Hen­nadiy Kor­ban, just hap­pened to be run­ning for a vacant seat in par­lia­ment the next day to rep­re­sent a dis­trict in this charm­ing, provin­cial city north of Kyiv.

And what his team con­sid­ered an act of good­will most oth­ers saw as some­thing dif­fer­ent: brib­ing poor, unwit­ting vot­ers.

...

The scene was one of many pecu­liar images to emerge from this city of around 290,000 in recent weeks as it pre­pared for a spe­cial elec­tion that cap­tured the nation­al media’s atten­tion.

The top two can­di­dates for leg­is­la­tor were accused of employ­ing an array of dirty tac­tics — from sim­ple mud­sling­ing to out­right vote-buy­ing — in a cam­paign that observers believe under­mined Ukraine’s trun­dle toward clean­er democ­ra­cy.

“Many peo­ple are talk­ing about the fact that the elec­tions for dis­trict 205 in Cherni­hiv are a very big step back­ward,” said Pavlo Pushchenko, the local head of a nation­al vote-mon­i­tor­ing NGO.

By Mon­day after­noon, the elec­tion had come and gone, with ear­ly results giv­ing Ser­hiy Berezenko, the oth­er top can­di­date, a hefty lead over Kor­ban.

Vote mon­i­tors and local police said they reg­is­tered dozens of vio­la­tions on Sun­day, such as attempts at mul­ti­ple vot­ing.

It was an undra­matic cli­max to a cam­paign full of crooked polit­i­cal tech­nol­ogy, as it’s known in this part of the world.

Both lead­ing can­di­dates were juiced in: Berezenko is a close ally of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, while Kor­ban is the right-hand man to one of Ukraine’s rich­est and most pow­er­ful oli­garchs.

Nei­ther of them were even from the region, using elec­toral dis­trict 205 sim­ply as a spring­board into par­lia­ment.

Sunday’s vote was seen as a high-stakes proxy bat­tle between Poroshenko and a very rich man, Ihor Kolo­moisky, who has pub­licly chal­lenged the pres­i­dent and remains his top polit­i­cal rival.

That’s part­ly why the vote, a con­test between polit­i­cal mus­cle and big mon­ey, was so impor­tant to win.

Korban’s cam­paign was marked most­ly by pub­lic hand­outs to cajole vot­ers — known in slang here as “buck­wheat” — and stag­ing lav­ish con­certs near his sleek cam­paign head­quar­ters.

But he also took an active role in engag­ing his com­pe­ti­tion. A week before the elec­tion, his secu­rity detail cap­tured a car, alleged­ly belong­ing to Berezenko’s team, stocked with ammu­ni­tion and cash. Kor­ban claimed it was used to pay off vot­ers.

...

Berezenko, mean­while, made full use of his ties to the president’s polit­i­cal machine, plas­ter­ing the city with its par­ty col­ors. He was even giv­en a posi­tion on a brand new gov­ern­ment advi­sory body for region­al devel­op­ment. That gave him de-fac­to local author­ity — and access to purse strings — before the cam­paign even began.

Experts believe the goal was to reassert the pres­i­den­tial party’s author­ity in Ukraine, espe­cially before nation­wide local elec­tions lat­er this year.

“The president’s team can­not lose,” said Volodymyr Fes­enko, a polit­i­cal ana­lyst in Kyiv.

In the days before the vote, there were reports of hired thugs from both sides roam­ing the city to stir trou­ble. Fake cam­paign leaflets, like one announc­ing Berezenko was drop­ping out of the race, made their way around town.

...

On elec­tion day itself, vot­ers had to choose from an astound­ing 91 can­di­dates, most of them spoil­ers, ana­lysts said, designed to draw votes away from the front-run­ners.

A par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar tac­tic is to reg­is­ter can­di­dates with sim­i­lar last names to con­fuse vot­ers — hence “Kar­ban” and “Kor­pan” on the bal­lot.

...

Both lead­ing can­di­dates reg­u­larly denied any sug­ges­tions of wrong­do­ing, each accus­ing the oth­er of polit­i­cal manip­u­la­tion.

But crit­ics say they’re actu­ally both guilty of tar­nish­ing the val­ues of the so-called “Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­nity,” which many Ukraini­ans expect­ed would over­haul the country’s cor­rupt pol­i­tics.

Ihor Andriy­chenko, a local politi­cian from a lib­eral grass­roots par­ty who came in fourth, called the elec­tion “a farce, a polit­i­cal the­ater of absur­di­ty.”

“They were sup­posed to demon­strate real, trans­par­ent elec­tions: a bat­tle of ideas, com­pe­ti­tion, debates, intel­lect — any­thing else,” he told Glob­al­Post before the vote. “But def­i­nitely not ‘buck­wheat,’ and def­i­nitely not mon­ey.”

Many locals, mean­while, appeared either too unin­ter­ested or exhaust­ed with the cam­paign to come out to vote. There was a 35 per­cent turnout, and city streets were notice­ably emp­ty.

Some vot­ers even resort­ed to the clas­sic post-Sovi­et tac­tic of mark­ing up their bal­lots with obscene or irrev­er­ent mes­sages.

...

Many locals, mean­while, appeared either too unin­ter­ested or exhaust­ed with the cam­paign to come out to vote. There was a 35 per­cent turnout, and city streets were notice­ably emp­ty.

“Some vot­ers even resort­ed to the clas­sic post-Sovi­et tac­tic of mark­ing up their bal­lots with obscene or irrev­er­ent mes­sages.”
...

7. An elect­ed mem­ber of the Swe­den Demo­c­rat par­ty has been impli­cated in a plot to obtain large amounts of high explo­sives along with a man found to be in pos­ses­sion of Nazi para­pher­na­lia. We shouldn’t for­get that a pri­mary finan­cial backer of the Swe­den Democ­rats is Carl Lund­strom, who owned a con­trol­ling inter­est in the Pirate Bay site, which host­ed Wik­iLeaks.

“Swedish Far-Right Politi­cian ‘Impli­cated in Bomb Raid’ ” by Dominic Hinde; The Scots­man; 7/22/2015.

An elect­ed mem­ber of Sweden’s far-right Swe­den Demo­c­rat par­ty has been impli­catedin a plot to obtain large amounts of high explo­sives with the poten­tial for use in ter­ror attacks.

The local politi­cian, who can­not be named for legal rea­sons, was detained along with three oth­er men over the week­end in the Swedish province of Hal­land.

The four sus­pects were all arrest­ed as part of an inves­ti­ga­tion into the dis­cov­ery of large quan­ti­ties of dyna­mite in a house belong­ing to one of the men.

The politi­cian was arrest­ed by police as he attempt­ed to leave the house in his car, in which detec­tives then dis­cov­ered dyna­mite blast­ing caps in a plas­tic bag.

The caps are nor­mally used to trig­ger larg­er quan­ti­ties of dyna­mite and plas­tic explo­sive from a dis­tance.

The man was sub­se­quently released from cus­tody, but is still sub­ject to ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion by detec­tives. He claims that he was unaware of the pres­ence of the caps in his car accord­ing to reports in the Swedish news­pa­per Dagens Nyheter.

At the same time as police dis­cov­ered the mate­r­ial they also arrest­ed a 30-year-old man, who neigh­bours claim had been car­ry­ing out test explo­sions on ground behind the prop­erty.

It is under­stood that the sec­ond man con­fessed to use of the explo­sive in a police state­ment. Two oth­er men were also detained by author­i­ties as part of their inves­ti­ga­tions.

The 30-year-old man had pre­vi­ously been con­victed for attack­ing a for­eign-born neigh­bour with an axe and was found to be in pos­ses­sion of pic­tures of Hitler, Ger­man war mem­o­ra­bilia and Nazi SS flags by police who searched his home.

It is unclear whether or not the explo­sives and asso­ci­ated equip­ment was intend­ed to be used in an attack, but police have not ruled it out.

“That we can only spec­u­late on. We have noth­ing that points to such an attack at present, but are open to the pos­si­bil­ity” said Tom­my Nyman, a spokesper­son for the Swedish Police force in the region.

SÄPO, the Swedish secu­rity ser­vice, have also begun an inves­ti­ga­tion into events.

“We have found signs that he had Nazi sym­pa­thies” added Nyman with regards to the 30-year-old sus­pect. “There are objects and sym­bols which you would link to ide­o­log­i­cal extrem­ism.”

The politi­cian is not him­self sus­pected of pos­sess­ing such extrem­ist mate­r­ial, but it is under­stood the two men knew one anoth­er.

The Swe­den Democ­rats imme­di­ately issued a state­ment to the press say­ing that the par­ty mem­ber arrest­ed by police has been relieved of office. Found­ed as part of the Nordic white pow­er move­ment in 1988, they have been forced to expel sev­eral mem­bers over alle­ga­tions of racism and extrem­ism.

