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FTR #1110 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment. [6]

Intro­duc­tion: As the title indi­cates, this pro­gram presents a pot­pour­ri of arti­cles cov­er­ing a num­ber of top­ics.

A com­mon thread unit­ing them is the ongo­ing New Cold War and ele­ments fac­tor­ing in the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings under­way in Wash­ing­ton. 

Reput­ed evi­dence of a new “hack” alleged­ly done by the G.R.U. does­n’t pass the sniffs test. 

Fac­tors to be weighed in con­nec­tion with the lat­est “hack” [7] of the Ukrain­ian nat­ur­al gas com­pa­ny Buris­ma (on whose board Hunter Biden sits–a fact that has been a focal point of the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings):

  1. Blake Darche, co-founder and Chief Secu­ri­ty offi­cer of Area 1, the firm that “detect­ed” the lat­est “hack” has a strong past asso­ci­a­tion [8] with Crowd­Strike, the firm that helped launch [9] the New Cold War pro­pa­gan­da blitz about sup­posed Russ­ian hacks. Darche was a Prin­ci­pal Con­sul­tant at Crowd­Strike.
  2. Crowd­Strike [10], in turn, has strong links to the Atlantic Coun­cil [11], one of the think tanks that is part and par­cel to the Inter­mar­i­um Con­ti­nu­ity dis­cussed in FTR #‘s1098, 1099, 1100, 1101 [12]Dmitri Alper­ovitch, the com­pa­ny’s co-founder and Chief Tech­nol­o­gy Offi­cer is a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil.
  3. An iron­ic ele­ment of the “analy­sis” of the hacks attrib­ut­es the acts to “Fan­cy Bear” and the G.R.U., based on alleged lazi­ness on the part of the alleged per­pe­tra­tors of the phish­ing attack. (Phish­ing attacks are very easy for a skilled actor to car­ry out in rel­a­tive anonymi­ty.) Area 1’s con­clu­sion is based on “pat­tern recog­ni­tion,” [13] which is the embod­i­ment of lazi­ness. We are to believe that the G.R.U./Fancy Bear alleged perp used a “cook­ie cut­ter” approach.

As we have not­ed in many pre­vi­ous broad­casts and posts, cyber attacks are eas­i­ly dis­guised. Per­pe­trat­ing a “cyber false flag” oper­a­tion is dis­turbing­ly easy to do. In a world where the ver­i­fi­ably false and phys­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble “con­trolled demolition”/Truther non­sense has gained trac­tion, cyber false flag ops are all the more threat­en­ing and sin­is­ter.

Now, we learn that the CIA’s hack­ing tools [14] are specif­i­cal­ly craft­ed to mask CIA author­ship of the attacks. Most sig­nif­i­cant­ly, for our pur­pos­es, is the fact that the Agen­cy’s hack­ing tools are engi­neered in such a way as to per­mit the authors of the event to rep­re­sent them­selves as Russ­ian.

” . . . . These tools could make it more dif­fi­cult for anti-virus com­pa­nies and foren­sic inves­ti­ga­tors to attribute hacks to the CIA. Could this call the source of pre­vi­ous hacks into ques­tion? It appears that yes, this might be used to dis­guise the CIA’s own hacks to appear as if they were Russ­ian, Chi­nese, or from spe­cif­ic oth­er coun­tries. . . . This might allow a mal­ware cre­ator to not only look like they were speak­ing in Russ­ian or Chi­nese, rather than in Eng­lish, but to also look like they tried to hide that they were not speak­ing Eng­lish . . . .”

This is of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance in eval­u­at­ing the increas­ing­ly neo-McCarthyite New Cold War pro­pa­gan­da about “Russ­ian inter­fer­ence” in the U.S. elec­tion, and Russ­ian author­ship of the high-pro­file hacks.

With Buris­ma at the cen­ter of the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings in Wash­ing­ton, we note some inter­est­ing rela­tion­ships [15] involv­ing Buris­ma and its board of direc­tors, on which Hunter Biden sits.

Some of the con­sid­er­a­tions to be weighed in that con­text

  1. Buris­ma formed a pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ship with the Atlantic Coun­cil in 2017: ” . . . . In 2017, Buris­ma announced that it faced no active pros­e­cu­tion cas­es, then formed a part­ner­ship with the Atlantic Coun­cil, a US think-tank active in pro­mot­ing anti-cor­rup­tion efforts in Ukraine. Buris­ma donat­ed between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Atlantic Coun­cil last year . . . .  Kari­na Zlochevs­ka, Mr. [Buris­ma founder Myko­la] Zlochevsky’s daugh­ter, attend­ed an Atlantic Coun­cil round­table on pro­mot­ing best busi­ness prac­tices as recent­ly as last week. . . .”
  2. The firm had on its board of Buris­ma of both Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki and Cofer Black. ” . . . .When pros­e­cu­tors began inves­ti­gat­ing Burisma’s licens­es over self-deal­ing alle­ga­tions, Mr Zlochevsky stacked its board with West­ern lumi­nar­ies. . . .  they includ­ed for­mer Pol­ish pres­i­dent Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki, who had vis­it­ed Ukraine dozens of times as an EU envoy, and  . . . .  ex-Black­wa­ter direc­tor Cofer Black. In Mona­co, where he report­ed­ly lives, Mr Zlochevsky joint­ly organ­is­es an annu­al ener­gy con­fer­ence with Mr Kwasniewski’s foun­da­tion. . . . ”
  3. Kwas­niews­ki was not only the EU’s envoy seek­ing ful­fill­ment of the EU asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment, but a key mem­ber of Paul Man­afort’s Haps­burg Group. The evi­dence about Man­afort work­ing with that assem­blage to maneu­ver Ukraine into the West­ern orbit is exten­sive. Some of the rel­e­vant pro­grams are: FTR #‘s 1008 [16], 1009 [17] (back­ground about the deep pol­i­tics sur­round­ing the Hapsburg–U.S. intel­li­gence alliance) and 1022 [18].That the actu­al Maid­an Coup itself was sparked by a provo­ca­tion fea­tur­ing the lethal snip­ing by OUN/B suc­ces­sor ele­ments is per­sua­sive. Some of the rel­e­vant pro­grams are: FTR #‘s 982 [19], 1023 [20], 1024 [21].
  4. Kwas­niewski’s foun­da­tion’s annu­al ener­gy con­fer­ences bring to mind the Three Seas Ini­tia­tive and the cen­tral role of ener­gy in it. The TSI and the role of ener­gy in same is high­light­ed in the arti­cle [22] at the core of FTR #‘s 1098–1101 [12]. In this con­text, note the role of the Atlantic Coun­cil in the TSI and its ener­gy com­po­nent, along with the part­ner­ship between Buris­ma and the Atlantic Coun­cil. The TSI and its ener­gy com­po­nent, in turn, are a fun­da­men­tal ele­ment of the Inter­mar­i­um Con­ti­nu­ity, the mil­i­tary com­po­nent of which is now being cement­ed in the Impeach­ment Cir­cus: ” . . . . Under the men­tor­ship of Jarosław Kaczyńs­ki, the new Pol­ish pres­i­dent, Andrzej Duda, elect­ed in 2015, relaunched the idea of a Baltic-Black Sea alliance on the eve of his inau­gu­ra­tion under the label of ‘Three Seas Ini­tia­tive’ (TSI). Orig­i­nal­ly, the project grew out of a debate sparked by a report co-pub­lished by the Atlantic Coun­cil and the EU ener­gy lob­by group Cen­tral Europe Ener­gy Part­ners (CEEP) with the goal of pro­mot­ing big Cen­tral Euro­pean com­pa­nies’ inter­ests in the EU.[116] [23] The report, enti­tled Com­plet­ing Europe—From the North-South Cor­ri­dor to Ener­gy, Trans­porta­tion, and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Union, was co-edit­ed by Gen­er­al James L. Jones, Jr., for­mer Supreme Allied Com­man­der of NATO, U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, and chair­man of the Atlantic Coun­cil, and Pawel Olech­now­icz, CEO of the Pol­ish oil and gas giant Gru­pa Lotos.[117] [24] It ‘called for the accel­er­at­ed con­struc­tion of a North-South Cor­ri­dor of ener­gy, trans­porta­tion, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions links stretch­ing from the Baltic Sea to the Adri­at­ic and Black Seas,’ which at the time was still referred to as the ‘Adri­at­ic-Baltic-Black Sea Ini­tia­tive.’[118] [25] The report was pre­sent­ed in Brus­sels in March 2015, where, accord­ing to Fred­er­ick Kempe, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Atlantic Coun­cil, it ‘gen­er­at­ed a huge amount of excite­ment.’ . . . .”
  5. The pres­ence on the Buris­ma board of Cofer Black “ex”-CIA and the for­mer direc­tor of Erik Prince’s Black­wa­ter out­fit is VERY impor­tant. Erik Prince is the broth­er of Trump Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Bet­sy De Vos and the busi­ness part­ner of John­son Cho Kun Sun [26], the Hong Kong-based oli­garch who sits on the board of Emer­da­ta, the rein­car­nat­ed Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca. Both Cofer Black and Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki are in a posi­tion to pro­vide detailed intel­li­gence about the oper­a­tions of Buris­ma, includ­ing any data that the sup­posed “Russ­ian hack” might reveal.

