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

For The Record  

FTR #893 Interview with Robert Parry about Ukraine

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

Stephan Ban­dera, head of the OUN/B

Pravy Sek­tor

Intro­duc­tion: This inter­view is a dis­til­la­tion of a com­pendi­um of key arti­cles from Robert Par­ry’s award-win­ning Con­sor­tium News on the sub­ject of Ukraine. (One of the few media peo­ple to break from the “group think” to which the Amer­i­can pub­lic has been sub­ject­ed, Par­ry has pre­sent­ed infor­ma­tion at fun­da­men­tal vari­ance with the “offi­cial sto­ry.”)

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Rus­sia has oblig­ed for­eign NGO’s to reg­is­ter as “for­eign agents,” rec­og­niz­ing their role as agents of covert oper­a­tion, hav­ing been cen­tral to the Maid­an coup of 2014.

The Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy was set up under the tute­lage of William Casey as an adjunct to the CIA.

The pro­gram high­lights that coup d’e­tat and the shep­herd’s role in the oper­a­tions of Vic­to­ria Nuland.

Hel­mets of the Ukrain­ian Azov bat­tal­ion, as filmed by a Nor­we­gian doc­u­men­tary crew and shown on Ger­man TV

After review­ing the careers of Stephan Ban­dera and Yaroslav Stet­sko and the col­lab­o­ra­tion between the OUN/B and the Third Reich, the pro­gram details the role of Urkainain Nazi for­ma­tions in the Maid­an coup, the pro­vi­sion­al and sub­se­quent Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ments and the fight­ing units involved in that coun­try’s civ­il war.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the Nazi fight­ing for­ma­tions have reca­pit­u­lat­ed their polit­i­cal her­itage, burn­ing eth­nic Rus­sians alive in build­ings in Ukraine. They also appear to have been car­ry­ing-out polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions of crit­ics and oppo­nents of the gov­ern­ment.

Key parts of the pro­gram focus on “The Big Lie”:

Oleh Tihany­bok, leader of the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tion Svo­bo­da

Turn­ing to the sub­ject of the “gov­er­nance” to which the peo­ple of Ukraine have been sub­ject­ed, we note that for­eign­ers have been placed in key posi­tions of pow­er with­in Ukraine.

A par­tic­u­lar­ly alarm­ing devel­op­ment con­cerns the use of ISIS-linked Chechen Islamists (appar­ent­ly decamped from Syr­ia) to bol­ster the “vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions” in Ukraine. They are fight­ing under the admin­is­tra­tive com­mand of Pravy Sek­tor. (We have not­ed in the past how Crimean Tatars have also been work­ing in Ukraine along­side Pravy Sek­tor.)

The broad­cast under­scores the Orwellian cov­er­age of the event by U.S. and West­ern main­stream media.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

  • Ukrain­ian finance min­is­ter Natal­ie Jaresko’s Ukrainian/American cit­i­zen­ship.
  • Jaresko’s work for the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment, which works close­ly with U.S. intel­li­gence.
  • The appoint­ment of for­mer Geor­gian pres­i­dent Mikhail Saakashvili as gov­er­nor of Odessa.
  • Robert Par­ry’s analy­sis of a scan­dalous Aus­tralian “doc­u­men­tary” about the down­ing of Malaysia Air­lines flight 17.

1. The pro­gram begins with Robert’s analy­sis of Putin’s deci­sion to have for­eign NGO’s reg­is­ter as “agents.” Begin­ning with dis­cus­sion of the Wahing­ton Post’s pro­pa­gan­da-laced invec­tive about Putin’s deci­sion, Robert then goes on to detail the 1983 found­ing of the NED (Nation­al Edow­ment for Democ­ra­cy). Designed as a vehi­cle for covert oper­a­tion and “regime change,” the orga­ni­za­tion was mid­wived by William Casey and the CIA.

“Why Rus­sia Shut Down NED Fronts” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 7/30/2015.

The Wash­ing­ton Post’s descent into the depths of neo­con­ser­v­a­tive pro­pa­gan­da – will­ful­ly mis­lead­ing its read­ers on mat­ters of grave impor­tance – appar­ent­ly knows no bounds as was demon­strat­ed with two decep­tive arti­cles regard­ing Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and why his gov­ern­ment is crack­ing down on “for­eign agents.”

If you read the Post’s edi­to­r­i­al on Wednes­day and a com­pan­ion op-ed by Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy Pres­i­dent Carl Ger­sh­man, you would have been led to believe that Putin is delu­sion­al, para­noid and “pow­er mad” in his con­cern that out­side mon­ey fun­neled into non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions rep­re­sents a threat to Russ­ian sov­er­eign­ty.

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin lay­ing a wreath at Russia’s Tomb of the Unknown Sol­dier on May 8, 2014, as part of the obser­vance of the World War II Vic­to­ry over Ger­many.

The Post and Ger­sh­man were espe­cial­ly out­raged that the Rus­sians have enact­ed laws requir­ing NGOs financed from abroad and seek­ing to influ­ence Russ­ian poli­cies to reg­is­ter as “for­eign agents” – and that one of the first fund­ing oper­a­tions to fall prey to these tight­ened rules was Gershman’s NED.

The Post’s edi­tors wrote that Putin’s “lat­est move, announced Tues­day, is to declare the NED an ‘unde­sir­able’ orga­ni­za­tion under the terms of a law that Mr. Putin signed in May. The law bans groups from abroad who are deemed a ‘threat to the foun­da­tions of the con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion, its defense capa­bil­i­ties and its nation­al secu­ri­ty.’

“The charge against the NED is patent­ly ridicu­lous. The NED’s grantees in Rus­sia last year ran the gamut of civ­il soci­ety. They advo­cat­ed trans­paren­cy in pub­lic affairs, fought cor­rup­tion and pro­mot­ed human rights, free­dom of infor­ma­tion and free­dom of asso­ci­a­tion, among oth­er things. All these activ­i­ties make for a healthy democ­ra­cy but are seen as threat­en­ing from the Kremlin’s ram­parts. …

“The new law on ‘unde­sir­ables’ comes in addi­tion to one signed in 2012 that gave author­i­ties the pow­er to declare orga­ni­za­tions ‘for­eign agents’ if they engaged in any kind of pol­i­tics and receive mon­ey from abroad. The des­ig­na­tion, from the Stal­in era, implies espi­onage.”

But there are sev­er­al salient facts that the Post’s edi­tors sure­ly know but don’t want you to know. The first is that NED is a U.S. gov­ern­ment-fund­ed orga­ni­za­tion cre­at­ed in 1983 to do what the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency pre­vi­ous­ly had done in financ­ing orga­ni­za­tions inside tar­get coun­tries to advance U.S. pol­i­cy inter­ests and, if need­ed, help in “regime change.”

The secret hand behind NED’s cre­ation was CIA Direc­tor William J. Casey who worked with senior CIA covert oper­a­tion spe­cial­ist Wal­ter Ray­mond Jr. to estab­lish NED in 1983. Casey – from the CIA – and Ray­mond – from his assign­ment inside Pres­i­dent Ronald Reagan’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil – focused on cre­at­ing a fund­ing mech­a­nism to sup­port groups inside for­eign coun­tries that would engage in pro­pa­gan­da and polit­i­cal action that the CIA had his­tor­i­cal­ly orga­nized and paid for covert­ly. To par­tial­ly replace that CIA role, the idea emerged for a con­gres­sion­al­ly fund­ed enti­ty that would serve as a con­duit for this mon­ey.

But Casey rec­og­nized the need to hide the strings being pulled by the CIA. “Obvi­ous­ly we here [at CIA] should not get out front in the devel­op­ment of such an orga­ni­za­tion, nor should we appear to be a spon­sor or advo­cate,” Casey said in one undat­ed let­ter to then-White House coun­selor Edwin Meese III – as Casey urged cre­ation of a “Nation­al Endow­ment.”

NED Is Born

The Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy took shape in late 1983 as Con­gress decid­ed to also set aside pots of mon­ey — with­in NED — for the Repub­li­can and Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ties and for orga­nized labor, cre­at­ing enough bipar­ti­san largesse that pas­sage was assured. But some in Con­gress thought it was impor­tant to wall the NED off from any asso­ci­a­tion with the CIA, so a pro­vi­sion was includ­ed to bar the par­tic­i­pa­tion of any cur­rent or for­mer CIA offi­cial, accord­ing to one con­gres­sion­al aide who helped write the leg­is­la­tion.

This aide told me that one night late in the 1983 ses­sion, as the bill was about to go to the House floor, the CIA’s con­gres­sion­al liai­son came pound­ing at the door to the office of Rep. Dante Fas­cell, a senior Demo­c­rat on the House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee and a chief spon­sor of the bill. The fran­tic CIA offi­cial con­veyed a sin­gle mes­sage from CIA Direc­tor Casey: the lan­guage bar­ring the par­tic­i­pa­tion of CIA per­son­nel must be struck from the bill, the aide recalled, not­ing that Fas­cell con­sent­ed, not ful­ly rec­og­niz­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of the demand.

The aide said Fas­cell also con­sent­ed to the Rea­gan administration’s choice of Carl Ger­sh­man to head the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, again not rec­og­niz­ing how this deci­sion would affect the future of the new enti­ty and Amer­i­can for­eign pol­i­cy. Ger­sh­man, who had fol­lowed the clas­sic neo­con­ser­v­a­tive path from youth­ful social­ism to fierce anti­com­mu­nism, became NED’s first (and, to this day, only) pres­i­dent.

Though NED is tech­ni­cal­ly inde­pen­dent of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy, Ger­sh­man in the ear­ly years coor­di­nat­ed deci­sions on grants with Ray­mond at the NSC. For instance, on Jan. 2, 1985, Ray­mond wrote to two NSC Asian experts that “Carl Ger­sh­man has called con­cern­ing a pos­si­ble grant to the Chi­nese Alliance for Democ­ra­cy (CAD). I am con­cerned about the polit­i­cal dimen­sion to this request. We should not find our­selves in a posi­tion where we have to respond to pres­sure, but this request pos­es a real prob­lem to Carl.”

Cur­rent­ly, Gershman’s NED dis­pens­es more than $100 mil­lion a year in U.S. gov­ern­ment funds to var­i­ous NGOs, media out­lets and activists around the world. The NED also has found itself in the mid­dle of polit­i­cal desta­bi­liza­tion cam­paigns against gov­ern­ments that have got­ten on the wrong side of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy. For instance, pri­or to the Feb­ru­ary 2014 coup in Ukraine, over­throw­ing elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych and installing an anti-Russ­ian regime in Kiev, NED was fund­ing scores of projects.

A sec­ond point left out of the Post’s edi­to­r­i­al was the fact that Ger­sh­man took a per­son­al hand in the Ukraine cri­sis and rec­og­nized it as an inter­im step toward regime change in Moscow. On Sept. 26, 2013, Ger­sh­man pub­lished an op-ed in the Wash­ing­ton Post that called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and explained how pulling it into the West­ern camp could con­tribute to the ulti­mate defeat of Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Putin.

“Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accel­er­ate the demise of the ide­ol­o­gy of Russ­ian impe­ri­al­ism that Putin rep­re­sents,” Ger­sh­man wrote. “Rus­sians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find him­self on the los­ing end not just in the near abroad but with­in Rus­sia itself.” In oth­er words, NED is a U.S. gov­ern­ment-financed enti­ty that has set its sights on oust­ing Russia’s cur­rent gov­ern­ment.

A third point that the Post ignored is that the Russ­ian law requir­ing out­side-fund­ed polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions to reg­is­ter as “for­eign agents” was mod­eled on a U.S. law, the For­eign Agent Reg­is­tra­tion Act. In oth­er words, the U.S. gov­ern­ment also requires indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties work­ing for for­eign inter­ests and seek­ing to influ­ence U.S. poli­cies to dis­close those rela­tion­ships with the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment or face prison.

If the Post’s edi­tors had includ­ed any or all of these three rel­e­vant fac­tors, you would have come away with a more bal­anced under­stand­ing of why Rus­sia is act­ing as it is. You might still object but at least you would be aware of the full sto­ry. By con­ceal­ing all three points, the Post’s edi­tors were trick­ing you and oth­er read­ers into accept­ing a pro­pa­gan­dis­tic view­point – that the Russ­ian actions were crazy and that Putin was, accord­ing to the Post’s head­line, “pow­er mad.”

Gershman’s Op-Ed

But you might think that Ger­sh­man would at least acknowl­edge some of these points in his Post op-ed, sure­ly admit­ting that NED is financed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment. But Ger­sh­man didn’t. He sim­ply por­trayed Russia’s actions as despi­ca­ble and des­per­ate.

“Russia’s newest anti-NGO law, under which the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy on Tues­day was declared an “unde­sir­able orga­ni­za­tion” pro­hib­it­ed from oper­at­ing in Rus­sia, is the lat­est evi­dence that the regime of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin faces a wors­en­ing cri­sis of polit­i­cal legit­i­ma­cy,” Ger­sh­man wrote, adding:

“This is the con­text in which Rus­sia has passed the law pro­hibit­ing Russ­ian democ­rats from get­ting any inter­na­tion­al assis­tance to pro­mote free­dom of expres­sion, the rule of law and a demo­c­ra­t­ic polit­i­cal sys­tem. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, democ­rats have not backed down. They have not been deterred by the crim­i­nal penal­ties con­tained in the ‘for­eign agents’ law and oth­er repres­sive laws. They know that these laws con­tra­dict inter­na­tion­al law, which allows for such aid, and that the laws are meant to block a bet­ter future for Rus­sia.”

The ref­er­ence to how a “for­eign agents” reg­is­tra­tion law con­flicts with inter­na­tion­al law might have been a good place for Ger­sh­man to explain why what is good for the goose in the Unit­ed States isn’t good for the gan­der in Rus­sia. But hypocrisy is a hard thing to ratio­nal­ize and would have under­mined the pro­pa­gan­dis­tic impact of the op-ed.

