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

For The Record  

FTR #794 The Fires This Time: Update on the Ukraine

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

This descrip­tion con­tains mate­r­i­al not includ­ed in the orig­i­nal broad­cast.

Intro­duc­tion: Bring­ing our cov­er­age of the cri­sis in Ukraine up to date, we begin by detail­ing some of the polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic dynam­ics sur­round­ing the state­ment that Ukraine has 25% of the world’s proven nat­ur­al gas reserves. CORRECTION: The CNBC sto­ry con­tain­ing this state­ment appears to be in error. Ukraine does indeed have huge nat­ur­al gas deposits, but they do not appear to be a quar­ter of the world’s reserves. The deposits may be rough­ly a quar­ter of the nat­ur­al gas deposits in Europe. 

(We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of pro­grams: FTR ‘s 777778779780781782, 783784.)

In addi­tion to the recruit­ment of well-con­nect­ed Amer­i­cans to assist in the devel­op­ment of Ukrain­ian fos­sil fuel resources, the cri­sis is spurring action by the EU aimed at coun­ter­ing Euro­pean depen­dence on Russ­ian nat­ur­al gas.

Not­ing that the pro­vi­sion­al gov­ern­ment there is direct­ly evolved from the OUN/B Ukrain­ian Nazi admin­is­tra­tion and mil­i­tary appa­ra­tus of World War II, we have observed that the utter per­ver­sion of polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal real­i­ty by our media is wor­thy of George Orwell’s 1984.

In a post on the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, Robert Par­ry high­lights the Orwellian nature of our medi­a’s delib­er­ate and fun­da­men­tal mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sit­u­a­tion there.

In addi­tion, Par­ry notes the inclu­sion of ele­ments like Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­bo­da (whom he joint­ly char­ac­ter­izes under the rubric neo-Nazis) into the nation­al mil­i­tas being sent to East­ern Ukraine as “anti-ter­ror­ist ” forces.

As Par­ry cor­rect­ly notes, “anti-ter­ror­ist” cadres have served as death squads in past U.S.-supported oop­er­a­tions. We have not­ed in pro­grams cit­ed above (par­tic­u­lar­ly 780 and 781) that Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­bo­da spe­cial­ize in street fight­ing and provo­ca­tion.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, some of the Nazi cadre recruit­ed into the Ukrain­ian nation­al secu­ri­ty forces have burned peo­ple alive in both Odessa and Mar­i­opol. There are indi­ca­tions that ele­ments of both Amer­i­can and Ger­man intel­li­gence may be assist­ing the Ukrain­ian neo-Nazi forces.

Ger­man media are func­tion­ing in a man­ner sim­i­lar to their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts, pro­vid­ing some­thing of a Trans-Atlantic Min­istry of Truth.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • Swo­bo­da’s street fight­ing cadre “Com­bat 14” and their ide­o­log­i­cal affil­i­a­tion with David Lane of The Order.
  • The Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion’s hir­ing of OUN/B pro­pa­gan­dists to broad­cast on Radio Lib­er­ty in the 1980’s.
  • The mis­re­port­ing of a Ger­man “OSCE” mis­sion, delib­er­ate­ly ignor­ing the group’s oper­a­tions on behalf of the Bun­deswehr.
  • The appar­ent involve­ment of Amer­i­can mer­ce­nar­ies in the vio­lence in the East­ern Ukraine.
  • The Ukraine’s issue of 1 bil­lion dol­lars worth of bonds, guar­an­teed by the U.S. tax­pay­er.
  • Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yuschenko’s appoint­ment of a New York-based OUN/B sup­port­er and Yaroslav Stet­sko’s for­mer sec­re­tary–Roman Zvarych [also Zavrych]–to be Min­is­ter of Jus­tice.
  • New Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s recre­ation of the old Yuschenko polit­i­cal team, includ­ing for­mer Yuschenko Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Roman Svarych.

1a. Apply­ing the time-hon­ored adage of fol­low­ing the mon­ey works in Ukraine. We have not­ed in posts and pro­grams that Ukraine has 25% of the world’s proven nat­ur­al gas reserves. The East­ern part of the coun­try is rich­er in nat­ur­al gas than the West.

A map at right shows the dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of gas fields in the east­ern half of Ukraine. In the hot­ly-con­test­ed area around Slo­vian­sk, Shell has a con­tract to devel­op shale gas.

Exem­pli­fy­ing the very crony cap­i­tal­ism that the U.S. decries when it occurs else­where (includ­ing Rus­sia), Buris­ma–a Cyprus-based com­pa­ny with sig­nif­i­cant invest­ments in Ukrain­ian nat­ur­al gas fields –has hired Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s son R. Hunter Biden. The com­pa­ny’s board of direc­tors fea­tures Devon Archer, the for­mer col­lege room­mate of Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry’s Step­son Christo­pher Heinz (of the wealthy food-empire fam­i­ly. Put THAT on your ham­burg­er!) Archer was nation­al co-finance chair of Ker­ry’s Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in 2004. Ukraine has issued $1 bil­lion bonds, backed by the U.S. tax­pay­er. The bonds were guar­an­teed through the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment, which was involved with chan­nel­ing mon­ey to finance the coup in Ukraine.

“Why Did an Ener­gy Firm with Big Assets in Ukraine Hire Joe Biden’s Son?” by Olivia Knox and Mered­ith Shin­er; Yahoo News; 5/14/2014.

In the span of a few weeks, an ener­gy firm lit­tle-known inside the Unit­ed States added two mem­bers to its board of direc­tors — scor­ing con­nec­tions to Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry and Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden in the bar­gain.

On April 22, Cyprus-based Buris­ma announced that financier Devon Archer had joined its board. Archer, who shared a room in col­lege with Kerry’s step­son, Christo­pher Heinz, served as nation­al finance co-chair for the for­mer senator’s 2004 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Then, on Mon­day, the firm announced that Biden’s younger son, R. Hunter Biden, would join the board of direc­tors.

Why would the com­pa­ny, which bills itself as Ukraine’s largest pri­vate gas pro­duc­er, need such pow­er­ful friends in Wash­ing­ton?

The answer might be the company’s hold­ings in Ukraine. They include, accord­ing to the firm’s web­site, per­mits to explore in the Dnieper-Donets Basin in the country’s east­ern regions, home to an armed pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratist move­ment. They also include per­mits to explore in the Azov-Kuban Basin of the strate­gic Crimean penin­su­la, annexed ear­li­er this year by Moscow. . . .

1b. The EU is pres­sur­ing Oba­ma and the U.S. to expand frack­ing and off­shore drilling, in order to per­mit more fos­sil fuel exports to Europe. The hope is that this will free Europe up from ener­gy depen­dence on Rus­sia.

“Read The Secret Trade Memo Call­ing For More Frack­ing and Off­shore Drilling” by Zach Carter and Kate Shep­pard; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 5/19/2014.

The Euro­pean Union is press­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion to expand U.S. frack­ing, off­shore oil drilling and nat­ural gas explo­ration under the terms of a secret nego­ti­a­tion textobtained by The Huff­in­g­ton Post.

The con­tro­ver­sial doc­u­ment is an ear­ly draft of ener­gy poli­cies that EU nego­tia­tors hope to see adopt­ed under the Transat­lantic Trade and Invest­ment Part­ner­ship (TTIP) trade deal, which is cur­rently being nego­ti­ated. The text was shared with Amer­i­can offi­cials in Sep­tem­ber. The Office of the U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive declined to com­ment on the doc­u­ment. . . .

