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FTR #981 The Ukrainian Fascist Foundation of the “Russia-Gate” Psy-Op

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[6]

Hel­mets of the Ukrain­ian Azov bat­tal­ion

Intro­duc­tion: In FTR #967 [7], we not­ed the Ukrain­ian fas­cist affil­i­a­tion of Andrei Arte­menko, a Ukrain­ian mem­ber of Par­lia­ment who worked with CIA and FBI-con­nect­ed Trump busi­ness asso­ciate Felix Sater. Alleged by our media and gov­ern­ment to have sig­ni­fied “Russ­ian influ­ence” on the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, this Sater/Artemenko gam­bit was actu­al­ly an ANTI-Russ­ian con­spir­a­cy.

In this pro­gram, we high­light the pro­found extent to which the “evi­dence” in the Rus­sia-Gate “inves­ti­ga­tion” tracks back to the very same OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions we have cov­ered in so many of our pre­vi­ous pro­grams:

  1. A sto­ry not­ing [8] the prob­a­ble Dnipropetro­vsk ori­gin of the mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy appar­ent­ly facil­i­tat­ing North Kore­a’s guid­ed mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy doc­u­ment­ed the polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion of Igor Kolo­moisky [Kolo­moiskoy], gov­er­nor of the “Dnipro” dis­trict: ” . . . . So, among the Kolo­moisky-backed mili­tias was the Azov bat­tal­ion whose mem­bers marched with Swastikas and oth­er Nazi insignias. . . . . . . . In response to the reports of pos­si­ble Ukrain­ian col­lu­sion in North Korea’s mis­sile pro­gram, Olek­san­dr Turchynov, sec­re­tary of the Ukrain­ian nation­al secu­ri­ty and defense coun­cil, issued a bizarre denial [9] sug­gest­ing that The New York Times and U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies were pawns of Rus­sia. . . . Press reports about Turchynov’s state­ment left out two salient facts: that as the inter­im Pres­i­dent fol­low­ing the Feb­ru­ary 2014 coup, Turchynov ordered Right Sek­tor mil­i­tants to begin the bloody siege of rebel-held Slo­vian­sk, a key esca­la­tion in the con­flict, and that Turchynov was the one who appoint­ed Kolo­moisky to be the ruler of Dnipropetro­vsk.”
  2. The jour­nal­is­tic view­point on a Ukrain­ian hack­er alleged­ly used by “Russ­ian hack­ers” against the U.S. comes from  Anton Gerashchenko, part of the same milieu [10] as Pravy Sek­tor, Azov, etc. Gerashchenko is, in fact, an apol­o­gist [11] for Azov, as dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 803 [12], 804 [13], 808 [14], 818 [15]:  . . . . Secu­ri­ty experts were ini­tial­ly left scratch­ing their heads when the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty on Dec. 29 released tech­ni­cal evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing that seemed to point not to Rus­sia, but rather to Ukraine. . . A mem­ber of Ukraine’s Par­lia­ment with close ties to the secu­ri­ty ser­vices, Anton Gerashchenko, said that the inter­ac­tion was online or by phone and that the Ukrain­ian pro­gram­mer had been paid to write cus­tomized mal­ware with­out know­ing its pur­pose, only lat­er learn­ing it was used in Russ­ian hack­ing. . . . It is not clear whether the spe­cif­ic mal­ware the pro­gram­mer cre­at­ed was used to hack the D.N.C. servers. . . .”
  3. Read­ing between the lines, an oth­er­wise char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly pro­pa­gan­dized New York Times arti­cle encap­su­lat­ed [16] crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant infor­ma­tion: “. . . . While still polit­i­cal­ly influ­enced, Ukrain­ian law enforce­ment is no longer a swamp of incom­pe­tence and cor­rup­tion. It has been able to mon­i­tor Mr. Man­afort’s for­mer busi­ness asso­ciates and turn up evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing in the 2016 Unit­ed States elec­tion, in part owing to Amer­i­can sup­port. . . .”
  4. Exem­pli­fy­ing the Ukrain­ian fas­cists at the epi­cen­ter of “Rus­sia-Gate” are a group of Ukrain­ian hack­ers, work­ing in tan­dem [17] with fas­cist politi­cians like the afore­men­tioned Anton Gerashchenko. The hacker/Ukrainian fas­cist link spawned the “Pro­pOrNot” list of “Russian/Kremlin/Putin” dupes in the U.S. media: This list was com­piled by the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice, inte­ri­or min­istry and–ahem–hackers: “. . . . One of the more fright­en­ing poli­cies enact­ed by the cur­rent oli­garch-nation­al­ist regime in Kiev is an online black­list [18] [42] of jour­nal­ists accused of col­lab­o­rat­ing with pro-Russ­ian ‘ter­ror­ists.’ [19] [43]  The web­site, ‘Myrotvorets’ [19] [43] or ‘Peacemaker’—was set up by Ukrain­ian hack­ers work­ing with state intel­li­gence and police, all of which tend to share the same ultra­na­tion­al­ist ide­olo­gies as Paru­biy and the new­ly-appoint­ed neo-Nazi chief of the Nation­al Police. . . . The web­site is designed to fright­en and muz­zle jour­nal­ists from report­ing any­thing but the pro-nation­al­ist par­ty line, and it has the back­ing of gov­ern­ment offi­cials, spies and police—including the SBU (Ukraine’s suc­ces­sor to the KGB), the pow­er­ful Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Avakov and his noto­ri­ous far-right deputy, Anton Geraschenko. Ukraine’s jour­nal­ist black­list web­site—oper­at­ed by Ukrain­ian hack­ers work­ing with state intel­li­gence—led to a rash of death threats against the doxxed jour­nal­ists, whose email address­es, phone num­bers and oth­er pri­vate infor­ma­tion was post­ed anony­mous­ly to the web­site. . . .”
  5. A Ukrain­ian activist named Alexan­dra Chalu­pa [17] has been instru­men­tal in dis­trib­ut­ing the “Rus­sia did it” dis­in­for­ma­tion to Hillary Clin­ton and influ­enc­ing the progress of the dis­in­for­ma­tion in the media. ” . . . . One of the key media sources [46] who blamed the DNC hacks on Rus­sia, ramp­ing up fears of cryp­to-Putin­ist infil­tra­tion, is a Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can lob­by­ist work­ing for the DNC. She is Alexan­dra Chalupa—described as the head of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Committee’s oppo­si­tion research on Rus­sia and on Trump, and founder and pres­i­dent of the Ukrain­ian lob­by group ‘US Unit­ed With Ukraine Coali­tion’ [47], which lob­bied hard to pass a 2014 bill increas­ing loans and mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine, impos­ing sanc­tions on Rus­sians, and tight­ly align­ing US and Ukraine geostrate­gic inter­ests. . . . In one leaked DNC email [50] ear­li­er this year, Chalu­pa boasts to DNC Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Luis Miran­da that she brought Isikoff to a US-gov­ern­ment spon­sored Wash­ing­ton event fea­tur­ing 68 Ukrain­ian jour­nal­ists, where Chalu­pa was invit­ed ‘to speak specif­i­cal­ly about Paul Man­afort.’ In turn, Isikoff named her as the key inside source [46] ‘prov­ing’ that the Rus­sians were behind the hacks, and that Trump’s cam­paign was under the spell of Krem­lin spies and sor­cer­ers. . . .”
  6. Alleged “Russ­ian agent” Paul Manafort–identified in FTR #919 [20] as a prob­a­ble “advance man” for regimes tar­get­ed for destabilization–may well have been the per­son who rec­om­mend­ed [21] to his “client” Yanukovich to fire on the Maid­an demon­stra­tors. It was that gun­fire that sig­nalled the end of Yanukovich’s gov­ern­ment. This rein­forces Mr. Emory’s take on Man­afort. ” . . . . The lawyer’s demands for expla­na­tion spring from the hack­ing ear­li­er this year of the iPhone of Mr Manafort’s daugh­ter [22], [since con­firmed as gen­uine, at least in part–D.E.] Andrea, with around 300,000 mes­sages pub­lished in the dark web. One of the texts sent to her sis­ter Jes­si­ca said: ‘Don’t fool your­self. That mon­ey we have is blood mon­ey.’ It con­tin­ued ‘You know he has killed peo­ple in Ukraine? Know­ing­ly, as a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remem­ber when there were all those deaths tak­ing place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that, to send those peo­ple get them slaugh­tered.’ . . . .”
  7. Rein­forc­ing the hypoth­e­sis that the Maid­an shoot­ings were a provo­ca­tion is the dis­clo­sure by Ukraine’s chief pros­e­cu­tor that the rifles alleged­ly used to fire on the Maid­an demon­stra­tors were recov­ered by an alleged Yanukovich oper­a­tive and leader [23] of the snipers who was one of the demon­stra­tors on the Maid­an! “ . . . Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko says that the man who helped the so-called “black hun­dred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shoot­ing at pro­test­ers dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty, flee Kyiv and delib­er­ate­ly drowned their weapons to con­ceal evi­dence, was him­self one of the par­tic­i­pants of the Maid­an protests. ‘With the help of mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, we have found weapons of the ‘black hun­dred,’ includ­ing a sniper rifle, which the entire coun­try saw on footage show­ing the shoot­ing at the pro­test­ers from out­side the Octo­ber Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV chan­nel. . . . ‘We found it with a large num­ber of auto­mat­ic rifles on the bot­tom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a sin­gle group, whose leader is one of the tar­gets of our inves­ti­ga­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this man who, accord­ing to our ver­sion, upon the orders of [for­mer Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the ‘black hun­dred’ flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, him­self, was with us on the Maid­an,’ Lut­senko said. . . . ”
  8. The sniper activ­i­ty in the Maid­an must be weighed against the fact [24] that Nazi-linked ele­ments from the Azov milieu were serv­ing as snipers in Kiev at the time. Were they con­nect­ed to the shoot­ings of demon­stra­tors?
  9. The sup­posed “evi­dence” of Russ­ian hack­ing in the U.S. elec­tion comes from Crowd­Strike, whose co-founder and chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer–Dmit­ry Alper­ovitch [25]–is deeply tied to the NATO/OUN/B milieu installed in pow­er in Ukraine: ” . . . . Dmitri Alper­ovitch [26] is also a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil. The con­nec­tion between Alper­ovitch and the Atlantic Coun­cil has gone large­ly unre­marked upon, but it is rel­e­vant giv­en that the Atlantic Council—which is is fund­ed in part [27] by the US State Depart­ment, NATO, the gov­ern­ments of Latvia and Lithua­nia, the Ukrain­ian World Con­gress, and the Ukrain­ian oli­garch Vic­tor Pinchuk—has been among the loud­est voic­es call­ing for a new Cold War with Rus­sia. As I point­ed out in the pages of The Nation in Novem­ber, the Atlantic Coun­cil has spent the past sev­er­al years pro­duc­ing some of the most vir­u­lent spec­i­mens of the new Cold War pro­pa­gan­da. . . .”
[28]