So would an acknowl­edge­ment of where NED’s mon­ey comes from. How many gov­ern­ments would allow a hos­tile for­eign pow­er to spon­sor politi­cians and civic orga­ni­za­tions whose mis­sion is to under­mine and over­throw the exist­ing gov­ern­ment and put in some­one who would be com­pli­ant to that for­eign pow­er?

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Ger­sh­man couldn’t find the space to include any bal­ance in his op-ed – and the Post’s edi­tors didn’t insist on any.

2. Although it has not been wide­ly report­ed in this coun­try, the evi­dence that the Maid­an “upris­ing” was, in fact, a coup. Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Vic­to­ria Nuland, a Bush State Depart­ment hold-over, boast­ed of hav­ing $5 bil­lion invest­ed in Ukraine and was over­heard plot­ting to get her guy, “Yats” [Arseniy Yat­senyuk] in pow­er. Strat­for char­ac­ter­ized the Maid­an upris­ing as an obvi­ous coup.

“NYT Still Pre­tends No Coup in Ukraine” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 1/06/2015.

Dur­ing my years at Newsweek in the late 1980s, when I would pro­pose cor­rect­ing some mis­guid­ed con­ven­tion­al wis­dom, I’d often be told, “let’s leave that one for the his­to­ri­ans,” with the mag­a­zine not want­i­ng to chal­lenge an erro­neous sto­ry­line that all the impor­tant peo­ple “knew” to be true. And if false nar­ra­tives only affect­ed the past, one might argue my edi­tors had a point. There’s always a lot of cur­rent news to cov­er.

But most false nar­ra­tives are not real­ly about the past; they are about how the pub­lic per­ceives the present and address­es the future. And it should fall to jour­nal­ists to do their best to explain this back­ground infor­ma­tion even if it embar­rass­es pow­er­ful peo­ple and insti­tu­tions, includ­ing the news orga­ni­za­tions them­selves.

Yet, rather than take on that dif­fi­cult task, most major news out­lets pre­fer to embroi­der onto their exist­ing tapes­try of mis­in­for­ma­tion, fit­ting today’s report­ing onto the mis­shapen fab­ric of yesterday’s. They rarely start from scratch and admit the ear­li­er work was wrong.

So, how does the main­stream U.S. news media explain the Ukraine cri­sis after essen­tial­ly fal­si­fy­ing the his­tor­i­cal record for the past year? Well, if you’re the New York Times, you keep on spin­ning the old sto­ry­line, albeit with a few adjust­ments.

For instance, on Sun­day, the Times pub­lished a lengthy arti­cle that sought to sus­tain the West’s insis­tence that the coup over­throw­ing elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych wasn’t real­ly a coup – just the crum­bling of his gov­ern­ment in the face of para­mil­i­tary vio­lence from the street with rumors of worse vio­lence to come – though that may sound to you pret­ty much like a coup. Still, the Times does make some mod­i­fi­ca­tions to Yanukovych’s image.

In the arti­cle, Yanukovych is recast from a bru­tal auto­crat will­ful­ly hav­ing his police slaugh­ter peace­ful pro­test­ers into a fright­ened los­er whose hand was “shak­ing” as he signed a Feb. 21 agree­ment with Euro­pean diplo­mats, agree­ing to reduce his pow­ers and hold ear­ly elec­tions, a deal that was cast aside on Feb. 22 when armed neo-Nazi mili­tias over­ran pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary offices.

Defin­ing a Coup

One might won­der what the New York Times thinks a coup looks like. Indeed, the Ukrain­ian coup had many of the same ear­marks as such clas­sics as the CIA-engi­neered regime changes in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954.

The way those coups played out is now his­tor­i­cal­ly well known. Secret U.S. gov­ern­ment oper­a­tives plant­ed nasty pro­pa­gan­da about the tar­get­ed leader, stirred up polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic chaos, con­spired with rival polit­i­cal lead­ers, spread rumors of worse vio­lence to come and then – as polit­i­cal insti­tu­tions col­lapsed – chased away the duly elect­ed leader before wel­com­ing the new “legit­i­mate” order.

In Iran, that meant rein­stalling the auto­crat­ic Shah who then ruled with a heavy hand for the next quar­ter cen­tu­ry; in Guatemala, the coup led to more than three decades of bru­tal mil­i­tary regimes and the killing of some 200,000 Guatemalans.

Coups don’t have to involve army tanks occu­py­ing the pub­lic squares, although that is an alter­na­tive mod­el which fol­lows many of the same ini­tial steps except that the mil­i­tary is brought in at the end. The mil­i­tary coup was a com­mon approach espe­cial­ly in Latin Amer­i­ca in the 1960s and 1970s.

But the pre­ferred method in more recent years has been the “col­or rev­o­lu­tion,” which oper­ates behind the façade of a “peace­ful” pop­u­lar upris­ing and inter­na­tion­al pres­sure on the tar­get­ed leader to show restraint until it’s too late to stop the coup. Despite the restraint, the leader is still accused of gross human rights vio­la­tions, all the bet­ter to jus­ti­fy his removal.

Lat­er, the oust­ed leader may get an image makeover; instead of a cru­el bul­ly, he is ridiculed for not show­ing suf­fi­cient resolve and let­ting his base of sup­port melt away, as hap­pened with Moham­mad Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala.

The Ukraine Real­i­ty

The real­i­ty of what hap­pened in Ukraine was nev­er hard to fig­ure out. George Fried­man, the founder of the glob­al intel­li­gence firm Strat­for, called the over­throw of Yanukovych “the most bla­tant coup in his­to­ry.” It’s just that the major U.S. news orga­ni­za­tions were either com­plic­it in the events or incom­pe­tent in describ­ing them to the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

The first step in this process was to obscure that the motive for the coup – pulling Ukraine out of Russia’s eco­nom­ic orbit and cap­tur­ing it in the Euro­pean Union’s grav­i­ty field – was actu­al­ly announced by influ­en­tial Amer­i­can neo­cons in 2013.

On Sept. 26, 2013, Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy Pres­i­dent Carl Ger­sh­man, who has become a major neo­con pay­mas­ter, took to the op-ed page of the neo­con Wash­ing­ton Post and called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an impor­tant inter­im step toward top­pling Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

At the time, Ger­sh­man, whose NED is fund­ed by the U.S. Con­gress to the tune of about $100 mil­lion a year, was financ­ing scores of projects inside Ukraine – train­ing activists, pay­ing for jour­nal­ists and orga­niz­ing busi­ness groups.

As for that even big­ger prize – Putin – Ger­sh­man wrote: “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accel­er­ate the demise of the ide­ol­o­gy of Russ­ian impe­ri­al­ism that Putin rep­re­sents.  … Rus­sians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find him­self on the los­ing end not just in the near abroad but with­in Rus­sia itself.”

At that time, in ear­ly fall 2013, Ukraine’s Pres­i­dent Yanukovych was explor­ing the idea of reach­ing out to Europe with an asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment. But he got cold feet in Novem­ber 2013 when eco­nom­ic experts in Kiev advised him that the Ukrain­ian econ­o­my would suf­fer a $160 bil­lion hit if it sep­a­rat­ed from Rus­sia, its east­ern neigh­bor and major trad­ing part­ner. There was also the West’s demand that Ukraine accept a harsh aus­ter­i­ty plan from the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund.

Yanukovych want­ed more time for the EU nego­ti­a­tions, but his deci­sion angered many west­ern Ukraini­ans who saw their future more attached to Europe than Rus­sia. Tens of thou­sands of pro­test­ers began camp­ing out at Maid­an Square in Kiev, with Yanukovych order­ing the police to show restraint.

Mean­while, with Yanukovych shift­ing back toward Rus­sia, which was offer­ing a more gen­er­ous $15 bil­lion loan and dis­count­ed nat­ur­al gas, he soon became the tar­get of Amer­i­can neo­cons and the U.S. media, which por­trayed Ukraine’s polit­i­cal unrest as a black-and-white case of a bru­tal and cor­rupt Yanukovych opposed by a saint­ly “pro-democ­ra­cy” move­ment.

The Maid­an upris­ing was urged on by Amer­i­can neo­cons, includ­ing Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for Euro­pean Affairs Vic­to­ria Nuland, who passed out cook­ies at the Maid­an and told Ukrain­ian busi­ness lead­ers that the Unit­ed States had invest­ed $5 bil­lion in their “Euro­pean aspi­ra­tions.”

In the weeks before the coup, accord­ing to an inter­cept­ed phone call, Nuland dis­cussed with U.S. Ambas­sador Geof­frey Pyatt who should lead the future regime. Nuland said her choice was Arseniy Yat­senyuk. “Yats is the guy,” she told Pyatt as he pon­dered how to “mid­wife this thing.”

Sen. John McCain, R‑Arizona, also showed up, stand­ing on stage with right-wing extrem­ists from the Svo­bo­da Par­ty and telling the crowd that the Unit­ed States was with them in their chal­lenge to the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment.

As the win­ter pro­gressed, the protests grew more vio­lent. Neo-Nazi and oth­er extrem­ist ele­ments from Lviv and west­ern Ukrain­ian cities began arriv­ing in well-orga­nized brigades or “sotins” of 100 trained street fight­ers. Police were attacked with fire­bombs and oth­er weapons as the vio­lent pro­test­ers began seiz­ing gov­ern­ment build­ings and unfurl­ing Nazi ban­ners and even a Con­fed­er­ate flag.

Though Yanukovych con­tin­ued to order his police to show restraint, he was still depict­ed in the major U.S. news media as a bru­tal thug who was cal­lous­ly mur­der­ing his own peo­ple. The chaos reached a cli­max on Feb. 20 when mys­te­ri­ous snipers opened fire on police and some pro­test­ers, killing scores. As police retreat­ed, the mil­i­tants advanced bran­dish­ing firearms and oth­er weapons. The con­fronta­tion led to sig­nif­i­cant loss of life, push­ing the death toll to around 80 includ­ing more than a dozen police.

U.S. diplo­mats and the main­stream U.S. press imme­di­ate­ly blamed Yanukovych for the sniper attack, though the cir­cum­stances remain murky to this day and some inves­ti­ga­tions have sug­gest­ed that the lethal sniper fire came from build­ings con­trolled by Right Sek­tor extrem­ists.

To tamp down the wors­en­ing vio­lence, a shak­en Yanukovych signed a Euro­pean-bro­kered deal on Feb. 21, in which he accept­ed reduced pow­ers and an ear­ly elec­tion so he could be vot­ed out of office. He also agreed to requests from Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden to pull back the police.

The pre­cip­i­tous police with­draw­al then opened the path for the neo-Nazis and oth­er street fight­ers to seize pres­i­den­tial offices and force Yanukovych’s peo­ple to flee for their lives. Yanukovych trav­eled to east­ern Ukraine and the new coup regime that took pow­er – and was imme­di­ate­ly declared “legit­i­mate” by the U.S. State Depart­ment – sought Yanukovych’s arrest for mur­der. Nuland’s favorite, Yat­senyuk, became the new prime min­is­ter.

Media Bias

Through­out the cri­sis, the main­stream U.S. press ham­mered home the theme of white-hat­ted pro­test­ers ver­sus a black-hat­ted pres­i­dent. The police were por­trayed as bru­tal killers who fired on unarmed sup­port­ers of “democ­ra­cy.” The good-guy/bad-guy nar­ra­tive was all the Amer­i­can peo­ple heard from the major media.

The New York Times went so far as to delete the slain police­men from the nar­ra­tive and sim­ply report that the police had killed all those who died in the Maid­an. A typ­i­cal Times report on March 5, 2014, summed up the sto­ry­line: “More than 80 pro­test­ers were shot to death by the police as an upris­ing spi­raled out of con­trol in mid-Feb­ru­ary.”

The main­stream U.S. media also sought to dis­cred­it any­one who observed the obvi­ous fact that an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al coup had just occurred. A new theme emerged that por­trayed Yanukovych as sim­ply decid­ing to aban­don his gov­ern­ment because of the moral pres­sure from the noble and peace­ful Maid­an protests.

Any ref­er­ence to a “coup” was dis­missed as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.” There was a par­al­lel deter­mi­na­tion in the U.S. media to dis­cred­it or ignore evi­dence that neo-Nazi mili­tias had played an impor­tant role in oust­ing Yanukovych and in the sub­se­quent sup­pres­sion of anti-coup resis­tance in east­ern and south­ern Ukraine. That oppo­si­tion among eth­nic-Russ­ian Ukraini­ans sim­ply became “Russ­ian aggres­sion.”

This refusal to notice what was actu­al­ly a remark­able sto­ry – the will­ful unleash­ing of Nazi storm troop­ers on a Euro­pean pop­u­la­tion for the first time since World War II – reached absurd lev­els as the New York Times and the Wash­ing­ton Post buried ref­er­ences to the neo-Nazis at the end of sto­ries, almost as after­thoughts.

The Wash­ing­ton Post went to the extreme of ratio­nal­iz­ing Swastikas and oth­er Nazi sym­bols by quot­ing one mili­tia com­man­der as call­ing them “roman­tic” ges­tures by impres­sion­able young men. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine’s ‘Roman­tic’ Neo-Nazi Storm Troop­ers.”]

Yet, despite the best efforts of the Times, the Post and oth­er main­stream out­lets to con­ceal this ugly real­i­ty from the Amer­i­can peo­ple, alter­na­tive news sources – pre­sent­ing a more real­is­tic account of what was hap­pen­ing in Ukraine – began to chip away at the pre­ferred nar­ra­tive.

Instead of buy­ing the big media’s sto­ry­line, many Amer­i­cans were com­ing to real­ize that the real­i­ty was much more com­pli­cat­ed and that they were again being sold a bill of pro­pa­gan­da goods.

Deny­ing a Coup

To the res­cue rode the New York Times on Sun­day, pre­sent­ing what was por­trayed as a detailed, gran­u­lar “inves­ti­ga­tion” of how there was no coup in Ukraine and reaf­firm­ing the insis­tence that only Moscow stooges would think such a thing.