. . . . There has also been an increas­ing push to loosen con­straints on nat­ural gas exports from the U.S. to Europe, par­tic­u­larly as the con­flict between Rus­sia and the Ukraine has grown, high­light­ing Europe’s depen­dency on Russ­ian ener­gy. Although burn­ing nat­ural gas pro­duces low­er emis­sions than oil or coal, the ener­gy-inten­sive stor­age and ship­ping process — liq­ue­fy­ing the gas and then send­ing it in fuel-burn­ing ves­sels — elim­i­nates many of its advan­tages. And crit­ics of gas say that increas­ing exports would only increase reliance on fos­sil fuels, rather than speed­ing the tran­si­tion to renew­ables. It would also like­ly increase ener­gy prices in the U.S., although the effects of the deal would not come to fruition for sev­eral years.

Free trade agree­ments fre­quently bind all of their par­tic­i­pants to a spe­cific reg­u­la­tory regime, hin­der­ing the deploy­ment of future reg­u­la­tions in response to new prob­lems. Trade pacts are enforced by inter­na­tional courts, which can issue eco­nomic sanc­tions against coun­tries that vio­late the deals. The pro­posed EU lan­guage would run counter to exist­ing envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards that lim­it the devel­op­ment of the fos­sil fuel indus­try. . . .

1c. The cri­sis in Ukraine has prompt­ed dis­cus­sion of an EU Ener­gy Union.

Look what idea just got float­ed by Poland’s Prime Min­is­ter and pos­i­tively received by Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Junck­er: an EU Ener­gy Union:

“UPDATE 1‑Merkel Tells Putin Rus­sia Has not Done Enough to Ease Ukraine Cri­sis” by Alexan­dra Hud­son and Erik Kirschbaum; Reuters; 4/25/2014.

Germany’s Angela Merkel said on Fri­day that she had told Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin by tele­phone that Moscow had not done enough to urge sep­a­ratists in Ukraine to dis­arm, and that fur­ther sanc­tions against Rus­sia must be con­tem­plat­ed.

The Euro­pean Union and Group of Sev­en (G7) nations would con­sider sanc­tions “with­in the frame­work of the sec­ond stage of sanc­tions” she said at a news con­fer­ence in Berlin with Poland’s Prime Min­is­ter Don­ald Tusk, refer­ring to a three-stage scheme.

The sec­ond stage of sanc­tions com­prises over­seas asset freezes and visa bans on those Rus­sians and Ukraini­ans con­sid­ered respon­si­ble for the esca­la­tion. Dozens of indi­vid­u­als are already on the list. Stage three, under prepa­ra­tion, would involve trade and eco­nomic sanc­tions against Moscow.


Under the terms of the deal Rus­sia, the Unit­ed States, Ukraine and the EU agreed to work to dis­arm ille­gal groups.

“Rus­sia has the pow­er, or could have the pow­er, to bring the sep­a­ratists on to a peace­ful path of dis­cus­sions about the con­sti­tu­tion and prepa­ra­tions for elec­tions, but such sig­nals are unfor­tu­nately lack­ing,” Merkel said.

Poland’s Tusk warned: “The cri­sis in Ukraine may become per­ma­nent, which could require a new east­ern pol­icy from Europe”. He added he could not imag­ine Europe stick­ing to a “busi­ness-as-usu­al” posi­tion.

Tusk has urged the EU to cre­ate an ener­gy union to secure its gas sup­ply and weak­en its cur­rent depen­dence on Russ­ian gas.

Jean-Claude Junck­er, a can­di­date for Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent, was quot­ed by Pol­ish state agency PAP on Fri­day as say­ing that the ener­gy union pro­posal was “an intel­li­gent and wise pro­pos­al”.

Merkel said she sup­ported the idea in prin­ci­ple but the details would need to be worked out and a joint mar­ket and joint struc­ture was nec­es­sary.

2. Ukraine has issued $1 bil­lion bonds, backed by the U.S. tax­pay­er. The bonds were guar­an­teed through the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment, which was involved with chan­nel­ing mon­ey to finance the coup in Ukraine.

 “Ukraine Just Issued $1 Bil­lion Bonds Backed by The US Tax­pay­er” by Tyler Dur­den; zerohedge.com; 5/14/2014.

The bailout flood­gates are open and the US tax­pay­er is foot­ing the bill once again — whether through IMF loans or more direct­ly. Today saw Ukraine issue $1 Bil­lion 5‑Year Notes at a stun­ning­ly low risk of only 28bps above US Trea­suries and dra­mat­i­cal­ly cheap­er than the cost of cap­i­tal in the pub­lic mar­kets (and from the IMF) which yield over 10%. The rea­son for the 1) low cost, and 2) actu­al abil­i­ty to raise debt... the bond is guar­an­teed by the US Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment and “assures full repay­ment of prin­ci­pal and inter­est” based on the full faith and cred­it of the US (Tax­pay­er). We assume Gazprom will be hap­py...

So why not pile into these bonds? 28 extra basis points for no appar­ent addi­tion­al cred­it risk... some liq­uid­i­ty risk but we are sure your friend­ly local cen­tral bank will enable you to swap them for infi­nite­ly rehy­poth­e­cat­able cash with no hair­cut...

They’re gonna need moar [sic]... (and this does not include Gazprom)

Oh and Ukraine says “thanks Amer­i­ca”... (as WSJ reports)

The $1 bil­lion loan guar­an­tee that (U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment) will imple­ment will help the gov­ern­ment of Ukraine access cap­i­tal at rea­son­able rates and man­age the tran­si­tion to a pros­per­ous democ­ra­cy,” Mark Feier­stein, assis­tant admin­is­tra­tor at USAID, said in April.

“The guar­an­tee assures investors of full repay­ment of prin­ci­pal and inter­est.”

The deal fol­lows sim­i­lar guar­an­tees pro­vid­ed for bonds issued by Tunisia in 2012 and Jor­dan last year.

But — there is a catch...

Bank of Amer­i­ca Mer­rill Lynch said Tues­day that Ukraine’s bond­hold­ers could face loss­es if sep­a­ratists in the coun­try’s south­east­ern regions suc­cess­ful­ly gain inde­pen­dence.

The bank said a breakup of the coun­try could poten­tial­ly force the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund to tear up Ukraine’s cur­rent $17 bil­lion aid pack­age and trig­ger a debt restruc­tur­ing pro­gram that would hit pri­vate investors. An IMF spokesper­son said the fund is mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

3. In FTR #781, we not­ed that when Vik­tor Yuschenko was pres­i­dent of the Ukraine (after the so-called Orange Rev­o­lu­tion), he insti­tut­ed an Orwellian re-write of his­to­ry, exhalt­ing the OUN/B as “anti-fas­cists” and heroes. At the time, Yuschenko was mar­ried to the for­mat Yka­te­ri­na Chu­machenko, an OUN/B offi­cial and Deputy Direc­tor of Pres­i­den­tial Liai­son under Ronald Rea­gan.

Yuschenko also appoint­ed Roman Zavrych [also Zvarych], Yaroslav Stet­sko’s for­mer sec­re­tary as Min­is­ter of Jus­tice. Zavrych, like the for­mer Ms. Chu­machenko was an Amer­i­can-based OUN/B dis­ci­ple. He was born in Yonkers, New York.

“Sci­en­tif­ic Nation­al­ists”; german-foreign-policy.com; 5/1/2014.

. . . .In the 1980s, Yushchenko’s wife Katery­na had been active in Ukrain­ian right-wing emi­gré cir­cles. She had worked with Stet­sko as an assis­tant, and is a true believ­er of these nar­ra­tives. In 2005, Yushchenko had also appoint­ed a New York Ban­derite (and Stet­sko’s for­mer sec­re­tary), Roman Zavrych  [also Zvarych], to be Min­is­ter of Jus­tice. Zavrych was lat­er fired for hav­ing lied about hav­ing a PhD from Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty. . . .

