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 COMMENT: Supplementing recent thoughts about the events in, and subsequent to, Charlottesville, we note a recent high-profile assassination in India. Intrepid journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot to death by an as-yet-unidentified assailant. Ms. Lankesh was fiercely critical of the Hindutva fascist government of Narendra Modi.
(Hindutva is a Hindu nationalist manifestation of fascism, formalized by V.D. Savarkar in the early 1920’s. Modi’s BJP is a political cat’s paw for the RSS, the Hindutva fascist organization launched by Savarkar and propelled by admirers of Hitler and Mussolini. It was the RSS that murdered Gandhi.) For excellent background on the assassination of Gandhi and the Hindutva fascist forces that engendered that, we heartily recommend James Douglass’ work Gandhi and the Unspeakable . We will be highlighting this work in the not-too-distant future.
In FTR #’s 972 and 973 , we underscored the grotesque dynamic manifesting in Charlottesville, with the mainstream media, the so-called progressive sector, the mainstream media and the GOP hypocritically condemning the fascists protesting the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. All of the above have prostituted themselves to the same forces.
Underlining the grotesque, hypocritical nature of the so-called progressive sector, the so-called “alternative” media and the mainstream media is their orgiastic fawning over Nazi fellow-traveler Glenn Greenwald  and his journalistic financial angel Pierre Omidyar .
In this post, we underscore the depth of Omidyar’s treacherous hypocrisy, shared by his obsequious acolytes. We note that:
- Omidyar helped finance  the rise of Modi and his Hindutva fascist BJP in India. Most of Modi’s cabinet selections were drawn from the RSS: ” . . . . This week, India’s newly-elected ultranationalist leader Narendra Modi unveiled his cabinet, three-quarters of whom come from a fascist paramilitary outfit, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)  . . . . founded in 1925 by open admirers of Mussolini and Hitler; in 1948, an RSS member assassinated pacifist Mahatma Gandhi. . . .”
- Omidyar helped finance  the Maidan coup in Ukraine, which brought to power Ukrainian fascists evolved from the OUN/B.
- Omidyar worked with U.S. Agency for International Development–a frequent vehicle for U.S. covert operation–to effect the Maidan coup.
- Omidyar has now partnered  with the inappropriately-named National Endowment for Democracy to further his ends. NED is little more than a front for continued covert operations.
- Omidyar’s charges in Ukraine have been complicit  in the murder of journalists critical of their activities.
- Omidyar’s OUN/B successor associates in Ukraine have worked to intimidate  journalists with whom they disagree, tarring them with the useful sobriquet of “Kremlin/Russian” dupes.
- The late Gauri Lankesh openly labeled  the Hindutva fascist RSS as being what they are: ” . . . . On Monday, the day before she was killed, she shared a post on her Facebook page that was written by someone else. ‘The RSS is the terrorist organization,’ it read. . . .”
- Ms. Lankesh’s murder was the latest in a string of killings  of journalist critical of Modi/BJP/RSS.
- Supported  by former Trump aide Steve Bannon, Modi was characterized  by a critic in terms that would aptly characterize Trump: ” . . . . ‘People like Modi,’ Mr. Ananthamurthy writes, ‘live in a gumbaz, a dome that echoes what they say to themselves over and over again.’ Mr. Modi’s election as prime minister has been followed by, as many feared, a climate of hostility toward minorities and renewed assaults on civil society and free expression. . . .”
In short, Omidyar has worked to elevate political forces that violently suppress those who dare to “tell truth to power.” That such as he could become icons of journalistic integrity speaks volumes for the depths to which our society has descended. SHAME!
New film suggests an intelligence services agent was present when device was hidden under Pavel Sheremet’s car last July
A new documentary film alleges that Ukraine’s spy agency may have witnessed the planting of a car bomb that killed a prominent journalist last July in Kiev.