“Rus­sia has attrib­uted Mr. Yanukovych’s ouster to what it por­trays as a vio­lent, ‘neo-fas­cist’ coup sup­port­ed and even chore­o­graphed by the West and dressed up as a pop­u­lar upris­ing,” wrote Andrew Hig­gins and Andrew E. Kramer. “Few out­side the Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da bub­ble ever seri­ous­ly enter­tained the Kremlin’s line. But almost a year after the fall of Mr. Yanukovych’s gov­ern­ment, ques­tions remain about how and why it col­lapsed so quick­ly and com­plete­ly.”

The Times’ arti­cle con­clud­ed that Yanukovych “was not so much over­thrown as cast adrift by his own allies, and that West­ern offi­cials were just as sur­prised by the melt­down as any­one else. The allies’ deser­tion, fueled in large part by fear, was accel­er­at­ed by the seiz­ing by pro­test­ers of a large stock of weapons in the west of the coun­try. But just as impor­tant, the review of the final hours shows, was the pan­ic in gov­ern­ment ranks cre­at­ed by Mr. Yanukovych’s own efforts to make peace.”

Yet, what is par­tic­u­lar­ly curi­ous about this arti­cle is that it ignores the sub­stan­tial body of evi­dence that the U.S. offi­cials were instru­men­tal in prim­ing the cri­sis and fuel­ing the ulti­mate ouster of Yanukovych. For instance, the Times makes no ref­er­ence to the mul­ti­tude of U.S.-financed polit­i­cal projects in Ukraine includ­ing scores by Gershman’s NED, nor the extra­or­di­nary inter­ven­tion by Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Nuland.

Nuland’s encour­age­ment to those chal­leng­ing the elect­ed gov­ern­ment of Ukraine would sure­ly mer­it men­tion­ing, one would think. But it dis­ap­pears from the Times’ ver­sion of his­to­ry. Per­haps even more amaz­ing there is no ref­er­ence to the Nuland-Pyatt phone call, though Pyatt was inter­viewed for the arti­cle.

Even if the Times want­ed to make excus­es for the Nuland-Pyatt schem­ing – claim­ing per­haps it didn’t prove that they were coup-plot­ting – you would think the infa­mous phone call would deserve at least a men­tion. But Nuland isn’t ref­er­enced any­where. Nor is Ger­sh­man. Nor is McCain.

The most use­ful part of the Times’ arti­cle is its descrip­tion of the impact from a raid by anti-Yanukovych mili­tias in the west­ern city of Lviv on a mil­i­tary arse­nal and the belief that the guns were head­ed to Kiev to give the upris­ing greater fire­pow­er.

The Times reports that “Euro­pean envoys met at the Ger­man Embassy with Andriy Paru­biy, the chief of the pro­test­ers’ secu­ri­ty forces, and told him to keep the Lviv guns away from Kiev. ‘We told him: “Don’t let these guns come to Kiev. If they come, that will change the whole sit­u­a­tion,”’ Mr. Pyatt recalled telling Mr. Paru­biy, who turned up for the meet­ing wear­ing a black bal­a­cla­va.

“In a recent inter­view in Kiev, Mr. Paru­biy denied that the guns tak­en in Lviv ever got to Kiev, but added that the prospect that they might have pro­vid­ed a pow­er­ful lever to pres­sure both Mr. Yanukovych’s camp and West­ern gov­ern­ments. ‘I warned them that if West­ern gov­ern­ments did not take firmer action against Yanukovych, the whole process could gain a very threat­en­ing dimen­sion,’ he said.

“Andriy Tereschenko, a Berkut [police] com­man­der from Donet­sk who was holed up with his men in the Cab­i­net Min­istry, the gov­ern­ment head­quar­ters in Kiev, said that 16 of his men had already been shot on Feb. 18 and that he was ter­ri­fied by the rumors of an armory of auto­mat­ic weapons on its way from Lviv. ‘It was already an armed upris­ing, and it was going to get worse,’ he said. ‘We under­stood why the weapons were tak­en, to bring them to Kiev.’”

The Times leaves out a fuller iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Paru­biy. Beyond serv­ing as the chief of the Maid­an “self-defense forces,” Paru­biy was a noto­ri­ous neo-Nazi, the founder of the Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine (and the nation­al secu­ri­ty chief for the post-coup regime). But “see­ing no neo-Nazis” in Ukraine had become a pat­tern for the New York Times.

Still, the jour­nal­is­tic ques­tion remains: what does the New York Times think a coup looks like? You have for­eign mon­ey, includ­ing from the U.S. gov­ern­ment, pour­ing into Ukraine to finance polit­i­cal and pro­pa­gan­da oper­a­tions. You have open encour­age­ment to the coup-mak­ers from senior Amer­i­can offi­cials.

You have hun­dreds of trained and armed para­mil­i­tary fight­ers dis­patched to Kiev from Lviv and oth­er west­ern cities. You have the seizure of an arse­nal amid rumors that these more pow­er­ful weapons are being dis­trib­uted to these para­mil­i­taries. You have inter­na­tion­al pres­sure on the elect­ed pres­i­dent to pull back his secu­ri­ty forces, even as West­ern pro­pa­gan­da por­trays him as a mass mur­der­er.

Any­one who knows about the 1954 Guatemala coup would remem­ber that a major ele­ment of that CIA oper­a­tion was a dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign, broad­cast over CIA-financed radio sta­tions, about a size­able anti-gov­ern­ment force march­ing on Guatemala City, thus spook­ing the Arbenz gov­ern­ment to col­lapse and Arbenz to flee.

But the Times arti­cle is not a seri­ous attempt to study the Ukraine coup. If it had been, it would have looked seri­ous­ly at the sub­stan­tial evi­dence of West­ern inter­fer­ence and into oth­er key facts, such as the iden­ti­ty of the Feb. 20 snipers. Instead, the arti­cle was just the lat­est attempt to pre­tend that the coup real­ly wasn’t a coup.

3. To under­stand the his­to­ry of the Ukraine cri­sis, one must under­stand the OUN/B and its lead­ers Stephan Ban­dera and Yaroslav Stetsko–leaders of the OUN/B, a key ally of Nazi Ger­many.

“Ukraine’s neo-Nazis Demand Respect” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 10/15/2014.

For months, the New York Times and oth­er major U.S. news out­lets have insist­ed that it’s just Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da to say that a sig­nif­i­cant neo-Nazi pres­ence exists inside Ukraine, but thou­sands of these “non-exis­tent” neo-Nazis bat­tled police on Tues­day out­side the par­lia­ment build­ing in Kiev demand­ing recog­ni­tion of their Hitler-col­lab­o­rat­ing fore­bears.

The par­lia­ment, aware of the obvi­ous pub­lic rela­tions fias­co that would fol­low if it bowed to far-right demands to hon­or mem­bers of the Nazi-affil­i­at­ed Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (or UIA), defeat­ed the pro­pos­al. That touched off riots by an esti­mat­ed 8,000 pro­test­ers led by Ukraine’s right-wing Svo­bo­da par­ty and the Right Sek­tor.

His­to­ri­ans blame the UIA and oth­er Ukrain­ian fas­cist forces for the exter­mi­na­tion of thou­sands of Poles and Jews dur­ing World War II as these right-wing Ukrain­ian para­mil­i­taries sided with the Ger­man Nazis in their fight against the Sovi­et Union’s Red Army. Svo­bo­da and the Right Sek­tor have ele­vat­ed UIA leader Stepan Ban­dera to the lev­el of a Ukrain­ian nation­al hero.

But Svo­bo­da and Right Sek­tor activists are not just neo-Nazi street pro­test­ers. They were key fig­ures in last February’s vio­lent upris­ing that over­threw elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych and estab­lished a coup regime that the U.S. State Depart­ment quick­ly rec­og­nized as “legit­i­mate.” Many far-right mil­i­tants have since been incor­po­rat­ed into the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary in its fight to crush resis­tance to the coup regime from eth­nic Rus­sians in Ukraine’s east.

Though played down by the West­ern press, the neo-Nazi affil­i­a­tions of these mil­i­tants have occa­sion­al­ly popped up in news sto­ries, includ­ing ref­er­ences to dis­plays of Nazi insignias, but usu­al­ly these cita­tions are men­tioned only in pass­ing or are con­fined to the last few para­graphs of lengthy sto­ries or are dis­missed as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.”

But this neo-Nazi real­i­ty con­tin­ues to be an incon­ve­nient truth about the U.S.-backed coup regime that seized pow­er in Kiev with the over­throw of Yanukovych on Feb. 22. Sev­er­al gov­ern­ment min­istries, includ­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty, were giv­en to these far-right ele­ments in recog­ni­tion of their key role in the putsch that forced mem­bers of Yanukovych’s gov­ern­ment to flee for their lives.

The larg­er his­tor­i­cal con­text is that Nazism has been deeply root­ed in west­ern Ukraine since World War II, espe­cial­ly in cities like Lviv, where a ceme­tery to the vet­er­ans of the Gali­cian SS, a Ukrain­ian affil­i­ate of the Nazi SS, is main­tained. These old pas­sions were brought to the sur­face again in the bat­tle to oust Yanukovych and sev­er his­toric ties to Rus­sia.

The mus­cle behind the U.S.-backed Maid­an protests against Yanukovych came from neo-Nazi mili­tias trained in west­ern Ukraine, orga­nized into 100-man brigades and dis­patched to Kiev. After the coup, neo-Nazi leader Andriy Paru­biy, who was com­man­der of the Maid­an “self-defense forces,” was ele­vat­ed to nation­al secu­ri­ty chief and soon announced that the Maid­an mili­tia forces would be incor­po­rat­ed into the Nation­al Guard and sent to east­ern Ukraine to fight eth­nic Rus­sians resist­ing the coup regime.

At War in the East

As the U.S. gov­ern­ment and media cheered this “anti-ter­ror­ist oper­a­tion,” the neo-Nazis and oth­er right-wing bat­tal­ions engaged in bru­tal street fight­ing against Russ­ian eth­nic rebels. Only occa­sion­al­ly did this nasty real­i­ty slip into the major U.S. news media. For instance, an Aug. 10 arti­cle in the New York Times men­tioned the neo-Nazi para­mil­i­taries at the end of a lengthy sto­ry on anoth­er top­ic.

“The fight­ing for Donet­sk has tak­en on a lethal pat­tern: The reg­u­lar army bom­bards sep­a­ratist posi­tions from afar, fol­lowed by chaot­ic, vio­lent assaults by some of the half-dozen or so para­mil­i­tary groups sur­round­ing Donet­sk who are will­ing to plunge into urban com­bat,” the Times report­ed.

“Offi­cials in Kiev say the mili­tias and the army coor­di­nate their actions, but the mili­tias, which count about 7,000 fight­ers, are angry and, at times, uncon­trol­lable. One known as Azov, which took over the vil­lage of Marin­ka, flies a neo-Nazi sym­bol resem­bling a Swasti­ka as its flag.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Dis­cov­ers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War.”]

The con­ser­v­a­tive Lon­don Tele­graph offered more details about the Azov bat­tal­ion in an arti­cle by cor­re­spon­dent Tom Parfitt, who wrote: “Kiev’s use of vol­un­teer para­mil­i­taries to stamp out the Russ­ian-backed Donet­sk and Luhan­sk ‘people’s republics’… should send a shiv­er down Europe’s spine.

“Recent­ly formed bat­tal­ions such as Don­bas, Dnipro and Azov, with sev­er­al thou­sand men under their com­mand, are offi­cial­ly under the con­trol of the inte­ri­or min­istry but their financ­ing is murky, their train­ing inad­e­quate and their ide­ol­o­gy often alarm­ing. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolf­san­gel (Wolf’s Hook) sym­bol on their ban­ner and mem­bers of the bat­tal­ion are open­ly white suprema­cists, or anti-Semi­tes.”

Based on inter­views with mili­tia mem­bers, the Tele­graph report­ed that some of the fight­ers doubt­ed the real­i­ty of the Holo­caust, expressed admi­ra­tion for Adolf Hitler and acknowl­edged that they are indeed Nazis.

Andriy Bilet­sky, the Azov com­man­der, “is also head of an extrem­ist Ukrain­ian group called the Social Nation­al Assem­bly,” accord­ing to the Tele­graph arti­cle which quot­ed a com­men­tary by Bilet­sky as declar­ing: “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. A cru­sade against the Semi­te-led Unter­men­schen.”

In oth­er words, for the first time since World War II, a gov­ern­ment had dis­patched Nazi storm troop­ers to attack a Euro­pean pop­u­la­tion – and offi­cials in Kiev knew what they were doing. The Tele­graph ques­tioned Ukrain­ian author­i­ties in Kiev who acknowl­edged that they were aware of the extrem­ist ide­olo­gies of some mili­tias but insist­ed that the high­er pri­or­i­ty was hav­ing troops who were strong­ly moti­vat­ed to fight. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ignor­ing Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troop­ers.”]

But a rebel coun­terof­fen­sive by eth­nic Rus­sians in August reversed many of Kiev’s gains and drove the Azov and oth­er gov­ern­ment forces back to the port city of Mar­i­upol, where For­eign Policy’s reporter Alec Luhn also encoun­tered these neo-Nazis. He wrote:

“Blue and yel­low Ukrain­ian flags fly over Mariupol’s burned-out city admin­is­tra­tion build­ing and at mil­i­tary check­points around the city, but at a sport school near a huge met­al­lur­gi­cal plant, anoth­er sym­bol is just as promi­nent: the wolf­san­gel (‘wolf trap’) sym­bol that was wide­ly used in the Third Reich and has been adopt­ed by neo-Nazi groups. …

“Pro-Russ­ian forces have said they are fight­ing against Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists and ‘fas­cists’ in the con­flict, and in the case of Azov and oth­er bat­tal­ions, these claims are essen­tial­ly true.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “See­ing No Neo-Nazi Mili­tias in Ukraine.”]

Nazi Insignia on Hel­mets

More evi­dence con­tin­ued to emerge about the pres­ence of Nazis in the ranks of Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment fight­ers. Ger­mans were shocked to see video of Azov mili­tia sol­diers dec­o­rat­ing their gear with the Swasti­ka and the “SS rune.” NBC News report­ed: “Ger­mans were con­front­ed with images of their country’s dark past … when Ger­man pub­lic broad­cast­er ZDF showed video of Ukrain­ian sol­diers with Nazi sym­bols on their hel­mets in its evening news­cast.