Emblem of the Ukrain­ian Azov Bat­tal­ion

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  1. Infor­ma­tion sup­ple­ment­ing the dis­cus­sion from FTR #967 [7] con­cern­ing attempts by the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions to oust Poroshenko.
  2. Efforts by Yulia Tymoshenko to pass infor­ma­tion about Poroshenko to U.S. author­i­ties.
  3. The role of for­mer Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence chief, Pravy Sek­tor inti­mate Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko [29] in Tymoshenko’s efforts.
  4. The role of Naly­vaichenko in pro­vid­ing dirt on Poroshenko to Arte­menko
  5. The role of Atlantic Coun­cil financier Vik­tor Pinchuk [30] in advanc­ing “peace plans” being attrib­uted to “Russia/Putin/the Kremlin/dupes of same.”

1. Robert Par­ry high­lights a crit­i­cal fea­ture of the trans­fer of Ukrain­ian ICBM tech­nol­o­gy to North Korea. [31] Dnipropetro­vsk, where a finan­cial­ly dis­tressed mis­sile fac­to­ry resides, had Ukrain­ian oli­garch Igor Kolo­moisky as gov­er­nor, begin­ning in 2014 just after the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion.

Kolo­moisky is a strong backer of neo-Nazi ele­ments of the Ukrain­ian mili­tia units that are promi­nent in the mil­i­tary con­flict in East­ern Ukraine–the Azov bat­tal­ion in par­tic­u­lar.

Azov’s polit­i­cal front, Nation­al Corp, recent­ly formed a far-right union, along with Right Sector/Pravy Sek­tor and Svo­bo­da, call­ing for: an end to the coun­try’s attempts to move clos­er to the EU; instead form­ing a “Euro­pean Union with the Baltic States;” Ukraine to acquire its own nuclear arse­nal [32].

As Par­ry also notes below, it was Kolomoisky’s oper­a­tion in Dnipro that has come under sus­pi­cion for a pos­si­ble role in the shoot-down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. That may well have been a rogue Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary oper­a­tion authored by neo-Nazi mili­tias oper­at­ing in that area–they had access to the anti-air­craft mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy used to down the air­craft [12].

A Ukraine Link to North Korea’s Mis­siles?” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 08/15/2017 [8]

U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts report­ed­ly have traced North Korea’s leap for­ward in cre­at­ing an inter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile capa­ble of strik­ing U.S. ter­ri­to­ry to a decay­ing Ukrain­ian rock­et-engine fac­to­ry whose alleged role could lift the cov­er off oth­er sup­pressed mys­ter­ies relat­ed to the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev.

Because the 2014 coup – over­throw­ing elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych – was part­ly orches­trat­ed [33] by the U.S. government’s influ­en­tial neo­con­ser­v­a­tives and warm­ly embraced by the West’s main­stream media, many of the ugly fea­tures of the Kiev regime have been down­played or ignored, includ­ing the fact that cor­rupt oli­garch Igor Kolo­moisky was put in charge of the area where the impli­cat­ed fac­to­ry was locat­ed.

As the region’s gov­er­nor, the thug­gish Kolo­moisky found­ed armed mili­tias of Ukrain­ian extrem­ists, includ­ing neo-Nazis, who spear­head­ed the vio­lence against eth­nic Rus­sians in east­ern provinces, which had vot­ed heav­i­ly for Yanukovych and tried to resist his vio­lent over­throw.

Kolo­moisky, who has triple cit­i­zen­ship from Ukraine, Cyprus and Israel, was even­tu­al­ly oust­ed [34] as gov­er­nor of Dnipropetro­vsk (now called Dnipro) on March 25, 2015, after a show­down with Ukraine’s cur­rent Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko over con­trol of the state-owned ener­gy com­pa­ny, but by then Kolomoisky’s team had put its cor­rupt mark on the region.

At the time of the Kolo­moisky-Poroshenko show­down, Valen­tyn Naly­vay­chenko, chief of the State Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice, accused Dnipropetro­vsk offi­cials of financ­ing armed gangs and threat­en­ing inves­ti­ga­tors, Bloomberg News report­ed [35], while not­ing that Ukraine had sunk to 142nd place out of 175 coun­tries in Trans­paren­cy International’s Cor­rup­tions Per­cep­tion Index, the worst in Europe.

Even ear­li­er in Kolomoisky’s bru­tal reign, Dnipropetro­vsk had become the cen­ter for the vio­lent intrigue that has plagued Ukraine for the past sev­er­al years, includ­ing the dis­patch of neo-Nazi mili­tias to kill eth­nic Rus­sians who then turned to Rus­sia for sup­port.

Tol­er­at­ing Nazis

Yet, pro­tect­ed by the waves of anti-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da sweep­ing across the West, Kolomoisky’s crowd saw few rea­sons for restraint. So, among the Kolo­moisky-backed mili­tias was the Azov bat­tal­ion whose mem­bers marched with Swastikas and oth­er Nazi insignias.