The par­ty, who share a Euro­pean Par­lia­ment group with UKIP and strong­ly oppose immi­gra­tion, fem­i­nism and mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, are cur­rently the third biggest in Swe­den. Until the mid 1990s mem­bers would reg­u­larly wear mil­i­tary-style uni­forms at meet­ings and two of their senior par­lia­men­tary deputies were involved in a drunk­en attack on the Swedish-Kur­dish come­dian Soren Ismael with a piece of scaf­fold­ing in 2010.

...

Recent elec­tions have seen sig­nif­i­cant gains for right-wing pop­ulist par­ties in Nor­way, Swe­den, Fin­land and Den­mark on a strong­ly anti-immi­gra­tion and cul­tur­ally nation­al­ist plat­form.

Swe­den has also seen an increase in attacks on Islam­ic and Jew­ish com­mu­nity cen­tres, with some now sub­ject to police pro­tec­tion.

8. The largest uni­ver­si­ty in Ukraine is con­trolled by the MAUP orga­ni­za­tion, an insti­tu­tion­al dis­sem­i­na­tor of anti-Semit­ic doc­trine. David Duke teach­es at the insti­tu­tion. For­mer pres­i­dent Yuschenko is on the advi­so­ry board, as was Leonid Kravchuk, anoth­er pres­i­dent of Ukraine.

Orga­nized Anti-Semi­tism in Con­tem­po­rary Ukraine: Struc­ture, Influ­ence and Ide­ol­o­gy” by Pers Anders Rudling; Cana­di­an Slavon­ic Papers; Vol. 48, No. 1/2 (March-June 2006): pp. 81–118.

ABSTRACT: In the wake of the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion, Ukraine has wit­nessed a sub­stan­tial growth in orga­nized anti-Semi­tism. Cen­tral to this devel­op­ment is an orga­ni­za­tion, known as the Inter­re­gion­al Acad­e­my of Human Resources, bet­ter known by its Ukrain­ian acronym MAUP. It oper­ates a well-con­nect­ed polit­i­cal net­work that reach­es the very top of the Ukrain­ian soci­ety. MAUP is the largest pri­vate uni­ver­si­ty in Ukraine, with 57,000 stu­dents at 24 region­al cam­pus­es. MAUP is con­nect­ed to the KKK; David Duke is teach­ing cours­es in his­to­ry and inter­na­tion­al rela­tions at the uni­ver­si­ty. Fund­ed by Sau­di Ara­bia, Libya and Iran, MAUP’s print­ing house pub­lish­es about 85% of the anti-Semit­ic lit­er­a­ture in Ukraine. Until very recent­ly, Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Yushchenko and For­eign Min­is­ter Tara­siuk served on its board; for­mer Pres­i­dent Kravchuk still does. This paper is a study of anti-Semi­tism in Ukraine, of its intel­lec­tu­al roots, influ­ence and strength. It traces the Sovi­et, Chris­t­ian, Ger­man and racist polit­i­cal tra­di­tions and out­lines the polit­i­cal ambi­tions of orga­nized anti-Semi­tism in post-Orange Rev­o­lu­tion Ukraine.

9. In addi­tion to David Duke, Joran Jer­mas, aka “Israel Shamir,” is part of the MAUP con­stel­la­tion. Jermas/Shamir is a top aide to Julian Assange and, along with his son Johannes Wahlstrom (a bird of the same polit­i­cal feath­er) is in charge of Wik­iLeaks’ oper­a­tions for the Scan­di­na­vian coun­tries, Rus­sia and Belarus.

It was Joran Jer­mas who offered Julian Assange the oppor­tu­ni­ty to host Wik­iLeaks on the Pirate Bay web­site, fund­ed by Swedish fas­cist Carl Lund­strom.

“Anti-Semi­tism Inter­na­tion­al: Ukraine Uni­ver­si­ty of Hate;” adl.org; 11/3/2006.  

MAUP: A Uni­ver­si­ty of Hate

  • MAUP is the main source of anti-Semit­ic agi­ta­tion and pro­pa­gan­da in Ukraine. It orga­nizes anti-Semit­ic meet­ings and con­fer­ences, reg­u­lar­ly issues anti-Semit­ic state­ments and pub­lish­es two wide­ly-dis­trib­uted peri­od­i­cals, Per­son­nel and Per­son­nel Plus, which fre­quent­ly con­tain anti-Semit­ic arti­cles.
  • At the same time, MAUP is a bona fide uni­ver­si­ty (its Eng­lish name is the Inter­re­gion­al Acad­e­my for Per­son­nel Man­age­ment), with more than 50,000 stu­dents enrolled at cam­pus­es in var­i­ous loca­tions. Busi­ness, polit­i­cal sci­ence and agri­cul­ture are among the sub­jects taught.
  • The anti-Semit­ic activ­i­ties are direct­ed by MAUP’s Pres­i­dent, Geor­gy Tschokin, and a num­ber of his col­leagues. Tschokin is also the leader of the far-right Ukrain­ian Con­ser­v­a­tive Par­ty.
  • MAUP has revived the noto­ri­ous blood libel. In March 2006, MAUP lead­ers led by Tschokin paid their respects at the grave of Andrei Yuschin­sky, a Chris­t­ian boy whose death in 1911 led to the false con­vic­tion of Mendel Beilis, a Jew, who was even­tu­al­ly acquit­ted. The charges were based upon the noto­ri­ous accu­sa­tion of Jew­ish rit­u­al mur­der.
    A MAUP pub­li­ca­tion alleged that Yuschin­sky was “mur­dered by Jews with rit­u­al pur­pose”. Tschokin is also cam­paign­ing for the Ortho­dox Church to canon­ise Yuschin­sky.
  • White suprema­cist David Duke has close links with MAUP: he “teach­es” a course on his­to­ry and inter­na­tion­al rela­tions, has been award­ed a doc­tor­ate for a the­sis on Zion­ism and was a key par­tic­i­pant in MAUP’s June 2005 con­fer­ence on “Zion­ism: Threat to World Peace”.  In Octo­ber 2006, Duke addressed a MAUP audi­ence on the sub­ject of “Zion­ist” influ­ence in the US media and signed copies of his book, “The Jew­ish Ques­tion Through the Eyes of an Amer­i­can.” Duke opened his speech by declar­ing: “The pow­ers of glob­al­ism and Zion­ism are reach­ing out and they are try­ing to con­trol the lives, the val­ues, the cul­ture and the for­eign pol­i­cy of every nation on earth”.
  • MAUP runs a num­ber of kiosks in Kiev which spe­cial­ize in anti-Semit­ic lit­er­a­ture, includ­ing one locat­ed across the street from the “Hil­lel” club for Jew­ish stu­dents. Titles on sale include: “The Zion­ist pro­to­cols: sources and results”,  “Jew­ish syn­drome” “Jews and eco­nom­ic life” and a book describ­ing the infa­mous 1941 mas­sacre of Jews at Babi Yar as “the third influ­en­tial leg­end of the zhi­dovskoy cat­a­stro­phe”.
  • On Novem­ber 22, 2005, Tschokin issued a state­ment of sol­i­dar­i­ty with Iran­ian Pres­i­dent Ahmadine­jad’s threat to wipe out Israel. The state­ment blend­ed tra­di­tion­al Chris­t­ian anti-Semi­tism with anti-Zion­ism: “We’d like to remind that the Liv­ing God Jesus Christ said to Jews two thou­sand years ago: ‘Your father is a devil!’…Israel, as known, means ‘The­olo­gian’, and Zion­ism in 1975 was acknowl­edged by Gen­er­al Assem­bly of UNO as the form of racism and race dis­crim­i­na­tion, that, in the opin­ion of the absolute major­i­ty of mod­ern Euro­peans, makes the most threat to mod­ern civ­i­liza­tion. Israel is the arti­fi­cial­ly cre­at­ed state (clas­sic total­i­tar­i­an type) which appeared on the polit­i­cal Earth map only in 1948, thanks to good will of UNO…Their end is known, and only the God’s true will res­cue all of us. We are not afraid, as God always togeth­er with his chil­dren!”
  • MAUP con­tin­ues to boast of its ties with Iran. In March 2006, Tschokin received the Iran­ian Ambas­sador, Saed Ahmed Musavi Male­ki, and nego­ti­at­ed a stu­dent exchange scheme between MAUP and Iran­ian uni­ver­si­ties. Accord­ing to the MAUP web­site, the two men also dis­cussed the build­ing of a Ukrain­ian cul­tur­al cen­ter in Iran. MAUP rep­re­sen­ta­tives par­tic­i­pat­ed in an April 2006 con­fer­ence held in Tehran under gov­ern­ment spon­sor­ship, enti­tled “Al Quds and the Pro­tec­tion of the Rights of the Pales­tini­ans”. There are wide­spread alle­ga­tions that MAUP receives fund­ing from the Iran­ian regime.
  • MAUP con­tin­ues to main­tain close ties with indi­vid­u­als in the Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment. Of spe­cial con­cern is the rela­tion­ship between MAUP and Lev­ko Lukya­nenko, a for­mer dis­si­dent and for­mer Ukran­ian Ambas­sador to Cana­da, who is a promi­nent mem­ber of the polit­i­cal bloc led by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Yulia Tymoshenko. Lukya­nenko has blamed the ter­ri­ble Ukrain­ian famine of the 1930s on a “Satan­ic” gov­ern­ment con­trolled by Jews and has false­ly claimed, in attack­ing the for­mer Sovi­et regime, that both Lenin and Stal­in were Jew­ish.
  • MAUP’s June 2005 anti-Zion­ist con­fer­ence was attend­ed by anti-Semi­tes from all over the region, as well as Duke, French Holo­caust denier Serge Thion and Israel Shamir, a Russ­ian Jew who con­vert­ed to Chris­tian­i­ty and is noto­ri­ous for pub­lish­ing anti-Semit­ic essays on the inter­net. The Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Ukraine, Walid Zakut, was also report­ed to have attend­ed.
  • MAUP’s anti-Semit­ic activ­i­ties can be traced back to at least 2002. MAUP’s lead­ing fig­ures have been at the root of attempts to bar Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions in Ukraine and, more recent­ly, a call to ban “The Tanya”, a clas­sic work of Has­sidic Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture, on the grounds that it pro­motes racism against non-Jews.