“The video was shot … in Ukraine by a cam­era team from Nor­we­gian broad­cast­er TV2. ‘We were film­ing a report about Ukraine’s AZOV bat­tal­ion in the east­ern city of Urzuf, when we came across these sol­diers,’ Oys­ten Bogen, a cor­re­spon­dent for the pri­vate tele­vi­sion sta­tion, told NBC News. “Min­utes before the images were taped, Bogen said he had asked a spokesper­son whether the bat­tal­ion had fas­cist ten­den­cies. ‘The reply was: absolute­ly not, we are just Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists,’ Bogen said.”

Despite the news­wor­thi­ness of a U.S.-backed gov­ern­ment dis­patch­ing neo-Nazi storm troop­ers to attack Ukrain­ian cities, the major U.S. news out­lets went to extra­or­di­nary lengths to excuse this behav­ior, with the Wash­ing­ton Post pub­lish­ing a ratio­nal­iza­tion that the use of the Swasti­ka was mere­ly “roman­tic.”

This curi­ous descrip­tion of the sym­bol most asso­ci­at­ed with the human dev­as­ta­tion of the Holo­caust and World War II can be found in the last three para­graphs of a Post lead sto­ry pub­lished in Sep­tem­ber. Post cor­re­spon­dent Antho­ny Faio­la por­trayed the Azov fight­ers as “bat­tle-scarred patri­ots” nobly resist­ing “Russ­ian aggres­sion” and will­ing to resort to “guer­ril­la war” if nec­es­sary.

The arti­cle found noth­ing objec­tion­able about Azov’s plans for “sab­o­tage, tar­get­ed assas­si­na­tions and oth­er insur­gent tac­tics” against Rus­sians, although such actions in oth­er con­texts are regard­ed as ter­ror­ism. The extrem­ists even extend­ed their threats to the gov­ern­ment of Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko if he agrees to a peace deal with the eth­nic Russ­ian east that is not to the militia’s lik­ing.

“If Kiev reach­es a deal with rebels that they don’t sup­port, para­mil­i­tary fight­ers say they could poten­tial­ly strike pro-Russ­ian tar­gets on their own — or even turn on the gov­ern­ment itself,” the arti­cle states. (The riot out­side the par­lia­ment build­ing on Tues­day is an ear­ly indi­ca­tion that such a threat is real.)

The Post arti­cle – like almost all of its cov­er­age of Ukraine – was lauda­to­ry about the Kiev forces fight­ing eth­nic Rus­sians in the east, but the news­pa­per did have to do some quick think­ing to explain a pho­to­graph of a Swasti­ka grac­ing an Azov brigade bar­racks.

So, in the last three para­graphs of the sto­ry, Faio­la report­ed: “One pla­toon leader, who called him­self Kirt, con­ced­ed that the group’s far right views had attract­ed about two dozen for­eign fight­ers from around Europe.

“In one room, a recruit had embla­zoned a swasti­ka above his bed. But Kirt … dis­missed ques­tions of ide­ol­o­gy, say­ing that the vol­un­teers — many of them still teenagers — embrace sym­bols and espouse extrem­ist notions as part of some kind of ‘roman­tic’ idea.”

Now, this incon­ve­nient truth — this neo-Nazi extrem­ism in Ukraine — has reemerged in vio­lent clash­es out­side the par­lia­ment build­ing in Kiev.

4. Next, Robert ana­lyzes the role of Nazi polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary for­ma­tions in the Maid­an coup, the gov­ern­ments that fol­lowed the upris­ing, as well as the fight­ing in East­ern Ukraine. He also touch­es on the Rea­gan Admin­is­tra­tion’s patron­age of the Ukrain­ian fas­cists.

“Ukraine’s ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Real­i­ty” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 5/5/2014.

As much as the coup regime in Ukraine and its sup­port­ers want to project an image of West­ern mod­er­a­tion, there is a “Dr. Strangelove” ele­ment that can’t stop the Nazism from pop­ping up from time to time, like when the Peter Sell­ers char­ac­ter in the clas­sic movie can’t keep his right arm from mak­ing a “Heil Hitler” salute.

This bru­tal Nazism sur­faced again on Fri­day when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encamp­ment of eth­nic Russ­ian pro­test­ers dri­ving them into a trade union build­ing which was then set on fire with Molo­tov cock­tails. As the build­ing was engulfed in flames, some peo­ple who tried to flee were chased and beat­en, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists liken them to black-and-red-striped pota­to bee­tles called Col­orados, because those col­ors are used in pro-Russ­ian rib­bons.

“Burn, Col­orado, burn” went the chant.

As the fire wors­ened, those dying inside were ser­e­nad­ed with the taunt­ing singing of the Ukrain­ian nation­al anthem. The build­ing also was spray-paint­ed with Swasti­ka-like sym­bols and graf­fi­ti read­ing “Gali­cian SS,” a ref­er­ence to the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist army that fought along­side the Ger­man Nazi SS in World War II, killing Rus­sians on the east­ern front.

The death by fire of dozens of peo­ple in Odessa recalled a World War II inci­dent in 1944 when ele­ments of a Gali­cian SS police reg­i­ment took part in the mas­sacre of the Pol­ish vil­lage of Huta Pieni­ac­ka, which had been a refuge for Jews and was pro­tect­ed by Russ­ian and Pol­ish par­ti­sans. Attacked by a mixed force of Ukrain­ian police and Ger­man sol­diers on Feb. 28, hun­dreds of towns­peo­ple were mas­sa­cred, includ­ing many locked in barns that were set ablaze.

The lega­cy of World War II – espe­cial­ly the bit­ter fight between Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists from the west and eth­nic Rus­sians from the east sev­en decades ago – is nev­er far from the sur­face in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics.One of the heroes cel­e­brat­ed dur­ing the Maid­an protests in Kiev was Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera, whose name was hon­ored in many ban­ners includ­ing one on a podi­um where Sen. John McCain voiced sup­port for the upris­ing to oust elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, whose polit­i­cal base was in east­ern Ukraine.

Dur­ing World War II, Ban­dera head­ed the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nationalists‑B, a rad­i­cal para­mil­i­tary move­ment that sought to trans­form Ukraine into a racial­ly pure state. OUN‑B took part in the expul­sion and exter­mi­na­tion of thou­sands of Jews and Poles.

Though most of the Maid­an pro­test­ers in 2013–14 appeared moti­vat­ed by anger over polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion and by a desire to join the Euro­pean Union, neo-Nazis made up a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber. These storm troop­ers from the Right Sek­tor and Svo­bo­da par­ty decked out some of the occu­pied gov­ern­ment build­ings with Nazi insignias and even a Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag, the uni­ver­sal sym­bol of white suprema­cy.

Then, as the protests turned vio­lent from Feb. 20–22, the neo-Nazis surged to the fore­front. Their well-trained mili­tias, orga­nized in 100-man brigades called “the hun­dreds,” led the final assaults against police and forced Yanukovych and many of his offi­cials to flee for their lives.

In the days after the coup, as the neo-Nazi mili­tias effec­tive­ly con­trolled the gov­ern­ment, Euro­pean and U.S. diplo­mats scram­bled to help the shak­en par­lia­ment put togeth­er the sem­blance of a respectable regime, although four min­istries, includ­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty, were award­ed to the right-wing extrem­ists in recog­ni­tion of their cru­cial role in oust­ing Yanukovych.

See­ing No Nazis

Since Feb­ru­ary, vir­tu­al­ly the entire U.S. news media has coop­er­at­ed in the effort to play down the neo-Nazi role, dis­miss­ing any men­tion of this incon­ve­nient truth as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.” Sto­ries in the U.S. media del­i­cate­ly step around the neo-Nazi real­i­ty by keep­ing out rel­e­vant con­text, such as the back­ground of nation­al secu­ri­ty chief Andriy Paru­biy, who found­ed the Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine in 1991, blend­ing rad­i­cal Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism with neo-Nazi sym­bols. Paru­biy was com­man­dant of the Maidan’s “self-defense forces.” [Paru­biy belongs to Swoboda–D.E.] 

When the neo-Nazi fac­tor is men­tioned in the main­stream U.S. press, it is usu­al­ly to dis­miss it as non­sense, such as an April 20 col­umn by New York Times colum­nist Nicholas Kristof who vis­it­ed his ances­tral home, the west­ern Ukrain­ian town of Kara­pchiv, and por­trayed its res­i­dents as the true voice of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple.

“To under­stand why Ukraini­ans are risk­ing war with Rus­sia to try to pluck them­selves from Moscow’s grip, I came to this vil­lage where my father grew up,” he wrote. “Even here in the vil­lage, Ukraini­ans watch Russ­ian tele­vi­sion and loathe the pro­pa­gan­da por­tray­ing them as neo-Nazi thugs ram­pag­ing against Russ­ian speak­ers.

“‘If you lis­ten to them, we all car­ry assault rifles; we’re all beat­ing peo­ple,’ Ilya Moskal, a his­to­ry teacher, said con­temp­tu­ous­ly.”

In an April 17 col­umn from Kiev, Kristof wrote that what the Ukraini­ans want is weapons from the West so they can to go “bear-hunt­ing,” i.e. killing Rus­sians. “Peo­ple seem to feel a bit dis­ap­point­ed that the Unit­ed States and Europe haven’t been more sup­port­ive, and they are humil­i­at­ed that their own act­ing gov­ern­ment hasn’t done more to con­front Russ­ian-backed mil­i­tants. So, espe­cial­ly after a few drinks, peo­ple are ready to take down the Russ­ian Army them­selves.”

Kristof also repeat­ed the U.S. “con­ven­tion­al wis­dom” that the resis­tance to the coup regime among east­ern Ukraini­ans was entire­ly the work of Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, who, Kristof wrote, “warns that Ukraine is on the brink of civ­il war. But the chaos in east­ern cities is his own cre­ation, in part by send­ing provo­ca­teurs across the bor­der.”

How­ev­er, when the New York Times final­ly sent two reporters to spend time with rebels from the east, they encoun­tered an indige­nous move­ment moti­vat­ed by hos­til­i­ty to the Kiev regime and show­ing no signs of direc­tion from Moscow. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Anoth­er NYT ‘Sort of’ Retrac­tion on Ukraine.”]

Beyond the jour­nal­is­tic risk of jump­ing to con­clu­sions, Kristof, who fan­cies him­self a great human­i­tar­i­an, also should rec­og­nize that the clever depic­tion of human beings as ani­mals, whether as “bears” or “Col­orado bee­tles,” can have hor­ren­dous human con­se­quences as is now appar­ent in Odessa.

Reagan’s Nazis

But the prob­lem with some west­ern Ukraini­ans express­ing their incon­ve­nient love for Nazis has not been lim­it­ed to the cur­rent cri­sis. It bedev­iled Ronald Reagan’s admin­is­tra­tion when it began heat­ing up the Cold War in the 1980s.

As part of that strat­e­gy, Reagan’s Unit­ed States Infor­ma­tion Agency, under his close friend Charles Wick, hired a cast of right-wing Ukrain­ian exiles who began show­ing up on U.S.-funded Radio Lib­er­ty prais­ing the Gali­cian SS.

These com­men­taries includ­ed pos­i­tive depic­tions of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists who had sided with the Nazis in World War II as the SS waged its “final solu­tion” against Euro­pean Jews. The pro­pa­gan­da broad­casts pro­voked out­rage from Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions, such as B’nai B’rith, and indi­vid­u­als includ­ing con­ser­v­a­tive aca­d­e­m­ic Richard Pipes.

Accord­ing to an inter­nal memo dat­ed May 4, 1984, and writ­ten by James Critchlow, a research offi­cer at the Board of Inter­na­tion­al Broad­cast­ing, which man­aged Radio Lib­er­ty and Radio Free Europe, one RL broad­cast in par­tic­u­lar was viewed as “defend­ing Ukraini­ans who fought in the ranks of the SS.”

Critchlow wrote, “An RL Ukrain­ian broad­cast of Feb. 12, 1984 con­tains ref­er­ences to the Nazi-ori­ent­ed Ukrain­ian-manned SS ‘Gali­cia’ Divi­sion of World War II which may have dam­aged RL’s rep­u­ta­tion with Sovi­et lis­ten­ers. The mem­oirs of a Ger­man diplo­mat are quot­ed in a way that seems to con­sti­tute endorse­ment by RL of praise for Ukrain­ian vol­un­teers in the SS divi­sion, which dur­ing its exis­tence fought side by side with the Ger­mans against the Red Army.”

Har­vard Pro­fes­sor Pipes, who was an infor­mal advis­er to the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, also inveighed against the Radio Lib­er­ty broad­casts, writ­ing – on Dec. 3, 1984 – “the Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian ser­vices of RL have been trans­mit­ting this year bla­tant­ly anti-Semit­ic mate­r­i­al to the Sovi­et Union which may cause the whole enter­prise irrepara­ble harm.” . . . .

5. Burn­ing peo­ple alive seems to have become some­thing of an estab­lished tac­tic by the Nazi forces in Ukraine.

“Burn­ing Ukraine’s Pro­test­ers Alive” by Robert Par­ry; OpE­d­News; 5/10/2014.

In Ukraine, a gris­ly new strat­e­gy — bring­ing in neo-Nazi para­mil­i­tary forces to set fire to occu­pied build­ings in the coun­try’s rebel­lious south­east — appears to be emerg­ing as a favored tac­tic as the coup-installed regime in Kiev seeks to put down resis­tance from eth­nic Rus­sians and oth­er oppo­nents.

The tech­nique first emerged on May 2 in the port city of Odessa when pro-regime mil­i­tants chased dis­si­dents into the Trade Unions Build­ing and then set it on fire. As some 40 or more eth­nic Rus­sians were burned alive or died of smoke inhala­tion, the crowd out­side mocked them as red-and-black Col­orado pota­to bee­tles, with the chant of “Burn, Col­orado, burn.” After­wards, reporters spot­ted graf­fi­ti on the build­ing’s walls con­tain­ing Swasti­ka-like sym­bols and hon­or­ing the “Gali­cian SS,” the Ukrain­ian adjunct to the Ger­man SS in World War II.