With the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings now head­ing toward their most prob­a­ble conclusion–Trump’s acquit­tal– and with the inces­sant bab­ble about the non-exis­tent “Russ­ian inter­fer­ence” in the U.S. elec­tion, it is worth con­tem­plat­ing Amer­i­can inter­fer­ence in Russ­ian pol­i­tics.

[27]Against the back­ground of decades of Amer­i­can-backed and/or ini­ti­at­ed coups over­throw­ing gov­ern­ments around the world, we high­light U.S. sup­port for Boris Yeltsin [28]. Fol­low­ing the NED’s ele­va­tion of Nazi-allied fas­cists in Lithua­nia [29] and the expan­sion of that Gehlen/CFF/GOP milieu inside the for­mer Sovi­et Union cour­tesy of the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion [30], the U.S. hoist­ed Yeltsin into the dri­ver’s seat of the new­ly-mint­ed Rus­sia. (One should nev­er for­get that Jef­frey Sachs [31], a key eco­nom­ic advis­er to Bernie Sanders and Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez head­ed the team that sent the Russ­ian econ­o­my back to the stone age.)

Key points of con­sid­er­a­tion:

  1. ” . . . . . . . . In late 1991, after the fall of the Sovi­et Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of spe­cial pow­ers from the Russ­ian Par­lia­ment: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dic­ta­tor of Rus­sia to facil­i­tate the mid­wifery of the birth of a demo­c­ra­t­ic Rus­sia. In March of 1992, under pres­sure from a dis­con­tent­ed pop­u­la­tion, par­lia­ment repealed the dic­ta­to­r­i­al pow­ers it had grant­ed him. Yeltsin respond­ed by declar­ing a state of emer­gency, giv­ing him­self the repealed dic­ta­to­r­i­al pow­ers. Russia’s Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court ruled that Yeltsin was act­ing out­side the con­sti­tu­tion. But the US sided – against the Russ­ian peo­ple and against the Russ­ian Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court – with Yeltsin. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Yeltsin dis­solved the par­lia­ment that had rescind­ed his pow­ers and abol­ished the con­sti­tu­tion of which he was in vio­la­tion. In a 636–2 vote, the Russ­ian par­lia­ment impeached Yeltsin. But Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russ­ian peo­ple and Russ­ian law, giv­ing him $2.5 bil­lion in aid. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Yeltsin took the mon­ey and sent police offi­cers and elite para­troop­ers to sur­round the par­lia­ment build­ing. Clin­ton ‘praised the Russ­ian Pres­i­dent has (sic) hav­ing done ‘quite well’ in man­ag­ing the stand­off with the Russ­ian Par­lia­ment,’ as The New York Times report­ed [32] at the time. Clin­ton added that he thought ‘the Unit­ed States and the free world ought to hang in there’ with their sup­port of Yeltsin against his peo­ple, their con­sti­tu­tion and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be ‘on the right side of his­to­ry.’ . . .”
  4. ” . . . . On the right side of his­to­ry and armed with machine guns, Yeltsin’s troops opened fire on the crowd of pro­test­ers, killing about 100 peo­ple before set­ting the Russ­ian par­lia­ment build­ing on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin’s troops had killed [33] an uncon­firmed 500 peo­ple and wound­ed near­ly 1,000. Still, Clin­ton stood with Yeltsin. . . .”
  5. ” . . . . In 1996, Amer­i­ca would inter­fere yet again. With elec­tions loom­ing, Yeltsin’s pop­u­lar­i­ty was nonex­is­tent, and his approval rat­ing was at about 6 per­cent [34]. Accord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Russ­ian Stud­ies at Prince­ton, Stephen Cohen, Clinton’s inter­fer­ence in Russ­ian pol­i­tics, his ‘cru­sade’ to ‘reform Rus­sia,’ had by now become offi­cial pol­i­cy [35]. And, so, Amer­i­ca bold­ly inter­fered direct­ly in Russ­ian elec­tions [36]. Three Amer­i­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tants, receiv­ing ‘direct assis­tance from Bill Clinton’s White House,’ secret­ly ran Yeltsin’s re-elec­tion cam­paign. As Time mag­a­zine broke the sto­ry [37], ‘For four months, a group of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tants clan­des­tine­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in guid­ing Yeltsin’s cam­paign.’ ‘Fund­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment,’ Cohen reports, [38] Amer­i­cans ‘gave mon­ey to favored Russ­ian politi­cians, instruct­ed min­is­ters, draft­ed leg­is­la­tion and pres­i­den­tial decrees, under­wrote text­books, and served at Yeltsin’s reelec­tion head­quar­ters in 1996.’ . . . .”
  6. ” . . . . Then ambas­sador to Rus­sia Thomas Pick­er­ing even pres­sured an oppos­ing can­di­date to drop out of the elec­tion [39] to improve Yeltsin’s odds of win­ning. . . .”
  7. ” . . . . The US not only helped run Yeltsin’s cam­paign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 bil­lion Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) loan for Rus­sia, the sec­ond-biggest loan the IMF had ever giv­en. The New York Times report­ed [40] that the loan was ‘expect­ed to be help­ful to Pres­i­dent Boris N. Yeltsin in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in June.’ . . .”