Iron­i­cal­ly, the same West­ern media which hearti­ly has con­demned neo-Nazi and white-nation­al­ist vio­lence in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, adopt­ed a much more tol­er­ant atti­tude toward Ukraine’s neo-Nazism even as those mil­i­tants mur­dered scores of eth­nic Rus­sians in Odessa in May 2014 and attacked eth­nic Russ­ian com­mu­ni­ties in the east where thou­sands more died.

When it came to Ukraine, The New York Times and oth­er main­stream out­lets were so ded­i­cat­ed to their anti-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da that they veered between min­i­miz­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of the neo-Nazi mili­tias and treat­ing them as bul­warks [36] of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion.

For instance, on Feb. 11, 2015, the Times pub­lished a long arti­cle [37] by Rick Lyman that pre­sent­ed the sit­u­a­tion in the port city of Mar­i­upol as if the advance by eth­nic Russ­ian rebels amount­ed to the arrival of bar­bar­ians at the gate while the inhab­i­tants were being brave­ly defend­ed by the forces of civ­i­liza­tion. But then the arti­cle cit­ed the key role in that defense played by the Azov bat­tal­ion.

Though the arti­cle pro­vid­ed much col­or and detail and quot­ed an Azov leader promi­nent­ly, it left out the fact that the Azov bat­tal­ion was com­posed of neo-Nazis.

This incon­ve­nient truth that neo-Nazis were cen­tral to Ukraine’s “self-defense forces” would have dis­rupt­ed the desired pro­pa­gan­da mes­sage about “Russ­ian aggres­sion.” After all, wouldn’t many Amer­i­cans and Euro­peans under­stand why Rus­sia, which suf­fered some 27 mil­lion dead in World War II, might be sen­si­tive to neo-Nazis killing eth­nic Rus­sians on Russia’s bor­der?

So, in Lyman’s arti­cle, the Times ignored Azov’s well-known neo-Nazism and referred to it sim­ply as a “vol­un­teer unit.”

In oth­er cas­es, the Times casu­al­ly brushed past the key role of fas­cist mil­i­tants. In July 2015, the Times pub­lished a curi­ous­ly upbeat sto­ry about the good news that Islam­ic mil­i­tants had joined with far-right and neo-Nazi bat­tal­ions to kill eth­nic Russ­ian rebels.

The arti­cle by Andrew E. Kramer report­ed that there were three Islam­ic bat­tal­ions “deployed to the hottest zones,” such as around Mar­i­upol. One of the bat­tal­ions was head­ed by a for­mer Chechen war­lord who went 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 [38].

“Anoth­er, the Azov [39] group, is open­ly neo-Nazi, using the Wolf’s Hook’ [40] 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.”

Rock­ets for North Korea

The Times encoun­tered anoth­er dis­com­fort­ing real­i­ty on Mon­day when cor­re­spon­dents William J. Broad and David E. Sanger described [41] U.S. intel­li­gence assess­ments point­ing to North Korea’s like­ly source of its new and more pow­er­ful rock­et engines as a Ukrain­ian fac­to­ry in Dnipro.

Of course, the Times bent over back­ward to sug­gest that the blame might still fall on Rus­sia even though Dnipro is a strong­hold of some of Ukraine’s most mil­i­tant­ly anti-Russ­ian politi­cians and although U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts have cen­tered their sus­pi­cions on a Ukrain­ian-gov­ern­ment-owned fac­to­ry there, known as Yuzh­mash.

So, it would seem clear that cor­rupt Ukrain­ian offi­cials, pos­si­bly in cahoots with finan­cial­ly pressed exec­u­tives or employ­ees of Yuzh­mash, are the like­li­est sus­pects in the smug­gling of these rock­et engines to North Korea.

Even the Times couldn’t dodge that real­i­ty, say­ing: “Gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tors and experts have focused their inquiries on a mis­sile fac­to­ry in Dnipro, Ukraine.” But the Times added that Dnipro is “on the edge of the ter­ri­to­ry where Rus­sia is fight­ing a low-lev­el war to break off part of Ukraine” – to sug­gest that the Rus­sians some­how might have snuck into the fac­to­ry, stolen the engines and smug­gled them to North Korea.

But the Times also cit­ed the view of mis­sile expert Michael Elle­man, who addressed North Korea’s sud­den access to more pow­er­ful engines in a study [42] issued this week by the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies.

“It’s like­ly that these engines came from Ukraine — prob­a­bly illic­it­ly,” [mis­sile expert Michael Elle­man said in an inter­view with the Times. “The big ques­tion is how many they have and whether the Ukraini­ans are help­ing them now. I’m very wor­ried.” . . .  .

. . . . Yet, while the Ukraine cri­sis may have reduced liv­ing stan­dards for aver­age Ukraini­ans, it was an impor­tant cat­a­lyst in the cre­ation of the New Cold War between Wash­ing­ton and Moscow, which offers lucra­tive oppor­tu­ni­ties for U.S. mil­i­tary con­trac­tors and their many think-tank apol­o­gists despite increas­ing the risk of nuclear war [43] for the rest of us. . . . .

The MH-17 Case, Kolomoisky’s oper­a­tion in Dnipro also has come under sus­pi­cion for a pos­si­ble role in the shoot-down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. Accord­ing to a source briefed by U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts, Dnipro was the cen­ter of a plot to use a pow­er­ful anti-air­craft mis­sile to shoot down Putin’s offi­cial plane on a return flight from South Amer­i­ca, but instead – after Putin’s plane took a more norther­ly route – the mis­sile brought down MH-17, killing all 298 peo­ple aboard.

For rea­sons that have still not been explained, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion sup­pressed U.S. intel­li­gence reports on the MH-17 tragedy and instead joined in pin­ning the shoot-down on eth­nic Russ­ian rebels and, by impli­ca­tion, Putin and his gov­ern­ment.

In the West, the MH-17 shoot-down became a cause cele­bre, gen­er­at­ing a pow­er­ful pro­pa­gan­da cam­paign to demo­nize Putin and Rus­sia – and push Europe into join­ing sanc­tions against Moscow. Few peo­ple dared ques­tion Rus­sia alleged guilt even though the Rus­sia-did-it argu­ments were full of holes. [See here [44] and here [45].] . . . .

. . . . In response to the reports of pos­si­ble Ukrain­ian col­lu­sion in North Korea’s mis­sile pro­gram, Olek­san­dr Turchynov, sec­re­tary of the Ukrain­ian nation­al secu­ri­ty and defense coun­cil, issued a bizarre denial [9] sug­gest­ing that The New York Times and U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies were pawns of Rus­sia.

“This infor­ma­tion [about North Korea pos­si­bly obtain­ing rock­et engines from Ukraine] is not based on any grounds, provoca­tive by its con­tent, and most like­ly pro­voked by Russ­ian secret ser­vices to cov­er their own crimes,” Turchynov said.

Press reports about Turchynov’s state­ment left out two salient facts: that as the inter­im Pres­i­dent fol­low­ing the Feb­ru­ary 2014 coup, Turchynov ordered Right Sek­tor mil­i­tants to begin the bloody siege of rebel-held Slo­vian­sk, a key esca­la­tion in the con­flict, and that Turchynov was the one who appoint­ed Kolo­moisky to be the ruler of Dnipropetro­vsk.

2. We are being told that a Ukrain­ian hack­er, nick­named “The Pro­fex­er” was the cre­ator of the mal­ware alleged­ly used in the high-pro­file hacks.

The asser­tion that the Pro­fex­er was paid by Russ­ian hack­ers to write cus­tom mal­ware comes from Anton Gerashchenko, a far-right mem­ber of Ukraine’s Par­lia­ment [46] with close ties to the secu­ri­ty ser­vices and an open apol­o­gist for the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

And accord­ing to Mr. Gerashchenko, the inter­ac­tion the Prefex­or had with the ‘Russ­ian hack­ers’ was online or by phone and that the Ukrain­ian pro­gram­mer had been paid to write cus­tomized mal­ware with­out know­ing its pur­pose.

As the arti­cle also notes, how­ev­er, “It is not clear whether the spe­cif­ic mal­ware the pro­gram­mer cre­at­ed was used to hack the D.N.C. servers, but it was iden­ti­fied in oth­er Russ­ian hack­ing efforts in the Unit­ed States.”