10. Mark Ames has a new update on the ever evolv­ing nature of Pierre Omidyar’s new media empire: First is now invest­ing in a new inter­na­tional “fact check­ing” ser­vice with the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy, which is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with U.S. intel­li­gence and fre­quent­ly func­tions as a front for covert oper­a­tions. He also invest­ed in a Ukrain­ian news ser­vice set up on the eve of the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion. And it looks like there could be many more invest­ments in media orga­ni­za­tions yet to come because it now looks like the whole mod­el for First Look Media has changed: instead of set­ting up a con­stel­la­tion of sep­a­rate inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­is­tic out­lets, First Look is just going to start invest­ing in exist­ing media enter­prises.

“What Pierre Did Next” by Mark Ames; Pan­do Dai­ly; 7/31/2015.

The Guardian report­ed on Tues­day that the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy has just been banned from Rus­sia, under strict new laws reg­u­lat­ing NGOs act­ing as for­eign agents.

In that sto­ry, the Guardian cit­ed the fact that Inter­cept pub­lisher Pierre Omid­yar co-fund­ed Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion groups with USAID and the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy (NED).

If the Omid­yar con­nec­tion sounds famil­iar, that’s because it was Pan­do that first broke the sto­ry in Feb­ru­ary 2014 (the Guardian linked to our orig­i­nal scoop in its cov­er­age.)

In the 18 months since we broke the sto­ry, Ukraine has col­lapsed into war and despair, with up to 10,000 peo­ple killed and one and a half mil­lion inter­nal­ly-dis­placed refugees — and top US brass talk open­ly of a new Cold War with nuclear-armed Rus­sia, while US mil­i­tary advi­sors train and arm Ukraini­ans to wage war on Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists.

Svit­lana Zal­ishchuk, one of the lead­ers of the Omid­yar-fund­ed NGO that helped orga­nize last year’s rev­o­lu­tion in Kiev, is now in pow­er as an MP in Ukraine’s par­lia­ment, a mem­ber of the new, pro-NATO president’s par­ty bloc. She’s gone from plucky Omid­yar-fund­ed adver­sar­ial activist, to head­ing a par­lia­men­tary sub­com­mit­tee tasked with inte­grat­ing Ukraine into NATO.

I can’t think of anoth­er media tycoon who co-fund­ed a pro-US regime change with Amer­i­can intel­li­gence cutouts like USAID and the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy. That Putin tar­geted the NED does not mean it’s either hero­ic or evil—the NED’s sto­ry speaks for itself: The brain­child of Reagan’s CIA direc­tor Bill Casey, the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy was set up as an intel­li­gence cutout to sup­port US geopo­lit­i­cal pow­er and under­mine unfriend­ly regimes. One of the NED co-founders, Allen Wein­stein, explained its pur­pose to the Wash­ing­ton Post:

“A lot of what we do today was done covert­ly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

Through­out its 30-year his­tory it’s been mired in very typ­i­cal CIA con­tro­ver­sies: In the 80s, the NED was caught fund­ing an out­lawed extreme-right French para­mil­i­tary gang dur­ing Social­ist pres­i­dent Mitterand’s rule; fund­ing a mil­i­tary leader’s vic­to­ri­ous elec­tion in Pana­ma against a more mod­er­ate civil­ian can­di­date; and financ­ing rightwing oppo­nents of Cos­ta Rica’s demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly-elect­ed Nobel Peace Prize-win­ning pres­i­dent, whose sin was oppos­ing Reagan’s dead­ly, dirty war in Nicaragua.

More recent­ly, the NED was caught fund­ing groups that orga­nized the 2002 coup against Venezuela’s demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly-elect­ed pres­i­dent Hugo Chavez; plant­ing a “free-lance jour­nal­ist” in the AP and New York Times to report on Haiti while the NED was simul­ta­ne­ously fund­ing rightwing groups to under­mine Haiti’s rul­ing par­ty; and co-fund­ing Ukraine regime-change groups with Pierre Omid­yar.

This week, Omid­yar Net­work announced yet anoth­er part­ner­ship with the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy and the Poyn­ter Insti­tute to cre­ate an inter­na­tional online fact-check­ing hub. Giv­en the pow­er that a monop­oly on “objec­tive” fact-check­ing offers, the tie-up with the NED takes the Omid­yar alliance with the US empire and media to new­er, creepi­er lev­els. In yet anoth­er Omid­yar-as-pri­vate-arm invest­ment, Omid­yar invest­ed in the slick new Ukrain­ian media, Hromadske.tv, which was set up on the eve of the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion with ini­tial seed fund­ing com­ing from the US Embassy in Kiev. Omidyar’s involve­ment in Ukraine media and “fact-check­ing” is all the more seri­ous giv­en that now Wash­ing­ton and NATO talk about “coun­ter­ing” Russia’s over­hyped “infor­ma­tion war” on the West and on Ukraine—this “infor­ma­tion war” which I cov­ered a bit in my piece on Peter Pomer­ant­sev, is con­sid­ered a top and urgent geostrate­gic pri­or­ity for NATO and the West.
...

And now in the last week, the lat­est twist to the far­ci­cal “jour­nal­ism par­adise” shit­show: Omid­yar is report­edly in talkswith the king of online tabloid-sleaze, Nick Den­ton, to invest in the latter’s per­ma-sued orga­ni­za­tion. As Pando’s Paul Carr wrote ear­lier this week, the ground seems to be being pre­pared for a full-on merg­er of the Inter­cept and Gawk­er, backed by Omidyar’s cash.

As of yes­ter­day, Nick Den­ton appoint­edJohn Cook — for­merly edi­tor of the Inter­cept — to be the “tem­po­rary” exec­u­tive edi­tor of Gawk­er. When Cook depart­ed the Inter­cept, he wrote that “Work­ing with my Inter­cept col­leagues has been one of the most ful­fill­ing things I’ve done in my career, and my deci­sion to leave was a painful one to make.”

At the same time, IBT report­ed that Chief Rev­enue Offi­cer, Michael Rosen, had resignedfrom First Look Media. Rosen’s depar­ture comes just a week after John Tem­ple, First Look’s “Pres­i­dent, Audi­ence and Prod­ucts,” stepped downfrom his job say­ing “There clear­ly is much excite­ment ahead for First Look, but I feel my con­tri­bu­tion is large­ly com­plete.”

Per­haps it’s a coin­ci­dence that both the guy who is in charge of build­ing an audi­ence for the Inter­cept and the guy tasked with mak­ing it prof­itable have left. Or per­haps not: IBT quotes a source explain­ing that “First Look would soon be mov­ing away from try­ing to cre­ate a con­stel­la­tion of mag­a­zines and begin to focus on empow­er­ing ‘con­tent cre­ators.’ That is, Omid­yar will be invest­ing cash in sites like Gawk­er, along­side his invest­ments in fact-check­ing sites and Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion­ary groups.

How will the Intercept’s audi­ence, which accept­ed Greenwald’s deci­sion to pri­va­tize the Snow­den secrets to Omid­yar, react if Omid­yar then sells jour­nal­ism par­adise to jour­nal­ism sleaze and the Snow­den secrets — our secrets, the public’s secrets — wind up as cap­i­tal assets in First Gawk­er Media?

Snow­den revealed that NSA spooks were spy­ing on their lovers online habits — how will that be mon­e­tized in First Gawk­er Media? Where will Denton’s 20% sleaze dis­count be applied?

11. Exem­pli­fy­ing the type of activ­i­ty in which the NED spe­cial­izes, we review infor­ma­tion about that orga­ni­za­tion’s suc­cess­ful pro­jec­tion of Lithuan­ian Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments into that for­mer Sovi­et Repub­lic. In FTR #848, we exam­ined how the seeds sown by NED took root and flow­ered.