1a. Reput­ed evi­dence of a new “hack” alleged­ly done by the G.R.U. does­n’t pass the sniffs test. 

Fac­tors to be weighed in con­nec­tion with the lat­est “hack” [7] of the Ukrain­ian nat­ur­al gas com­pa­ny Buris­ma (on whose board Hunter Biden sits–a fact that has been a focal point of the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings):

  1. Blake Darche, co-founder and Chief Secu­ri­ty offi­cer of Area 1, the firm that “detect­ed” the lat­est “hack” has a strong past asso­ci­a­tion [8] with Crowd­Strike, the firm that helped launch [9] the New Cold War pro­pa­gan­da blitz about sup­posed Russ­ian hacks. Darche was a Prin­ci­pal Con­sul­tant at Crowd­Strike.
  2. Crowd­Strike [10], in turn, has strong links to the Atlantic Coun­cil [11], one of the think tanks that is part and par­cel to the Inter­mar­i­um Con­ti­nu­ity dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 1098, 1099, 1100, 1101 [12]Dmitri Alper­ovitch, the com­pa­ny’s co-founder and Chief Tech­nol­o­gy Offi­cer is a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil.
  3. An iron­ic ele­ment of the “analy­sis” of the hacks attrib­ut­es the acts to “Fan­cy Bear” and the G.R.U., based on alleged lazi­ness on the part of the alleged per­pe­tra­tors of the phish­ing attack. (Phish­ing attacks are very easy for a skilled actor to car­ry out in rel­a­tive anonymi­ty.) Area 1’s con­clu­sion is based on “pat­tern recog­ni­tion,” [13] which is the embod­i­ment of lazi­ness. We are to believe that the G.R.U./Fancy Bear alleged perp used a “cook­ie cut­ter” approach.

“Rus­sians Hacked Ukrain­ian Gas Com­pa­ny at Cen­ter of Impeach­ment” by Nicole Perl­roth and Matthew Rosen­berg; The New York Times; 01/13/2020 [7].

With Pres­i­dent Trump fac­ing an impeach­ment tri­al over his efforts to pres­sure Ukraine to inves­ti­gate for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, Russ­ian mil­i­tary hack­ers have been bor­ing into the Ukrain­ian gas com­pa­ny at the cen­ter of the affair, accord­ing to secu­ri­ty experts.

The hack­ing attempts against Buris­ma, the Ukrain­ian gas com­pa­ny on whose board Hunter Biden served, began in ear­ly Novem­ber, as talk of the Bidens, Ukraine and impeach­ment was dom­i­nat­ing the news in the Unit­ed States.

It is not yet clear what the hack­ers found, or pre­cise­ly what they were search­ing for. But the experts say the tim­ing and scale of the attacks sug­gest that the Rus­sians could be search­ing for poten­tial­ly embar­rass­ing mate­r­i­al on the Bidens — the same kind of infor­ma­tion that Mr. Trump want­ed from Ukraine when he pressed for an inves­ti­ga­tion of the Bidens and Buris­ma, set­ting off a chain of events that led to his impeach­ment.

The Russ­ian tac­tics are strik­ing­ly sim­i­lar to what Amer­i­can intel­li­gence agen­cies say was Russia’s hack­ing of emails from Hillary Clinton’s cam­paign chair­man and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee [41] dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. In that case, once they had the emails, the Rus­sians used trolls to spread and spin the mate­r­i­al, and built an echo cham­ber to widen its effect.

Then, as now, the Russ­ian hack­ers from a mil­i­tary intel­li­gence unit known for­mer­ly as the G.R.U., and to pri­vate researchers by the alias “Fan­cy Bear,” used so-called phish­ing emails that appear designed to steal user­names and pass­words, accord­ing to Area 1, the Sil­i­con Val­ley secu­ri­ty firm that detect­ed the hack­ing. In this instance, the hack­ers set up fake web­sites that mim­ic­ked sign-in pages of Buris­ma sub­sidiaries, and have been blast­ing Buris­ma employ­ees with emails meant to look like they are com­ing from inside the com­pa­ny.

The hack­ers fooled some of them into hand­ing over their login cre­den­tials, and man­aged to get inside one of Burisma’s servers, Area 1 said.

“The attacks were suc­cess­ful,” said Oren Falkowitz, a co-founder of Area 1, who pre­vi­ous­ly served at the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency. Mr. Falkowitz’s firm main­tains a net­work of sen­sors on web servers around the globe — many known to be used by state-spon­sored hack­ers — which gives the firm a front-row seat to phish­ing attacks, and allows them to block attacks on their cus­tomers.

“The tim­ing of the Russ­ian cam­paign mir­rors the G.R.U. hacks we saw in 2016 against the D.N.C. and John Podes­ta,” the Clin­ton cam­paign chair­man, Mr. Falkowitz said. “Once again, they are steal­ing email cre­den­tials, in what we can only assume is a repeat of Russ­ian inter­fer­ence in the last elec­tion.”

The Jus­tice Depart­ment indict­ed sev­en offi­cers from the same mil­i­tary intel­li­gence unit [42] in 2018.

The Russ­ian attacks on Buris­ma appear to be run­ning par­al­lel to an effort by Russ­ian spies in Ukraine to dig up infor­ma­tion in the ana­log world that could embar­rass the Bidens, accord­ing to an Amer­i­can secu­ri­ty offi­cial, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss sen­si­tive intel­li­gence. The spies, the offi­cial said, are try­ing to pen­e­trate Buris­ma and work­ing sources in the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment in search of emails, finan­cial records and legal doc­u­ments.

Amer­i­can offi­cials are warn­ing that the Rus­sians have grown stealth­i­er [43] since 2016, and are again seek­ing to steal and spread dam­ag­ing infor­ma­tion and tar­get vul­ner­a­ble elec­tion sys­tems ahead of the 2020 elec­tion.