The cen­tral point here involves Pro­fex­er’s claims to have writ­ten soft­ware for the Russ­ian hack­ers who “hacked” the DNC.

Aside from the fact that the DNC may not have been “hacked” at all, the P.A.S. web shell tool the Pro­fex­er wrote that was cit­ed in the “Griz­zly Steppe” report  was an out­dat­ed ver­sion of P.A.S. web shell [47].

Unless there’s more infor­ma­tion yet to come along this line of inquiry, it appears that the pri­ma­ry crim­i­nal activ­i­ty that the Pro­fex­er wit­nessed was the his own qua­si-crime of cre­at­ing “cus­tomized mal­ware” for an anony­mous group that may or may not have been used in the DNC hacks. Based on this com­pelling evi­dence it appears we can nar­row the cul­prits down to…pretty much any hack­er. Huz­zah!

It’s clear that the P.A.S. web shell mal­ware that was used in the DNC hacks wasn’t cus­tomized. Because it was already an out­dat­ed ver­sion of P.A.S. web shell [47].

The arti­cle also notes that the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has hand­ed over to the FBI serv­er images of the Ukrain­ian Elec­tion Com­mis­sion serv­er that was hacked in 2014 dur­ing a high pro­file hack sus­pect­ed to be the work of Russ­ian gov­ern­ment agents.

That hack cre­at­ed mate­r­i­al tout­ing Dmit­ry Yarosh–the head of Pravy Sek­tor (“Right Sec­tor”) as the vic­tor in the Ukrain­ian elec­tions of 2014.

“In Ukraine, a Mal­ware Expert Who Could Blow the Whis­tle on Russ­ian Hack­ing” by Andrew E. Kramer and Andrew Hig­gins; The New York Times; 08/16/2017 [10]

The hack­er, known only by his online alias “Pro­fex­er,” kept a low pro­file.He wrote com­put­er code alone in an apart­ment and qui­et­ly sold his hand­i­work on the anony­mous por­tion of the inter­net known as the dark web. Last win­ter, he sud­den­ly went dark entire­ly.

Profexer’s posts, already acces­si­ble only to a small band of fel­low hack­ers and cyber­crim­i­nals look­ing for soft­ware tips, blinked out in Jan­u­ary — just days after Amer­i­can intel­li­gence agen­cies pub­licly iden­ti­fied a pro­gram he had writ­ten as one tool used in Russ­ian hack­ing in the Unit­ed States. . . . .

But while Profexer’s online per­sona van­ished, a flesh-and-blood per­son has emerged: a fear­ful man who the Ukrain­ian police said turned him­self in ear­ly this year, and has now become a wit­ness for the F.B.I.

“I don’t know what will hap­pen,” he wrote in one of his last mes­sages post­ed on a restrict­ed-access web­site before going to the police. “It won’t be pleas­ant. But I’m still alive.” 

It is the first known instance of a liv­ing wit­ness emerg­ing from the arid mass of tech­ni­cal detail that has so far shaped the inves­ti­ga­tion into the elec­tion hack­ing and the heat­ed debate it has stirred.The Ukrain­ian police declined to divulge the man’s name or oth­er details, oth­er than that he is liv­ing in Ukraine and has not been arrest­ed.

There is no evi­dence that Pro­fex­er worked, at least know­ing­ly, for Russia’s intel­li­gence ser­vices, but his mal­ware appar­ent­ly did. . . .

 . . . . “There is not now and nev­er has been a sin­gle piece of tech­ni­cal evi­dence pro­duced that con­nects the mal­ware used in the D.N.C. attack to the G.R.U., F.S.B. or any agency of the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment,” said Jef­frey Carr, the author of a book on cyber­war­fare. The G.R.U. is Russia’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agency, and the F.S.B. its fed­er­al secu­ri­ty ser­vice. . . .

. . . . Secu­ri­ty experts were ini­tial­ly left scratch­ing their heads when the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty on Dec. 29 released tech­ni­cal evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing that seemed to point not to Rus­sia, but rather to Ukraine.

In this ini­tial report [48], the depart­ment released only one sam­ple of mal­ware said to be an indi­ca­tor of Russ­ian state-spon­sored hack­ing, though out­side experts said a vari­ety of mali­cious pro­grams were used in Russ­ian elec­toral hack­ing.

The sam­ple point­ed to a mal­ware pro­gram, called the P.A.S. web shell [47], a hack­ing tool adver­tised on Russ­ian-lan­guage dark web forums and used by cyber­crim­i­nals through­out the for­mer Sovi­et Union. The author, Pro­fex­er, is a well-regard­ed tech­ni­cal expert among hack­ers, spo­ken about with awe and respect in Kiev.

He had made it avail­able to down­load, free, from a web­site that asked only for dona­tions, rang­ing from $3 to $250. The real mon­ey was made by sell­ing cus­tomized ver­sions and by guid­ing his hack­er clients in its effec­tive use. It remains unclear how exten­sive­ly he inter­act­ed with the Russ­ian hack­ing team.

After the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty iden­ti­fied his cre­ation, he quick­ly shut down his web­site and post­ed on a closed forum for hack­ers, called Exploit, that “I’m not inter­est­ed in exces­sive atten­tion to me per­son­al­ly.”

Soon, a hint of pan­ic appeared, and he post­ed a note say­ing that, six days on, he was still alive.

Anoth­er hack­er, with the nick­name Zloi San­ta, or Bad San­ta, sug­gest­ed the Amer­i­cans would cer­tain­ly find him, and place him under arrest, per­haps dur­ing a lay­over at an air­port.

“It could be, or it could not be, it depends only on pol­i­tics,” Pro­fex­er respond­ed. “If U.S. law enforce­ment wants to take me down, they will not wait for me in some country’s air­port. Rela­tions between our coun­tries are so tight I would be arrest­ed in my kitchen, at the first request.”

In fact, Ser­hiy Demediuk, chief of the Ukrain­ian Cyber Police, said in an inter­view that Pro­fex­er went to the author­i­ties him­self. As the coop­er­a­tion began, Pro­fex­er went dark on hack­er forums. He last post­ed online on Jan. 9. Mr. Demediuk said he had made the wit­ness avail­able to the F.B.I., which has post­ed a full-time cyber­se­cu­ri­ty expert in Kiev as one of four bureau agents sta­tioned at the Unit­ed States Embassy there. The F.B.I. declined to com­ment.

Pro­fex­er was not arrest­ed because his activ­i­ties fell in a legal gray zone, as an author but not a user of mal­ware, the Ukrain­ian police say. But he did know the users, at least by their online han­dles. “He told us he didn’t cre­ate it to be used in the way it was,” Mr. Demediuk said.

A mem­ber of Ukraine’s Par­lia­ment with close ties to the secu­ri­ty ser­vices, Anton Gerashchenko, said that the inter­ac­tion was online or by phone and that the Ukrain­ian pro­gram­mer had been paid to write cus­tomized mal­ware with­out know­ing its pur­pose, only lat­er learn­ing it was used in Russ­ian hack­ing.

Mr. Gerashchenko described the author only in broad strokes, to pro­tect his safe­ty, as a young man from a provin­cial Ukrain­ian city. He con­firmed that the author turned him­self in to the police and was coop­er­at­ing as a wit­ness in the D.N.C. inves­ti­ga­tion. . . .

. . . . It is not clear whether the spe­cif­ic mal­ware the pro­gram­mer cre­at­ed was used to hack the D.N.C. servers. . . .

. . . . Includ­ed in this shar­ing of infor­ma­tion were copies of the serv­er hard dri­ves of Ukraine’s Cen­tral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, which were tar­get­ed dur­ing a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in May 2014. That the F.B.I. had obtained evi­dence of this ear­li­er, Russ­ian-linked elec­toral hack has not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

Traces of the same mali­cious code, this time a pro­gram called Sofa­cy, were seen in the 2014 attack in Ukraine and lat­er in the D.N.C. intru­sion in the Unit­ed States. . . .