“NED Med­dles in Lithua­nia: Nur­tur­ing Baltic Reac­tion” by Philip Bonosky; Covert Action Quar­ter­ly; Num­ber 25 (Fall 1990).

In April of 1990, the Sovi­et Repub­lic of Lithua­nia star­tled the world by declar­ing itself inde­pen­dent of the U.S.S.R. The U.S. has not yet rec­og­nized Lithua­nia as inde­pen­dent, and Bush’s pub­lic remarks have been mod­er­ate. But beneath this facade of calm state­craft there runs a famil­iar cur­rent of silent U.S. involve­ment in the polit­i­cal affairs of anoth­er coun­try.

The most vis­i­ble inter­ven­tion has been via the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy (NED), which has sup­plied funds, equip­ment, and advice to the prin­ci­pal nation­al­ist oppo­si­tion par­ty Sajud­is. NED has cho­sen to fun­nel its Lithuan­ian aid through one orga­ni­za­tion: the New York-based Lithuan­ian Catholic Reli­gious Aid (LCRA) and its pro­pa­gan­da arm, Lithuan­ian Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter (LIC).

These two orga­ni­za­tions are run by arch-con­ser­v­a­tive Catholic cler­gy. The founder, cur­rent board chair, and the man who has “presided over the steady growth and increas­ing effec­tive­ness of LCRA, Bish­op Vin­cen­tas Briz­gys, was alleged­ly a Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor dur­ing World War II. [Raul Hilberg’s The Destruc­tion of the Euro­pean Jews (New York: 1961), and Charles R. Allen’s Nazi War Crim­i­nals Among Us (New York: Jew­ish Cur­rents Reprint, 1963), doc­u­ment Briz­gys’s back­ground. Allen repro­duced Nurem­berg Tri­bunal doc­u­ments relat­ing to the Bish­op.] Briz­gys vehe­ment­ly denies the charge. Sajud­is itself is linked in a vari­ety of ways to the sym­bols and sen­ti­ments of the fas­cist and Nazi peri­ods of Baltic his­to­ry.

The Coun­try in Ques­tion

Lithua­nia lies on the east­ern shore of the Baltic Sea, bor­dered on the south by Poland, on the north by the Lat­vian S.S.R., and on the east by the Byeloruss­ian S.S.R. [Sovi­et Social­ist Republic–a mem­ber of the for­mer U.S.S.R.] It is the west­ern­most extent of the Sovi­et Union, with a pop­u­la­tion (1980) of just over three mil­lion. In the 14th cen­tu­ry invad­ing Ger­mans con­quered the area and imposed the Catholic faith. In the mod­ern era, Lithua­nia has been repeat­ed­ly buf­fet­ed by the shift­ing polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary map of Europe.

Lithua­nia declared inde­pen­dence from Czarist Rus­sia in 1918, but in 1926, the nation­al­ist par­ty took pow­er through a mil­i­tary coup. Declar­ing him­self pres­i­dent Augus­tus Volde­mares and his pre­mier, Antanas Sme­t­ona shaped Lithua­nia into Europe’s sec­ond fas­cist state, based explic­it­ly on the exam­ple of Mus­solin­i’s Italy. Lithua­nia remained a dic­ta­tor­ship until 1939, when Sme­toma fled to the U.S. and a new par­lia­ment vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly to become a con­stituent repub­lic of the U.S.S.R. With the Ger­man inva­sion of the Sovi­et Union 1n 1941, Lithua­ni­a’s nation­al­ists returned briefly to pow­er and assist­ed the Nazis in the swift, sys­tem­at­ic slaugh­ter of more than 130,000 Lithuan­ian Jews, com­mu­nists and oth­er “unde­sir­ables.”

Enter NED

In April 1990, a 34-year-old Amer­i­can, William J.H. Hough III, was very  busy in Lithua­nia. Hough was sent to Lithuania–although he does­n’t speak Lithuanian–as legal advis­er to Vytau­tas Lands­ber­gis, the leader of the nation­al­ist par­ty. He was rec­om­mend­ed by LCRA/LIC, which the U.S. press has cit­ed as very enthu­si­as­tic about his work.

Coop­er­at­ing close­ly with Hough, LCRA/LIC has sup­plied Sajud­is with paper, pho­to­copy machines, com­put­ers, laser print­ers, FAX machines, and video cam­eras. With addi­tion­al polit­i­cal and tech­ni­cal exper­tise, Vil­nius quick­ly became a com­mu­ni­ca­tions hub for seces­sion­ist forces in Lithua­nia and oth­er Sovi­et republics.

Professionally,Hough is a lawyer. He was also an edi­tor of The New York Law School Jour­nal of Inter­na­tion­al and Com­par­a­tive Law, which pub­lished in its Win­ter 1985 issue his book-length arti­cle titled, “The Annex­a­tion of the Baltic States and its Effect on the Devel­op­ment of Law Pro­hibit­ing Forcible Seizure of Ter­ri­to­ry.” Hough describes the inter­war peri­od of Lithuan­ian his­to­ry [its fas­cist period–D.E.] as one of “polit­i­cal and con­sti­tu­tion­al sta­bil­i­ty” and “progress toward the restora­tion of full democ­ra­cy.” He fails to men­tion the col­lab­o­ra­tion of nation­al­ists and Nazis. In his pub­lic jus­ti­fi­ca­tions of seces­sion, Lands­ber­gis has fre­quent­ly referred to Hough’s inter­pre­ta­tion of Lithuan­ian his­to­ry.

Hough’s his­to­ry of Lithua­nia must be reas­sur­ing to NED’s ide­o­logues and their Lithuan­ian clients, some of whom share a past they might rea­son­ably pre­fer to for­get.

Chan­nel­ing Endow­ment Dol­lars

Dur­ing the past two years, NED has grant­ed $70,000 to LCRA/LIC. They are not obvi­ous­ly demo­c­ra­t­ic orga­ni­za­tions. Found­ed in 1961 to “pro­vide the Church under the Sovi­et oppres­sion with spir­i­tu­al and mate­r­i­al assis­tance . . . .,” LCA’s par­ent orga­ni­za­tion was the Lithuan­ian Roman Catholic Priests’ League. The qui­et obscu­ri­ty of this group belies the wel­come they receive in the halls of pow­er. LCRA exec­u­tive direc­tor Father Casimir Pugevi­cius served on an advi­so­ry com­mit­tee to Sen­a­tor Charles Per­cy (Rep.–Ill.), then a mem­ber of the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee. He was also wel­comed in the Rea­gan White House in 1986.

Accord­ing to LCRA/LIC, its 1990 grant appli­ca­tion to NED request­ed $618,300 and out­lined its ambi­tious pro­pos­al as fol­lows:

. . . . five sep­a­rate pro-demo­c­ra­t­ic orga­ni­za­tions would receive tech­ni­cal and mate­r­i­al aid. The first, a coali­tion of demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ties enjoy­ing broad sup­port in Lithua­nia and capa­ble of assum­ing lead­ing roles in the new leg­is­la­ture would receive com­put­er and audio-visu­al equip­ment . . . . Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and video equip­ment will also be trans­port­ed to the Sajud­is Infor­ma­tion Agency . . . . [Accord­ing to NED, funds went only to  Sajud­is.]

The sec­ond part of the project would ensure a con­tin­u­ous sup­ply of much need­ed paper for inde­pen­dent pub­lish­ers and orga­ni­za­tions. The dra­mat­ic increase in the num­ber of demo­c­ra­t­ic groups in Lithua­nia in the past year has caused severe short­ages in the very lim­it­ed pool of resources. . . . Because of the greater degree of lib­er­al­iza­tion in Lithua­nia, this repub­lic has emerged as the pub­lish­ing cen­ter for the inde­pen­dent groups through­out the Sovi­et Union. . . .

With­in weeks of the arrival of these goods, tra­di­tion­al sources of infor­ma­tion in Lithua­nia were sup­pressed or tak­en over by Sajud­is. Nation­al­ist sym­pa­thiz­ers cut off broad­cast pro­gram­ming  from Moscow, and Lithua­nia was soon flood­ed with seces­sion­ist pro­pa­gan­da. In the ensu­ing elec­tion, Sajud­is man­aged to dom­i­nate the scene by rid­ing the crest of a wave of nation­al­ist sen­ti­ment. It won a major­i­ty in the Seim (par­lia­ment). In March, a hasti­ly con­vened ses­sion of par­lia­ment vot­ed for seces­sion (91–38) in a mat­ter of hours. Laws were passed curb­ing oppo­si­tion news­pa­pers and chang­ing the flag and nation­al anthem, revert­ing to ver­sions in use dur­ing the nation­al­ist peri­od. As to whether, or what, of real sub­stance should change, Sajud­is remained silent.