4. Not­ing that the pro­vi­sion­al gov­ern­ment there is direct­ly evolved from the OUN/B Ukrain­ian Nazi admin­is­tra­tion and mil­i­tary appa­ra­tus of World War II, we have observed that the utter per­ver­sion of polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal real­i­ty by our media is wor­thy of George Orwell’s 1984.

In a post on the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, Robert Par­ry high­lights the Orwellian nature of our medi­a’s delib­er­ate and fun­da­men­tal mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sit­u­a­tion there.

In addi­tion, Par­ry notes the inclu­sion of ele­ments like Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­bo­da (whom he joint­ly char­ac­ter­izes under the rubric neo-Nazis) into the nation­al mil­i­tas being sent to East­ern Ukraine as “anti-ter­ror­ist ” forces.

As Par­ry cor­rect­ly notes, “anti-ter­ror­ist” cadres have served as death squads in past U.S.-supported oop­er­a­tions. We have not­ed in pro­grams cit­ed above (par­tic­u­lar­ly 780 and 781) that Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­bo­da spe­cial­ize in street fight­ing and provo­ca­tion.

This is a very dan­ger­ous brew. Swo­bo­da (whose leader is pic­tured above, right) and Pravy Sek­tor dom­i­nate the min­istries in Kiev.

“Ukraine, Through the US Look­ing Glass” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 4/15/2014.

The act­ing pres­i­dent of the coup regime in Kiev announces that he is order­ing an “anti-ter­ror­ist” oper­a­tion against pro-Russ­ian pro­test­ers in east­ern Ukraine, while his nation­al secu­ri­ty chief says he has dis­patched right-wing ultra­na­tion­al­ist fight­ers who spear­head­ed the Feb. 22 coup that oust­ed elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych.

On Tues­day, Andriy Paru­biy, head of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil [and mem­ber of OUN/B heir Swoboda–D.E.], went on Twit­ter to declare, “Reserve unit of Nation­al Guard formed #Maid­an Self-defense vol­un­teers was sent to the front line this morn­ing.” Paru­biy was refer­ring to the neo-Nazi mili­tias that pro­vid­ed the orga­nized mus­cle that over­threw Yanukovych, forc­ing him to flee for his life. Some of these mili­tias have since been incor­po­rat­ed into secu­ri­ty forces as “Nation­al Guard.”

Ukrain­ian Sec­re­tary for Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Andriy Paru­biy.

Paru­biy him­self is a well-known neo-Nazi, who found­ed the Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine in 1991. The par­ty blend­ed rad­i­cal Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism with neo-Nazi sym­bols. Paru­biy also formed a para­mil­i­tary spin­off, the Patri­ots of Ukraine, and defend­ed the award­ing of the title, “Hero of Ukraine,” to World War II Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera, whose own para­mil­i­tary forces exter­mi­nat­ed thou­sands of Jews and Poles in pur­suit of a racial­ly pure Ukraine.

Dur­ing the months of protests aimed at over­throw­ing Yanukovych, Paru­biy became the com­man­dant of “Euro­maid­an,” the name for the Kiev upris­ing, and – after the Feb. 22 coup – Paru­biy was one of four far-right Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists giv­en con­trol of a min­istry, i.e. nation­al secu­ri­ty.

But the U.S. press has played down his role because his neo-Nazism con­flicts with Offi­cial Washington’s nar­ra­tive that the neo-Nazis played lit­tle or no role in the “rev­o­lu­tion.” Ref­er­ences to neo-Nazis in the “inter­im gov­ern­ment” are dis­missed as “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da.”

Yet there Paru­biy was on Tues­day brag­ging that some of his neo-Nazi storm troop­ers – renamed “Nation­al Guard” – were now being sicced on rebel­lious east­ern Ukraine as part of the Kiev government’s “anti-ter­ror­ist” oper­a­tion.

The post-coup Pres­i­dent Olek­san­dr Turchynov also warned that Ukraine was con­fronting a “colos­sal dan­ger,” but he insist­ed that the sup­pres­sion of the pro-Russ­ian pro­test­ers would be treat­ed as an “anti-ter­ror­ist” oper­a­tion and not as a “civ­il war.” Every­one should under­stand by now that “anti-ter­ror” sug­gests extra­ju­di­cial killings, tor­ture and “counter-ter­ror.”

Yet, with much of the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary of dubi­ous loy­al­ty to the coup regime, the dis­patch of the neo-Nazi mili­tias from west­ern Ukraine’s Right Sek­tor and Svo­bo­da par­ties rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment. Not only do the Ukrain­ian neo-Nazis con­sid­er the eth­nic Rus­sians an alien pres­ence, but these right-wing mili­tias are orga­nized to wage street fight­ing as they did in the Feb­ru­ary upris­ing.

His­tor­i­cal­ly, right-wing para­mil­i­taries have played cru­cial roles in “counter-ter­ror” cam­paigns around the world. In Cen­tral Amer­i­ca in the 1980s, for instance, right-wing “death squads” did much of the dirty work for U.S.-backed mil­i­tary regimes as they crushed social protests and guer­ril­la move­ments.

The merg­ing of the con­cept of “anti-ter­ror­ism” with right-wing para­mil­i­taries rep­re­sents a poten­tial­ly fright­en­ing devel­op­ment for the peo­ple of east­ern Ukraine. And much of this infor­ma­tion – about Turchynov’s com­ments and Parubiy’s tweet – can be found in a New York Times’ dis­patch from Ukraine.

Whose Pro­pa­gan­da?

How­ev­er, on the Times’ front page on Wednes­day was a bizarre sto­ry by David M. Her­szen­horn accus­ing the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment of engag­ing in a pro­pa­gan­da war by mak­ing many of the same points that you could find – albeit with­out the use­ful con­text about Parubiy’s neo-Nazi back­ground – in the same news­pa­per.

In the arti­cle enti­tled “Rus­sia Is Quick To Bend Truth About Ukraine,” Her­szen­horn mocked Russ­ian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitri Medvedev for mak­ing a Face­book post­ing that “was bleak and full of dread,” includ­ing not­ing that “blood has been spilled in Ukraine again” and adding that “the threat of civ­il war looms.”

The Times arti­cle con­tin­ued, “He [Medvedev] plead­ed with Ukraini­ans to decide their own future ‘with­out usurpers, nation­al­ists and ban­dits, with­out tanks or armored vehi­cles – and with­out secret vis­its by the C.I.A. direc­tor.’ And so began anoth­er day of blus­ter and hyper­bole, of the mis­in­for­ma­tion, exag­ger­a­tions, con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, over­heat­ed rhetoric and, occa­sion­al­ly, out­right lies about the polit­i­cal cri­sis in Ukraine that have emanat­ed from the high­est ech­e­lons of the Krem­lin and rever­ber­at­ed on state-con­trolled Russ­ian tele­vi­sion, hour after hour, day after day, week after week.”

This argu­men­ta­tive “news” sto­ry spilled from the front page to the top half of an inside page, but Her­szen­horn nev­er man­aged to men­tion that there was noth­ing false in what Medvedev said. Indeed, it was the much-maligned Russ­ian press that first report­ed the secret vis­it of CIA Direc­tor John Bren­nan to Kiev.

Though the White House has since con­firmed that report, Her­szen­horn cites Medvedev’s ref­er­ence to it in the con­text of “mis­in­for­ma­tion” and “con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.” Nowhere in the long arti­cle does the Times inform its read­ers that, yes, the CIA direc­tor did make a secret vis­it to Ukraine last week­end. Pre­sum­ably, that real­i­ty has now dis­ap­peared into the great mem­o­ry hole along with the on-ground report­ing from Feb. 22 about the key role of the neo-Nazi mili­tias.