. . . . . Hack­ers had loaded onto a Ukrain­ian elec­tion com­mis­sion serv­er a graph­ic mim­ic­k­ing the page for dis­play­ing results. This pho­ny page showed a shock­er of an out­come: an elec­tion win for a fierce­ly anti-Russ­ian, ultra­right can­di­date, Dmytro Yarosh. Mr. Yarosh in real­i­ty received less than 1 per­cent of the vote.

The false result would have played into a Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da nar­ra­tive that Ukraine today is ruled by hard-right, even fas­cist, fig­ures. . . .

. . . . A Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment researcher who stud­ied the hack, Niko­lai Koval, pub­lished his find­ings in a 2015 book, “Cyber­war in Per­spec­tive,” [49] and iden­ti­fied the Sofa­cy mal­ware on the serv­er.

The mir­ror of the hard dri­ve went to the F.B.I., which had this foren­sic sam­ple when the cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­ny Crowd­Strike iden­ti­fied [50] the same mal­ware two years lat­er, on the D.N.C. servers.

. . . .Ukraine’s Cyber Police have also pro­vid­ed the F.B.I. with copies of serv­er hard dri­ves show­ing the pos­si­ble ori­gins of some phish­ing emails tar­get­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty dur­ing the elec­tion. . . .

3. Note the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vices’ appar­ent role in the “inves­ti­ga­tion” into Rus­sia-Gate. Not­ing the dis­ap­pear­ance of an arrest­ed Ukrain­ian hack­er and quot­ing the afore­men­tioned Olek­sander Turchynov, a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly slant­ed New York Times arti­cle notes that: ” . . . . . . . . While still polit­i­cal­ly influ­enced, Ukrain­ian law enforce­ment is no longer a swamp of incom­pe­tence and cor­rup­tion. It has been able to mon­i­tor Mr. Man­afort’s for­mer busi­ness asso­ciates and turn up evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing in the 2016 Unit­ed States elec­tion, in part owing to Amer­i­can sup­port. . . . [The “evi­dence” comes from Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty services–D.E.]”

“Schooled in Scan­dal: What Makes Ukraine a Hotbed of Intrigue” by Andrew Hig­gins and Andrew E. Kramer; The New York Times; 10/7/2017. [16]

. . . . The arrest of Gen­na­di Kap­kanov, 33, a Russ­ian-born Ukrain­ian hack­er, and the take­down of Avalanche, a vast net­work of com­put­ers he and his con­fed­er­ates were accused of hijack­ing through mal­ware and turn­ing into a glob­al crim­i­nal enter­prise, won a rare round of applause for Ukraine from its fre­quent­ly dispir­it­ed West­ern back­ers.

By the fol­low­ing day, how­ev­er, Mr. Kap­kanov had dis­ap­peared.

A judge in a dis­trict court in Polta­va turned down a pros­e­cu­tion request that he be held in pre­ven­tive cus­tody for 40 days, and ordered him set free. Mr. Kap­kanov has not been seen since. . . .

. . . . “Why is there so much noise around Ukraine? Because Ukraine is the epi­cen­ter of the con­fronta­tion between the West­ern demo­c­ra­t­ic world and author­i­tar­i­an, total­i­tar­i­an states,” Olek­san­dr Turchynov, the head of Ukraine’s nation­al secu­ri­ty and defense coun­cil, said in an inter­view. . . .

. . . . While still polit­i­cal­ly influ­enced, Ukrain­ian law enforce­ment is no longer a swamp of incom­pe­tence and cor­rup­tion. It has been able to mon­i­tor Mr. Man­afort’s for­mer busi­ness asso­ciates and turn up evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing in the 2016 Unit­ed States elec­tion, in part owing to Amer­i­can sup­port.

The C.I.A. tore out a Russ­ian-pro­vid­ed cell­phone sur­veil­lance sys­tem, and put in Amer­i­can-sup­plied com­put­ers, said Vik­to­ria Gor­buz, a for­mer head of liai­son at the S.B.U.

Ms. Gor­buz’s depart­ment trans­lat­ed tele­phone inter­cepts from the new sys­tem and for­ward­ed them to the Amer­i­cans.

It is unclear whether any phone inter­cepts rel­e­vant to the elec­tion med­dling inves­ti­ga­tion have gone to the Amer­i­can author­i­ties. But a Ukrain­ian law enforce­ment offi­cial has giv­en jour­nal­ists par­tial phone records of for­mer asso­ciates of Mr. Man­afiort. . . .

4. A key ele­ment of analy­sis is an impor­tant arti­cle in The Nation [25] by James Car­den. This sto­ry points out that a num­ber of cyber-secu­ri­ty experts are skep­ti­cal of the offi­cial find­ings.

Fur­ther­more the sto­ry points out that Crowd­strike is head­ed by Dmitri Alper­ovitch a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil, which is fund­ed, in part, by the State Depart­ment, NATO, Lithua­nia, Latvia, the Ukrain­ian World Con­gress and Ukrain­ian oli­garch Vic­tor Pinchuk!

” . . . . Yet despite the scores of breath­less media pieces that assert that Russia’s inter­fer­ence in the elec­tion is ‘case closed,‘might some skep­ti­cism be in order? Some cyber experts say ‘yes.’ . . . Cyber-secu­ri­ty experts have also weighed in. The secu­ri­ty edi­tor at Ars Tech­ni­ca observed that [51] ‘Instead of pro­vid­ing smok­ing guns that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment was behind spe­cif­ic hacks,’ the gov­ern­ment report ‘large­ly restates pre­vi­ous pri­vate sec­tor claims with­out pro­vid­ing any sup­port for their valid­i­ty.’ Robert M. Lee of the cyber-secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny Dra­gos not­ed that the report [52] ‘reads like a poor­ly done ven­dor intel­li­gence report string­ing togeth­er var­i­ous aspects of attri­bu­tion with­out evi­dence.’ Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty con­sul­tant Jef­frey Carr not­ed [53] that the report ‘mere­ly list­ed every threat group ever report­ed on by a com­mer­cial cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­ny that is sus­pect­ed of being Russ­ian-made and lumped them under the head­ing of Russ­ian Intel­li­gence Ser­vices (RIS) with­out pro­vid­ing any sup­port­ing evi­dence that such a con­nec­tion exists.’ . . .”

“In this respect, it is worth not­ing that one of the com­mer­cial cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­nies the gov­ern­ment has relied on is Crowd­strike, which was one of the com­pa­nies ini­tial­ly brought in by the DNC to inves­ti­gate the alleged hacks.”

” . . . . Dmitri Alper­ovitch [26] is also a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil. . . . The con­nec­tion between [Crowd­strike co-founder and chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer Dmitri] Alper­ovitch and the Atlantic Coun­cil has gone large­ly unre­marked upon, but it is rel­e­vant giv­en that the Atlantic Coun­cil—which is is fund­ed in part [27] by the US State Depart­ment, NATO, the gov­ern­ments of Latvia and Lithua­nia, the Ukrain­ian World Con­gress, and the Ukrain­ian oli­garch Vic­tor Pinchuk—has been among the loud­est voic­es call­ing for a new Cold War with Rus­sia. As I point­ed out in the pages of The Nation in Novem­ber, the Atlantic Coun­cil has spent the past sev­er­al years pro­duc­ing some of the most vir­u­lent spec­i­mens of the new Cold War pro­pa­gan­da. . . .

 “Is Skep­ti­cism Trea­son?” by James Car­den; The Nation; 1/3/2017. [25]

. . . . In this respect, it is worth not­ing that one of the com­mer­cial cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­nies the gov­ern­ment has relied on is Crowd­strike, which was one of the com­pa­nies ini­tial­ly brought in by the DNC to inves­ti­gate the alleged hacks.

In late Decem­ber, Crowd­strike released a large­ly debunked [54] report claim­ing that the same Russ­ian mal­ware that was used to hack the DNC has been used by Russ­ian intel­li­gence to tar­get Ukrain­ian artillery posi­tions. Crowdstrike’s co-founder and chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer, Dmitri Alper­ovitch [26], told PBS, “Ukraine’s artillery men were tar­get­ed by the same hackers…that tar­get­ed DNC, but this time they were tar­get­ing cell­phones [belong­ing to the Ukrain­ian artillery men] to try to under­stand their loca­tion so that the Russ­ian artillery forces can actu­al­ly tar­get them in the open bat­tle.”