Echoes From the Past

To Lithua­ni­ans old enough to remem­ber the Sec­ond World War, the ener­getic activ­i­ties of Sajud­is, LCRA, and LIC must seem vague­ly famil­iar. Lands­ber­gis’s father was a mem­ber of the Savan­do­ri­ai (nation­al­ist mili­tia), who fought the Rus­sians (1918–1919), helped enforce the suc­ces­sive dic­ta­tor­ships of Volde­mares and Sme­t­ona, and col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Ger­man occu­pa­tion.

A reporter for Der Spiegel wrote in April 1990 that: “Every­body fears Sajud­is. Any­one who attacks Sajud­is is declared an an ene­my of the peo­ple by Lands­ber­gis, and that hap­pens very quick­ly.”  In addi­tion the Savan­do­ri­ai (ille­gal under Sovi­et law) have been revived under the lead­er­ship of retired army offi­cers.

Pri­or to the Ger­man inva­sion in June 1941, a Berlin-based “Lithuan­ian Infor­ma­tion Bureau,” the pro­pa­gan­da arm of the Lithuan­ian Activist Front, a nation­al­ist exile orga­ni­za­tion, sent the fol­low­ing mes­sage into Lithua­nia:

. . . . lib­er­a­tion is close at hand. . . . upris­ings must be start­ed in the cities, towns and vil­lages of Lithua­nia. . . . com­mu­nists and oth­er trai­tors. . . . must be arrest­ed at once. . . . (The trai­tor will be par­doned only pro­vid­ed beyond doubt that he has killed one Jew at least.)

In the book Blow­back, Christo­pher Simp­son crisply sum­ma­rizes part of the “lib­er­a­tion” that fol­lowed:

. . . . munic­i­pal killing squads employ­ing Lithuan­ian Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors elim­i­nat­ed 46,692 Jews in few­er than three months, accord­ing to their own reports, main­ly by com­bin­ing clock-like liq­ui­da­tions of 500 Jews per day in the cap­i­tal city of Vil­nius with mobile “clean-up” sweeps through the sur­round­ing coun­try­side.

Such squads were con­sis­tent­ly used by the Nazis for the dirty work that even the SS believed  to be beneath the dig­ni­ty of the Ger­man sol­dier. . . . .

On August 4, 1941, the Lithuan­ian Activist Front, installed a pro­vi­sion­al gov­ern­ment, tak­ing care to coop­er­ate ful­ly with the Nazis. The invaders let pres­i­dent Juozas Ambraze­vi­cius’s gov­ern­ment stand for three months, dur­ing which time the worst of the killings occurred. After the war, Ambraze­vi­cius fled to the U.S., where he changed his name to Brazaitis.

The crimes which prompt­ed the post-war flight of many Lithuan­ian nation­al­ists were stark­ly doc­u­ment­ed in the “Jaeger Report,” an offi­cial count by the SS offi­cer who super­vised the mas­sacres:

Ein­satzkom­man­do 3 Kovno, Decem­ber 1, 1941

Secret State Doc­u­ment

Sum­ma­ry of all exe­cu­tions car­ried out in the sphere of action of Ein­satzkom­man­do 3 up to Decem­ber 1, 1941.

Ein­satzko­man­do 3 took over its duties as secu­ri­ty police in Lithua­nia on the 2nd of July 1941. . . . In com­pli­ance with my direc­tives and on my order the Lithuan­ian par­ti­sans have car­ried out the fol­low­ing exe­cu­tions. . . .

What fol­lowed was a chrono­log­i­cal account­ing of the activ­i­ties of the killing squads. Vic­tims were neat­ly cat­e­go­rized: Jew­ish men, Jew­ish women, Jew­ish chil­dren, Poles, Lithuan­ian com­mu­nists, Russ­ian com­mu­nists, Intel­lec­tu­al Jews, Lunatics, Gyp­sies, Polit­i­cal Instruc­tors, Arme­ni­ans. . . .

After the first 3,000 deaths, Jaeger appar­ent­ly decid­ed that the Lithuan­ian nation­al­ists alone were equal to the task;

. . . . After orga­niz­ing a mobile unit under SS-Ober­s­tum­fuhrer Hamann and 8 to 10 tried men of EK 3 the fol­low­ing actions were car­ried out in coop­er­a­tion with the Lithuan­ian par­ti­sans. . . .

. . . . Before the EK 3 assumed secu­ri­ty duties, the par­ti­sans them­selves killed [4,000 ] Jews through pogroms and exe­cu­tions. . . .

. . . . I can state today that the goal of solv­ing the Jew­ish prob­lem in Lithua­nia has been reached by EK 3. There are no Jews in Lithua­nia any­more except the work Jews and their fam­i­lies. . . .The goal to clear Lithua­nia of Jews could be achieved only thanks to . . . men . . . . who adopt­ed my goal with­out any reser­va­tions and man­aged to secure the coop­er­a­tion of the Lithuan­ian par­ti­sans and and the respec­tive civ­il offices. . . .

The final tal­ly of those killed was 137, 346. As the report clear­ly indi­cates, the Nazis were assist­ed by both the para­mil­i­tary bands asso­ci­at­ed with the nation­al­ists, and by those in posi­tions of authority–including mem­bers of the Catholic cler­gy.

A Nazi Col­lab­o­ra­tor Pros­pers in Chica­go

As aux­il­iary Bish­op of Kau­nas, (Kovno) dur­ing the Ger­man occu­pa­tion, Bish­op Vin­cen­tas Briz­gys, founder of LCRA/LIC, lent his spir­i­tu­al author­i­ty to fas­cism. When the Nazis retreat­ed, so did he, first to Ger­many, then to Chica­go where he has lived, worked, and car­ried the nation­al­ist ban­ner for 25 years.

The cler­gy hat­ed social­ism or very clear rea­sons. The social­ist gov­ern­ment which came to pow­er in 1939 had sep­a­rat­ed church and state. Church prop­er­ty was con­fis­cat­ed, includ­ing large farms where peas­ants labored under semi-feu­dal con­di­tions elim­i­nat­ed else­where in Europe cen­turies before. Cler­gy were removed from gov­ern­ment and the edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem, two insti­tu­tions where they had long wield­ed pow­er­ful influ­ence.

Arch­bish­op Skvireckas, Briz­gys’s supe­ri­or, doc­u­ment­ed the bish­op’s col­lab­o­ra­tionist activ­i­ties with evi­dent sat­is­fac­tion. The arch­bish­op’s diary for July 1, 1941, reveals that Briz­gys made con­tact:

. . . . with the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment for the Baltic sta­t­ics. [Dr. Groffe, for­mer­ly head of Gestapo in East Prus­sia who] . . . pro­posed . . . . that he [Briz­gys] should make an appeal to the peo­ple to behave qui­et­ly and pur­sue their dai­ly busi­ness with con­fi­dence, with­out any fear that they might be harmed. . . .

On June 30, 1941, the arch­bish­op had writ­ten: “The ideas in Mein Kampf on the ques­tion of the Bol­she­vik-Jew­ish con­ta­gion are splen­did . . . . they prove that Hitler is not only an ene­my of the Jews, but gen­er­al­ly speak­ing has the right ideas.”

An appeal to wel­come the Nazis was broad­cast by radio, ten pub­lished in a major Kau­nas news­pa­per, signed by Skviteckas, Briz­gys and Vic­ar Gen­er­al Saulys. Their sig­na­tures were also on a for­mal telegram of thanks to Hitler for “Lithua­ni­a’s Lib­er­a­tion,” sent in the mid­dle of July 1941.

As the Nazis and their col­lab­o­ra­tors imple­ment­ed the dia­bol­i­cal log­ic of Mein Kampf, Briz­gys “set an exam­ple for the entire pop­u­la­tion by for­bid­ding the cler­gy to aid the Jews in any way.” He also urged from his pul­pit, and via radio and news­pa­per, that Lithua­ni­ans coop­er­ate with the Nazis.

When the Sovi­et army, led by its 16th Lithuan­ian divi­sion, drove the Nazis out in 1944, Briz­gys fled to safe­ty in Ger­many, then to the U.S. Send to the arch­dio­cese of Chica­go, he helped launch Lithuan­ian Catholic Reli­gious Aid in 1961, and served as LCRA pres­i­dent until 1986. He is now chair of the board of direc­tors.