In the same vein, Rus­sia has been work­ing since the ear­ly days of Mr. Trump’s pres­i­den­cy to turn the focus away from its own elec­tion inter­fer­ence in 2016 by seed­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about Ukrain­ian med­dling and Demo­c­ra­t­ic com­plic­i­ty.

The result has been a mud­dy brew of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that mix facts, like the hand­ful of Ukraini­ans who open­ly crit­i­cized Mr. Trump’s can­di­da­cy, with dis­cred­it­ed claims that the D.N.C.’s email serv­er is in Ukraine and that Mr. Biden, as vice pres­i­dent, had cor­rupt deal­ings with Ukrain­ian offi­cials to pro­tect his son. Spread by bots and trolls on social media, and by Russ­ian intel­li­gence offi­cers, the claims res­onat­ed with Mr. Trump, who views talk of Russ­ian inter­fer­ence as an attack on his legit­i­ma­cy.

With Mr. Biden’s emer­gence as a front-run­ner for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion last spring, the pres­i­dent latched on to the cor­rup­tion alle­ga­tions, and asked that Ukraine inves­ti­gate the Bidens on his July 25 call with Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky of Ukraine. The call became cen­tral to Mr. Trump’s impeach­ment last month.

The Biden cam­paign sought to cast the Russ­ian effort to hack Buris­ma as an indi­ca­tion of Mr. Biden’s polit­i­cal strength, and to high­light Mr. Trump’s appar­ent will­ing­ness to let for­eign pow­ers boost his polit­i­cal for­tunes.

“Don­ald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipar­ti­san, inter­na­tion­al anti-cor­rup­tion vic­to­ry because he rec­og­nized that he can’t beat the vice pres­i­dent,” said Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden cam­paign.

“Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat,” Mr. Bates added. “Any Amer­i­can pres­i­dent who had not repeat­ed­ly encour­aged for­eign inter­ven­tions of this kind would imme­di­ate­ly con­demn this attack on the sov­er­eign­ty of our elec­tions.”

The cor­rup­tion alle­ga­tions hinge on Hunter Biden’s work on the Buris­ma board. The com­pa­ny hired Mr. Biden while his father was vice pres­i­dent and lead­ing the Oba­ma administration’s Ukraine pol­i­cy, includ­ing a suc­cess­ful push to have Ukraine’s top pros­e­cu­tor fired for cor­rup­tion. The effort was backed by Euro­pean allies.

The sto­ry has since been recast by Mr. Trump and some of his staunchest defend­ers, who say Mr. Biden pushed out the pros­e­cu­tor because Buris­ma was under inves­ti­ga­tion and his son could be impli­cat­ed. Rudolph W. Giu­liani, act­ing in what he says was his capac­i­ty as Mr. Trump’s per­son­al lawyer, has per­son­al­ly tak­en up inves­ti­gat­ing the Bidens and Buris­ma, and now reg­u­lar­ly claims to have uncov­ered clear-cut evi­dence of wrong­do­ing.

The evi­dence, though, has yet to emerge, and now the Rus­sians appear to have joined the hunt.

Area 1 researchers dis­cov­ered a G.R.U. phish­ing cam­paign on Ukrain­ian com­pa­nies on New Year’s Eve. A week lat­er, Area 1 deter­mined what the Ukrain­ian tar­gets had in com­mon: They were all sub­sidiaries of Buris­ma Hold­ings, the com­pa­ny at the cen­ter of Mr. Trump’s impeach­ment. Among the Buris­ma sub­sidiaries phished were KUB-Gas, Aldea, Esko-Pivnich, Nadra­gas, Tehno­com-Ser­vice and Pari. The tar­gets also includ­ed Kvar­tal 95, a Ukrain­ian tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny found­ed by Mr. Zelen­sky. The phish­ing attack on Kvar­tal 95 appears to have been aimed at dig­ging up email cor­re­spon­dence for the company’s chief, Ivan Bakanov, whom Mr. Zelen­sky appoint­ed as the head of Ukraine’s Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice last June.

To steal employ­ees’ cre­den­tials, the G.R.U. hack­ers direct­ed Buris­ma to their fake login pages. Area 1 was able to trace the look-alike sites through a com­bi­na­tion of inter­net ser­vice providers fre­quent­ly used by G.R.U.’s hack­ers, rare web traf­fic pat­terns, and tech­niques that have been used in pre­vi­ous attacks against a slew of oth­er vic­tims, includ­ing the 2016 hack of the D.N.C. and a more recent Russ­ian hack of the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency [44].

“The Buris­ma hack is a cook­ie-cut­ter G.R.U. cam­paign,” Mr. Falkowitz said. “Russ­ian hack­ers, as sophis­ti­cat­ed as they are, also tend to be lazy. They use what works. And in this, they were suc­cess­ful.”

———–

1b. As we have not­ed in many pre­vi­ous broad­casts and posts, cyber attacks are eas­i­ly dis­guised. Per­pe­trat­ing a “cyber false flag” oper­a­tion is dis­turbing­ly easy to do. In a world where the ver­i­fi­ably false and phys­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble “con­trolled demolition”/Truther non­sense has gained trac­tion, cyber false flag ops are all the more threat­en­ing and sin­is­ter.

Now, we learn that the CIA’s hack­ing tools are specif­i­cal­ly craft­ed to mask CIA author­ship of the attacks. Most sig­nif­i­cant­ly, for our pur­pos­es, is the fact that the Agen­cy’s hack­ing tools are engi­neered in such a way as to per­mit the authors of the event to rep­re­sent them­selves as Russ­ian.

” . . . . These tools could make it more dif­fi­cult for anti-virus com­pa­nies and foren­sic inves­ti­ga­tors to attribute hacks to the CIA. Could this call the source of pre­vi­ous hacks into ques­tion? It appears that yes, this might be used to dis­guise the CIA’s own hacks to appear as if they were Russ­ian, Chi­nese, or from spe­cif­ic oth­er coun­tries. . . . This might allow a mal­ware cre­ator to not only look like they were speak­ing in Russ­ian or Chi­nese, rather than in Eng­lish, but to also look like they tried to hide that they were not speak­ing Eng­lish . . . .”

This is of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance in eval­u­at­ing the increas­ing­ly neo-McCarthyite New Cold War pro­pa­gan­da about “Russ­ian inter­fer­ence” in the U.S. elec­tion.

“Wik­iLeaks Vault 7 Part 3 Reveals CIA Tool Might Mask Hacks as Russ­ian, Chi­nese, Ara­bic” by Stephanie Dube Dwil­son; Heavy; 4/3/2017. [14]

This morn­ing, Wik­iLeaks released part 3 of its Vault 7 series, called Mar­ble. Mar­ble reveals CIA source code files along with decoy lan­guages that might dis­guise virus­es, tro­jans, and hack­ing attacks. These tools could make it more dif­fi­cult for anti-virus com­pa­nies and foren­sic inves­ti­ga­tors to attribute hacks to the CIA. Could this call the source of pre­vi­ous hacks into ques­tion? It appears that yes, this might be used to dis­guise the CIA’s own hacks to appear as if they were Russ­ian, Chi­nese, or from spe­cif­ic oth­er coun­tries. These tools were in use in 2016, Wik­iLeaks report­ed.