Pavel Sheremet had just left his home in the Ukrainian capital and was driving to work when his car exploded . The murder was the most high-profile assassination of a reporter in the country since the beheading in 2000 of the investigative reporter Georgiy Gongadze. 
Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, had said it was a “matter of honour” that Sheremet’s case be promptly solved. He called for a transparent investigation by police and the security services. However, 10 months later no one has been arrested.
The film, Killing Pavel , suggests that an agent working for Ukraine’s intelligence services was present when the explosive device was hidden under the journalist’s car. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project  (OCCRP) and Slidstvo.info released the documentary on Wednesday, when it was screened on Ukrainian TV.
Investigators have said  Sheremet was killed by a remotely detonated explosive device, most likely in retribution for his investigative work in Ukraine and other places. The journalist supported the pro-western uprising in 2014 that saw Viktor Yanukovych flee to Russia, but had also been bitingly critical of Ukraine’s new authorities.
Surveillance camera footage published by the media and police revealed that an unknown man and a woman approached Sheremet’s Subaru car on the street the night before the blast. The woman is seen kneeling beside the parked car  on the driver’s side.
The makers of “Killing Pavel” tracked down new surveillance footage not found by police. It gives fresh details of the apparent killers, who returned to the scene the next morning shortly before Sheremet got into his doomed vehicle.
The footage reveals several suspicious men who arrived in the street that night. They appeared to be carrying out surveillance. They were still there when the man and the woman went past and allegedly fixed the bomb. The Bellingcat citizen journalist group managed to identify their car – a grey Skoda – and its registration.
The investigative reporters subsequently tracked down one of the men and identified him as Igor Ustimenko. Ustimenko admitted being in the area that night and said he had been hired as a private investigator to keep watch on someone’s children. He denied seeing the bombers and said police had not contacted him.
The reporters then spoke to a government source. He confirmed that Ustimenko had been working since 2014 for Ukraine’s SBU secret intelligence service. Ustimenko declined to comment further. The film also presented evidence suggesting that Sheremet was under surveillance in the weeks before his murder.
Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, has denied the government carried this out. A ministry spokesman declined to comment on the film. The security service did not immediately respond.
“The government of Ukraine repeatedly promised to find Pavel’s killer but it’s clear they didn’t do too much,” said Drew Sullivan, editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. “Now we have to consider the possibility that someone in government played a role in the murder.”
A pioneering television journalist in his native Belarus, Sheremet was forced to move to Russia after he was arrested in 1997 while reporting on border smuggling. His cameraman on that story, Dmitry Zavadsky, was kidnapped and killed  in Belarus in 2000. Sheremet later moved to Ukraine, where he was a well-known journalist with his own radio show.
In his last blogpost for the Ukrainian Pravda newspaper, Sheremet said some militia commanders and veterans of the conflict with pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine had escaped punishment for other crimes. Sheremet’s partner, Olena Prytula, co-founded the paper with Gongadze, whose brutal murder ignited national outrage. . . .
. . . . The killing caused a major scandal, and American FBI specialists were brought in to help identify the explosives. The United Nations deputy high commissioner for human rights, Kate Gilmore, said  Sheremet’s murder would be a “test of the ability and willingness of Ukraine’s institutions to investigate assaults on media freedom”. . . .
. . . . Still the question lingers: Who is behind PropOrNot? Who are they? We may have to await the defamation lawsuits that are almost certainly coming from those smeared by the Post and by PropOrNot. Their description sounds like the “About” tab on any number of Washington front groups that journalists and researchers are used to coming across:
“PropOrNot is an independent team of concerned American citizens with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including professional experience in computer science, statistics, public policy, and national security affairs.”
The only specific clues given were an admission that at least one of its members with access to its Twitter handle is “Ukrainian-American”. They had given this away in a handful of early Ukrainian-language tweets, parroting Ukrainian ultranationalist slogans, before the group was known.