This tac­tic of torch­ing an occu­pied build­ing occurred again on May 9 in Mar­i­upol, anoth­er port city, as neo-Nazi para­mil­i­taries — orga­nized now as the regime’s “Nation­al Guard” — were dis­patched to a police sta­tion that had been seized by dis­si­dents, pos­si­bly includ­ing police offi­cers who reject­ed a new Kiev-appoint­ed chief. Again, the deploy­ment of the “Nation­al Guard” was fol­lowed by burn­ing the build­ing and killing a sig­nif­i­cant but still-unde­ter­mined num­ber of peo­ple inside. (Ear­ly esti­mates of the dead range from sev­en to 20.)

In the U.S. press, Ukraine’s “Nation­al Guard” is usu­al­ly described as a new force derived from the Maid­an’s “self-defense” units that spear­head­ed the Feb. 22 revolt in Kiev over­throw­ing elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych. But the Maid­an’s “self-defense” units were drawn pri­mar­i­ly from well-orga­nized bands of neo-Nazi extrem­ists from west­ern Ukraine who hurled fire­bombs at police and fired weapons as the anti-Yanukovych protests turned increas­ing­ly vio­lent.

But the main­stream U.S. press — in line with State Depart­ment guid­ance — has sought to min­i­mize or dis­miss the key role played by neo-Nazis in these “self-defense” forces as well as in the new gov­ern­ment. At most, you’ll see ref­er­ences to these neo-Nazis as “Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists.” . . . .

6. Where­as West­ern media have been unblink­ing in their lock­step endorse­ment of the con­tention that Rus­sia “invad­ed” Ukraine and “annexed” Crimea, Robert notes that nei­ther is the case.
Analy­sis by U.S. experts do not cor­rob­o­rate the “Russ­ian inva­sion meme.”

“Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ On Ukraine?” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 9/2/2014.

. . . . And now there’s the curi­ous case of Russia’s alleged “inva­sion” of Ukraine, anoth­er alarmist claim trum­pet­ed by the Kiev regime and echoed by NATO hard­lin­ers and the MSM.

While I’m told that Rus­sia did pro­vide some light weapons to the rebels ear­ly in the strug­gle so they could defend them­selves and their ter­ri­to­ry – and a num­ber of Russ­ian nation­al­ists have crossed the bor­der to join the fight – the claims of an overt “inva­sion” with tanks, artillery and truck con­voys have been backed up by scant intel­li­gence.

One for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cial who has exam­ined the evi­dence said the intel­li­gence to sup­port the claims of a sig­nif­i­cant Russ­ian inva­sion amount­ed to “vir­tu­al­ly noth­ing.” Instead, it appears that the eth­nic Russ­ian rebels may have evolved into a more effec­tive fight­ing force than many in the West thought. They are, after all, fight­ing on their home turf for their futures.

Con­cerned about the lat­est rush to judg­ment about the “inva­sion,” the Vet­er­an Intel­li­gence Pro­fes­sion­als for San­i­ty, a group of for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials and ana­lysts, took the unusu­al step of send­ing a memo to Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel warn­ing her of a pos­si­ble replay of the false claims that led to the Iraq War.

“You need to know,” the group wrote, “that accu­sa­tions of a major Russ­ian ‘inva­sion’ of Ukraine appear not to be sup­port­ed by reli­able intel­li­gence. Rather, the ‘intel­li­gence’ seems to be of the same dubi­ous, polit­i­cal­ly ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘jus­ti­fy’ the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.”

But these doubts and con­cerns are not reflect­ed in the Post’s edi­to­r­i­al or oth­er MSM accounts of the dan­ger­ous Ukraine cri­sis. Indeed, Amer­i­cans who rely on these pow­er­ful news out­lets for their infor­ma­tion are as shel­tered from real­i­ty as any­one liv­ing in a total­i­tar­i­an soci­ety.

7. West­ern  media have also been unre­lent­ing in their por­tray­als of the “inva­sion” or “annex­a­tion” of Crimea. Once again, Robert Par­ry’s analy­sis dif­fers sig­nif­i­cant­ly from the MSM.

A cen­tral piece of the West’s false nar­ra­tive on the Ukraine cri­sis has been that Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin “invad­ed” Crimea and then staged a “sham” ref­er­en­dum pur­port­ing to show 96 per­cent sup­port for leav­ing Ukraine and rejoin­ing Rus­sia. More recent­ly, Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State Vic­to­ria Nuland claimed that Putin has sub­ject­ed Crimea to a “reign of ter­ror.”

Both ele­ments have been part of the “group think” that dom­i­nates U.S. polit­i­cal and media cir­cles, but this pro­pa­gan­dis­tic sto­ry­line sim­ply isn’t true, espe­cial­ly the part about the Crimeans being sub­ju­gat­ed by Rus­sia.

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin address­es a crowd on May 9, 2014, cel­e­brat­ing the 69th anniver­sary of vic­to­ry over Nazi Ger­many and the 70th anniver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of the Crimean port city of Sev­astopol from the Nazis. (Russ­ian gov­ern­ment pho­to)

Con­sis­tent­ly, over the past year, polls con­duct­ed by major West­ern firms have revealed that the peo­ple of Crimea by over­whelm­ing num­bers pre­fer being part of Rus­sia over Ukraine, an embar­rass­ing real­i­ty that Forbes busi­ness mag­a­zine has now acknowl­edged.

An arti­cle by Ken­neth Rapoza, a Forbes spe­cial­ist on devel­op­ing mar­kets, cit­ed these polls as show­ing that the Crimeans do not want the Unit­ed States and the Euro­pean Union to force them back into an unhap­py mar­riage with Ukraine. “The Crimeans are hap­py right where they are” with Rus­sia, Rapoza wrote.

“One year after the annex­a­tion of the Ukrain­ian penin­su­la in the Black Sea, poll after poll shows that the locals there — be they Ukraini­ans, eth­nic Rus­sians or Tar­tars are all in agree­ment: life with Rus­sia is bet­ter than life with Ukraine,” he wrote, adding that “the bulk of human­i­ty liv­ing on the Black Sea penin­su­la believe the ref­er­en­dum to secede from Ukraine was legit.”

Rapoza not­ed that a June 2014 Gallup poll, which was spon­sored by the U.S. government’s Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, found that 82.8 per­cent of Crimeans said the March 16 ref­er­en­dum on seces­sion reflect­ed the views of the Crimean peo­ple. In the poll, when asked if join­ing Rus­sia would improve their lives, 73.9 per­cent said yes and only 5.5 per­cent said no.

A Feb­ru­ary 2015 poll by Ger­man polling firm GfK found sim­i­lar results. When Crimeans were asked “do you endorse Russia’s annex­a­tion of Crimea,” 93 per­cent gave a pos­i­tive response, with 82 per­cent say­ing, “yes, def­i­nite­ly.” Only 2 per­cent said no, with the remain­der unsure or not answer­ing.

In oth­er words, the West’s insis­tence that Rus­sia must return Crimea to Ukraine would mean vio­lat­ing the age-old U.S. prin­ci­ple of a people’s right of self-deter­mi­na­tion. It would force the large­ly eth­nic Russ­ian pop­u­la­tion of Crimea to sub­mit to a Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment that many Crimeans view as ille­git­i­mate, the result of a vio­lent U.S.-backed coup on Feb. 22, 2014, that oust­ed elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych.

The coup touched off a bru­tal civ­il war in which the right-wing regime in Kiev dis­patched neo-Nazi and oth­er extrem­ist mili­tias to spear­head a fierce “anti-ter­ror­ism oper­a­tion” against resis­tance from the eth­nic Russ­ian pop­u­la­tion in the east, which – like Crimea – had sup­port­ed Yanukovych. More than 6,000 Ukraini­ans, most of them eth­nic Rus­sians, have been killed in the fight­ing.

Despite this real­i­ty, the main­stream U.S. news media has mis­re­port­ed the cri­sis and dis­tort­ed the facts to con­form to U.S. State Depart­ment pro­pa­gan­da. Thus, many Amer­i­cans believe the false nar­ra­tive about Russ­ian troops crush­ing the pop­u­lar will of the Crimean peo­ple, much as the U.S. pub­lic was mis­led about the Iraq sit­u­a­tion in 2002-03 by many of the same news out­lets.

Or, as Forbes’ Rapoza put it: “At some point, the West will have to rec­og­nize Crimea’s right to self rule. Unless we are all to believe that the locals polled by Gallup and GfK were done so with FSB bogey men stand­ing by with guns in their hands.” The FSB is a Russ­ian intel­li­gence agency.

The GfK sur­vey also found that Crimeans con­sid­ered the Ukrain­ian media, which has been wild­ly anti-Russ­ian, unre­li­able. Only 1 per­cent said the Ukrain­ian media “pro­vides entire­ly truth­ful infor­ma­tion” and only 4 per­cent said it was “more often truth­ful than deceit­ful.”

So, the peo­ple at the front­line of this con­flict, where Assis­tant Sec­re­tary Nuland, detect­ed a “reign of ter­ror,” say they are not only sat­is­fied with being restored to Rus­sia, which con­trolled Crimea since the 1700s, but don’t trust the dis­tort­ed ver­sion of events that they see on Ukrain­ian TV.

Prac­ti­cal Rea­sons

Some of the rea­sons for the Crimean atti­tudes are sim­ply prag­mat­ic. Russ­ian pen­sions were three times larg­er than what the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment paid – and now the Ukrain­ian pen­sions are being slashed fur­ther in com­pli­ance with aus­ter­i­ty demands from the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund.

This month, Nuland boast­ed about those pen­sion cuts in prais­ing the Kiev regime’s steps toward becom­ing a “free-mar­ket state.” She also hailed “reforms” that will force Ukraini­ans to work hard­er and into old age and that slashed gas sub­si­dies which helped the poor pay their heat­ing bills.

Last year, the New York Times and oth­er U.S. news out­lets also tossed around the word “inva­sion” quite promis­cu­ous­ly in dis­cussing Crimea. But you may recall that you saw no images of Russ­ian tanks crash­ing into the Crimean penin­su­la or an amphibi­ous land­ing or para­troops descend­ing from the skies. The rea­son was sim­ple: Russ­ian troops were already in Crimea.

The Rus­sians had a lease agree­ment with Ukraine per­mit­ting up to 25,000 mil­i­tary per­son­nel in Crimea to pro­tect the Russ­ian naval base at Sev­astopol. About 16,000 Russ­ian troops were on the ground when the Feb. 22, 2014 putsch occurred in Kiev – and after a cri­sis meet­ing at the Krem­lin, they were dis­patched to pre­vent the coup regime from impos­ing its con­trol on Crimea’s peo­ple.

That Russ­ian inter­ven­tion set the stage for the March 16 ref­er­en­dum in which the vot­ers of Crimea turned out in large num­bers and vot­ed over­whelm­ing­ly for seces­sion from Ukraine and rein­te­gra­tion with Rus­sia, a move that the Russ­ian par­lia­ment and Pres­i­dent Putin then approved.

Yet, as anoth­er part of its false report­ing, the New York Times claimed that Putin denied that Russ­ian troops had oper­at­ed inside Crimea – when, in fact, he was quite open about it. For instance, on March 4, 2014, almost two weeks before the ref­er­en­dum, Putin dis­cussed at a Moscow press con­fer­ence the role of Russ­ian troops in pre­vent­ing the vio­lence from spread­ing from Kiev to Crimea. Putin said:

“You should note that, thank God, not a sin­gle gun­shot has been fired there. … Thus the ten­sion in Crimea that was linked to the pos­si­bil­i­ty of using our Armed Forces sim­ply died down and there was no need to use them. The only thing we had to do, and we did it, was to enhance the defense of our mil­i­tary facil­i­ties because they were con­stant­ly receiv­ing threats and we were aware of the armed nation­al­ists mov­ing in. We did this, it was the right thing to do and very time­ly.”

Two days after the ref­er­en­dum, which record­ed the 96 per­cent vote in favor of seced­ing from Ukraine and rejoin­ing Rus­sia, Putin returned to the issue of Russ­ian involve­ment in Crimea. In a for­mal speech to the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion, Putin jus­ti­fied Crimea’s desire to escape the grasp of the coup regime in Kiev, say­ing:

“Those who opposed the [Feb. 22] coup were imme­di­ate­ly threat­ened with repres­sion. Nat­u­ral­ly, the first in line here was Crimea, the Russ­ian-speak­ing Crimea. In view of this, the res­i­dents of Crimea and Sev­astopol turned to Rus­sia for help in defend­ing their rights and lives, in pre­vent­ing the events that were unfold­ing and are still under­way in Kiev, Donet­sk, Kharkov and oth­er Ukrain­ian cities.

“Nat­u­ral­ly, we could not leave this plea unheed­ed; we could not aban­don Crimea and its res­i­dents in dis­tress. This would have been betray­al on our part.”

But to make it appear that Putin was deny­ing a mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion, the Times and oth­er U.S. news out­lets trun­cat­ed Putin’s state­ment when he said, “Russia’s Armed Forces nev­er entered Crimea.” The West­ern press stopped there, ignor­ing what he said next: “they were there already in line with an inter­na­tion­al agree­ment.”

Putin’s point was that Russ­ian troops based in Crimea took actions that dif­fused a pos­si­bly vio­lent sit­u­a­tion and gave the peo­ple of Crimea a chance to express their wish­es through the bal­lot. But that ver­sion of events didn’t fit with the desired nar­ra­tive pushed by the U.S. State Depart­ment and the New York Times. So the prob­lem was solved by mis­rep­re­sent­ing what Putin said.

But the larg­er issue now is whether the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and the Euro­pean Union will insist on forc­ing the Crimean peo­ple – against their will – to rejoin Ukraine, a coun­try that is rapid­ly slid­ing into the sta­tus of a failed state and a remark­ably cru­el one at that.