Oth­er Friends of Lithuan­ian Democ­ra­cy

  • Direc­tor of Spe­cial Projects for LCRA/LIC is Rasa Raz­gaitis, step­daugh­ter of accused war crim­i­nal Jur­gis Juodis. Because of his involve­ment as a nation­al­ist mil­i­tary offi­cer in the mas­sacres of 1941, Juodis became the sub­ject of a Jus­tice Depart­ment Office of Spe­cial Inves­ti­ga­tions (OSIS) inquiry in 1981. In addi­tion to her work with LCA, Raz­gaitis is head of “Amer­i­cans for Due Process,” an orga­ni­za­tion “formed sole­ly to chal­lenge the activ­i­ties of the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s war crimes unit.” She is also a friend of Patrick Buchanan, through whom she gained access to the Rea­gan White House when Buchanan was Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor.
  • AFL-CIO pres­i­dent Lane Kirk­land is a long time mem­ber of the cold war­rior clique Com­mit­tee on the Present Dan­ger, and sup­ports CIA manip­u­la­tion of labor move­ments around the globe. Kirk­land has wel­comed Lands­ber­gis as a friend dur­ing his U.S. vis­its. Kirk­land’s name was on an open let­ter to Pres­i­dent Bush pub­lished in the April 22, 1990 New York Times call­ing for imme­di­ate recog­ni­tion of Lithuan­ian inde­pen­dence. Kirk­land is on the NED board.
  • Richard Ebel­ing, vice pres­i­dent of the Future Free­dom Foun­da­tion (FFF) of Den­ver, has been invit­ed by Sajud­is to lec­ture “in Lithua­nia, on the prin­ci­ples of free­dom.” In addi­tion, six Sajud­is econ­o­mists have met with lead­ers of FFF to dis­cuss “free mar­ket pro­pos­als . . . .  made as rad­i­cal as pos­si­ble.” Among oth­ers dis­cussed were the now-famil­iar calls for rapid dena­tion­al­iza­tion of all indus­tries and state pros­per­i­ty; decon­trol of all prices and wages, both in the con­sumer and pro­duc­tion mar­kets; and pri­va­ti­za­tion of social ser­vices includ­ing med­ical retire­ment pen­sions. . . . . .

 

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #857 Update on Ukraine, the Earth Island Boogie and “Team Snowden””

  1. And Ukraine’s War on His­to­ry con­tin­ues:

    AFP
    Ukraine bans dozens of ‘fas­cist’ Russ­ian books

    By Dmit­ry Zaks
    August 12, 2015 3:47 PM

    Kiev (AFP) — Kiev’s pub­lic rela­tions war with Moscow scaled new heights on Wednes­day as Ukraine released a list of promi­nent Russ­ian reporters and authors whose books will be banned from sale.

    Ukraine’s tax and cus­toms ser­vice said 38 works by such Russ­ian media celebri­ties as Sergei Dorenko and crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed author Eduard Limonov were tar­get­ed under the ban.

    The orig­i­nal request to seize the works was made in July by the state media com­mit­tee — a con­tro­ver­sial organ­i­sa­tion that had ear­li­er for­bid­den the broad­cast of Russ­ian movies and TV series that alleged­ly dis­par­aged Ukrain­ian his­to­ry.

    The tele­vi­sion and radio watch­dog accused the list­ed Russ­ian authors of “pro­mot­ing fas­cism” and “humil­i­at­ing and insu­lat­ing a nation and its peo­ple”.

    They were also accused of “pro­mot­ing war, racial and reli­gious strife... and threat­en­ing the ter­ri­to­r­i­al integri­ty of Ukraine”.

    Most of the peo­ple list­ed have appeared on Russ­ian tele­vi­sion through­out the course of Ukraine’s sep­a­ratist con­flict to defend Moscow’s annex­a­tion of Crimea in March 2014.

    Some of them have also brand­ed as “neo-Nazis” the pro-West­ern lead­ers who emerged in the wake of the Feb­ru­ary 2014 ouster in Kiev of a Moscow-backed pres­i­dent.

    The sub­se­quent pro-Krem­lin upris­ing that broke out in Ukraine’s Russ­ian-speak­ing east has claimed the lives of more than 6,800 peo­ple and sunk Moscow’s rela­tions with the West to a post-Cold War low.

    But it has also cre­at­ed furi­ous bat­tles in Ukraine and Rus­sia for the hearts and minds of both local and glob­al audi­ences.

    The pro­pa­gan­da cam­paigns have been accom­pa­nied by state-spon­sored cen­sor­ship and crack­downs on inde­pen­dent artists in both coun­tries.

    Ukraine has for­bid­den sev­er­al Russ­ian singers from per­form­ing in Kiev-con­trolled towns and cities.

    Per­for­mances by pop­u­lar Ukrain­ian rock groups have also been can­celled in some Russ­ian venues with­out a for­mal expla­na­tion.

    ...

    Some Ukrain­ian offi­cials called their black­list a token ges­ture that would prob­a­bly have lit­tle to no real affect.

    “It is hard to say how enforce­able these mea­sures can be in the Inter­net age,” Deputy Infor­ma­tion Pol­i­cy Min­is­ter Tetyana Popo­va told AFP.

    “This is more of a demon­stra­tive step,” she said.

    ...

    Yes, if all goes accord­ing to plan (where the plan seems to involve peo­ple not just using the inter­net to access the banned con­tent), all of those bad mem­o­ries of Ukraine’s past will fade into his­to­ry, and a new mem­o­ry can take hold. A new mem­o­ry craft­ed by the for­mer head of the secret-police archives who now heads the new Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry:

    The Nation
    How Ukraine’s New Mem­o­ry Com­mis­sar Is Con­trol­ling the Nation’s Past
    Volodymyr Via­tro­vych was the dri­ving force behind new laws that restrict free speech and reg­u­late how his­to­ry is writ­ten.
    By
    Jared McBride
    8/13/2015 10:00 am

    Since the Maid­an upris­ing and the sub­se­quent attacks on Ukraine’s sov­er­eign­ty and ter­ri­to­ry by Rus­sia and Russ­ian-backed rebels, there has been intense debate on how to inter­pret not only Ukraine’s dra­mat­ic present, but also its com­plex and dif­fi­cult past. Against the back­ground of mil­i­tary and diplo­mat­ic strug­gles, the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Ukraine’s his­to­ry is also embat­tled, espe­cial­ly the peri­od of World War II. Russ­ian elites have labeled any­thing and every­thing they do not like about past and present Ukraine as “fas­cist.” Part­ly this is a reflex due to the mem­o­ry of right-wing Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism dur­ing the first half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry; part­ly this is the result of a fail­ure to find any bet­ter way to express anger at Ukraine’s turn to the West. There has been no short­age of West­ern com­men­ta­tors attack­ing this crude pro­pa­gan­da.

    How­ev­er, among rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Kiev’s new post-rev­o­lu­tion­ary elites, unbi­ased engage­ment with Ukraine’s past has also been a chal­lenge. But while the West is pil­lo­ry­ing Russ­ian dis­tor­tions, it is much less at ease crit­i­ciz­ing Ukrain­ian ones: Few West­ern observers feel sym­pa­thy for Putin’s involve­ment in Ukraine (I myself have none). There are many, how­ev­er, who seem to wel­come any his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive ruf­fling Russia’s feath­ers or appear­ing “pro-Ukrain­ian” or “nation­al” (in real­i­ty, quite often nation­al­ist), as the nation is fac­ing out­side aggres­sion and domes­tic cri­sis. Yet this form of “sup­port” is a disservice—to Ukraine and also to the West’s pub­lic and deci­sion-mak­ers. It is alarm­ing that some West­ern jour­nal­ists, schol­ars, and pol­i­cy-mak­ers are embrac­ing a nation­al­ist ver­sion of Ukrain­ian his­to­ry that res­onates only with part of Ukrain­ian soci­ety and not at all with seri­ous aca­d­e­m­ic dis­course in Europe and North Amer­i­ca.

    Front and cen­ter in the efforts to pro­duce a nation­al­ist ver­sion of Ukrain­ian his­to­ry is the for­mer direc­tor of the country’s secret-police archives (SBU) and new direc­tor of the Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry (or UINP) under the cur­rent gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko: Volodymyr Via­tro­vych. Via­tro­vych (born 1977), from the west­ern Ukrain­ian city of Lviv, first stepped onto the nation­al scene when he was put in charge of the archive sec­tion of the new­ly cre­at­ed Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry in 2008 and then head of the SBU archives lat­er that year. In these influ­en­tial posi­tions, he helped in the effort to “exon­er­ate” a key World War II Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist leader of any com­plic­i­ty in the Holo­caust; pre­sent­ed the nation­al­ist Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army as a demo­c­ra­t­ic orga­ni­za­tion open to Jew­ish mem­bers; and focused heav­i­ly on Ukrain­ian vic­tim­iza­tion dur­ing the famine of the 1930s (while, inter­est­ing­ly, also blam­ing Jews as per­pe­tra­tors).

    Via­tro­vych has made a name for him­self as a polit­i­cal activist by instru­men­tal­iz­ing his schol­ar­ly cre­den­tials. Both before and after his secret-ser­vice archive tenure, he was the head of the Cen­ter for the Study of the Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment (or Tsen­tr Doslidzhen’ Vyzvol’noho Rukhu, TsD­VR) in Lviv. The research cen­ter is fund­ed by pri­vate mon­ey from Ukrain­ian groups abroad that have helped shape its research agen­da. The unam­bigu­ous goal of the cen­ter is to paint the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists, in par­tic­u­lar the OUN and UPA (two of the most impor­tant Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions from the inter­war and World War II peri­od), as “lib­er­a­tors” from Sovi­et, Pol­ish, and Ger­man oppres­sion. Rad­i­cal right-wing Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists are depict­ed as noth­ing but trag­ic free­dom fight­ers, occa­sion­al­ly forced to don Nazi uni­forms to strug­gle for inde­pen­dence, lib­er­ty, and West­ern val­ues. This is the par­ty line at the cen­ter, one large­ly shaped by Via­tro­vych.