One PropOrNot tweet, dated November 17, invokes a 1940s Ukrainian fascist salute “Heroiam Slava!!”   to cheer a news item on Ukrainian hackers fighting Russians. The phrase means “Glory to the heroes” and it was formally introduced by the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) at their March-April 1941 congress in Nazi occupied Cracow, as they prepared to serve as Nazi auxiliaries in Operation Barbarossa. As historian Grzgorz Rossoliński-Liebe, author of the definitive biography   on Ukraine’s wartime fascist leader and Nazi collaborator   Stepan Bandera, explained  :
“the OUN-B introduced another Ukrainian fascist salute at the Second Great Congress of the Ukrainian Nationalists in Cracow in March and April 1941. This was the most popular Ukrainian fascist salute and had to be performed according to the instructions of the OUN-B leadership by raising the right arm ‘slightly to the right, slightly above the peak of the head’ while calling ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ (Slava Ukraїni!) and responding ‘Glory to the Heroes!’ (Heroiam Slava!).”
Two months after formalizing this salute, Nazi forces allowed Bandera’s Ukrainian fascists to briefly take control of Lvov  , at the time a predominantly Jewish and Polish city—whereupon the Ukrainian “patriots” murdered, tortured and raped thousands of Jews  , in one of the most barbaric   and bloodiest pogroms ever.
Since the 2014 Maidan Revolution brought Ukrainian neo-fascists   back into the highest rungs of power  , Ukraine’s Nazi collaborators and wartime fascists have been rehabilitated   as heroes  , with major highways and roads named after them  , and public commemorations. The speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, Andriy Parubiy  , founded Ukraine’s neo-Nazi “Social-National Party of Ukraine”   and published a white supremacist manifesto, “View From the Right”   featuring the parliament speaker in full neo-Nazi uniform in front of fascist flags with the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol. Ukraine’s powerful Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, sponsors   several ultranationalist and neo-Nazi militia groups like the Azov Battalion  , and last month he helped appoint another neo-Nazi , Vadym Troyan  , as head of Ukraine’s National Police  . (Earlier this year, when Troyan was still police chief of the capital Kiev, he was widely accused   of having ordered an illegal surveillance operation on investigative journalist Pavel Sheremet just before his assassination by car bomb  .)
A Ukrainian intelligence service blacklist as PropOrNot’s model
Since coming to power in the 2014 Maidan Revolution, Ukraine’s US-backed regime has waged an increasingly surreal war on journalists who don’t toe the Ukrainian ultranationalist line, and against treacherous Kremlin propagandists, real and imagined. Two years ago, Ukraine established a “Ministry of Truth”  . This year the war has gone from surreal paranoia   to an increasingly deadly   kind of “terror.”  
One of the more frightening policies enacted by the current oligarch-nationalist regime in Kiev is an online blacklist   of journalists accused of collaborating with pro-Russian “terrorists.”   The website, “Myrotvorets”   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.
Condemned by the Committee to Protect Journalists   and numerous news organizations in the West and in Ukraine, the online blacklist includes the names and personal private information on some 4,500 journalists  , including several western journalists   and Ukrainians working for western media. 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. Many of these threats came with the wartime Ukrainian fascist salute: “Slava Ukraini!” [Glory to Ukraine!] So when PropOrNot’s anonymous “researchers” reveal only their Ukrainian(s) identity, it’s hard not to think about the spy-linked hackers who posted the deadly “Myrotvorets” blacklist of “treasonous” journalists.
The DNC’s Ukrainian ultra-nationalist researcher cries treason
Because the PropOrNot blacklist of American journalist “traitors” is anonymous, and the Washington Post front-page article protects their anonymity, we can only speculate on their identity with what little information they’ve given us. And that little bit of information reveals only a Ukrainian ultranationalist thread—the salute, the same obsessively violent paranoia towards Russia, and towards journalists, who in the eyes of Ukrainian nationalists have always been dupes and stooges, if not outright collaborators, of Russian evil.