The neo-Nazis them­selves have pret­ty much dis­ap­peared from Offi­cial Washington’s nar­ra­tive, which now usu­al­ly recounts the coup as sim­ply a case of months of protests fol­lowed by Yanukovych’s deci­sion to flee. Only occa­sion­al­ly, often buried deep in news arti­cles with the con­text removed, can you find admis­sions of how the neo-Nazis spear­head­ed the coup.

A Wound­ed Extrem­ist

For instance, on April 6, the New York Times pub­lished a human-inter­est pro­file of a Ukrain­ian named Yuri Marchuk who was wound­ed in clash­es around Kiev’s Maid­an square in Feb­ru­ary. You have to read far into the sto­ry to learn that Marchuk was a Svo­bo­da leader from Lviv, which – if you did your own research – you would dis­cov­er is a neo-Nazi strong­hold where Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists hold torch-light parades in hon­or of Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera.

With­out pro­vid­ing that con­text, the Times does men­tion that Lviv mil­i­tants plun­dered a gov­ern­ment weapons depot and dis­patched 600 mil­i­tants a day to do bat­tle in Kiev. Marchuk also described how these well-orga­nized mil­i­tants, con­sist­ing of para­mil­i­tary brigades of 100 fight­ers each, launched the fate­ful attack against the police on Feb. 20, the bat­tle where Marchuk was wound­ed and where the death toll sud­den­ly spiked into scores of pro­test­ers and about a dozen police.

Marchuk lat­er said he vis­it­ed his com­rades at the occu­pied City Hall. What the Times doesn’t men­tion is that City Hall was fes­tooned with Nazi ban­ners and even a Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag as a trib­ute to white suprema­cy.

The Times touched on the incon­ve­nient truth of the neo-Nazis again on April 12 in an arti­cle about the mys­te­ri­ous death of neo-Nazi leader Olek­san­dr Muzy­chko, who was killed dur­ing a shootout with police on March 24. The arti­cle quot­ed a local Right Sek­tor leader, Roman Koval, explain­ing the cru­cial role of his orga­ni­za­tion in car­ry­ing out the anti-Yanukovych coup.

“Ukraine’s Feb­ru­ary rev­o­lu­tion, said Mr. Koval, would nev­er have hap­pened with­out Right Sec­tor and oth­er mil­i­tant groups,” the Times wrote. Yet, that real­i­ty – though actu­al­ly report­ed in the New York Times – has now become “Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da,” accord­ing to the New York Times.

This upside-down Amer­i­can nar­ra­tive also ignores the well-doc­u­ment­ed inter­fer­ence of promi­nent U.S. offi­cials in stir­ring up the pro­test­ers in Kiev, which is locat­ed in the west­ern part of Ukraine and is thus more anti-Russ­ian than east­ern Ukraine where many eth­nic Rus­sians live and where Yanukovych had his polit­i­cal base.

Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for Euro­pean Affairs Vic­to­ria Nuland was a cheer­leader for the upris­ing, remind­ing Ukrain­ian busi­ness lead­ers that the Unit­ed States had invest­ed $5 bil­lion in their “Euro­pean aspi­ra­tions,” dis­cussing who should replace Yanukovych (her choice, Arseniy Yat­senyuk became the new prime min­is­ter), and lit­er­al­ly pass­ing out cook­ies to the pro­test­ers in the Maid­an. (Nuland is mar­ried to neo­con­ser­v­a­tive super­star Robert Kagan, a founder of the Project for the New Amer­i­can Cen­tu­ry.)

Dur­ing the protests, neo­con Sen. John McCain, R‑Arizona, took the stage with lead­ers of Svo­bo­da – sur­round­ed by ban­ners hon­or­ing Stepan Ban­dera – and urged on the pro­test­ers. Even before the demon­stra­tions began, promi­nent neo­con Carl Ger­sh­man, pres­i­dent of the U.S.-funded Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy, had dubbed Ukraine “the biggest prize.” [For more details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “What’s the Mat­ter with John Ker­ry?”]

Indeed, in my four-plus decades in jour­nal­ism, I have nev­er seen a more thor­ough­ly biased and mis­lead­ing per­for­mance by the major U.S. news media. Even dur­ing the days of Ronald Rea­gan – when much of the government’s mod­ern pro­pa­gan­da struc­ture was cre­at­ed – there was more inde­pen­dence in major news out­lets. There were media stam­pedes off the real­i­ty cliff dur­ing George H.W. Bush’s Per­sian Gulf War and George W. Bush’s Iraq War, both of which were marked by demon­stra­bly false claims that were read­i­ly swal­lowed by the big U.S. news out­lets.

But there is some­thing utter­ly Orwellian in the cur­rent cov­er­age of the Ukraine cri­sis, includ­ing accus­ing oth­ers of “pro­pa­gan­da” when their accounts – though sure­ly not per­fect – are much more hon­est and more accu­rate than what the U.S. press corps has been pro­duc­ing.

There’s also the added risk that this lat­est fail­ure by the U.S. press corps is occur­ring on the bor­der of Rus­sia, a nuclear-armed state that – along with the Unit­ed States – could exter­mi­nate all life on the plan­et. The biased U.S. news cov­er­age is now feed­ing into polit­i­cal demands to send U.S. mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine’s coup regime.

The casu­al­ness of this pro­pa­gan­da – as it spreads across the U.S. media spec­trum from Fox News to MSNBC, from the Wash­ing­ton Post to the New York Times – is not just wretched jour­nal­ism but it is reck­less malfea­sance jeop­ar­diz­ing the lives of many Ukraini­ans and the future of the plan­et.

5. Robert Par­ry has post­ed anoth­er use­ful sto­ry on the Ukrain­ian cri­sis. Not­ing the OUN/B her­itage of Swo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor in the cur­rent Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, he cor­re­lates that Nazi her­itage with the lethal fire­bomb­ing of pro-Russ­ian demon­stra­tors in the Black Sea port city of Odessa.

Appar­ent­ly per­pe­trat­ed by a street-fight­ing con­tin­gent act­ing in accor­dance with the tac­ti­cal prin­ci­ples of both Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­bo­da, the fire­bomb­ing is rem­i­nis­cent of the mas­sacre of res­i­dents of the Pol­ish city of Huta Pien­ac­ka by the Gali­cian Divi­sion (14th Waf­fen SS.)

As dis­cussed in FTR #781, the Yuschenko regime in the Ukraine that came to pow­er through the so-called Orange Rev­o­lu­tion fun­da­men­tal­ly re-wrote the his­to­ry of World War II in that part of Europe, under super­vi­sion of the Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry, oper­at­ed by OUN/B activists. Deny­ing the respon­si­bil­i­ty for the Huta Pien­ac­ka mas­sacre was an ele­ment of the revi­sion­ism craft­ed by the Ukrain­ian “Min­istry of Truth.”

In addi­tion, Par­ry notes an OUN/B involve­ment with the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion’s U.S. Infor­ma­tion Agency and Radio Lib­er­ty, col­or­ing broad­casts in the 1980’s in a pro-Nazi fash­ion.

In FTR #‘s 777778, we went into much greater depth, not­ing the evo­lu­tion of the OUN/B and the over­lap­ping Gehlen spy out­fit and Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations. We chron­i­cled the CIA/OPC spon­sor­ship of OUN/B gueril­la cadres formed by the Third Reich and per­pet­u­at­ing their com­bat into the ear­ly 1950’s. OUN/B ele­ments fig­ured in the assas­si­na­tion of JFK.