 It’s not known exact­ly how this Mar­ble tool was actu­al­ly used. How­ev­er, accord­ing to Wik­iLeaks, the tool could make it more dif­fi­cult for inves­ti­ga­tors and anti-virus com­pa­nies to attribute virus­es and oth­er hack­ing tools to the CIA. Test exam­ples weren’t just in Eng­lish, but also Russ­ian, Chi­nese, Kore­an, Ara­bic, and Far­si. This might allow a mal­ware cre­ator to not only look like they were speak­ing in Russ­ian or Chi­nese, rather than in Eng­lish, but to also look like they tried to hide that they were not speak­ing Eng­lish, accord­ing to Wik­iLeaks. This might also hide fake error mes­sages or be used for oth­er pur­pos­es. . . .

2. With Buris­ma at the cen­ter of the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings in Wash­ing­ton, we note some inter­est­ing rela­tion­ships [15] involv­ing Buris­ma and its board of direc­tors, on which Hunter Biden sits.

Some of the con­sid­er­a­tions to be weighed in that con­text

  1. Buris­ma formed a pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ship with the Atlantic Coun­cil in 2017: ” . . . . In 2017, Buris­ma announced that it faced no active pros­e­cu­tion cas­es, then formed a part­ner­ship with the Atlantic Coun­cil, a US think-tank active in pro­mot­ing anti-cor­rup­tion efforts in Ukraine. Buris­ma donat­ed between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Atlantic Coun­cil last year . . . .  Kari­na Zlochevs­ka, Mr. [Buris­ma founder Myko­la] Zlochevsky’s daugh­ter, attend­ed an Atlantic Coun­cil round­table on pro­mot­ing best busi­ness prac­tices as recent­ly as last week. . . .”
  2. The firm had on its board of Buris­ma of both Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki and Cofer Black. ” . . . .When pros­e­cu­tors began inves­ti­gat­ing Burisma’s licens­es over self-deal­ing alle­ga­tions, Mr Zlochevsky stacked its board with West­ern lumi­nar­ies. . . .  they includ­ed for­mer Pol­ish pres­i­dent Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki, who had vis­it­ed Ukraine dozens of times as an EU envoy, and  . . . .  ex-Black­wa­ter direc­tor Cofer Black. In Mona­co, where he report­ed­ly lives, Mr Zlochevsky joint­ly organ­is­es an annu­al ener­gy con­fer­ence with Mr Kwasniewski’s foun­da­tion. . . . ”
  3. Kwas­niews­ki was not only the EU’s envoy seek­ing ful­fill­ment of the EU asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment, but a key mem­ber of Paul Man­afort’s Haps­burg Group. The evi­dence about Man­afort work­ing with that assem­blage to maneu­ver Ukraine into the West­ern orbit is exten­sive. Some of the rel­e­vant pro­grams are: FTR #‘s 1008 [16], 1009 [17] (back­ground about the deep pol­i­tics sur­round­ing the Hapsburg–U.S. intel­li­gence alliance) and 1022 [18].That the actu­al Maid­an Coup itself was sparked by a provo­ca­tion fea­tur­ing the lethal snip­ing by OUN/B suc­ces­sor ele­ments is per­sua­sive. Some of the rel­e­vant pro­grams are: FTR #‘s 982 [19], 1023 [20], 1024 [21].
  4. Kwas­niewski’s foun­da­tion’s annu­al ener­gy con­fer­ences bring to mind the Three Seas Ini­tia­tive and the cen­tral role of ener­gy in it. The TSI and the role of ener­gy in same is high­light­ed in the arti­cle [22] at the core of FTR #‘s 1098–1101 [12]. In this con­text, note the role of the Atlantic Coun­cil in the TSI and its ener­gy com­po­nent, along with the part­ner­ship between Buris­ma and the Atlantic Coun­cil. The TSI and its ener­gy com­po­nent, in turn, are a fun­da­men­tal ele­ment of the Inter­mar­i­um Con­ti­nu­ity, the mil­i­tary com­po­nent of which is now being cement­ed in the Impeach­ment Cir­cus: ” . . . . Under the men­tor­ship of Jarosław Kaczyńs­ki, the new Pol­ish pres­i­dent, Andrzej Duda, elect­ed in 2015, relaunched the idea of a Baltic-Black Sea alliance on the eve of his inau­gu­ra­tion under the label of ‘Three Seas Ini­tia­tive’ (TSI). Orig­i­nal­ly, the project grew out of a debate sparked by a report co-pub­lished by the Atlantic Coun­cil and the EU ener­gy lob­by group Cen­tral Europe Ener­gy Part­ners (CEEP) with the goal of pro­mot­ing big Cen­tral Euro­pean com­pa­nies’ inter­ests in the EU.[116] [23] The report, enti­tled Com­plet­ing Europe—From the North-South Cor­ri­dor to Ener­gy, Trans­porta­tion, and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Union, was co-edit­ed by Gen­er­al James L. Jones, Jr., for­mer Supreme Allied Com­man­der of NATO, U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, and chair­man of the Atlantic Coun­cil, and Pawel Olech­now­icz, CEO of the Pol­ish oil and gas giant Gru­pa Lotos.[117] [24] It ‘called for the accel­er­at­ed con­struc­tion of a North-South Cor­ri­dor of ener­gy, trans­porta­tion, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions links stretch­ing from the Baltic Sea to the Adri­at­ic and Black Seas,’ which at the time was still referred to as the ‘Adri­at­ic-Baltic-Black Sea Ini­tia­tive.’[118] [25] The report was pre­sent­ed in Brus­sels in March 2015, where, accord­ing to Fred­er­ick Kempe, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Atlantic Coun­cil, it ‘gen­er­at­ed a huge amount of excite­ment.’ . . . .”
  5. The pres­ence on the Buris­ma board of Cofer Black “ex”-CIA and the for­mer direc­tor of Erik Prince’s Black­wa­ter out­fit is VERY impor­tant. Erik Prince is the broth­er of Trump Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Bet­sy De Vos and the busi­ness part­ner of John­son Cho Kun Sun [26], the Hong Kong-based oli­garch who sits on the board of Emer­da­ta, the rein­car­nat­ed Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca. Both Cofer Black and Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki are in a posi­tion to pro­vide detailed intel­li­gence about the oper­a­tions of Buris­ma, includ­ing any data that the sup­posed “Russ­ian hack” might reveal.