One of the key media sources   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”  , 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 October of this year, Yahoo News named Chalupa   one of “16 People Who Shaped the 2016 Election”   for her role in pinning the DNC leaks on Russian hackers, and for making the case that the Trump campaign was under Kremlin control. “As a Democratic Party consultant and proud Ukrainian-American, Alexandra Chalupa was outraged last spring when Donald Trump named Paul Manafort as his campaign manager,” the Yahoo profile began. “As she saw it, Manafort was a key figure in advancing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s agenda inside her ancestral homeland — and she was determined to expose it.”
Chalupa worked with veteran reporter Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News to publicize her opposition research on Trump, Russia and Paul Manafort, as well as her many Ukrainian sources. In one leaked DNC email   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   “proving” that the Russians were behind the hacks, and that Trump’s campaign was under the spell of Kremlin spies and sorcerers.
(In 2008, when I broke the story   about the Manafort-Kremlin ties in The Nation with Ari Berman, I did not go on to to accuse him or John McCain, whose campaign was being run by Manafort’s partner, of being Manchurian Candidates under the spell of Vladimir Putin. Because they weren’t; instead, they were sleazy, corrupt, hypocritical politicians who followed money and power rather than principle. A media hack feeding frenzy turned Manafort from what he was—a sleazy scumbag—into a fantastical Kremlin mole  , forcing Manafort to resign from the Trump campaign, thanks in part to kompromat material leaked by the Ukrainian SBU  , successor to the KGB.)
Meanwhile, Chalupa’s Twitter feed went wild accusing Trump of treason—a crime that carries the death penalty. Along with well over 100 tweets hashtagged #TreasonousTrump   Chalupa repeatedly asked powerful government officials and bodies like the Department of Justice   to investigate Trump for the capital crime of treason. In the weeks since the election, Chalupa has repeatedly accused   both the Trump campaign and Russia of rigging the elections, demanding further investigations. According to The Guardian  , Chalupa recently sent a report to Congress proving Russian hacked into the vote count, hoping to initiate a Congressional investigation. In an interview with Gothamist  , Chalupa described alleged Russian interference in the election result as “an act of war.”
To be clear, I am not arguing that Chalupa is behind PropOrNot. But it is important to provide context to the boasts by PropOrNot about its Ukrainian nationalist links—within the larger context of the Clinton campaign’s anti-Kremlin hysteria, which crossed the line into Cold War xenophobia time and time again, an anti-Russian xenophobia shared by Clinton’s Ukrainian nationalist allies. To me, it looks like a classic case of blowback: A hyper-nationalist group whose extremism happens to be useful to American geopolitical ambitions, and is therefore nurtured to create problems for our competitor. Indeed, the US has cultivated extreme Ukrainian nationalists as proxies   for decades, since the Cold War began.
As investigative journalist Russ Bellant documented in his classic exposé, “Old Nazis, New Right,” Ukrainian Nazi collaborators were brought into the United States and weaponized   for use against Russia during the Cold War, despite whatever role they may have played in the Holocaust and in the mass slaughter of Ukraine’s ethnic Poles. After spending so many years encouraging extreme Ukrainian nationalism, it’s no surprise that the whole policy is beginning to blow back.
This week, India’s newly-elected ultranationalist leader Narendra Modi unveiled his cabinet, three-quarters of whom come from a fascist paramilitary outfit, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)  — including one minister accused by police last year of inciting deadly Hindu-Muslim violence that left over 50 dead. The RSS was founded in 1925 by open admirers of Mussolini and Hitler; in 1948, an RSS member assassinated pacifist Mahatma Gandhi.
In 1992, it was the RSS that organized the destruction of the Ayodha Mosque, leaving 2000 dead, mostly Muslims; and in 2002, the RSS played a key role in the mass-murders of minority Muslims in Gujarat, according to Human Rights Watch, when the state of Gujarat was ruled by Narendra Modi — himself a product of the RSS.