OUN/B evolved through their inclu­sion in the Cru­sade for Free­dom, and became an impor­tant ele­ment of the GOP and the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion. Along with oth­er ele­ments of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations, the OUN/B was cen­tral­ly involved with the desta­bi­liza­tion of the Sovi­et Union and East­ern Europe through the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion.

Yka­te­ri­na Chumachenko–a key OUN/B oper­a­tive and Deputy Direc­tor of Pub­lic Liai­son for Reagan–married Vik­tor Yuschenko, who presided over the revi­sion of Ukrain­ian World War II his­to­ry by OUN/B. As not­ed above, Roman Svarych served as the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice under Yuschenko. He had been Yaroslav Stet­sko’s sec­re­tary in the ear­ly 1980’s. (Stet­sko was the head of the OUN/B Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist author­i­ty in Ukraine and head­ed the OUN/B after the assas­si­na­tion of Stephan Ban­dera.)

That is the sad, trag­ic back­ground to the cur­rent con­fla­gra­tion.

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

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

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

“Burn, Col­orado, burn” went the chant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See­ing No Nazis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reagan’s Nazis

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

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

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

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

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

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

6a. For a sec­ond time, pro-Russ­ian seper­atist pro­test­ers in Ukraine have been burned alive by neo-Nazi recruits from the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard.

As we have seen in the pro­grams list­ed above, as well as in numer­ous posts, the inter­im Ukrain­ian gov­ern­men­t’s key ministries–defense, judi­cia­ry and edu­ca­tion among them–are dom­i­nat­ed by Swo­bo­da. Anoth­er fas­cist descen­dant of the OUN/B–Pravy Sektor–also par­tic­i­pates in the gov­ern­ment, the defense min­istry in par­tic­u­lar.

That these groups, appar­ent­ly sup­port­ed by intel ele­ments from the U.S. and [prob­a­bly] Ger­many, should behave in such a man­ner is no sur­prise. In addi­tion to their open admi­ra­tion for SS and Gestapo units from World War II, they man­i­fest the ide­ol­o­gy and slo­gans of neo-Nazis world­wide.

Com­bat 14’s name derives from “the four­teen words” mint­ed by David Lane, a mem­ber of the Order that killed talk show host Alan Berg. (See excerpt below.) The words are: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”

NEVER lose sight of the fact that Lane and com­pa­ny were inspired by The Turn­er Diaries, pub­lished by The Nation­al Alliance. Glenn Green­wald spent a big chunk of his pro­fes­sion­al career defend­ing Nazi orga­niz­tions, includ­ing the Nation­al Alliance. He worked tire­less­ly to defend them from civ­il lit­i­ga­tion that might arrise from the vic­tims of acts incit­ed by books such as Hunter and Turn­er Diaries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

6b. As dis­cussed in FTR #780, Swo­bo­da main­tains a street-fight­ing cadre called Com­bat 14.

“The Kiev Esca­la­tion Strat­egy”; german-foreign-policy.com; 3/06/2014.

. . . . On the oth­er hand, this should draw atten­tion because Svo­boda hon­ors Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor, Stepan Ban­dera and his Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN), respon­si­ble for hav­ing com­mit­ted mas­sacres par­tic­u­larly of Jew­ish Ukraini­ans and Poles.[4] Svo­boda, accord­ing to activists in Kiev, still dis­poses of an ille­gal armed wing known as “C14.“[5] This has been con­firmed a few days ago by the BBC, which reports “C14’s” size alleged­ly at 200 mem­bers — and took over the head­quar­ters of the Com­mu­nist Par­ty, an act that turns the spot­light on the con­cept of rule of law applied now in the pro-West­ern Ukraine. The name “C14” (“Com­bat 14″) is prob­a­bly a seman­tic flirt with the name “C18” (“Com­bat 18″) one of the inter­na­tional net­works of neo-Nazi ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, with which the “C14,” of course, shares no orga­ni­za­tional ties. At the same time, the name points to the num­ber “14.” In fas­cist cir­cles this refers to the “four­teen word” slo­gans of com­mit­ment to the “white race.” As the leader of Svoboda’s ally “C14” explained, his orga­ni­za­tion is in a “strug­gle” with “eth­nic groups” that are wield­ing, among oth­er things, “eco­nomic and polit­i­cal pow­er.” The “eth­nic groups” he is refer­ring to are “Rus­sians and Jews.“[6] . . . .

6c. Com­bat 14’s name derives from “the four­teen words” mint­ed by David Lane, a mem­ber of the Order that killed talk show host Alan Berg. (See excerpt below.) The words are: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”

“Ter­ror­ist, ’14 Words’ Author, Dies in Prison”; South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter; Fall 2007 [Issue #127]

. . . . Neo-Nazi activist April Gaede, a Kalispell, Mont., res­i­dent who cor­re­spond­ed fre­quent­ly with Lane, announced with great fan­fare that she and “the gals from WAU [Women For Aryan Uni­ty]” had estab­lished a David Lane Memo­r­i­al Fund to cov­er the expens­es of inter­ring Lane’s remains.

Accord­ing to Gaede, Lane told her that he want­ed to be cre­mat­ed and have his ash­es placed in the cap­stone of a pyra­mid mon­u­ment. How­ev­er, Gaede wrote on the racist online forum Storm­front, “Since we are not in a sit­u­a­tion to build a mon­u­ment in a White home­land,” Gaede was arrang­ing to instead dis­trib­ute Lane’s ash­es among 14 small­er, portable pyra­mids, which would then be enshrined in the homes of 14 white nation­al­ist women. (The num­ber of pyra­mids is a direct ref­er­ence to “the 14 words,” the white nation­al­ist catch­phrase authored by Lane: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”) . . . .

7. Ger­man For­eign Policy.com–which feeds along the right hand side of the front page of this website–updates reportage on the Ukrain­ian cri­sis. In addi­tion to high­light­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Pravy Sek­tor recruits in the nation­al secu­ri­ty mili­tia of the OUN/B heirs rul­ing the inter­im gov­ern­ment in Ukraine, the arti­cle:

  • Notes the pres­ence of Pravy Sek­tor OUN/B heirs in the fire­bomb mas­sacre in Odessa, as well as that in Mar­i­opol.
  • Fur­ther devel­ops the con­ti­nu­ity between the inter­im gov­ern­ment in Ukraine and the OUN/B regime of Yaroslav and Sla­va Stet­sko. As dis­cussed in FTR #779, Stet­sko meet with Ronald Rea­gan dur­ing the lat­ter’s admin­is­tra­tion. Rea­gan stressed the com­mon goals of his admin­is­tra­tion and Stet­sko.
  • Under­scores the solid­i­fy­ing of the rela­tion­ship between the Pravy Sek­tor storm troop­ers and the Ukrain­ian nation­al secu­ri­ty cadres.
  • Fur­ther devel­ops the rela­tion­ship between Pravy Sek­tor and oth­er Euro­pean Nazi groups.
  • Main­tains that ele­ments of CIA and FBI are assist­ing the Pravy Sek­tor-infused cadres in East­ern Ukraine. (The CIA direc­tor had already paid a vis­it to the Ukraine.)
  • Main­tains that some 400 mem­bers of “Acad­e­mi” (for­mer­ly Black­wa­ter) are assist­ing the Ukrain­ian forces in East­ern Ukraine.

“Fas­cist Free­dom Fight­ers”; German-Foreign-Policy.com; 5/12/2014.