 8a. A major part of the “Big Lie” in Ukraine con­cerns the down­ing of Malaysian Air­lines Flight 17.  Where­as it is tak­en for grant­ed in the MSM that “Rus­sia” and/or “Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists” downed the plane, U.S. recon­nais­sance ana­lysts have found that, appar­ent­ly drunk Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment sol­diers fired the mis­sile.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Robert Par­ry has been one of the few ana­lysts to ques­tion the “offi­cial’ ver­sion of the down­ing of MH-17. An Aus­tralian “60 Min­utes” piece about the down­ing of the plane appears to have been staged.

“A Reck­less ‘Stand-Upper’ on MH17” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 5/28/2015.

Exclu­sive: Australia’s “60 Min­utes” claimed to do an inves­tiga­tive report prov­ing the anti-air­craft bat­tery that shot down Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 last July fled into Rus­sia and pin­ning the atroc­i­ty on Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Putin. But the news show did a mean­ing­less “stand-upper,” not an inves­ti­ga­tion, writes Robert Par­ry.

By Robert Par­ry

In TV jour­nal­ism, there’s a dif­fer­ence between doing a “stand-upper” and doing an inves­tiga­tive report, although appar­ent­ly Australia’s “60 Min­utes” doesn’t under­stand the dis­tinc­tion. A “stand-upper” is the TV prac­tice of rush­ing a cor­re­spon­dent to a scene to read some pre­pared script or state some pre­or­dained con­clu­sion. An inves­ti­ga­tion calls for check­ing out facts and test­ing out assump­tions.

That inves­tiga­tive com­po­nent is espe­cial­ly impor­tant if you’re prepar­ing to accuse some­one of a heinous crime, say, mass mur­der, even if the accused is a demo­nized fig­ure like Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. Such charges should not be cast about casu­al­ly. Indeed, it is the job of jour­nal­ists to show skep­ti­cism in the face of these sorts of accu­sa­tions. In the case of Rus­sia, there’s the oth­er pos­si­ble com­pli­ca­tion that biased jour­nal­ism and over-the-top pro­pa­gan­da could con­tribute to a nuclear show­down.

We are still liv­ing with the cat­a­stro­phe of the main­stream media going with the flow of false claims about Sad­dam Hus­sein and Iraq’s weapons of mass destruc­tion. Now many of the same media out­lets are par­rot­ing sim­i­lar pro­pa­gan­da aimed at Rus­sia with­out demon­strat­ing inde­pen­dence and ask­ing tough ques­tions – although the con­se­quences now could be even more cat­a­stroph­ic.

That is the con­text of my crit­i­cism of Australia’s “60 Min­utes” han­dling of the key video evi­dence sup­pos­ed­ly impli­cat­ing Rus­sia and Putin in the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 over east­ern Ukraine. It is appar­ent from the show’s orig­i­nal, much-hyped pre­sen­ta­tion and a three-minute-plus fol­low-up that the show and its cor­re­spon­dent Michael Ush­er failed to check out the facts sur­round­ing an ama­teur video alleged­ly show­ing a BUK anti-air­craft mis­sile bat­tery – miss­ing one mis­sile – after the MH-17 shoot-down.

In the days fol­low­ing that tragedy, killing 298 peo­ple, Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials pro­mot­ed the video on social media as sup­pos­ed­ly show­ing the BUK bat­tery mak­ing its get­away past a bill­board in Krasnodon, a town south­east of Luhan­sk, alleged­ly en route toward Rus­sia. That claim pri­mar­i­ly came from Ukraine’s Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov, con­sid­ered one of the regime’s most right-wing fig­ures who rose to pow­er after a U.S.-back coup in Feb­ru­ary 2014.

From a jour­nal­is­tic stand­point, Avakov and the oth­er Kiev author­i­ties should have been con­sid­ered biased observers. Indeed, they were among the pos­si­ble sus­pects for the shoot-down. More­over, the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment placed the video’s bill­board in the town of Krasnoarmiis’k, north­west of Donet­sk and then under Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment con­trol. To sup­port that claim, the Rus­sians cit­ed a local address on the bill­board. . . 

. . . . In the ini­tial pro­gram, you see the “60 Min­utes” team doing exact­ly that on some videos of less­er sig­nif­i­cance by super­im­pos­ing some of its own shots over ama­teur footage. How­ev­er, when it came to the key piece of evi­dence – the “get­away” video – the pro­gram devi­at­ed from that pat­tern. Instead of match­ing any­thing up, Ush­er just did a “stand-upper” in front of one of the bill­boards.

Ush­er bold­ly accused the Rus­sians of lying about the loca­tion of the bill­board and assert­ed that he and his team had found the real loca­tion. Ush­er ges­tured to the bill­boards on the inter­sec­tion in rebel-con­trolled Luhan­sk. He then accused Putin of respon­si­bil­i­ty for the 298 deaths.

But none of Usher’s images matched up with the “get­away” video. The scene in the video was clear­ly dif­fer­ent from the scene shown by Ush­er. After sev­er­al peo­ple sent me the seg­ment on Australia’s “60 Min­utes,” I watched it and wrote an arti­cle not­ing the obvi­ous prob­lems in the scene as pre­sent­ed.

My point was not to say where the video was shot. As far as I know, it might even have been shot in Luhan­sk. My point was that Ush­er and his team had failed to do their inves­tiga­tive duty to ver­i­fy the loca­tion as pre­cise­ly as pos­si­ble. Under prin­ci­ples of Eng­lish-based law — and of West­ern jour­nal­ism — there is a pre­sump­tion of inno­cence until suf­fi­cient­ly cor­rob­o­rat­ed evi­dence is pre­sent­ed. The bur­den of proof rests on the pros­e­cu­tors or, in this case, the jour­nal­ists. It’s not enough to guess at these things.

But Ush­er and his team treat­ed their job like they were just doing a “stand-upper” – putting Ush­er in front of some bill­boards in Luhan­sk to deliv­er his con­clu­sions (or those of Hig­gins) – not as an inves­tiga­tive assign­ment, which would have skep­ti­cal­ly exam­ined the assump­tions behind cit­ing that loca­tion as the scene in the video.

Ush­er offered no details about how he and his team had reached their con­clu­sion on where the video was shot beyond ref­er­enc­ing their meet­ings with blog­ger Hig­gins, who oper­ates out of a house in Leices­ter, Eng­land.

Though there was no dis­pute that the images of the “get­away” video and Usher’s “stand-upper” didn’t match, an irate “60 Min­utes” pro­duc­er released a state­ment denounc­ing me and defend­ing the show. The state­ment did, how­ev­er, acknowl­edge that the team had not tried to repli­cate the scene in the “get­away” video, say­ing:

“We opt­ed to do our piece to cam­era as a wide shot show­ing the whole road sys­tem so the audi­ence could get the lay­out and see which way the Buk was head­ing. The back­ground in our piece to cam­era looks dif­fer­ent to the orig­i­nal Buk video sim­ply because it was shot from a dif­fer­ent angle. The orig­i­nal video was obvi­ous­ly shot from one of the apart­ments behind, through the trees — which in in sum­mer were in full leaf.”

Those claims, how­ev­er, were more excus­es than real argu­ments. The wide shot did noth­ing to help Aus­tralian view­ers get a mean­ing­ful sense of the “lay­out” in Luhan­sk. There was also no map or oth­er graph­ic that could have shown where the apart­ments were and how that would have explained the dra­mat­ic dis­crep­an­cies between the “get­away” video and the “wide shot.”

After the pub­lic state­ment, there were oth­er rum­blings that I would be fur­ther put down in a fol­low-up that “60 Min­utes” was prepar­ing. I thought the update might present out-takes of the crew seek­ing access to the apart­ments or at least lin­ing up a shot from that angle as best they could – you know, inves­tiga­tive stuff.

Instead, when the update aired, it con­sist­ed of more insults – ref­er­ences to “Krem­lin stooges” and “Russ­ian pup­pets” – and a reprise of ear­li­er parts of the pro­gram that I had not dis­put­ed. When the update final­ly got to the key “get­away” scene, Ush­er went into full blus­ter mode but again failed to present any seri­ous evi­dence that his crew had matched up any­thing from the orig­i­nal video to what was found in Luhan­sk.

First, Ush­er pulled a sleight of hand by show­ing a traf­fic-cam­era shot of the inter­sec­tion appar­ent­ly sup­plied by Hig­gins and then match­ing up those land­marks to show that the crew had found the same inter­sec­tion. But that is irrel­e­vant to the ques­tion of whether the “get­away” video was tak­en in that inter­sec­tion. In oth­er words, Ush­er was try­ing to fool his audi­ence by mix­ing togeth­er two dif­fer­ent issues.

Sure, Ush­er and his team had found the inter­sec­tion picked out by Hig­gins as the pos­si­ble scene, but so what? The chal­lenge was to match up land­marks from the “get­away” video to that inter­sec­tion. On that point, Ush­er cit­ed only one item, a non-descript util­i­ty pole that Ush­er claimed looked like a util­i­ty pole in the “get­away” video.

How­ev­er, the prob­lems with that claim were mul­ti­ple. First, util­i­ty poles tend to look alike and these two appear to have some dif­fer­ences though it’s hard to tell from the grainy “get­away” video. But what’s not hard to tell is that the sur­round­ings are almost entire­ly dif­fer­ent. The pole in the “get­away” video has a great deal of veg­e­ta­tion to its right while Usher’s pole doesn’t.

And then there’s the case of the miss­ing house. The one notable land­mark in that sec­tion of the “get­away” video is a house to the pole’s left. That house does not appear in Usher’s video, although “60 Min­utes” par­tial­ly obscured the spot where the house should be by insert­ing an inset, thus adding to a viewer’s con­fu­sion.

Yet, one has to think that if Usher’s crew had found the house – or for that mat­ter, any­thing besides a util­i­ty pole that looked like some­thing from the video – they would have high­light­ed it.

Some of the show’s defend­ers are now say­ing that the pole was shot from a dif­fer­ent angle, too, so it’s not fair for me to say it doesn’t line up. But, again, that’s not the point. It’s “60 Min­utes” that is mak­ing an accu­sa­tion of mass mur­der, so it has the respon­si­bil­i­ty to present mean­ing­ful evi­dence to sup­port that charge. It can’t start whin­ing because some­one notes that its evi­dence is faulty or non-exis­tent.

So, here’s the prob­lem: As angry as “60 Min­utes” is with me for not­ing the flaws in its report, it was Usher’s job to check out whether the “get­away” video matched with the inter­sec­tion iden­ti­fied by Hig­gins as the pos­si­ble scene in Luhan­sk. Based on what was shown in the first show and then in the update, Usher’s team failed mis­er­ably. . . .

10a. Turn­ing to the gov­er­nance Ukraine has been expe­ri­enc­ing since the coup, we note that death squads appear to be elim­i­nat­ing polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion in Ukraine.

“Mys­te­ri­ous Deaths in Ukraine” by William Blum; Con­sor­tium News; 4/3/2015.

Fol­low­ing the mur­der of Russ­ian oppo­si­tion leader, and for­mer Deputy Prime Min­is­ter, Boris Nemtsov in Moscow on Feb. 27, the West had a field day. Rang­ing from strong innu­en­do to out­right accu­sa­tion of a Krem­lin-direct­ed polit­i­cal mur­der, the West­ern media and politi­cians did not miss an oppor­tu­ni­ty to treat Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin as a foot­ball prac­tice dum­my.

The Euro­pean Par­lia­ment adopt­ed a res­o­lu­tion urg­ing an inter­na­tion­al inves­ti­ga­tion into Nemtsov’s death and sug­gest­ed that the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe, the Euro­pean Coun­cil, and the Unit­ed Nations could play a role in the probe.

U.S. Sen­a­tors John McCain and Lind­sey Gra­ham intro­duced a Sen­ate Res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing the Nemtsov mur­der. The Res­o­lu­tion also called on Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to pur­sue an inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion into the mur­der and redou­ble efforts to advance free speech, human rights, and the rule of law in Rus­sia.

In addi­tion, it urged Oba­ma to con­tin­ue to sanc­tion human rights vio­la­tors in the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion and to increase U.S. sup­port to human rights activists in Rus­sia.

So it went … all over the West.

Mean­while, in the same time peri­od in Ukraine, out­side of the pro-Russ­ian area in the south­east, the fol­low­ing was report­ed:

Jan. 29: For­mer Chair­man of the local gov­ern­ment of the Kharkov region, Alex­ey Kolesnik, hanged him­self.

–Feb. 24: Stanislav Mel­nik, a mem­ber of the oppo­si­tion par­ty (Par­tia Regionov), shot him­self.

–Feb. 25: The May­or of Meli­topol, Sergey Val­ter, hanged him­self a few hours before his tri­al.

–Feb. 26: Alexan­der Bor­di­u­ga, deputy direc­tor of the Meli­topol police, was found dead in his garage.

–Feb. 26: Alexan­der Peklushenko, for­mer mem­ber of the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment, and for­mer may­or of Zapor­izhi, was found shot to death.

–Feb. 28: Mikhail Chechetov, for­mer mem­ber of par­lia­ment, mem­ber of the oppo­si­tion par­ty (Par­tia Regionov), “fell” from the win­dow of his 17th floor apart­ment in Kiev.

–March 14: The 32-year-old pros­e­cu­tor in Odessa, Sergey Mel­nichuk, “fell” to his death from the 9th floor.

The Par­tia Regionov direct­ly accused the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment in the deaths of their par­ty mem­bers and appealed to the West to react to these events. “We appeal to the Euro­pean Union, PACE [Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly of the Coun­cil of Europe], and Euro­pean and inter­na­tion­al human rights orga­ni­za­tions to imme­di­ate­ly react to the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine, and give a legal assess­ment of the crim­i­nal actions of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, which cyn­i­cal­ly mur­ders its polit­i­cal oppo­nents.”

We can­not con­clude from the above that the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment was respon­si­ble for all, or even any, of these deaths. But nei­ther can we con­clude that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment was respon­si­ble for the death of Boris Nemtsov, the Amer­i­can media and politi­cians notwith­stand­ing.