Earlier this week, Pando reported that Modi’s election received help from unlikely sources in Silicon Valley including Google, and to a much more serious extent, Omidyar Network, the philanthropy fund of eBay billionaire and First Look publisher Pierre Omidyar. From 2009 through February of this year, Omidyar Network India Advisers was headed by Jayant Sinha, a longtime Modi adviser and newly-elected MP in Modi’s ultranationalist BJP party ticket.
The Omidyar Network partner and managing director played a double role, investing funds in Indian nonprofits and for-profits, some with distinctly political agendas; while privately, the Omidyar man “worked in Modi’s team” in 2012-13, and served as director in the ultranationalist BJP party’s main think tank on security and economic policy, the India Foundation. This week, Modi appointed the head of the India Foundation, former intelligence chief Ajit Doval, as his National Security Advisor.
We note that Oleh Rybachuk, the recipient of Omidyar’s funds, was the right-hand man for Viktor Yuschenko in the Orange Revolution .
. . . . Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests.
According to financial disclosures and reports seen by Pando, the founder and publisher of Glenn Greenwald’s government-bashing blog,“The Intercept,” co-invested with the US government to help fund regime change in Ukraine. When the revolution came to Ukraine, neo-fascists  played a front-center role in overthrowing the country’s president. But the real political power rests with Ukraine’s pro-western neoliberals.
Political figures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State Department , DC neocons , EU , and NATO —and the right-hand man  to Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko. Last December, the Financial Times  wrote that Rybachuk’s “New Citizen” NGO campaign “played a big role in getting the protest up and running.”
. . . . In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Rybachuk moved to the newly-formed Ukraine Central Bank, heading the foreign relations department  under Central Bank chief and future Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko. In his central bank post, Rybachuk established close friendly ties with western government and financial aid institutions, as well as proto-Omidyar figures like George Soros , who funded  many of the NGOs involved in “color revolutions”  including small donations to the same Ukraine NGOs that Omidyar backed. (Like Omidyar Network does today, Soros’ charity arms—Open Society and Renaissance Foundation—publicly preached transparency and good government in places like Russia during the Yeltsin years, while Soros’ financial arm speculated  on Russian debt and participated in scandal-plagued auctions  of state assets.) In early 2005, Orange Revolution leader Yushchenko became Ukraine’s president, and he appointed Rybachuk deputy prime minister  in charge of integrating Ukraine into the EU, NATO, and other western institutions. Rybachuk also pushed for the mass-privatization  of Ukraine’s remaining state holdings. Over the next several years, Rybachuk was shifted around President Yushchenko’s embattled administration, torn by internal divisions. In 2010, Yushchenko lost the presidency to recently-overthrown Viktor Yanukovych, and a year later, Rybachuk was on Omidyar’s and USAID’s payroll, preparing for the next Orange Revolution.
As Rybachuk told the Financial Times  two years ago:“We want to do [the Orange Revolution] again and we think we will.”
Some of Omidyar’s funds were specifically earmarked for covering the costs of setting up Rybachuk’s “clean up parliament” NGOs in Ukraine’s regional centers. Shortly after the Euromaidan demonstrations erupted last November, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry opened up a money laundering investigation into Rybachuk’s NGOs, dragging Omidyar’s name into the high-stakes political struggle. According to a Kyiv Post  article on February 10 titled, “Rybachuk: Democracy-promoting nongovernmental organization faces ‘ridiculous’ investigation”: “Police are investigating Center UA, a public-sector watchdog funded by Western donors, on suspicion of money laundering, the group said. The group’s leader, Oleh Rybachuk, said it appears that authorities, with the probe, are trying to warn other nongovernmental organizations that seek to promote democracy, transparency, free speech and human rights in Ukraine.
“According to Center UA, the Kyiv economic crimes unit of the Interior Ministry started the investigation on Dec. 11. Recently, however, investigators stepped up their efforts, questioning some 200 witnesses. “… Center UA received more than $500,000 in 2012, according to its annual report for that year, 54 percent of which came from Pact Inc., a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Nearly 36 percent came from Omidyar Network, a foundation established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife.