The rein­force­ment of fas­cist forces in Ukraine, under the aegis of the putsch regime in Kiev, is hav­ing reper­cus­sions on its Ger­man sup­port­ers. The com­mem­o­ra­tion of a Ukrain­ian sup­port­er of the Holo­caust has ignit­ed a debate in Munich. The “ques­tion” is being raised in the press, whether the com­mem­o­ra­tion of “a fas­cist free­dom fighter”[sic!] should be pub­licly hon­ored. Kiev’s Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion, a grad­u­ate of Munich’s “Ukrain­ian Free Uni­ver­si­ty,” takes up the defense of the sup­port­er of the Holo­caust in the Ger­man media. The fas­cist “Pravy Sek­tor” (“Right Sek­tor”) mili­tia is inten­si­fy­ing its rela­tions with rightwing extrem­ists in sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries, includ­ing Ger­many. The orga­ni­za­tion that had par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Odessa Mas­sacre has ties to vio­lence-prone neo-Nazis in Swe­den as well as to Ger­many’s NPD. Where­as the leader of this orga­ni­za­tion insists he is work­ing close­ly with Ukraine’s offi­cial repres­sive author­i­ties, the media is report­ing that these author­i­ties are also sup­port­ed in their bru­tal repres­sive mea­sures (“anti-ter­ror oper­a­tions”) against the insur­gents in East­ern and South­ern Ukraine by the CIA and FBI. Evi­dence of a BND involve­ment remains uncon­firmed.

Should a Fas­cist be Com­mem­o­rat­ed?

In Munich, a hub of Ukrain­ian exile activ­i­ties in the post-World War II period,[1] a pub­lic debate has erupt­ed around the memo­r­i­al plaque for Yaroslav Stet­sko, one of the lead­ers of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN). The plaque has been installed at the for­mer address of the OUN head­quar­ters, in Munich’s Zep­pelin­str. 67, by for­mer Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yushchenko dur­ing his incum­ben­cy (2005 — 2010). This was part of his efforts to rein­force the cult around the fas­cist OUN, the Ukrain­ian Par­ti­san Army (UPA) and their leaders.[2] Stet­sko, who, after the war, was work­ing out of the OUN head­quar­ters in Munich, is, today, one of the peo­ple held in high esteem in West Ukraine. The Svo­bo­da Par­ty still prop­a­gates his “two rev­o­lu­tions” the­o­ry, devel­oped in the 1930s — a “nation­al” and a “social” rev­o­lu­tion, which must be com­bined. In 1941, Stet­sko declared that “the Jews must be exter­mi­nat­ed and, it would be expe­di­ent to intro­duce the Ger­man exter­mi­na­tion meth­ods in Ukraine.” (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) In Munich, the local dis­trict coun­cil has now com­mis­sioned an expert assess­ment of the pub­lic com­mem­o­ra­tion of a sup­port­er of the Holo­caust in its dis­trict. “The ques­tion is,” accord­ing to the “Süd­deutsche Zeitung” “whether a fas­cist free­dom fighter[sic!] should be pub­licly com­mem­o­rat­ed?”[4]

“No Anti-Semi­tism”

The “Süd­deutsche Zeitung’s” arti­cle indi­cates that the OUN and its lead­ers, such as Stet­sko, are not only wide­ly acclaimed in Ukrain­ian orga­ni­za­tions in Ger­many, but also with­in the putsch regime in Kiev, even among min­is­ters, who are not in the noto­ri­ous Svo­bo­da Par­ty. As evi­dence, the arti­cle quotes Ser­hiy Kvit, “Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion” in the putsch regime. Kvit calls Stet­sko’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy, con­tain­ing his plea for adap­ta­tion of the “Ger­man meth­ods of Jew­ish exter­mi­na­tion,” a “coun­ter­feit doc­u­ment,” alleg­ing that the OUN, whose activists had par­tic­i­pat­ed in a con­sid­er­able num­ber of mas­sacres of Jews, “had noth­ing to do” with anti-Semi­tism.[5] Kvit had been active in the 90s in extrem­ist rightwing orga­ni­za­tions, for exam­ple, in the “Con­gress of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists” (CUN), a fas­cist con­glom­er­ate, orga­nized in part by Stet­sko’s wid­ow, Yarosla­va. Yarosla­va, who had been a UPA mem­ber, had worked along­side her hus­band in their Munich exile, and has also been hon­ored in Munich with a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[6]) Kvit lat­er embarked on a schol­ar­ly career. In 2001, he received his PhD at Munich’s “Ukrain­ian Free Uni­ver­si­ty,” where OUN vet­er­ans had been active for a long time, and in 2007, was named Pres­i­dent of the Kiev Mohy­la Acad­e­my Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty, until he was recent­ly named “Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion” in the putsch regime.

“Ene­my of Ukraine”

Two years ago, Kvit, for exam­ple, helped cre­ate a con­fronta­tion with Grzhe­gorz Rossolin­s­ki-Liebe, a his­to­ri­an from Berlin. Rossolin­s­ki-Liebe, the author of a dis­ser­ta­tion on OUN leader, Stepan Ban­dera, sched­uled to be pub­lished this fall, had been invit­ed to Ukraine for a speak­ing tour, in ear­ly 2012. Six talks were on the sched­ule — two in Lviv, two in Dnipropetro­vsk and two in Kiev. There were protests against Rossolin­s­ki-Liebe because of his being a known Ban­dera crit­ic. In Lviv, the orga­niz­ers were unable to acquire a venue, report­ed the his­to­ri­an lat­er. Of the four oth­er speak­ing engage­ments, three had been can­celled on short notice. Some of the can­ce­la­tions had been direct­ly trace­able to inter­ven­tions made by the Svo­bo­da Par­ty, because of his crit­i­cism of Ban­dera. Who­ev­er express­es such crit­i­cism is con­sid­ered — at least in the West, and even in some regions of Cen­tral Ukraine — “an ene­my of Ukraine or a trai­tor.” One uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor con­firmed to him that “in Ukraine, his­to­ri­ans can­not open­ly speak about his­to­ry.” In response to his sug­ges­tion that a memo­r­i­al be erect­ed to the vic­tims of the Lviv Pogroms of 1918 and 1941, “schol­ars from Lviv ... said he was crazy.” Even the pres­i­dent of the Kiev Mohy­la Acad­e­my Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty, at the time, Ser­hiy Kvit, angri­ly attacked him and refused him the pos­si­bil­i­ty to deliv­er his talk.[7] Kvit is con­sid­ered a fol­low­er of the pub­li­cist Dmytro Dontsov, who is cred­it­ed with the cre­ation of an “indige­nous Ukrain­ian fascism.”[8] Dontsov had trans­lat­ed Hitler, Mus­soli­ni and oth­ers into Ukrain­ian.

Under Police Pro­tec­tion

From Rossolin­s­ki-Liebe’s report, one learns also that the Ger­man Embassy in Kiev was com­plete­ly cog­nizant of the sit­u­a­tion — and there­fore knew also about the dra­mat­ic growth in influ­ence of Ukraine’s Ban­dera fol­low­ers. When he received a tele­phone call from a man, iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as a mili­tia­man, say­ing he would drop by, Rossolin­s­ki-Liebe says that “the Ger­man Embassy ... made arrange­ments for me to move into an apart­ment of an embassy employ­ee, where I would be safe.” Of the six sched­uled lec­tures, he was only able to hold the lec­ture in the Ger­man Embassy, “under mili­tia pro­tec­tion” — “about 100 Svo­bo­da fol­low­ers were demon­strat­ing outside.”[9] Near­ly two years lat­er, to the day, Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier (SPD) invit­ed Oleh Tiah­ny­bok, the leader of Svo­bo­da, to the Ger­man Embassy in Kiev for talks. One result — Svo­bo­da is now rep­re­sent­ed in the putsch regime.[10]