Dmitri Alper­ovitch [26] is also a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil.

The con­nec­tion between Alper­ovitch and the Atlantic Coun­cil has gone large­ly unre­marked upon, but it is rel­e­vant giv­en that the Atlantic Council—which is is fund­ed in part [27] by the US State Depart­ment, NATO, the gov­ern­ments of Latvia and Lithua­nia, the Ukrain­ian World Con­gress, and the Ukrain­ian oli­garch Vic­tor Pinchuk—has been among the loud­est voic­es call­ing for a new Cold War with Rus­sia. As I point­ed out in the pages of The Nation in Novem­ber, the Atlantic Coun­cil has spent the past sev­er­al years pro­duc­ing some of the most vir­u­lent spec­i­mens of the new Cold War pro­pa­gan­da.

It would seem then that a healthy amount of skep­ti­cism toward a gov­ern­ment report that relied, in part, on the find­ings of pri­vate-sec­tor cyber secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies like Crowd­strike might be in order. And yet skep­tics have found them­selves in the unen­vi­able posi­tion of being accused of being Krem­lin apol­o­gists, or worse. . . .

 5. The OUN/B milieu in the U.S. has appar­ent­ly been instru­men­tal [17] in gen­er­at­ing the “Rus­sia did it” dis­in­for­ma­tion about the high-pro­file hacks. In the Alternet.org arti­cle, Mark Ames high­lights sev­er­al points:

“The Anony­mous Black­list Quot­ed by the Wash­ing­ton Post Has Appar­ent Ties to Ukrain­ian Fas­cism and CIA Spy­ing” by Mark Ames; Alternet.org; 12/7/2016. [17]

6a. Andrei Arte­menko wasn’t the only Ukrain­ian politi­cian to approach the Trump admin­is­tra­tion with a peace plan in ear­ly 2017. Yulia Tymoshenko did the same thing in Feb­ru­ary, say­ing Trump promised her that he would “not aban­don Ukraine.”

Addi­tion­al­ly, Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko, the for­mer head of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine and a polit­i­cal ally of Tymoshenko, claims he trav­eled to the US in Decem­ber and Jan­u­ary and deliv­ered to the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice proof of “polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion by (Ukraine’s) top offi­cials.” And he appar­ent­ly gave the same mate­r­i­al to Arte­menko in 2015. And while Naly­vaichenko says he doesn’t back Artemenko’s peace plan, he did admit to sub­mit a peace plan of his own to the US gov­ern­ment.

Naly­vaichenko [29] is a direct heir to the OUN/B, hav­ing run Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence (the SBU) along the lines of the OUN/B. Naly­vaichenko is very close to Pravy Sek­tor and Dim­it­ry Yarosh.

Peace pro­pos­als by anti-Russ­ian figues include one by Vik­tor Pinchuk [30], a Ukrain­ian oli­garch who also a mem­ber of the anti-Russ­ian Atlantic Coun­cil [56].

“Arte­menko Goes from Obscu­ri­ty to Noto­ri­ety” by Melko­reze­va, Oksana Gryt­senko; Kyiv Post; 02/24/2017 [57]

. . . . But Arte­menko is not the only Ukrain­ian politi­cian to reach out to the White House behind Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s back.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the for­mer prime min­is­ter and leader of Batkivshchy­na Par­ty, had a brief meet­ing with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump before the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast in Wash­ing­ton on Feb. 3, dur­ing which Trump report­ed­ly promised her that he would “not aban­don Ukraine.”

And Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko, the for­mer head of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine and a polit­i­cal ally of Tymoshenko, says he vis­it­ed the U.S. in Decem­ber and Jan­u­ary.

Naly­vaichenko told the Kyiv Post he met there with for­mer Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Jim DeMint, a Trump advi­sor and pres­i­dent of the con­ser­v­a­tive the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, a con­ser­v­a­tive think tank, and Bob Cork­er, a Repub­li­can sen­a­tor from Ten­nessee and Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee chair­man.

Naly­vaichenko said he deliv­ered to the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice proof of “polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion by (Ukraine’s) top offi­cials.” He said also deliv­ered to Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor General’s Office mate­ri­als about alleged mon­ey laun­der­ing and the ille­gal use of off­shore com­pa­nies by Poroshenko’s busi­ness part­ner and law­mak­er Ihor Kononenko.

Back in 2015, Naly­vaichenko gave the com­pro­mis­ing mate­ri­als on Poroshenko to Arte­menko, which he claimed to also give to the U.S. author­i­ties. . . .

6b. Alleged “Russ­ian agent” Paul Manafort–identified in FTR #919 [20] as a prob­a­ble “advance man” for regimes tar­get­ed for destabilization–may well have been the per­son who rec­om­mend­ed [21] to his “client” Yanukovich to fire on the Maid­an demon­stra­tors. It was that gun­fire that sig­nalled the end of Yanukovich’s gov­ern­ment. This rein­forces Mr. Emory’s take on Man­afort. ” . . . . The lawyer’s demands for expla­na­tion spring from the hack­ing ear­li­er this year of the iPhone of Mr Manafort’s daugh­ter [22], [since con­firmed as genuine–D.E.] Andrea, with around 300,000 mes­sages pub­lished in the dark web. One of the texts sent to her sis­ter Jes­si­ca said: ‘Don’t fool your­self. That mon­ey we have is blood mon­ey.’ It con­tin­ued ‘You know he has killed peo­ple in Ukraine? Know­ing­ly, as a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remem­ber when there were all those deaths tak­ing place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that, to send those peo­ple get them slaugh­tered.’ . . . .”

“As the Rus­sia Inves­ti­ga­tion Con­tin­ues, the Focus Has Inten­si­fied on Ukraine”  by Kim Sen­gup­ta; The Inde­pen­dent; 9/21/2017. [21]

A hear­ing took place last week in Kiev on Andrii Artemenko’s efforts to have his cit­i­zen­ship restored. A day lat­er John Bolton, the for­mer Amer­i­can envoy to the UN, and a staunch Don­ald Trump sup­port­er, told an inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence in the city that he expect­ed some of the peo­ple around the US Pres­i­dent to go to prison. Inves­ti­ga­tions into Paul Man­afort, mean­while, are look­ing at his activ­i­ties in Ukraine.

The Ukrain­ian con­nec­tion in the Trump affair is under increas­ing scruti­ny. Mr Arte­menko, an MP, is a rel­a­tive­ly unfa­mil­iar name in the expand­ing and colour­ful cast of those now entan­gled. But his links with Don­ald Trump’s per­son­al lawyer, Michael Cohen, and Felix Sater, a crim­i­nal and for­mer busi­ness asso­ciate of Trump, has become impor­tant in estab­lish­ing whether the Krem­lin was active­ly seek­ing to influ­ence Amer­i­can pol­i­cy.

Mr Arte­menko has been accused of trea­son by the gov­ern­ment of Petro Poroshenko and stripped of his cit­i­zen­ship. That came after rev­e­la­tions that he report­ed­ly gave details of a secret plan [58] to Mr Sater and Mr Cohen to be passed on to the Trump White House which would, in effect, for­malise the dis­mem­ber­ment of Ukraine. The pro­pos­al was that sanc­tions against Rus­sia would be lift­ed in return for Moscow leas­ing the Crimea for an unspec­i­fied amount of time.

Mr Trump had stat­ed dur­ing his elec­tion cam­paign that he may accept the Kremlin’s annex­a­tion of Crimea. Mr Arte­menko deliv­ered his plan to Mr Cohen who passed it on, it has been claimed, to Michael Fly­nn, a for­mer Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al, who was then Mr Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er. Mr Fly­nn was him­self forced to resign over his con­tacts with the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment and is now the sub­ject of an inquiry over that as well as over lob­by­ing for Recep Tayyep Erdogan’s Turk­ish gov­ern­ment [59].