Ukraine just held its first post-revolution parliamentary elections, and amid all of the oligarchs , EU enthusiasts, neo-Nazis , nepotism babies , and death squad commanders , there is one newly-elected parliamentarian’s name that stands out for her connection to Silicon Valley: Svitlana Zalishchuk , from the billionaire president’s Poroshenko Bloc  party. Zalishchuk was given a choice spot on the president’s party list, at number 18 , ensuring her a seat in the new Rada. And she owes her rise to power to another oligarch besides Ukraine’s president — Pierre Omidyar , whose funding  with USAID helped topple the previous government. Zalishchuk’s pro-Maidan revolution outfits were directly funded by Omidyar. Earlier this year, Pando exposed  how eBay billionaire and Intercept publisher Pierre Omidyar co-funded with USAID Zalishchuk’s web of nongovernmental organizations — New Citizen , Chesno , Center UA .
According to the Financial Times, New Citizen, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Omidyar, “played a big role in getting the [Maidan] protest up and running” in November 2013. Omidyar Network’s website features Zalishchuk’s photograph  on its page describing its investment in New Citizen. Zalishchuk was brought into the NGOs by her longtime mentor, Oleh Rybachuk , a former deputy prime minster who led the last failed effort to integrate  Ukraine into the EU and NATO . Zalishchuk’s photos also grace  the Poroshenko Bloc’s website  and twitter feed , as she emerged as one of the presidential party’s leading spokespersons.
The Poroshenko Bloc is named after Ukraine’s pro-Western president, Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire with a lock on Ukraine’s confectionary industry , as well as owning a national TV station and other prized assets. He came to power this year thanks to the revolution originally organized by Zalishchuk’s Omidyar-funded NGOs, and has rewarded her with a seat in the Rada. The president’s party tasked Zalushchik with publicly selling  the highly controversial new “lustration law” — essentially a legalized witch-hunt law first proposed by the neo-fascist Svoboda Party earlier this year, and subsequently denounced by Ukraine’s prosecutor general  and by Human Rights Watch , which described a draft of the law as “arbitrary and overly broad and fail(s) to respect human rights principles,” warning it “may set the stage for unlawful mass arbitrary political exclusion.”
The lustration law  was passed under a wave of neo-Nazi violence , in which members of parliament and others set to be targeted for purges were forcibly thrown into trash dumps. Zalishchuk, however, praised the lustration law, claiming that the legalized purges would “give Ukraine a chance at a new life.” Shortly before the elections, on October 17, Zalishchuk used her Omidyar-funded outfit, “Chesno, ” to organize a roundtable with leaders of pro-EU and neo-fascist parties. It was called “Parliament for Reform” and it brought together leaders from eight parties,including Zalishchuk’s “Poroshenko Bloc” (she served as both NGO organizer and as pro-Poroshenko party candidate), the prime minister’s “People’s Party” and leaders from two unabashedly neo-Nazi parties: Svoboda , and the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko , who was denounced by Amnesty International  for posting YouTube videos of himself interrogating  naked and hooded pro-Russian separatist prisoners. Lyashko’s campaign posters featured him impaling  a caricatured Jewish oligarch on a Ukrainian trident.
Meanwhile, Zalishchuk’s boss, President Petro Poroshenko, has led a bloody war against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country that left at least 3700 dead in a half year of fighting. Human Rights Watch recently accused  Poroshenko’s forces of “indiscriminate” use of cluster bombs in heavily populated areas, that “may amount to war crimes.” Poroshenko’s forces include neo-Nazi death squads like the notorious Azov battalion.