“Ukraine gas com­pa­ny feels heat of US impeach­ment probe” by Roman Olearchyk and Max Sed­don; Finan­cial Times; 09/29/2019 [15]

When Ukraine’s klep­to­crat­ic elite fled to Rus­sia after a pro-west­ern rev­o­lu­tion in 2014, for­mer min­is­ter Myko­la Zlochevsky sud­den­ly found him­self the tar­get of an inter­na­tion­al inves­ti­ga­tion into the sources of his wealth.

The UK’s Seri­ous Fraud Office froze $23m in Mr Zlochevsky’s bank accounts in April that year as part of an FBI-led attempt to recov­er a stag­ger­ing $100bn in assets alleged­ly stolen by Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovich and his entourage, known as the “Fam­i­ly”.

Mr Zlochevsky, the own­er of Buris­ma, Ukraine’s largest pri­vate gas com­pa­ny which acquired sev­er­al of its extrac­tion licences while he was in gov­ern­ment, had lost a polit­i­cal patron when Mr Yanukovich was evict­ed from office. Weeks lat­er the ener­gy tycoon sought help else­where.

Buris­ma made a sur­prise appoint­ment to its board: Hunter Biden, younger son of then-US vice-pres­i­dent Joe Biden. It was a move that would ulti­mate­ly lead to the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings [45] trig­gered last week against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Mr Biden’s five-year tenure on Burisma’s board — which end­ed this year as his father announced his run for pres­i­dent — was part of a shrewd cam­paign by Mr Zlochevsky to repair his image in the west.

The ex-min­is­ter over­came con­cerns about his wealth to wrig­gle out of cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions in Ukraine and Britain and become one of the country’s rich­est men. Burisma’s gas pro­duc­tion rose to 1.3bn cubic metres last year, a size­able share of Ukraine’s total 20bcm annu­al out­put. Its rev­enues report­ed­ly approach $400m a year.

Mr Zlochevsky has now been dragged into a polit­i­cal scan­dal of far greater mag­ni­tude as Con­gress pre­pares to inves­ti­gate Mr Trump for press­ing Volodymyr Zelen­sky, his Ukrain­ian coun­ter­part, to dig up dirt on the Bidens in con­nec­tion with Hunter’s work for Buris­ma.

Vik­tor Shokin, pros­e­cu­tor-gen­er­al until 2016, then claimed Mr Biden pres­sured Ukraine to sack him by threat­en­ing to with­hold $1bn in vital secu­ri­ty assis­tance because of a probe into Buris­ma.

Mr Biden vehe­ment­ly denies so much as dis­cussing his son’s activ­i­ties in Ukraine with him. The for­mer vice-pres­i­dent has said the US — backed strong­ly by Ukraine’s west­ern allies — want­ed Mr Shokin fired because of his reluc­tance to pur­sue any major cor­rup­tion cas­es.

In a speech last year, Mr Biden recalled: “I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not get­ting the bil­lion dollars…I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leav­ing in six hours. If the pros­e­cu­tor is not fired, you’re not get­ting the mon­ey.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired. And they put in place some­one who was sol­id at the time.”

The push left Mr Biden in the bizarre posi­tion of push­ing Ukraine to inves­ti­gate a com­pa­ny where his son worked at the time. In 2015, then-US ambas­sador Geof­frey Pyatt pub­licly accused Mr Shokin of delib­er­ate­ly trip­ping up the UK pro­ceed­ings by telling Mr Zlochevsky’s lawyers that there was no evi­dence of his wrong­do­ing.

“Shokin was help­ing Zlochevsky to evade the asset seizure in the UK,” said Daria Kale­niuk, direc­tor of anti-cor­rup­tion watch­dog Antac. “Every­one who want­ed to help Ukraine with asset recov­ery attempts knew how dam­ag­ing Shokin was.”

Mr Zlochevsky — a burly, shaven-head­ed man — set up Buris­ma in 2002. The com­pa­ny won sev­er­al of its gas pro­duc­tion licences while he was Ukraine’s nat­ur­al resources min­is­ter from 2010 to 2012, records show.

While in gov­ern­ment, Mr Zlochevsky claimed he had sold his ener­gy assets, but Ukrain­ian jour­nal­ists soon found he con­tin­ued to con­trol Buris­ma through Cyprus-based hold­ing com­pa­nies.

When pros­e­cu­tors began inves­ti­gat­ing Burisma’s licens­es over self-deal­ing alle­ga­tions, Mr Zlochevsky stacked its board with West­ern lumi­nar­ies.

As well as the younger Mr Biden — who said he hoped to improve Burisma’s “trans­paren­cy, cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and respon­si­bil­i­ty” — they includ­ed for­mer Pol­ish pres­i­dent Alek­sander Kwas­niews­ki, who had vis­it­ed Ukraine dozens of times as an EU envoy, and Devon Archer, Mr Biden’s long­time busi­ness part­ner.

Buris­ma paid Mr Biden $50,000 a month, accord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal. Mr Kwas­niews­ki remains a board mem­ber, accord­ing to Burisma’s web­site, along­side for­mer invest­ment banker Alan Apter and ex-Black­wa­ter direc­tor Cofer Black.

In Mona­co, where he report­ed­ly lives, Mr Zlochevsky joint­ly organ­is­es an annu­al ener­gy con­fer­ence with Mr Kwasniewski’s foun­da­tion. Buris­ma did not respond to sev­er­al requests for com­ment.

“He invit­ed them pure­ly for white­wash­ing pur­pos­es, to put them on the façade and make this com­pa­ny look nice,” Ms Kale­niuk said.

Despite US pres­sure to inves­ti­gate him, Mr Zlochevsky strength­ened his posi­tion under new gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor Yuriy Lut­senko. Buris­ma retained its pro­duc­tion licences and set­tled a tax avoid­ance case after Mr Lutsenko’s office down­grad­ed the charges.

In 2017, Buris­ma announced that it faced no active pros­e­cu­tion cas­es, then formed a part­ner­ship with the Atlantic Coun­cil, a US think-tank active in pro­mot­ing anti-cor­rup­tion efforts in Ukraine.

Buris­ma donat­ed between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Atlantic Coun­cil last year, accord­ing to its annu­al report, and sent exec­u­tives to speak along­side the think tank’s experts at sev­er­al con­fer­ences. Kari­na Zlochevs­ka, Mr Zlochevsky’s daugh­ter, attend­ed an Atlantic Coun­cil round­table on pro­mot­ing best busi­ness prac­tices as recent­ly as last week.

The cam­paign did lit­tle to improve Mr Zlochevsky’s busi­ness rep­u­ta­tion. The Amer­i­can Cham­ber of Com­merce in Ukraine turned town Burisma’s appli­ca­tion to join. One top west­ern finan­cial insti­tu­tion told the FT: “We’ve nev­er worked with them for integri­ty rea­sons. Nev­er passed our due dili­gence.”