It is Mr Man­afort who is most imme­di­ate­ly in the fir­ing line with his work as Mr Trump’s cam­paign man­ag­er as well as that of Vik­tor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Moscow Pres­i­dent who was over­thrown in the rev­o­lu­tion of four years ago and fled to Rus­sia, being exam­ined.

It has been revealed that Mr Man­afort was secret­ly wire­tapped by the FBI [60] and has been told by pros­e­cu­tors that he may face indict­ment over alleged vio­la­tions of tax laws, mon­ey laun­der­ing, and lob­by­ing for a for­eign pow­er [61]. Fed­er­al agents work­ing for Spe­cial Inves­ti­ga­tor Robert Mueller, who car­ried out an ear­ly morn­ing raid at his apart­ment in Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia, have tak­en away doc­u­ments and com­put­er files which include, it is believed, details of his work for Pres­i­dent Yanukovych.

A num­ber of Mr Manafort’s asso­ciates have been sub­poe­naed by Mr Mueller’s team. They include the heads of two con­sult­ing firms, Mer­cury Pub­lic Affairs and the Podes­ta Group, who worked with Mr Man­afort in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau, set up under West­ern super­vi­sion, has alleged­ly dis­cov­ered secret accounts, the so-called “black ledger [62]”, sup­pos­ed­ly show­ing that in a peri­od of five years, between 2007 and 2012, when Mr Man­afort received $12.7m from Mr Yanukovych’s Par­ty of Regions. Offi­cials hold that the mon­ey was part of an ille­gal clan­des­tine sys­tem which had been used to pay off a num­ber of fig­ures. Mr Man­afort has insist­ed that he had not received the mon­ey.

Human rights groups in Ukraine also want to ques­tion Mr Man­afort about killings dur­ing the Maid­an protests in Kiev in 2014. Euge­nia Zakrevs­ka, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing fam­i­lies of vic­tims, is part of a team seek­ing infor­ma­tion on who was com­plic­it in Pres­i­dent Yanukovych’s order­ing secu­ri­ty forces to open fire on demon­stra­tors.

The lawyer’s demands for expla­na­tion spring from the hack­ing ear­li­er this year of the iPhone of Mr Manafort’s daugh­ter [22], Andrea, with around 300,000 mes­sages pub­lished in the dark web. One of the texts sent to her sis­ter Jes­si­ca said: “Don’t fool your­self. That mon­ey we have is blood mon­ey.” It con­tin­ued “You know he has killed peo­ple in Ukraine? Know­ing­ly, as a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remem­ber when there were all those deaths tak­ing place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that, to send those peo­ple get them slaugh­tered.”

In anoth­er text she said: “He is cash-poor right now. And now Ukraine is late in pay­ing him.”

No evi­dence has been pre­sent­ed that Mr Man­afort was respon­si­ble for deaths and Andrea Man­afort has refused to com­ment on the texts. Ms Zakrevs­ka, how­ev­er, wants Mr Man­afort “to clar­i­fy the alle­ga­tions con­tained in the text mes­sages and to con­tact us with any infor­ma­tion you may have about events that occurred in cen­tral Kiev between 18 and 20 Feb­ru­ary 2014”.

Mr Arte­menko, accord­ing to a New York Times report [63] “emerged from the oppo­si­tion” organ­ised against Pres­i­dent Poroshenko by Mr Man­afort and was insti­gat­ed in putting togeth­er the “peace deal” by fig­ures close to Vladimir Putin. This is denied by the MP com­plains that [64] that “any­one who has a per­son­al opin­ion in Ukraine is auto­mat­i­cal­ly named a Russ­ian spy. I don’t have such con­nec­tions with Rus­sia, that is the rea­son why I tried to involve the Trump admin­is­tra­tion on this issue and not the Krem­lin.”

But the man Mr Arte­menko chose to help him get his plan to the Trump admin­is­tra­tion boasts of the sheer extent of his Russ­ian con­nec­tions. Felix Sater, born Felix She­fer­ovsky in Rus­sia, whose fam­i­ly emi­grat­ed to the US when he was six, had declared that he could get the Kremlin’s back­ing to make Mr Trump the US Pres­i­dent [65].

“Our boy can become Pres­i­dent of the USA and we can engi­neer it … I will get Putin on this pro­gramme and we will get Trump elect­ed,” he emailed Mr Cohen, a life­long friend. Anoth­er excit­ed email to Mr Trump’s lawyer said “Can you believe two guys from Brook­lyn are going to elect a Pres­i­dent?”

Mr Sater’s con­nec­tions were enough to ensure that Ivan­ka Trump got to seat on Putin’s chair at the Pres­i­den­tial office in the Krem­lin [66]. He had chap­er­oned her and Don­ald Jr on a trip to Moscow at the request of Mr Trump. Ivan­ka recalls the trip includ­ed “a brief tour of Red Square and the Krem­lin” and this may have involved sit­ting at Pres­i­dent Putin’s desk.

Mr Sater was jailed in 1991 for slash­ing a man with a bro­ken cock­tail glass (a mar­gari­ta) and he was also con­vict­ed for involve­ment in an invest­ment scam in which Russ­ian and Amer­i­can organ­ised crime groups tar­get­ed the elder­ly, some of whom were Holo­caust sur­vivors. On that occa­sion he avoid­ed a poten­tial sen­tence of 20 years, pay­ing a £25,000 fine instead. He also became a fed­er­al informer. Accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tion doc­u­ments he sup­plied high­ly valu­able mate­r­i­al on al-Qae­da, Russ­ian organ­ised crime, the Amer­i­can mafia and for­eign gov­ern­ments.

Mr Arte­menko, Mr Sater and Mr Cohen met at a Man­hat­tan restau­rant ear­li­er this year where, accord­ing to Mr Arte­menko and Mr Sater, the Ukraine plan was dis­cussed at length and Mr Cohen offered to take it to Michael Fly­nn. The New York Times [63] report­ed that he sub­se­quent­ly deliv­ered it per­son­al­ly, in a sealed enve­lope, to the President’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er. Mr Cohen lat­er denied this account. The news­pa­per stands by its sto­ry, say­ing that he had acknowl­edged what he had done to its jour­nal­ists.

Mr Fly­nn was forced to resign soon after­wards. Inves­ti­ga­tors now have obtained a copy of the Arte­menko plan. Pros­e­cu­tion lawyers are said to be con­sid­er­ing whether it con­sti­tut­ed a covert attempt by a for­eign pow­er to influ­ence US pol­i­cy.

Mr Arte­menko feels he has been caught in the cross­fire between Mr Trump and “the lib­er­al media”. He will con­tin­ue with his “Roadmap for Peace”, he says, and strive to regain Ukrain­ian nation­al­i­ty – his birth right. A source close to him refused to say whether or not he has agreed to meet Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tors.

6c. It’s worth not­ing that Paul Man­afort has con­firmed that some of the hacked texts are real. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle also notes, Andrea Man­afort was actu­al­ly with her dad in Flori­da dur­ing the sniper attacks. Might he have shared details of his behav­ior visa

“Ukraine Lawyer Seeks Probe of Alleged Hacked Texts of Manafort’s Daugh­ter” by Simon Ostro­vsky; CNN; 03/11/2017 [67]

A Ukrain­ian human rights attor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the vic­tims of mass police shoot­ings in Kiev in 2014 has asked pros­e­cu­tors to inves­ti­gate what are pur­port­ed to be the hacked text mes­sages of one of Paul Manafort’s daugh­ters, say­ing the texts point to pos­si­ble influ­ence Man­afort had with Ukraine’s pres­i­dent dur­ing that peri­od.

“You know he has killed peo­ple in Ukraine? Know­ing­ly,” Andrea Man­afort alleged­ly wrote of her father in March 2015 in an angry series of texts to her sis­ter, Jes­si­ca, about her father’s per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al life.

“Remem­ber when there were all those deaths tak­ing place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not,” reads anoth­er text in ref­er­ence to the blood­shed in Kiev.

“Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that, to send those peo­ple out and get them slaugh­tered.”