A search of the mam­moth Nexus news data­base found no men­tion of any of the Ukrain­ian deceased except for the last one above, Sergey Mel­nichuk, but this clear­ly is not the same per­son. It thus appears that none of the deaths on the above list was ascribed to the West­ern-allied Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment.

Where are the demands for inter­na­tion­al inves­ti­ga­tions of any of the deaths? In the Unit­ed States or in Europe? Where is Sen. McCain?

10b. More about the sus­pi­cious deaths in Ukraine:

“How Ukraine Comem­o­rates the Holo­caust” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 4/17/2015.

. . . . Over the past sev­er­al months, there have been about ten mys­te­ri­ous deaths of oppo­si­tion fig­ures– some that the gov­ern­ment claimed to be sui­cides while oth­ers were clear­ly mur­ders. It now appears that pro-gov­ern­ment “death squads” are oper­at­ing with impuni­ty in Kiev.On Wednes­day, Oleg Kalash­nikov, a polit­i­cal leader of the oppo­si­tion Par­ty of Regions, was shot to death in his home. Kalash­nikov had been cam­paign­ing for the right of Ukraini­ans to cel­e­brate the Allied vic­to­ry in World War II, a ges­ture that infu­ri­at­ed some west­ern Ukrain­ian neo-Nazis who iden­ti­fy with Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich and who now feel they have the cur­rent gov­ern­ment in their cor­ner.

On Thurs­day, uniden­ti­fied gun­men mur­dered Ukrain­ian jour­nal­ist Oles Buz­i­na, a regime crit­ic who had protest­ed cen­sor­ship being imposed on news out­lets that didn’t toe the government’s pro­pa­gan­da line. Buz­i­na had been denounced by a pro-regime “jour­nal­is­tic” out­fit which oper­at­ed under the Orwellian name “Stop Cen­sor­ship” and demand­ed that Buz­i­na be banned from mak­ing media appear­ances because he was “an agent of the Krem­lin.”

This week, anoth­er dis­si­dent jour­nal­ist Ser­hiy Sukhobok was report­ed­ly killed in Kiev, amid sketchy accounts that his assailants may have been caught although the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has with­held details.

These deaths are most­ly ignored by the main­stream U.S. news media – or are men­tioned only in briefs with the vic­tims dis­missed as “pro-Russ­ian.” After all, these “death squad” activ­i­ties, which have also been occur­ring in gov­ern­ment-con­trolled sec­tions of east­ern Ukraine, con­flict with the pre­ferred State Depart­ment nar­ra­tive of the Kiev regime busy imple­ment­ing “demo­c­ra­t­ic reforms.” . . . .

 11. Robert describes Natal­ie Jaresko, the Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can finance min­is­ter of Ukraine.

“Ukraine’s Made-in‑U.S.A. Finance Min­is­ter” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 12/5/2014.

Ukraine’s new Finance Min­is­ter Natal­ie Jaresko, a for­mer U.S. State Depart­ment offi­cer who was grant­ed Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship only this week, head­ed a U.S. gov­ern­ment-fund­ed invest­ment project for Ukraine that involved sub­stan­tial insid­er deal­ings, includ­ing $1 mil­lion-plus fees to a man­age­ment com­pa­ny that she also con­trolled.

Jaresko served as pres­i­dent and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of West­ern NIS Enter­prise Fund (WNISEF), which was cre­at­ed by the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (U.S. AID) with $150 mil­lion to spur busi­ness activ­i­ty in Ukraine. She also was cofounder and man­ag­ing part­ner of Hori­zon Cap­i­tal which man­aged WNISEF’s invest­ments at a rate of 2 to 2.5 per­cent of com­mit­ted cap­i­tal, fees exceed­ing $1 mil­lion in recent years, accord­ing to WNISEF’s 2012 annu­al report.

The growth of that insid­er deal­ing at the U.S.-taxpayer-funded WNISEF is fur­ther under­scored by the num­ber of para­graphs com­mit­ted to list­ing the “relat­ed par­ty trans­ac­tions,” i.e., poten­tial con­flicts of inter­est, between an ear­ly annu­al report from 2003 and the one a decade lat­er.

In the 2003 report, the “relat­ed par­ty trans­ac­tions” were summed up in two para­graphs, with the major item a $189,700 pay­ment to a strug­gling com­put­er man­age­ment com­pa­ny where WNISEF had an invest­ment.

In the 2012 report, the sec­tion on “relat­ed par­ty trans­ac­tions” cov­ered some two pages and includ­ed not only the man­age­ment fees to Jaresko’s Hori­zon Cap­i­tal ($1,037,603 in 2011 and $1,023,689 in 2012) but also WNISEF’s co-invest­ments in projects with the Emerg­ing Europe Growth Fund [EEGF], where Jaresko was found­ing part­ner and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer. Jaresko’s Hori­zon Cap­i­tal also man­aged EEGF.

From 2007 to 2011, WNISEF co-invest­ed $4.25 mil­lion with EEGF in Ker­ameya LLC, a Ukrain­ian brick man­u­fac­tur­er, and WNISEF sold EEGF 15.63 per­cent of Moldova’s Fin­com­bank for $5 mil­lion, the report said. It also list­ed exten­sive exchanges of per­son­nel and equip­ment between WNISEF and Hori­zon Cap­i­tal.

Though it’s dif­fi­cult for an out­sider to ascer­tain the rel­a­tive mer­its of these insid­er deals, they could reflect neg­a­tive­ly on Jaresko’s role as Ukraine’s new finance min­is­ter giv­en the country’s rep­u­ta­tion for cor­rup­tion and crony­ism, a prin­ci­pal argu­ment for the U.S.-backed “regime change” that oust­ed elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych last Feb­ru­ary.

Declin­ing Invest­ments

Based on the data from WNISEF’s 2012 annu­al report, it also appeared that the U.S. tax­pay­ers had lost about one-third of their invest­ment in WNISEF, with the fund’s bal­ance at $98,074,030, com­pared to the ini­tial U.S. gov­ern­ment grant of $150 mil­lion.

Giv­en the col­laps­ing Ukrain­ian econ­o­my since the Feb. 22 coup, the val­ue of the fund is like­ly to have slipped even fur­ther. (Efforts to get more recent data from WNISEF’s and Hori­zon Capital’s Web sites were impos­si­ble Fri­day because the sites were down.)

Beyond the long list of “relat­ed par­ty trans­ac­tions” in the annu­al report, there also have been vague alle­ga­tions of impro­pri­eties involv­ing Jaresko from one com­pa­ny insid­er, her ex-hus­band, Ihor Figlus. But his whis­tle-blow­ing was shut down by a court order issued at Jaresko’s insis­tence.

John Helmer, a long­time for­eign cor­re­spon­dent in Rus­sia, dis­closed the out­lines of this dis­pute in an arti­cle exam­in­ing Jaresko’s his­to­ry as a recip­i­ent of U.S. AID’s largesse and how it enabled her to become an invest­ment banker via WNISEF, Hori­zon Cap­i­tal and Emerg­ing Europe Growth Fund.

Helmer wrote: “Exact­ly what hap­pened when Jaresko left the State Depart­ment to go into her gov­ern­ment-paid busi­ness in Ukraine has been spelled out by her ex-hus­band in papers filed in the Chancery Court of Delaware in 2012 and 2013. …

“With­out Figlus and with­out the US Gov­ern­ment, Jaresko would not have had an invest­ment busi­ness in Ukraine. The mon­ey to finance the busi­ness, and their part­ner­ship stakes, turns out to have been loaned to Figlus and Jaresko from Wash­ing­ton.”

Accord­ing to Helmer’s arti­cle, Figlus had reviewed com­pa­ny records in 2011 and con­clud­ed that some loans were “improp­er,” but he lacked the mon­ey to inves­ti­gate so he turned to Mark Rachkevych, a reporter for the Kyiv Post, and gave him infor­ma­tion to inves­ti­gate the pro­pri­ety of the loans.

“When Jaresko real­ized the beans were spilling, she sent Figlus a reminder that he had signed a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment” and secured a tem­po­rary injunc­tion in Delaware on behalf of Hori­zon Cap­i­tal and EEGF to pre­vent Figlus from fur­ther reveal­ing com­pa­ny secrets, Helmer wrote.

“It hasn’t been rare for Amer­i­can spous­es to go into the asset man­age­ment busi­ness in the for­mer Sovi­et Union, and make prof­its under­writ­ten by the US Gov­ern­ment with infor­ma­tion sup­plied from their US Gov­ern­ment posi­tions or con­tacts,” Helmer con­tin­ued. “It is excep­tion­al for them to fall out over the loot.”

Jaresko, who served in the U.S. Embassy in Kiev after the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union, has said that West­ern NIS Enter­prise Fund was “fund­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment to invest in small and medi­um-sized busi­ness­es in Ukraine and Moldo­va – in essence, to ‘kick-start’ the pri­vate equi­ty indus­try in the region.”

While the ulti­mate suc­cess of that U.S.-funded endeav­or may still be unknown, it is clear that the U.S. AID mon­ey did “kick-start” Jaresko’s career in equi­ty invest­ments and put her on the path that has now tak­en her to the job of Ukraine’s new finance min­is­ter. Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko cit­ed her expe­ri­ence in these invest­ment fields to explain his unusu­al deci­sion to bring in an Amer­i­can to run Ukraine’s finances and grant her cit­i­zen­ship.

A Big Invest­ment

The sub­stan­tial U.S. gov­ern­ment sum invest­ed in Jaresko’s WNISEF-based equi­ty fund also sheds new light on how it was pos­si­ble for Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for Euro­pean Affairs Vic­to­ria Nuland to tal­ly up U.S. spend­ing on Ukraine since it became inde­pen­dent in 1991 and reach the astound­ing fig­ure of “more than $5 bil­lion,” which she announced to a meet­ing of U.S.-Ukrainian busi­ness lead­ers last Decem­ber as she was push­ing for “regime change” in Kiev.

The fig­ure was so high that it sur­prised some of Nuland’s State Depart­ment col­leagues. Sev­er­al months lat­er – after a U.S.-backed coup had over­thrown Yanukovych and pitched Ukraine into a nasty civ­il war – Under Sec­re­tary of State for Pub­lic Affairs Richard Sten­gel cit­ed the $5 bil­lion fig­ure as “ludi­crous” Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion after hear­ing the num­ber on Russia’s RT net­work.

Sten­gel, a for­mer Time mag­a­zine edi­tor, didn’t seem to know that the fig­ure had come from a fel­low senior State Depart­ment offi­cial.

Nuland’s “more than $5 bil­lion” fig­ure did seem high, even if one count­ed the many mil­lions of dol­lars spent over the past cou­ple of decades by U.S. AID (which puts its con­tri­bu­tions to Ukraine at $1.8 bil­lion) and the U.S.-funded Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, which has financed hun­dreds of projects for sup­port­ing Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal activists, media oper­a­tives and non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions.

But if one looks at the $150 mil­lion largesse bestowed on Natal­ie Jaresko, you can begin to under­stand the old adage that a hun­dred mil­lion dol­lars here and a hun­dred mil­lion dol­lars there soon adds up to real mon­ey.

Those pay­ments over more than two decades to var­i­ous peo­ple and enti­ties in Ukraine also con­sti­tute a major invest­ment in Ukrain­ian oper­a­tives who are now inclined to do the U.S. government’s bid­ding.

11. In addi­tion to the uncon­ven­tion­al Jaani­ka Mer­i­lo (assis­tant to Jaresko), for­mer Geor­gian Pres­dent Mikhail Saakashvili has become a Ukrain­ian offi­cial.

A telling move by Ukrain­ian pres­i­dent Poroshenko was described by Robert Par­ry: ” . . ..The lat­est polit­i­cal move by the U.S.-backed “pro-democ­ra­cy” regime in Ukraine was to foist on the peo­ple of Odessa the auto­crat­ic Geor­gian ex-Pres­i­dent Mikheil Saakashvili, a neo­con­ser­v­a­tive favorite and cur­rent­ly a fugi­tive from his own coun­try which is seek­ing him on charges of human rights vio­la­tions and embez­zle­ment. . . .”

“Neo­con Fugi­tive Giv­en Ukrain­ian Province” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 6/2/2015.

The lat­est polit­i­cal move by the U.S.-backed “pro-democ­ra­cy” regime in Ukraine was to foist on the peo­ple of Odessa the auto­crat­ic Geor­gian ex-Pres­i­dent Mikheil Saakashvili, a neo­con­ser­v­a­tive favorite and cur­rent­ly a fugi­tive from his own coun­try which is seek­ing him on charges of human rights vio­la­tions and embez­zle­ment.

New York Times cor­re­spon­dent David M. Her­szen­horn jus­ti­fied this impo­si­tion of a new­ly mint­ed Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen on the large­ly Russ­ian-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion of Odessa by say­ing that “the Ukrain­ian public’s gen­er­al will­ing­ness to accept the appoint­ment of for­eign­ers to high-lev­el posi­tions under­scores the deep lack of trust in any gov­ern­ment after near­ly a quar­ter-cen­tu­ry of mis­man­age­ment and cor­rup­tion.”

But Her­szen­horn made no appar­ent effort to gauge how will­ing the peo­ple of Odessa are to accept this choice of a con­tro­ver­sial for­eign politi­cian to gov­ern them. The pick was made by Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko and is just the lat­est ques­tion­able appoint­ment by the post-coup regime in Kiev.

For instance, short­ly after the Feb. 22, 2014 putsch that oust­ed elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, the new U.S.-endorsed author­i­ties in Kiev named thug­gish oli­garch Igor Kolo­moisky to be gov­er­nor of Dnipropetro­vsk in south­east­ern Ukraine. Kolo­moisky, regard­ed as one of Ukraine’s most cor­rupt bil­lion­aires, ruled the region as his per­son­al fief­dom until he was oust­ed by Poroshenko ear­li­er this year in a dis­pute over Kolomoisky’s use of strong-arm tac­tics to main­tain con­trol of Ukrain­ian ener­gy com­pa­nies. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine’s Oli­garchs Turn on Each Oth­er.”]