Nation­al Heroes

Many of the Pravy Sek­tor activists, who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the May 2, Odessa Mas­sacre and the May 9, mas­sacre in Mar­i­upol had come from the ultra-nation­al­is­ti­cal­ly charged milieus, par­tic­u­lar­ly those in West Ukraine. The armed orga­ni­za­tion, play­ing a major role in over­throw­ing the Yanukovich gov­ern­ment, orig­i­nat­ed as an alliance of rightwing extrem­ist groups.[11] In the mean­time, it has devel­oped good con­tacts to numer­ous extrem­ist rightwing asso­ci­a­tions through­out Europe. Pravy Sek­tor’s press attaché, Ole­na Semenya­ka, report­ed that she could not attend the March 22 Young Nation­al Democ­ra­tes’s (JN) “Europe Con­gress” of the Ger­man NPD’s youth asso­ci­a­tion, in Thuringia, only because of a con­flict with oth­er sched­uled engage­ments. The Swedish Nordisk Ung­dom neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion, which, accord­ing to Semenya­ka, finan­cial­ly sup­ports the Pravy Sek­tor, had attend­ed the NPD con­gress, along with the Sven­ska­mas Par­ty, some of whose activists had also par­tic­i­pat­ed in the vio­lent Maid­an riots. In March, one of those Maid­an par­tic­i­pants stabbed a left­ist in Mal­mo, soon after return­ing from Kiev. Charged with attempt­ed mur­der, he has been on the run since.[12] Recent­ly, Semenya­ka gave an inter­view to the NPD par­ty’s “Deutsche Stimme” jour­nal. In the course of her inter­view, she boast­ed that at the Maid­an, “ultra-nation­al­ists” became trans­formed into “nation­al heroes.” The Pravy Sek­tor is a “great par­ti­san move­ment,” she boast­ed.

CIA, Black­wa­ter, BND?

Mean­while, Ger­man forces fur­ther to the right than the NPD are show­ing a grow­ing inter­est in the Pravy Sek­tor. In April, the ultra-right online plat­form “Blaue Narzisse” (Blue Daf­fodil) pub­lished an inter­view with Ole­na Semenya­ka. She empha­sized that “even mod­ern Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers will find their place in our broad ranks” and explained that the Pravy Sek­tor’s most impor­tant cur­rent task is to “lib­er­ate” Ukraine “from col­lab­o­ra­tors, sep­a­ratists and mar­i­onettes of Rus­sia and the West.”[13] As a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple, the Pravy Sek­tor coor­di­nates its oper­a­tions with the respec­tive Ukrain­ian author­i­ties, accord­ing to its leader Dmitro Yarosh. “Our bat­tal­ions are inte­grat­ed into the new ter­ri­to­r­i­al defense,” explains Yarosh. “We have very close con­tacts to the secret ser­vice and the mil­i­tary staff. We real­ly have good rela­tions with every­one, except the police.”[14] Yarosh had already been close­ly coop­er­at­ing with the head of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Andriy Paru­biy to over­throw the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment. Paru­biy, a leader of the extreme right in the 1990s, was con­sid­ered, last win­ter, the “com­man­der of the Maid­an.” Today, he is orga­niz­ing the regime’s “anti-ter­ror mis­sions” in East­ern and South­ern Ukraine. US spe­cial­ists from the CIA and FBI are serv­ing as “advi­sors” and — accord­ing to reports — 400 elite sol­diers from the US mer­ce­nary com­pa­ny “Acad­e­mi” (for­mer­ly “Black­wa­ter”) are pro­vid­ing oper­a­tional sup­port.[15] It is not yet clear, whether the BND is also involved in the Ukrain­ian “anti-ter­ror mis­sion.” How­ev­er, what is known, is that the Ger­man mil­i­tary observers, who had been held in Slavyan­sk in late April, were in con­tact with the BND.[16] The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is refus­ing any fur­ther infor­ma­tion.

8. Among the sto­ries blacked out in the U.S. (and most of the West) is the true nature of some per­son­nel detained in the East­ern Ukraine. Wide­ly report­ed to be “observers” from the OSCE, they were, in fact, Bun­deswehr advis­ers.

 “An Unusu­al Mis­sion;” german-foreign-policy.com; 4/28/2014.

Many con­tra­dic­tions have appeared over the case of the cap­tured Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in Slavyan­sk. Con­trary to per­sist­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion, a lead­ing OSCE func­tionary has con­firmed that the mil­i­tary observers were not on an OSCE mis­sion in the Ukraine, but rather on a Ger­man Bun­deswehr mis­sion at the request of the putsch regime in Kiev. Even before the inci­dent in Slavyan­sk, the Bun­deswehr con­sid­ered the activ­i­ties of this par­ti­san unit — which offi­cial­ly claims to be act­ing on the author­i­ty of “the Vien­na Doc­u­ment” arms con­trol agree­ment — to be “unusu­al” and “unprece­dent­ed in this form.” In fact, the Bun­deswehr per­son­nel were not only involved in a dan­ger­ous con­flict; they were also engaged on the ter­ri­to­ry of a suc­ces­sor state of the Sovi­et Union. To main­tain the mil­i­tary bal­ance in Europe, the West had once promised Moscow not to sta­tion any mil­i­tary in these coun­tries. Last week, one of the detained Ger­mans had pub­licly declared that his del­e­ga­tion was exclu­sive­ly mon­i­tor­ing Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty forces; their mis­sion state­ment did not allow any­thing else.

Not an OSCE Mis­sion

The three Ger­man ser­vice­men and their Ger­man inter­preter, who, since Fri­day, are being detained along with 3 oth­er offi­cers from NATO coun­tries in the embat­tled east­ern Ukrain­ian city of Slavyan­sk — a fourth sol­dier, from non-NATO mem­ber Swe­den, has been released — are not par­tic­i­pants in an offi­cial OSCE obser­va­tion mis­sion. On March 21, the deploy­ment of the offi­cial OSCE obser­va­tion mis­sion to Ukraine had been decid­ed to last for an ini­tial peri­od of six months, with ten Ger­mans par­tic­i­pat­ing in the mis­sion. The Ger­mans being held in Slavyan­sk, how­ev­er, are not on a mis­sion for the OSCE, as Claus Neukirch, Deputy Direc­tor of the OSCE Cri­sis Pre­ven­tion Cen­ter explic­it­ly con­firmed over the weekend.[1] They were on a mis­sion as mil­i­tary observers on behalf of the Ger­man Bun­deswehr. They could not pro­duce an inter­na­tion­al man­date. The Bun­deswehr called their activ­i­ties in the Ukraine “unusu­al.” The fact that they trav­eled into the embat­tled city of Slavyan­sk rais­es even more ques­tions.