    Viatrovych’s own “schol­ar­ly” out­put echoes the goals of his cen­ter. In a num­ber of pub­li­ca­tions he has cov­ered a laun­dry list of flash­points in 20th-cen­tu­ry Ukrain­ian his­to­ry, from the vicious anti-Jew­ish pogroms of World War I through Ukrain­ian-Pol­ish vio­lence dur­ing and after World War II. What uni­fies his approach is a relent­less dri­ve to excul­pate Ukraini­ans of any wrong­do­ing, no mat­ter the facts. For exam­ple, con­cern­ing Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist involve­ment in the Holo­caust, in Viatrovych’s world, col­lab­o­ra­tion nev­er hap­pened or was coerced and, at any rate, can’t be blamed on nation­al­ism; all evi­dence to the con­trary is blithe­ly assigned to Sovi­et lies. On the nation­al­ist eth­nic cleans­ing of Poles in 1943–44, Via­tro­vych lets us know that that was a sort of trag­ic but sym­met­ri­cal war­fare. And as we all know, war is cru­el and bad things hap­pen. When con­front­ed with the fact that the head of UPA, Roman Shukhevych, served the Nazis until 1943 as com­man­der of a mobile police bat­tal­ion that mur­dered thou­sands of civil­ians in Belarus, Via­tro­vych respond­ed: “Is it pos­si­ble to con­sid­er Poles or Belaru­sians a peace­ful pop­u­la­tion, if, dur­ing the day, they work as ordi­nary vil­lagers, only to arm them­selves in the evening and attack the vil­lage?” In oth­er words, civil­ians are fair tar­gets, espe­cial­ly for “heroes” of Ukraine in the ser­vice of Nazis.

    In the aca­d­e­m­ic world, such tac­tics have their lim­its. But when con­front­ed with sol­id archival evi­dence con­trary to his sto­ries, such as orders from OUN-UPA lead­er­ship to cleanse the Pol­ish pop­u­la­tion of Vol­hy­nia, Via­tro­vych sim­ply claims that doc­u­ments are Sovi­et forg­eries or that schol­ars chal­leng­ing him are serv­ing sin­is­ter pro­pa­gan­da pur­pos­es. Selec­tiv­i­ty rules: If there is no smok­ing-gun doc­u­ment for nation­al­ist crimes, it’s excul­pa­to­ry; when there is no smok­ing-gun doc­u­ment for pre­med­i­tat­ed Sovi­et geno­cide against Ukraini­ans, it’s a result of KGB cun­ning. Via­tro­vych deals with video tes­ti­mo­ni­al archives and the inte­gra­tion of wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny into his­to­ry with brava­do, sim­ply ignor­ing them (and espe­cial­ly Jew­ish voic­es) alto­geth­er when he dis­likes what they have to tell us. This abysmal eth­i­cal and method­olog­i­cal approach has been chal­lenged by schol­ars from Poland, Scan­di­navia, Ger­many, Cana­da, and the Unit­ed States, in addi­tion to a few brave Ukrain­ian ones. These schol­ars have writ­ten exco­ri­at­ing reviews of his works. Unlike his writ­ings, these reviews were pub­lished in peer-reviewed jour­nals.

    There are no career reper­cus­sions for poor schol­ar­ship when you are a polit­i­cal activist. Thanks to his cre­den­tials as “for­mer SBU archive direc­tor,” direc­tor of a promi­nent “research” insti­tute, and a brief stint as a research fel­low at the Har­vard Ukrain­ian Research Insti­tute (HURI), which show up in every bio-blurb pos­si­ble, Via­tro­vych is cit­ed fre­quent­ly in the Ukrain­ian media. Iron­i­cal­ly, as he has gained more neg­a­tive atten­tion from schol­ars, he has tra­versed a dif­fer­ent arc in Ukraine—increasingly trust­ed as a voice of wis­dom, a young, fresh force promis­ing to defend and pro­mote Ukraine’s his­to­ry, here under­stood as the glo­ri­ous record of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism. It was no sur­prise when in late 2014 Pres­i­dent Poroshenko chose him as head of the Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry, a gov­ern­ment body orig­i­nal­ly cre­at­ed by then Pres­i­dent Yushchenko to sup­port research and forge a nation­al mem­o­ry pol­i­cy.

    Via­tro­vych wast­ed lit­tle time after this appoint­ment. He became the dri­ving force behind the so-called de-com­mu­niza­tion laws that were put on the books this spring. In real­i­ty, these laws reg­u­late how his­to­ry should be writ­ten and place restric­tions on free speech, and thus are deeply at odds with Kiev’s claims to West­ern val­ues. Law No. 2538–1, “On the legal sta­tus and hon­or­ing of fight­ers for Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence in the 20th cen­tu­ry,” states that “the pub­lic denial of…the just cause of the fight­ers for Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence in the 20th cen­tu­ry insults the dig­ni­ty of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple and is ille­gal.” The fight­ers for Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence explic­it­ly include the World War II nation­al­ists of the OUN and UPA. In essence, this law makes it at least very risky to crit­i­cize them or point out the crimes in which they par­tic­i­pat­ed. As with sim­i­lar Putin­ist leg­is­la­tion in Russia—namely Arti­cle 354.1, which crim­i­nal­izes any devi­a­tions from the Kremlin’s ver­sion of World War II and was passed by the Russ­ian Duma in 2014—the very vague­ness of phras­ing is a handy weapon of poten­tial repres­sion: it is a dis­turb­ing mys­tery how the state or oth­er accusers are going to deter­mine who insult­ed the dig­ni­ty of vio­lent eth­nic cleansers and hap­py author­i­tar­i­ans or how the courts are going to pros­e­cute those guilty of such thought crimes. Law No. 2540, “On access to the archives of repres­sive orga­ni­za­tions of the com­mu­nist total­i­tar­i­an regime from 1917–1991,” puts all secret-police archives under the con­trol of the Nation­al Mem­o­ry Insti­tute in Kiev, head­ed by Via­tro­vych.

    These new laws have been crit­i­cized in a num­ber of jour­nals and mag­a­zines. Why they are deeply flawed should be obvi­ous to any­body com­mit­ted to even ele­men­tary prin­ci­ples of free speech and democ­ra­cy. The reac­tion to the laws was pre­dictable: first, there was a response from the West­ern aca­d­e­m­ic com­mu­ni­ty. Sev­en­ty lead­ing schol­ars, includ­ing some from East­ern Europe, signed an open let­ter protest­ing the laws. Oth­er orga­ni­za­tions, such as the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe, the Kharkiv Human Rights Pro­tec­tion Group, and the Unit­ed States Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al Muse­um warned of their dan­gers. For­eign media out­lets also took notice. Yet, despite the out­cry, except for a few arti­cles by West­ern schol­ars, there has been lit­tle dis­cus­sion of Viatrovych’s per­son­al role in mak­ing the laws or the larg­er back­drop of aggres­sive his­to­ry pol­i­tics, going back to 2005.

    A few of the most promi­nent Ukrain­ian intel­lec­tu­als pro­vid­ed com­men­tary that half-heart­ed­ly con­demned a crack­down on free speech, but they focused on ques­tion­ing the atti­tude of West­ern schol­ars protest­ing against the laws. Oth­er Ukrain­ian com­men­ta­tors have pro­vid­ed rather mut­ed crit­i­cism of the laws, less because of the politi­ciza­tion of his­to­ry and more due to issues of finan­cial and pri­va­cy con­cerns. Only a few Ukrain­ian com­men­ta­tors did con­demn the laws on prin­ci­pled grounds relat­ed to aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom and his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism.

    Sad­ly, the Ukrain­ian-dias­po­ra schol­ar­ly com­mu­ni­ty in North Amer­i­ca has often sup­port­ed these restric­tive laws. Regard­ing Via­tro­vych, they see no prob­lem with hav­ing a par­ti­san polit­i­cal activist in charge of the country’s secret-police archives; rather the for­eign schol­ars and their “insen­si­tive research” agen­das that dis­cuss the dark spots of Ukraine’s his­to­ry are the real prob­lem for Ukraine. In a recent round­table inter­view with two well-known schol­ars and one mem­ber of the Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty, West­ern schol­ars were described as “neo-Sovi­et” and their response as “qua­si-hys­ter­i­cal.” In a mis­placed “post-colo­nial” twist, the “pro­pri­ety or author­i­ty of for­eign­ers to instruct Ukraine’s elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives as to whom they wish to acknowl­edge or memo­ri­al­ize and why” was ques­tioned. The laws were praised as the answer to out­side tam­per­ing in Ukraine’s his­to­ry. On the issue of free speech, there was hedg­ing. In an Orwellian key, Alexan­der Motyl, a polit­i­cal sci­en­tist at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty-Newark, went as far as to com­pare Ukraine’s his­to­ry reg­u­la­tion laws to civ­il rights laws, women’s rights, and laws pro­tect­ing the gay com­mu­ni­ty in the Unit­ed States. This is not the first time Motyl’s analo­gies to US his­to­ry have caused shock in var­i­ous schol­ar­ly com­mu­ni­ties.