“The com­pa­ny just does not pass the smell test,” a senior for­eign busi­ness­man in Ukraine said. “Their rep­u­ta­tion is far from squeaky clean because of their bag­gage, the back­ground and attempts to white­wash by bring­ing in recog­nis­able west­ern names on to the board,” he added.

On Fri­day, Ukraine’s anti-cor­rup­tion bureau said it was inves­ti­gat­ing Mr Zlochevsky’s award­ing of gas pro­duc­tion licences while he was a min­is­ter. Hunter Biden does not fig­ure in these probes, which cov­er the peri­od before he joined Buris­ma.

———–

3. With the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings now head­ing toward their most prob­a­ble conclusion–Trump’s acquit­tal– and with the inces­sant bab­ble about the non-exis­tent “Russ­ian inter­fer­ence” in the U.S. elec­tion, it is worth con­tem­plat­ing Amer­i­can inter­fer­ence in Russ­ian pol­i­tics.

[27]Against the back­ground of decades of Amer­i­can-backed and/or ini­ti­at­ed coups over­throw­ing gov­ern­ments around the world, we high­light U.S. sup­port for Boris Yeltsin [28]. Fol­low­ing the NED’s ele­va­tion of Nazi-allied fas­cists in Lithua­nia [29] and the expan­sion of that Gehlen/CFF/GOP milieu inside the for­mer Sovi­et Union cour­tesy of the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion [30], the U.S. hoist­ed Yeltsin into the dri­ver’s seat of the new­ly-mint­ed Rus­sia. (One should nev­er for­get that Jef­frey Sachs [31], a key eco­nom­ic advis­er to Bernie Sanders and Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez head­ed the team that sent the Russ­ian econ­o­my back to the stone age.)

Key points of con­sid­er­a­tion:

  1. ” . . . . . . . . In late 1991, after the fall of the Sovi­et Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of spe­cial pow­ers from the Russ­ian Par­lia­ment: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dic­ta­tor of Rus­sia to facil­i­tate the mid­wifery of the birth of a demo­c­ra­t­ic Rus­sia. In March of 1992, under pres­sure from a dis­con­tent­ed pop­u­la­tion, par­lia­ment repealed the dic­ta­to­r­i­al pow­ers it had grant­ed him. Yeltsin respond­ed by declar­ing a state of emer­gency, giv­ing him­self the repealed dic­ta­to­r­i­al pow­ers. Russia’s Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court ruled that Yeltsin was act­ing out­side the con­sti­tu­tion. But the US sided – against the Russ­ian peo­ple and against the Russ­ian Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court – with Yeltsin. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Yeltsin dis­solved the par­lia­ment that had rescind­ed his pow­ers and abol­ished the con­sti­tu­tion of which he was in vio­la­tion. In a 636–2 vote, the Russ­ian par­lia­ment impeached Yeltsin. But Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russ­ian peo­ple and Russ­ian law, giv­ing him $2.5 bil­lion in aid. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Yeltsin took the mon­ey and sent police offi­cers and elite para­troop­ers to sur­round the par­lia­ment build­ing. Clin­ton ‘praised the Russ­ian Pres­i­dent has (sic) hav­ing done ‘quite well’ in man­ag­ing the stand­off with the Russ­ian Par­lia­ment,’ as The New York Times report­ed [32] at the time. Clin­ton added that he thought ‘the Unit­ed States and the free world ought to hang in there’ with their sup­port of Yeltsin against his peo­ple, their con­sti­tu­tion and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be ‘on the right side of his­to­ry.’ . . .”
  4. ” . . . . On the right side of his­to­ry and armed with machine guns, Yeltsin’s troops opened fire on the crowd of pro­test­ers, killing about 100 peo­ple before set­ting the Russ­ian par­lia­ment build­ing on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin’s troops had killed [33] an uncon­firmed 500 peo­ple and wound­ed near­ly 1,000. Still, Clin­ton stood with Yeltsin. . . .”
  5. ” . . . . In 1996, Amer­i­ca would inter­fere yet again. With elec­tions loom­ing, Yeltsin’s pop­u­lar­i­ty was nonex­is­tent, and his approval rat­ing was at about 6 per­cent [34]. Accord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Russ­ian Stud­ies at Prince­ton, Stephen Cohen, Clinton’s inter­fer­ence in Russ­ian pol­i­tics, his ‘cru­sade’ to ‘reform Rus­sia,’ had by now become offi­cial pol­i­cy [35]. And, so, Amer­i­ca bold­ly inter­fered direct­ly in Russ­ian elec­tions [36]. Three Amer­i­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tants, receiv­ing ‘direct assis­tance from Bill Clinton’s White House,’ secret­ly ran Yeltsin’s re-elec­tion cam­paign. As Time mag­a­zine broke the sto­ry [37], ‘For four months, a group of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tants clan­des­tine­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in guid­ing Yeltsin’s cam­paign.’ ‘Fund­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment,’ Cohen reports, [38] Amer­i­cans ‘gave mon­ey to favored Russ­ian politi­cians, instruct­ed min­is­ters, draft­ed leg­is­la­tion and pres­i­den­tial decrees, under­wrote text­books, and served at Yeltsin’s reelec­tion head­quar­ters in 1996.’ . . . .”
  6. ” . . . . Then ambas­sador to Rus­sia Thomas Pick­er­ing even pres­sured an oppos­ing can­di­date to drop out of the elec­tion [39] to improve Yeltsin’s odds of win­ning. . . .”
  7. ” . . . . The US not only helped run Yeltsin’s cam­paign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 bil­lion Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) loan for Rus­sia, the sec­ond-biggest loan the IMF had ever giv­en. The New York Times report­ed [40] that the loan was ‘expect­ed to be help­ful to Pres­i­dent Boris N. Yeltsin in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in June.’ . . .”

“Accus­ing Rus­sia and Lis­ten­ing  to His­to­ry” by Ted Snider; Con­sor­tium News; 4/26/2018. [28]

. . . . In late 1991, after the fall of the Sovi­et Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of spe­cial pow­ers from the Russ­ian Par­lia­ment: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dic­ta­tor of Rus­sia to facil­i­tate the mid­wifery of the birth of a demo­c­ra­t­ic Rus­sia. In March of 1992, under pres­sure from a dis­con­tent­ed pop­u­la­tion, par­lia­ment repealed the dic­ta­to­r­i­al pow­ers it had grant­ed him. Yeltsin respond­ed by declar­ing a state of emer­gency, giv­ing him­self the repealed dic­ta­to­r­i­al pow­ers. Russia’s Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court ruled that Yeltsin was act­ing out­side the con­sti­tu­tion. But the US sided – against the Russ­ian peo­ple and against the Russ­ian Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court – with Yeltsin.