Last month, Poroshenko further cemented  his ties to the extreme right  by hailing Ukraine’s wartime Nazi collaborators , the violently anti-Semitic  UPA, as “heroes .” The fascist UPA participated in the Holocaust , and were responsible for killing tens of thousands  of Jews and ethnic Poles in their bid to create an ethnically pure Ukraine. Many UPA members filled the ranks of the Nazi SS “Galicia” Division .
The neo-Nazi Right Sektor, which spearheaded the violent later stages of the Maidan revolution, sees itself as the UPA’s contemporary successors; Right Sektor’s leader, Dmitry Yarosh, believes  that any “ethnic minority that prevents us from being masters in our own land” is an “enemy.”  Yarosh was just elected  to the new parliament. This week, Omidyar Network’s “investment lead” for Ukraine, Stephen King, accepted an award  for Omidyar Network’s role in a major new USAID-backed  project, Global Impact Investing Network. . . .
The Guardian reported  on Tuesday that the National Endowment for Democracy has just been banned from Russia, under strict new laws regulating NGOs acting as foreign agents. In that story, the Guardian cited the fact that Intercept publisher Pierre Omidyar co-funded Ukraine revolution groups with USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). If the Omidyar connection sounds familiar, that’s because it was Pando that first broke the story  in February 2014 (the Guardian linked to our original scoop in its coverage.)
In the 18 months since we broke the story, Ukraine has collapsed into war and despair, with up to 10,000 people killed and one and a half million internally-displaced refugees — and top US brass talk openly of a new Cold War with nuclear-armed Russia, while US military advisors train and arm Ukrainians to wage war on Russian-backed separatists. Svitlana Zalishchuk , one of the leaders of the Omidyar-funded NGO  that helped organize last year’s revolution in Kiev, is now in power as an MP in Ukraine’s parliament , a member of the new, pro-NATO president’s party bloc.
She’s gone from plucky Omidyar-funded adversarial activist , to heading a parliamentary subcommittee  tasked with integrating Ukraine into NATO. I can’t think of another media tycoon who co-funded a pro-US regime change with American intelligence cutouts like USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy.
That Putin targeted the NED does not mean it’s either heroic or evil—the NED’s story speaks for itself: The brainchild of Reagan’s CIA director Bill Casey, the National Endowment for Democracy was set up as an intelligence cutout to support US geopolitical power and undermine unfriendly regimes. One of the NED co-founders, Allen Weinstein, explained  its purpose to the Washington Post :
“A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
Throughout its 30-year history it’s been mired in very typical CIA controversies: In the 80s, the NED was caught funding an outlawed extreme-right French paramilitary  gang during Socialist president Mitterand’s rule; funding a military leader’s victorious election in Panama against a more moderate civilian candidate; and financing rightwing opponents of Costa Rica’s democratically-elected Nobel Peace Prize-winning president, whose sin was opposing Reagan’s deadly, dirty war in Nicaragua.
More recently, the NED was caught funding groups that organized the 2002 coup against Venezuela’s democratically-elected president Hugo Chavez; planting a “free-lance journalist” in the AP  and New York Times to report  on Haiti while the NED was simultaneously funding  rightwing groups to undermine Haiti’s ruling party; and co-funding Ukraine regime-change groups with Pierre Omidyar.
This week, Omidyar Network announced yet another partnership  with the National Endowment for Democracy and the Poynter Institute to create an international online fact-checking hub. Given the power that a monopoly on “objective” fact-checking offers, the tie-up with the NED takes the Omidyar alliance with the US empire and media to newer, creepier levels.
In yet another Omidyar-as-private-arm investment, Omidyar invested in the slick new Ukrainian media, Hromadske.tv , which was set up on the eve of the Maidan revolution with initial seed funding coming from the US Embassy in Kiev. Omidyar’s involvement in Ukraine media and “fact-checking” is all the more serious given that now Washington and NATO talk about “countering” Russia’s overhyped “information war” on the West and on Ukraine—this “information war” which I covered a bit in my piece on Peter Pomerantsev , is considered a top and urgent geostrategic priority for NATO and the West. . . .