“He has no moral or legal com­pass,” Andrea alleged­ly wrote about her father ear­li­er as part of the same con­ver­sa­tion.

The mes­sages were obtained from a hack­er web­site that in Feb­ru­ary post­ed four years’ worth of texts, con­sist­ing of 300,000 mes­sages, appar­ent­ly tak­en from Andrea Manafort’s iPhone.

Paul Man­afort: No com­ment

Paul Man­afort cur­rent­ly faces an FBI inves­ti­ga­tion over mil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of pay­ments he alleged­ly received while work­ing as a polit­i­cal strate­gist for Ukraine’s Rus­sia-backed pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovych. Man­afort has denied [68] receiv­ing the unde­clared cash pay­ments.

Pro­test­ers descend­ed on Kiev’s cen­tral square in a peace­ful protest in the win­ter of 2013 when Yanukovych unex­pect­ed­ly backed out of a trade deal with the Euro­pean Union under pres­sure from the Krem­lin. Close to 100 peo­ple died in the shoot­ings in the weeks before Yanukovych fled in Feb­ru­ary 2014.

Ukrain­ian author­i­ties say Yanukovych cre­at­ed con­di­tions that allowed secu­ri­ty forces to kill the pro-West­ern pro­test­ers in Kiev, but so far have not been able to charge him [69] because he is in Rus­sia.

Man­afort has not been linked to the shoot­ings.

Asked by CNN to com­ment, Man­afort said via text mes­sage: “Com­ment on what. There is noth­ing.”

Man­afort would not con­firm whether the texts were gen­uine, but in a Politi­co [70] sto­ry last month on the texts, he indi­cat­ed that some of them were.

The texts sug­gest that Man­afort and his daugh­ter were togeth­er in Flori­da on the day of the worst vio­lence in Kiev on Feb­ru­ary 20th, when close to 50 peo­ple died.

Man­afort already influ­en­tial in Ukraine

Thurs­day, the human rights lawyer, Euge­nia Zakrevs­ka, filed a motion in Kiev request­ing that pros­e­cu­tors ver­i­fy the con­tents of the text mes­sage dump and take mea­sures to com­pel US author­i­ties to ques­tion Man­afort.

“I call on Mr. Man­afort to clar­i­fy the alle­ga­tions con­tained in the text mes­sages and to con­tact us with any infor­ma­tion he may have on those events,” Zakrevs­ka told CNN.

Zakrevs­ka and a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tion unit have been work­ing togeth­er on sev­er­al con­cur­rent cas­es look­ing into the vio­lence in and around Kiev’s Inde­pen­dence Square.

Zakrevs­ka said all of the killings would have already tak­en place by the time Man­afort met his daugh­ter the evening of the 20th, if the texts’ time­stamps are accu­rate, and she thought it was unlike­ly that Andrea actu­al­ly wit­nessed Paul Man­afort per­son­al­ly direct­ing Kiev police forces.

“But this doesn’t rule out Manafort’s influ­ence on Yanukovych’s actions and deci­sions dur­ing that peri­od,” Zakrevs­ka said.

Ser­hiy Gor­batyuk, Ukraine’s pros­e­cu­tor for spe­cial inves­ti­ga­tions, con­firmed to CNN that his office received Zakrevska’s motion and said the text mes­sages would be inves­ti­gat­ed and poten­tial­ly entered into evi­dence. “We will check thor­ough­ly to ver­i­fy if they are real or not.”

Asked by CNN about the prospect of an inves­ti­ga­tion by the gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tors’ office, Man­afort replied: “Total BS on GP (gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor).”

Man­afort began work­ing for Yanukovych in 2004 and grew to be an influ­en­tial fig­ure in Ukraine who had the ear of the Pres­i­dent. After Yanukovych was oust­ed and pro-West­ern forces took the reins, Man­afort stayed on in the coun­try to help rebrand Yanukovych’s Par­ty of Regions as “Oppo­si­tion Bloc.”

Covert meth­ods and ‘shady email’

The text mes­sages, if gen­uine, shed light both on the last days of the Yanukovych regime in Ukraine and a tur­bu­lent peri­od in the Trump cam­paign last sum­mer, when Trump shook up his team’s lead­er­ship struc­ture.

They also cov­er the time peri­od when Rus­sia, accord­ing to US intel­li­gence agen­cies, may have been con­duct­ing hacks into email accounts asso­ci­at­ed with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

In the same 2015 con­ver­sa­tion with her sis­ter, Andrea alleged­ly sug­gests to Jes­si­ca that their father used covert meth­ods to send mes­sages to Ukraine.

“I was there when it hap­pened. I saw him on his shady email,” she alleged­ly wrote. “They don’t write emails. They log on and write in the drafts So it’s nev­er trans­mit­ted over any servers.”

In anoth­er alleged exchange with Jes­si­ca, in June 2016, Andrea plays down her father’s involve­ment in the hacks of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty emails.

“Pret­ty crazy about all the email hack­ing huh?” the texts read. “Dad must be over the moon.”

“Oh i saw.” is the reply. “The rus­sians.”

“Well it wasn’t dad’s doing. It was hack­ers,” Andrea alleged­ly writes back. “No clue who the hack­ers were. Fbi is look­ing into it.”

———-

6d. Rein­forc­ing the hypoth­e­sis that the Maid­an shoot­ings were a provo­ca­tion is the dis­clo­sure by Ukraine’s chief pros­e­cu­tor that the rifles alleged­ly used to fire on the Maid­an demon­stra­tors were recov­ered by an alleged Yanukovich oper­a­tive and leader [23] of the snipers who was one of the demon­stra­tors on the Maid­an! “ . . . Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko says that the man who helped the so-called “black hun­dred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shoot­ing at pro­test­ers dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty, flee Kyiv and delib­er­ate­ly drowned their weapons to con­ceal evi­dence, was him­self one of the par­tic­i­pants of the Maid­an protests. ‘With the help of mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, we have found weapons of the ‘black hun­dred,’ includ­ing a sniper rifle, which the entire coun­try saw on footage show­ing the shoot­ing at the pro­test­ers from out­side the Octo­ber Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV chan­nel. . . . ‘We found it with a large num­ber of auto­mat­ic rifles on the bot­tom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a sin­gle group, whose leader is one of the tar­gets of our inves­ti­ga­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this man who, accord­ing to our ver­sion, upon the orders of [for­mer Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the ‘black hun­dred’ flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, him­self, was with us on the Maid­an,’ Lut­senko said. . . . ”

“Pros­e­cu­tors say pub­lic to face unpleas­ant sur­prise in Maid­an killings probe”; Unian.info; 07/24/2016 [23]

Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko says that the man who helped so-called “black hun­dred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shoot­ing at pro­test­ers dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty, flee Kyiv and delib­er­ate­ly drowned their weapons to con­ceal evi­dence, was him­self one of the par­tic­i­pants of the Maid­an protests.

“With the help of mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, we have found weapons of the “black hun­dred,” includ­ing a sniper rifle, which the entire coun­try saw on footage show­ing the shoot­ing at the pro­test­ers from out­side the Octo­ber Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV chan­nel.

“We found it with a large num­ber of auto­mat­ic rifles on the bot­tom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a sin­gle group, whose leader is one of the tar­gets of our inves­ti­ga­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this man who, accord­ing to our ver­sion, upon the orders of [for­mer Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the “black hun­dred” flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, him­self, was with us on the Maid­an,” Lut­senko said.

As UNIAN report­ed ear­li­er, the Pros­e­cu­tor General’s Office July 14 con­duct­ed search­es at the hous­es of per­sons involved in assist­ing the troops from Berkut police spe­cial forces’ “black hun­dred” in flee­ing Kyiv after the bloody killings of the Maid­an activists and sub­se­quent destruc­tion of their weapons.

Ear­li­er, Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al of Ukraine, Chief Mil­i­tary Pros­e­cu­tor Ana­toliy Matios said: “When pub­lic learns who is involved in this, peo­ple will be very sur­prised.” Accord­ing to him, infor­ma­tion to be pub­lished may cause rejec­tion, “but the truth is the truth.”