Intox­i­cat­ed with Amer­i­can sup­port, Yeltsin dis­solved the par­lia­ment that had rescind­ed his pow­ers and abol­ished the con­sti­tu­tion of which he was in vio­la­tion. In a 636–2 vote, the Russ­ian par­lia­ment impeached Yeltsin. But Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russ­ian peo­ple and Russ­ian law, giv­ing him $2.5 bil­lion in aid. Clin­ton was inter­fer­ing in the Russ­ian people’s choice of lead­ers.

Yeltsin took the mon­ey and sent police offi­cers and elite para­troop­ers to sur­round the par­lia­ment build­ing. Clin­ton “praised the Russ­ian Pres­i­dent has (sic) hav­ing done ‘quite well’ in man­ag­ing the stand­off with the Russ­ian Par­lia­ment,” as The New York Times report­ed [32] at the time. Clin­ton added that he thought “the Unit­ed States and the free world ought to hang in there” with their sup­port of Yeltsin against his peo­ple, their con­sti­tu­tion and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be “on the right side of his­to­ry.”

On the right side of his­to­ry and armed with machine guns, Yeltsin’s troops opened fire on the crowd of pro­test­ers, killing about 100 peo­ple before set­ting the Russ­ian par­lia­ment build­ing on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin’s troops had killed [33] an uncon­firmed 500 peo­ple and wound­ed near­ly 1,000. Still, Clin­ton stood with Yeltsin. He pro­vid­ed ludi­crous cov­er for Yeltsin’s mas­sacre [46], claim­ing that “I don’t see that he had any choice…. If such a thing hap­pened in the Unit­ed States, you would have expect­ed me to take tough action against it.” Clinton’s sec­re­tary of state, War­ren Christo­pher, said that the US sup­port­ed Yeltsin’s sus­pen­sion of par­lia­ment in these “extra­or­di­nary times.”

In 1996, Amer­i­ca would inter­fere yet again. With elec­tions loom­ing, Yeltsin’s pop­u­lar­i­ty was nonex­is­tent, and his approval rat­ing was at about 6 per­cent [34]. Accord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus of Russ­ian Stud­ies at Prince­ton, Stephen Cohen, Clinton’s inter­fer­ence in Russ­ian pol­i­tics, his “cru­sade” to “reform Rus­sia,” had by now become offi­cial pol­i­cy [35]. And, so, Amer­i­ca bold­ly inter­fered direct­ly in Russ­ian elec­tions [36]. Three Amer­i­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tants, receiv­ing “direct assis­tance from Bill Clinton’s White House,” secret­ly ran Yeltsin’s re-elec­tion cam­paign. As Time mag­a­zine broke the sto­ry [37], “For four months, a group of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tants clan­des­tine­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in guid­ing Yeltsin’s cam­paign.”

“Fund­ed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment,” Cohen reports, [38] Amer­i­cans “gave mon­ey to favored Russ­ian politi­cians, instruct­ed min­is­ters, draft­ed leg­is­la­tion and pres­i­den­tial decrees, under­wrote text­books, and served at Yeltsin’s reelec­tion head­quar­ters in 1996.”

More incrim­i­nat­ing is that Richard Dres­ner, one of the three Amer­i­can con­sul­tants, main­tained a direct line to Clinton’s Chief Strate­gist, Dick Mor­ris. Accord­ing to report­ing by Sean Guil­lo­ry [39], in his book, Behind the Oval Office, Mor­ris says that, with Clinton’s approval, he received week­ly brief­in­gs from Dres­ner that he would give to Clin­ton. Based on those brief­in­gs, Clin­ton would then pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions to Dres­ner through Mor­ris.

Then ambas­sador to Rus­sia Thomas Pick­er­ing even pres­sured an oppos­ing can­di­date to drop out of the elec­tion [39] to improve Yeltsin’s odds of win­ning.

The US not only helped run Yeltsin’s cam­paign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 bil­lion Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) loan for Rus­sia, the sec­ond-biggest loan the IMF had ever giv­en. The New York Times report­ed [40] that the loan was “expect­ed to be help­ful to Pres­i­dent Boris N. Yeltsin in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in June.” The Times explained that the loan was “a vote of con­fi­dence” for Yeltsin who “has been lag­ging well behind … in opin­ion polls” and added that the US Trea­sury Sec­re­tary “wel­comed the fund’s deci­sion.”

Yeltsin won the elec­tion by 13 per­cent, and Time magazine’s cov­er declared: “Yanks to the res­cue: The secret sto­ry of how Amer­i­can advis­ers helped Yeltsin win”.

Cohen reports that the US ambas­sador to Rus­sia boast­ed that “with­out our lead­er­ship … we would see a con­sid­er­ably dif­fer­ent Rus­sia today.” That’s a con­fes­sion of elec­tion inter­fer­ence.

Fif­teen years lat­er, Rus­sia would accuse Amer­i­ca of med­dling still. When protests broke out over flawed par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Decem­ber 2011, Putin said that Hillary Clin­ton “set the tone for some actors in our coun­try and gave them a sig­nal.” He accused the State Depart­ment of sup­port­ing the pro­test­ers. The accu­sa­tion could be dis­missed if the State Depart­ment hadn’t declared its inten­tion [47] to “estab­lish a direct rela­tion­ship with the Russ­ian peo­ple over the Kremlin’s head.” . . . .

. . . . As recent­ly as 2000, Putin was still answer­ing the ques­tion of whether Rus­sia would join NATO with, “Why not?” He saw Rus­sia as part of a trans­formed com­mu­ni­ty where Rus­sia was “part of Euro­pean cul­ture . . . part of the ‘civ­i­lized world,’” where “see­ing NATO as an ene­my is destruc­tive for Rus­sia.” Sak­wa says that in the ear­ly 2000s, Putin seri­ous­ly entered into infor­mal talks about NATO mem­ber­ship until the US vetoed the idea.

Sak­wa says that Putin con­tin­ued to engage the West and to attempt to forge a post Cold War part­ner­ship. Imme­di­ate­ly after 9/11, Putin offered Amer­i­ca logis­ti­cal and intel­li­gence sup­port and helped take out the Tal­iban. Sak­wa quotes an Amer­i­can offi­cial who rat­ed Russ­ian sup­port after 9/11 as “as impor­tant as that of any NATO ally.” Rather than tak­ing the hand Rus­sia was offer­ing in part­ner­ship, Amer­i­ca slapped it by pulling out of the Anti-Bal­lis­tic Mis­sile Treaty and announc­ing that it would now wel­come the Baltic States into NATO.

Despite Russ­ian attempts to inte­grate Europe and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty into a world order that tran­scend­ed Cold War divi­sions, pacts and rival­ries, Europe and the West con­tin­ued to main­tain and expand those divi­sions. 2008 saw the cre­ation of the East­ern Part­ner­ship (EaP). Sak­wa explains that the aim of the EaP was to draw Ukraine, Moldo­va, Belarus, Azer­bai­jan, Arme­nia and Geor­gia into the West­ern sphere. . . .