The last months of U. R. Ananthamurthy’s life were tumultuous. One of India’s foremost novelists and political commentators, Mr. Ananthamurthy, who died in August 2014 at 81, had threatened to leave the country if Narendra Modi, then leading the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, won the vote in the national election. Mr. Ananthamurthy’s remarks drew vitriol, abuse and death threats from Mr. Modi’s supporters, and he remained under round-the-clock police protection for months. In June, a political tract Mr. Ananthamurthy wrote during the final stage of his life, the parting shot of a writer who devoted substantial time to warning of the dangers of Hindu nationalism, was published to widespread acclaim. More than two years after Mr. Modi’s election as prime minister, even as many continue to fear that India’s founding values of secularism and diversity are under threat, Mr. Ananthamurthy’s voice has served as an urgent reminder of the perils of majoritarianism and hyper-nationalism. . . .
. . . . Drawing on a formidable range of intellectual references, from Dostoyevsky to the epics of Hindu mythology, Mr. Ananthamurthy’s “Hindutva or Hind Swaraj” examines the two rival ideas that have shaped modern India: the plural nationalism originating from the struggle against British colonialism, led by Mohandas K. Gandhi; and the muscular, majoritarian nationalism favored by Mr. Modi and his supporters. Mr. Ananthamurthy compares the key texts of these dominant political strains: Mr. Gandhi’s “Hind Swaraj,” a riposte to British colonialism completed in 10 days, during a ship journey in 1909, and published a year later; and “Hindutva,” the 1923 founding text of Hindu nationalism, written by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a rightwing activist imprisoned by the British for his role in India’s freedom movement. “He felt the choice was really between these two ideologies,” Vivek Shanbhag, a prominent novelist and Mr. Ananthamurthy’s son-in-law, said of Mr. Ananthamurthy. “He was saying that it’s time that we, as a nation, stop now and take a look before we blindly move forward.” . . . .
. . . . “People like Modi,” Mr. Ananthamurthy writes, “live in a gumbaz, a dome that echoes what they say to themselves over and over again.” Mr. Modi’s election as prime minister has been followed by, as many feared, a climate of hostility toward minorities and renewed assaults on civil society and free expression. . . .
Gauri Lankesh, one of India’s most outspoken journalists, was walking into her house on Tuesday night. It was around 8. The night was warm. She was alone. As she stepped through her gate, just feet from her front door, several gunshots rang out.
She was killed instantly in what political opposition officials say appears to be yet another assassination of an intellectual who publicly criticized India’s governing party and the Hindu agenda it has pursued. In recent years, at least three other antiestablishment activists have been silenced by bullets.
Ms. Lankesh’s death, which monopolized television news coverage on Wednesday, set off protests across India, a country increasingly polarized by supporters of the Hindu nationalist governing party and its detractors. Some of Mrs. Lankesh’s friends say they have no idea who killed her. But among government opponents, the circumstances of the shooting fueled suspicions that governing party backers, emboldened by their leaders to wipe out their enemies, were behind it.
“Anybody who speaks against the RSS/BJP is attacked & even killed,’’ Rahul Gandhi, an opposition leader, said in a Twitter message. (R.S.S. is a Hindu organization that is closely connected to India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party.) “They want to impose only one ideology which is against the nature of India.” . . .
. . . . Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party had been annoyed with Ms. Lankesh for years and sued her for defamation. The first court to hear the case convicted her and sentenced her to six months in prison last year, but she was granted bail while the case was on appeal. S. N. Sinha, president of India’s 28,000-member journalist union and a member of a news oversight council, said the council had gotten many complaints about Ms. Lankesh.
“She used to write very strongly,” Mr. Sinha said. “We warned her she has to be a little careful in her writing. It wasn’t the content; it was her language.” On Monday, the day before she was killed, she shared a post on her Facebook page that was written by someone else. “The RSS is the terrorist organization,” it read. . . .