    There has been lit­tle con­tro­ver­sy in the West about putting Ukraine’s secret-police archives in Viatrovych’s hands: the respons­es from Ukrain­ian intel­li­gentsia have ranged from joy to mut­ed con­cerns about pri­va­cy issues. Motyl excit­ed­ly called the archives law a “coup for free­dom and justice”—unsurprisingly, giv­en that he is per­haps the only schol­ar to have praised Viatrovych’s recent book. Out­side of per­cep­tive pieces in Ukrain­ian by Vasyl Rasevych, a his­to­ri­an and writer, and Stanislav Ser­hi­ienko, an activist and writer, about the dan­gers of archive tam­per­ing, few com­menters, includ­ing those in the West, seem to wor­ry about the poten­tial manip­u­la­tion of the archives. The dialec­tics of nation­al lib­er­al­ism aside, Motyl’s term “coup” is an appo­site Freudi­an slip. We might ask our­selves why a nation’s most polit­i­cal­ly sen­si­tive doc­u­ment col­lec­tion should be entrust­ed with a polit­i­cal activist inter­est­ed in one and only one ver­sion of the past, rather than putting them under the aus­pices of the cen­tral state archive admin­is­tra­tion. A while ago, when a Com­mu­nist was direc­tor of Ukraine’s archival admin­is­tra­tion, West­ern observers were wor­ried. The fail­ure to wor­ry when a nation­al­ist defend­ing the record of right-wing author­i­tar­i­ans takes over the nation­al mem­o­ry project and the secret-police files is dis­turb­ing.

    If the response from the dias­po­ra-ori­ent­ed schol­ar­ly com­mu­ni­ty to the laws and Viatrovych’s appoint­ment has been scan­dalous, the naïveté with which some West­ern observers have embraced the nation­al­ist nar­ra­tive is even more trou­bling. Fol­low­ing the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion, Via­tro­vych is now cit­ed as a voice of knowl­edge in the Ukrain­ian and West­ern media. The Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor has quot­ed him in an arti­cle about Ukraine’s past, where he explained that to dis­pel “myths” Ukraine should “cre­ate an open, nation­al dia­logue.” With no acknowl­edg­ment (or, prob­a­bly, knowl­edge) of Viatrovych’s back­ground as a myth-mak­er-in-chief him­self, the arti­cle uncrit­i­cal­ly presents him as a voice for the future.

    Even more egre­gious was the arti­cle “Is There a Future for Ukraine?” by Peter Pomer­ant­sev, a jour­nal­ist and pro­duc­er who writes fre­quent­ly on Rus­sia, which appeared in The Atlantic in July 2014. Pomer­ant­sev inter­viewed and pro­filed Via­tro­vych as a car­ri­er of hope for Ukraine’s future. Pomer­ant­sev has man­aged to rec­og­nize in Via­tro­vych “a lib­er­al nation­al­ist,” work­ing to “cre­ate a Ukrain­ian identity”—strange praise for a man claim­ing to be a schol­ar, a pro­fes­sion usu­al­ly engaged in open-end­ed inquiry, not iden­ti­ty build­ing. Pomer­ant­sev tells his read­ers that Via­tro­vych is “best known for his work on refor­mat­ting Ukraine’s rela­tion­ship to the Sec­ond World War,” which is both an under­state­ment and a hor­ri­bly reveal­ing choice of terms. In his most­ly uncrit­i­cal por­tray­al, he writes that Via­tro­vych “believes he can help bridge these divi­sions [in Ukrain­ian soci­ety] and cre­ate a sto­ry that is at once nation­al­ist and inte­gra­tionist.” When asked about a pos­i­tive uni­fy­ing mes­sage, Via­tro­vych mat­ter-of-fact­ly tells him that Rus­sians want “tyran­ny” and Ukraini­ans want “free­dom.” Pomer­ant­sev swal­lows this big­ot­ed state­ment of frank stereo­type about large pop­u­la­tions with no response, since com­pared to the overt­ly racist Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist he inter­viewed in the first part of the same arti­cle, Via­tro­vych comes across as less bru­tal. But per­haps also because “we” in the West now con­sid­er it good form to cut a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist more slack than a Russ­ian.

    ...

    To be sure, the Russ­ian aggres­sion against Ukraine has forced schol­ars and oth­er onlook­ers to take sides. Many West­ern observers, includ­ing this author, sup­port Ukraine’s strug­gle for democ­ra­cy and sov­er­eign­ty. What parts of the West­ern media, acad­e­mia, and pub­lic-pol­i­cy world have failed to grasp is that sup­port­ing par­ti­san polit­i­cal oper­a­tives self-spin­ning as “nation­al lib­er­als” and objec­tive schol­ars will do noth­ing to fur­ther Ukraine’s cause. One would think we had learned a key les­son of the Cold War: that the crude cal­cu­lus of “the ene­my of my ene­my is my friend” is wrong-head­ed. As for aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom, Ukraini­ans should have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to strug­gle with, write about, and argue over their own his­to­ry in all of its glo­ry and all its dark­er sides with­out threats, implic­it or explic­it. Part of this free­dom would include coop­er­a­tion and debate among schol­ars from many nations. Ukraini­ans do not need any more com­mis­sars to tell them what they are allowed to say or think, nei­ther in the name of Com­mu­nism, as in the bad old days, nor of nation­al­ism. Mov­ing for­ward includes leav­ing that pater­nal­is­tic mod­el behind for good.

    And, once again, here’s the back­ground of the guy run­ning Ukraine’s new Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry (so we don’t for­get):

    ...
    Via­tro­vych has made a name for him­self as a polit­i­cal activist by instru­men­tal­iz­ing his schol­ar­ly cre­den­tials. Both before and after his secret-ser­vice archive tenure, he was the head of the Cen­ter for the Study of the Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment (or Tsen­tr Doslidzhen’ Vyzvol’noho Rukhu, TsD­VR) in Lviv. The research cen­ter is fund­ed by pri­vate mon­ey from Ukrain­ian groups abroad that have helped shape its research agen­da. The unam­bigu­ous goal of the cen­ter is to paint the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists, in par­tic­u­lar the OUN and UPA (two of the most impor­tant Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions from the inter­war and World War II peri­od), as “lib­er­a­tors” from Sovi­et, Pol­ish, and Ger­man oppres­sion. Rad­i­cal right-wing Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists are depict­ed as noth­ing but trag­ic free­dom fight­ers, occa­sion­al­ly forced to don Nazi uni­forms to strug­gle for inde­pen­dence, lib­er­ty, and West­ern val­ues. This is the par­ty line at the cen­ter, one large­ly shaped by Via­tro­vych.
    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 14, 2015, 2:51 pm
  2. @ Pter­rafractyl–

    In FTR #781 (http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-781-alls-well-thats-orwell-the-ministry-of-truth-and-the-ukrainian-crisis-yuschenko-uber-alles/), we exam­ined how Via­tro­vych was appoint­ed by Vic­tor Yuschenko to “restruc­ture” Ukrain­ian his­to­ry in a pro-OUN/U­PA man­ner.

    Via­tro­vych is an OUN oper­a­tive. At the same time, Yuschenko’s wife, the for­mer Yka­te­ri­na Chu­machenko, was a mem­ber of the UCCA, the top OUN/B front orga­ni­za­tion in the U.S.

    Of course, Chumachenko/Yuschenko was also Ronald Rea­gan’s for­mer Deputy Direc­tor of Pub­lic Liai­son.
    (http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-778-the-ounb-file-part‑2/)

    Yuschenko’s Min­is­ter of Jus­tice (the equiv­a­lent of Attor­ney Gen­er­al in the U.S.) was Roman Svarych, the per­son­al sec­re­tary to Yaroslav Stet­sko in the ear­ly ’80’s. (http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-794-the-fires-this-time-update-on-the-ukraine/)

    Svarych is an advis­er to Poroshenko, who has re-con­sti­tut­ed “Team Yuschenko.” (http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-794-the-fires-this-time-update-on-the-ukraine/)

    (Stet­sko was the World War II leader of Ukraine and presided over the slaugh­ter of scores of thou­sands of “eth­ni­cal­ly unde­sir­ables”.)

    The Orwellian pro­gres­sion here is strik­ing.

    Very impor­tant to under­stand in this con­text is the Cru­sade For Free­dom, reviewed in the descrip­tion for FTR #858, to be record­ed and pub­lished short­ly.

    Keep up the great work!

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | August 14, 2015, 3:19 pm

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