Poroshenko also has grant­ed overnight Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship to oth­er con­tro­ver­sial for­eign­ers to hold key posi­tions in his gov­ern­ment, includ­ing Finance Min­is­ter Natal­ie Jaresko, an ex‑U.S. State Depart­ment offi­cial whose qual­i­fi­ca­tions includ­ed enrich­ing her­self through her man­age­ment of a $150 mil­lion U.S.-taxpayer-financed invest­ment fund for Ukraine. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine Finance Minister’s ‘Amer­i­can Val­ues’.”]

Beyond his recruit­ment of ques­tion­able out­siders, Poroshenko has made con­ces­sions to Ukraine’s far-right nation­al­ists, includ­ing sign­ing leg­is­la­tion to extend offi­cial recog­ni­tion to Ukrain­ian fas­cists who col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Nazis in killing Jews and Poles dur­ing World War II. In a bit­ter irony, the new law coin­cid­ed with the world’s cel­e­bra­tion in April of the 70thanniver­sary of Russ­ian and U.S. troops bring­ing an end to the Holo­caust. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How Ukraine Com­mem­o­rates the Holo­caust.”]

Now Poroshenko has giv­en Saakashvili his own province to gov­ern, res­cu­ing him from an obscure exis­tence in the Williams­burg neigh­bor­hood of Brook­lyn, New York. Accord­ing to a New York Times pro­file last Sep­tem­ber, Saakashvili was there “writ­ing a mem­oir, deliv­er­ing ‘very well-paid’ speech­es, help­ing start up a Wash­ing­ton-based think tank and vis­it­ing old boost­ers like Sen­a­tor John McCain and Vic­to­ria Nuland, the assis­tant sec­re­tary of state.”

McCain and Nuland were key neo­con back­ers of the coup that oust­ed Yanukovych and touched off the bloody civ­il war that has killed thou­sands of eth­nic Rus­sians in east­ern Ukraine, while also reviv­ing Cold War ten­sions between the West and Rus­sia. Before the coup, McCain urged on right-wing pro­test­ers with promis­es of U.S. sup­port and Nuland was over­heard hand-pick­ing Ukraine’s new lead­er­ship, say­ing “Yats is the guy,” a ref­er­ence to Arseniy Yat­senyuk, who became prime min­is­ter after the coup.

Accord­ing to the Times pro­file, Saakashvili also “enter­tained David H. Petraeus, the for­mer direc­tor of the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency,” anoth­er neo­con favorite who ran into legal trou­ble him­self when the FBI dis­cov­ered he had shared top-secret infor­ma­tion with his biographer/lover and then lied about it to FBI agents. Petraeus, how­ev­er, received only a sus­pend­ed sen­tence and a fine in con­trast to intel­li­gence-com­mu­ni­ty whistle­blow­ers who have faced seri­ous prison time.

Mod­els, Nude Artist and Mas­sage Ther­a­pist

While cool­ing his heels in Brook­lyn, Saakashvili fumed over charges lev­eled against him by pros­e­cu­tors in his home coun­try of Geor­gia. Accord­ing to the Times pro­file, Saakashvili was accused of “using pub­lic mon­ey to pay for, among oth­er things, hotel expens­es for a per­son­al styl­ist, hotel and trav­el for two fash­ion mod­els, Botox injec­tions and hair removal, the rental of a yacht in Italy and the pur­chase of art­work by the Lon­don artist Mered­ith Ostrom, who makes imprints on can­vas­es with her naked, paint­ed body. …

“Mr. Saakashvili is also accused of using pub­lic mon­ey to fly his mas­sage ther­a­pist, Dorothy Stein, into Geor­gia in 2009. Mr. Saakashvili said he received a mas­sage from Ms. Stein on ‘one occa­sion only,’ but Ms. Stein said she received 2,000 euros to mas­sage him mul­ti­ple times, includ­ing deliv­er­ing her trade­mark ‘bite mas­sage.’ ‘He gave me a bunch of presents,’ said Ms. Stein, who splits her time between Berlin and Hobo­ken,” includ­ing a gold neck­lace.

The Geor­gian pros­e­cu­tors also have charged Saakashvili with human rights vio­la­tions for hisvio­lent crack­down on polit­i­cal pro­test­ers in 2007.

How­ev­er, in Herszenhorn’s May 31 arti­cle about Saakashvili’s appoint­ment as Odessa’s gov­er­nor, the Times cor­re­spon­dent (who has behaved more like a pro-Kiev pro­pa­gan­distthan an objec­tive reporter) wrote that the crim­i­nal charges against Saakashvili and oth­er offi­cials from his gov­ern­ment are “wide­ly per­ceived as a cam­paign of polit­i­cal ret­ri­bu­tion.”

Her­szen­horn didn’t say where he had gained that per­cep­tion, but it is true that Offi­cial Washington’s neo­con­ser­v­a­tives will broach no crit­i­cism of their long­time hero Saakashvili, who was a big boost­er of the Iraq War and even named a boule­vard in the Geor­gian cap­i­tal of Tbil­isi in hon­or of U.S. Pres­i­dent George W. Bush.

Saakashvili appar­ent­ly felt that his close ties to the Bush admin­is­tra­tion would pro­tect him in sum­mer 2008 when he pro­voked a bor­der clash with Russ­ian troops over the rebel­lious ter­ri­to­ry of South Osse­tia. Geor­gia suf­fered a sharp mil­i­tary defeat and Saakashvili’s polit­i­cal star quick­ly fad­ed among his coun­try­men, lead­ing to his party’s rejec­tion at the polls and his exile.

But Saakashvili’s love of the high life might find sim­i­lar atti­tudes among some of the oth­er “car­pet­bag­gers” arriv­ing in Ukraine to take Ukrain­ian cit­i­zen­ship and get top jobs in the post-coup gov­ern­ment. Eston­ian Jaani­ka Mer­i­lo, an asso­ciate of Finance Min­is­ter Jaresko’s, was brought in to han­dle Ukraine’s for­eign invest­ments, but Mer­i­lo is best known on the Inter­net for her provoca­tive par­ty pho­tos.

12. 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.

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. . . .

13. Much of Robert Par­ry’s cov­er­age of Ukraine has focused on the Orwellian nature of U.S. cov­er­age of the cri­sis.

 

 

 

 

 

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One comment for “FTR #893 Interview with Robert Parry about Ukraine”

  1. Big news for Ukraine. The replace­ment radi­a­tion con­tain­ment shield for the Cher­nobyl plant is near­ly com­ple­tion. And it’s almost on sched­ule which is pret­ty remark­able con­sid­er­ing the nation is in the mid­dle of a civ­il war. But, per­haps even more remark­able giv­en the civ­il war is what’s sched­uled after the shield is put into place next year: The inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty will no longer be pro­vid­ing assis­tance and all the future costs asso­ci­at­ed with Cher­nobyl will be the sole respon­si­bil­i­ty of Ukraine:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    30 years after Cher­nobyl dis­as­ter, con­tain­ment is near­ing com­ple­tion

    By Andrew Roth April 25 at 6:00 AM

    KIEV, Ukraine — An inter­na­tion­al effort to seal the destroyed remains of the nuclear reac­tor that explod­ed in Ukraine 30 years ago is final­ly close to com­ple­tion, and remark­ably, con­sid­er­ing the polit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion and armed con­flict that have rocked the coun­try since 2014, it’s close to being on sched­ule.

    The com­ple­tion of the New Safe Con­fine­ment, often called the “arch,” could con­tain the radi­a­tion from mankind’s worst nuclear cat­a­stro­phe for a cen­tu­ry, says the Euro­pean Bank for Recon­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment, which has led the project. But it will also mark a han­dover to Ukraine’s frac­tious and under­fund­ed author­i­ties, who are expect­ed to tack­le future waste man­age­ment at their own expense.

    That may not reas­sure Nadiya Makyrevych.

    For three decades, she has been liv­ing with the con­se­quences of Cher­nobyl explo­sion. She can recall that morn­ing in late April 1986, and the small signs that some­thing was wrong in the work­ers’ town where she lived: the tin­ny, metal­lic taste in her mouth. The way her 6‑month-old daugh­ter slept so deeply after breast-feed­ing.

    But there were no sirens then in Pripy­at, no hint of the mag­ni­tude of the nuclear cat­a­stro­phe play­ing out just miles away. Sovi­et author­i­ties did not imme­di­ate­ly report the botched exper­i­ment at a reac­tor in Chernobyl’s nuclear pow­er plant, which released a radioac­tive cloud over East­ern Europe larg­er than that of the 2011 dis­as­ter in Fukushi­ma, Japan. Ukraine is still cop­ing with the effects today.

    “By the time we were evac­u­at­ed, we had been exposed for 36 hours,” Makyrevych said in an inter­view in Kiev last week, her speech inter­rupt­ed by a hack­ing cough. “My entire fam­i­ly has been affect­ed by this. We are all sick. My daugh­ter, my son, my hus­band and me.”

    Makyrevych, who requires reg­u­lar med­ical treat­ment, com­plained of a month­ly hand­out of just $60 from the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment — and that hasn’t always been on time.

    And now the author­i­ties in Kiev will have to shoul­der the whole bur­den.

    The inter­na­tion­al project will seal both the wrecked reac­tor No. 4 and the tem­po­rary pro­tec­tive “sar­coph­a­gus” installed in 1986 inside the New Safe Con­fine­ment. Resem­bling a mas­sive hangar, the 360-foot-tall building’s two sides will wheel into place next year and, once sealed, robot­ic cranes inside will dis­as­sem­ble the destroyed reac­tor and man­age the dis­pos­al of a lava-like mass filled with ura­ni­um.

    Ukraine in the past two years has been rocked by a pro-Euro­pean polit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion, the annex­a­tion of Crimea by Rus­sia and a grind­ing war in east­ern Ukraine that has left more than 9,100 peo­ple dead. Infla­tion and aus­ter­i­ty mea­sures have made life hard­er for aver­age Ukraini­ans, and the par­lia­ment has been par­a­lyzed by infight­ing.

    But locat­ed far from the front lines and backed by 1.5 bil­lion euros in fund­ing, much of it from the EBRD, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and Unit­ed States, the project has large­ly been insu­lat­ed from the polit­i­cal chaos tak­ing place in Kiev, 60 miles to the south.

    Vince Novak, the EBRD head of nuclear safe­ty, said in an inter­view that dis­rup­tions to the project because of polit­i­cal tur­moil in Ukraine were “min­i­mal.” When for­mer pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych fled the coun­try after mass protests in Kiev in 2014, U.S. con­trac­tors halt­ed work for only a few weeks, he said. French con­trac­tors didn’t stop at all.

    The project has required care­ful coor­di­na­tion between the var­i­ous admin­is­tra­tive bureau­cra­cies respon­si­ble for Cher­nobyl in Ukraine: the head of the decom­mis­sioned plant, the admin­is­tra­tor for the exclu­sion zone around the plant, the Min­istry of Ecol­o­gy and Nat­ur­al Resources, and, “where the pol­i­tics comes in,” Novak said, the Min­istry of Finance and par­lia­ment, which approve fund­ing.

    Asked whether a recent cab­i­net reshuf­fle would affect progress, he laughed.

    “I have lost count of how many min­is­ters in charge of this I have worked with ... a dozen and a half, includ­ing four in the last two years?” he said on the side­lines of a recent forum at Kiev’s Nation­al Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty. “One of the roles that the bank plays here is mak­ing sure that all the play­ers that you need are kind of row­ing in the same direc­tion.”

    That role is quick­ly com­ing to a close, as the EBRD plans to com­plete the con­tain­ment struc­ture in Novem­ber. Once it is oper­a­tional in 2017, the bank says, the “involve­ment of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty is not envis­aged.”

    “It will be for Ukraine to devel­op a nation­al strat­e­gy for nuclear waste for the next decades,” the EBRD said in a state­ment.

    The details of how Ukraine will tack­le that process have not been draft­ed, and some are ner­vous. Igor Gramotkin, head of the decom­mis­sioned plant at Cher­nobyl, has called for work­ers to begin waste dis­pos­al as quick­ly as pos­si­ble after the con­struc­tion is fin­ished, while the project still has inter­na­tion­al sup­port.

    “It is an extreme­ly expen­sive process,” he said of the waste dis­pos­al in remarks to The Wash­ing­ton Post, “and unfor­tu­nate­ly with the cur­rent eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine, I don’t think that we can car­ry this out with­out inter­na­tion­al sup­port.”

    The end of the con­struc­tion will prob­a­bly have major con­se­quences for a small army of more than 2,000 work­ers, many of whom will prob­a­bly no longer be need­ed once the project is com­plet­ed. But as Ukraine seeks to cut social ben­e­fits and enact aus­ter­i­ty to com­ply with the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund, the sit­u­a­tion appears tough­est for the sur­vivors of the acci­dent 30 years ago.

    Some liq­uida­tors, the first respon­ders who suf­fered debil­i­tat­ing or even lethal dos­es of radi­a­tion while fight­ing to con­tain the fall­out, have protest­ed their treat­ment.

    More than 2 mil­lion peo­ple in Ukraine are on Health Min­istry roll calls for ben­e­fits because of the acci­dent. Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment and civ­il-soci­ety orga­ni­za­tions are hold­ing events to mark the 30th anniver­sary since the acci­dent.

    ...

    ““It is an extreme­ly expen­sive process,” he said of the waste dis­pos­al in remarks to The Wash­ing­ton Post, “and unfor­tu­nate­ly with the cur­rent eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine, I don’t think that we can car­ry this out with­out inter­na­tion­al sup­port.””
    Well, the inter­na­tion­al sup­port is end­ing next year, so if Ukraine can’t car­ry out the required main­te­nance start­ing next year it sounds things like waste dis­pos­al sim­ply may not hap­pen. At the same time, the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty is demand­ing sig­nif­i­cant aus­ter­i­ty as part of the IMF’s demands in exchange for more loans.

    So at the same time the West is demand­ing a sig­nif­i­cant ratch­et­ing up of hard­ships for the Ukrain­ian peo­ple, there’s prob­a­bly going to be a build up of nuclear waste that the coun­try can’t afford to deal with. That seems very prob­lem­at­ic.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 25, 2016, 1:32 pm

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