Com­pre­hen­sive­ly Informed

The pres­ence of Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in the Ukraine is for­mal­ly jus­ti­fied with the so-called Vien­na Doc­u­ment, which was adopt­ed in 1990 and sev­er­al times updat­ed since. The Vien­na Doc­u­ment facil­i­tates arms con­trol, oblig­ing sig­na­to­ry states to a rec­i­p­ro­cal exchange of infor­ma­tion about their armed forces and major weapons sys­tems, and includes ver­i­fi­ca­tion mech­a­nisms. It has been rec­og­nized by all 57 OSCE mem­ber states. In Ger­many, the Bun­deswehr Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Cen­ter (ZVBw) is respon­si­ble for coor­di­nat­ing all tasks aris­ing from the imple­men­ta­tion of the Vien­na Doc­u­ment. The ZVBw has been col­lect­ing com­pre­hen­sive infor­ma­tion on the armed forces, par­tic­u­lar­ly on those of the Sovi­et Union’s suc­ces­sor states — and the Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in the Ukraine are on mis­sion for this agency. “ZVBw ser­vice­men inspect mil­i­tary instal­la­tions of the par­tic­i­pat­ing states and accom­pa­ny for­eign del­e­ga­tions com­ing for inspec­tions to Ger­many,” accord­ing to ZVB­w’s descrip­tion of its habit­u­al activities.[2] It is based in Geilenkirchen near Aachen. NATO AWACS “sur­veil­lance” air­craft are also sta­tioned in that town and are deployed by the west­ern war alliance for ver­i­fi­ca­tion flights over Poland and Romania.[3]

Par­ti­san Observers

The deploy­ment of Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in Ukraine dif­fers in prin­ci­ple from the ZVB­w’s pre­vi­ous “Vien­na Doc­u­ment” mis­sions, aimed at rou­tine arms con­trol. The mis­sion is tak­ing place in a dan­ger­ous con­flict. This is “unusu­al” and “in the his­to­ry of the Vien­na Doc­u­ment, has nev­er hap­pened before in this form,” explained the Ger­man Lieu­tenant Colonel Hayko von Rosen­zweig, who, from March 5 to 20, him­self, had been deployed as a Ger­man mil­i­tary observ­er in Ukraine. At the time, Rosen­zweig was charged with draw­ing up a “clear sit­u­a­tion assess­ment of the activ­i­ties of Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian armed forces.” But his del­e­ga­tion was halt­ed by separatists.[4] The putschist regime in Kiev — a par­ty to the con­flict and a regime with­out demo­c­ra­t­ic legit­i­ma­cy — had for­mal­ly request­ed the mis­sion. More­over, this mis­sion is tak­ing place in one of the for­mer Sovi­et coun­tries. Dur­ing the upheavals 1989 to 1991, the major west­ern pow­ers had promised Moscow not to sta­tion any NATO troops on the ter­ri­to­ries of for­mer War­saw Treaty Orga­ni­za­tion mem­ber coun­tries. This com­mit­ment — designed to main­tain the mil­i­tary bal­ance in Europe — has been bro­ken by NATO coun­tries numer­ous times over the past few years.[5] The deploy­ment of Ger­man mil­i­tary observers is fur­ther shift­ing this bal­ance of pow­er.

“Keep­ing an Eye on Gov­ern­ment Armed Forces”

Fur­ther ques­tions are raised about the activ­i­ties of Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in Slavyan­sk. Last Wednes­day, Col. Axel Schnei­der, one of the Ger­mans being detained in Slavyan­sk, first spoke in a radio broad­cast about the offi­cial objec­tives of his mis­sion. Accord­ing to Schnei­der, the del­e­ga­tion was sup­posed to “make an assess­ment” of “the sit­u­a­tion” of Ukraine’s armed units “and their capa­bil­i­ties, whether they are offense or defense ori­ent­ed.” Schnei­der explic­it­ly explained that the focus was “on reg­u­lar, gov­ern­ment armed forces.” There was no assign­ment, what­so­ev­er, to have any­thing to do with sep­a­ratist units or even with Russ­ian spe­cial forces, alleged­ly oper­at­ing in Ukraine. “We are con­cen­trat­ing on the secu­ri­ty forces of the Ukraine.” How­ev­er, in ret­ro­spect, the infor­ma­tion Schnei­der pre­sent­ed on Wednes­day is not con­vinc­ing. He claimed he was “pos­i­tive­ly cer­tain,” there is absolute­ly no “offen­sive pos­tur­ing, pos­si­ble esca­la­tion” from “Ukraine’s armed forces.”[6] A few days lat­er, these very same armed forces stormed Slavyan­sk.

Coor­di­nat­ed with Berlin

Still, the more impor­tant ques­tion is what were the Ger­man mil­i­tary observers doing in Slavyan­sk, in the first place, if their assign­ment — in accor­dance to the “Vien­na Doc­u­ment” — was to sole­ly deal with Ukrain­ian armed forces. Slavyan­sk is in the hands of sep­a­ratists. This ques­tion becomes that much more volatile, since the putsch regime in Kiev appar­ent­ly had explic­it­ly coor­di­nat­ed its offen­sive on that city with Ger­many’s NATO part­ner, the USA. For exam­ple, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Min­is­ter Vitalii Yare­ma had not only received the head of the CIA, John Bren­nan, in Kiev for talks on expand­ing gen­er­al coop­er­a­tion between the secret ser­vices. Accord­ing to reports, the Ukrain­ian part­ner was par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in Russ­ian and pro-Russ­ian troop move­ments. It is also report­ed that dur­ing US Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s vis­it to Kiev, Yare­ma had been advised by “anti-ter­ror” spe­cial­ists on the impend­ing “anti-ter­ror” mis­sion (the putsch regime’s ver­nac­u­lar) in Slavyan­sk.[7] The fact that it can be ruled out that the Ger­man mil­i­tary observers on mis­sion in the Ukraine will remain silent about what they have learned, is not only due to stan­dard pro­ce­dure in sim­i­lar cas­es. In the radio broad­cast, Col. Schnei­der explic­it­ly con­firmed that “we have coor­di­nat­ed every­thing very close­ly with our Min­istry of For­eign Affairs.”[8] On the oth­er hand, par­tic­u­lar­ly in light of the intel­li­gence ser­vice scan­dals over the past few years, it is not to be assumed that Berlin would with­hold its infor­ma­tion on the sit­u­a­tion on the ground in Slavyan­sk — encir­cled by Ukrain­ian troops ready to storm the city — from its allies.

More reports and back­ground infor­ma­tion on the cur­rent Ger­man pol­i­cy in ref­er­ence to the Ukraine can be found here: A Broad-Based Anti-Russ­ian Alliance, Expan­sive Ambi­tions, Our Man in Kiev, Inte­gra­tion Rival­ry with Moscow, On the Offen­sive, At all Costs, The Crimean Con­flict, The Kiev Esca­la­tion Strat­e­gy, Cold War Images, The Free World, A Fatal Taboo Vio­la­tion, The Euro­peaniza­tion of Ukraine and Offi­cial Gov­ern­ment Voca­tive.

[1] Sep­a­ratis­ten führen Mil­itärin­spek­teure vor. www.faz.net 27.04.2014.
[2] Zen­trum für Ver­i­fika­tion­sauf­gaben der Bun­deswehr. www.kommando.streitkraeftebasis.de. See Von Van­cou­ver bis Wladi­wos­tok.
[3] Rus­sia Could Invade Ukraine ‘Any Day Now,’ NATO Offi­cials Warn. www.ibtimes.com 02.04.2014.
[4] Ein ganz beson­der­er Auf­trag. www.streitkraeftebasis.de 10.04.2014.
[5] In 2010, the USA began deploy­ing patri­ot units in Poland — for­mal­ly rotat­ing and for train­ing pur­pos­es, but in fact per­ma­nent­ly. In 2012, US sol­diers were per­ma­nent­ly deployed at cen­tral Poland’s Lask mil­i­tary air­port. Pre­vi­ous­ly, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment had cre­at­ed a prece­dent by mak­ing the Halle/Leipzig Air­port avail­able for mil­i­tary use — also for NATO’s war on Afghanistan, even though the agree­ment between the West and Moscow also applied to the ter­ri­to­ry of the GDR. S. dazu Start in den Som­mer und In den Urlaub. See Take Off Into the Sum­mer and In den Urlaub.
[6] “Sehr über­raschende Befunde”. www.br.de 23.04.2014.
[7] Rein­hard Lauter­bach: Streik in der Ostukraine.

9. Anoth­er German-Foreign-Policy.com arti­cle ana­lyzes the media/propaganda com­po­nent of an “op.” Pre­sent­ing sev­er­al stages req­ui­site for the con­di­tion­ing of a skep­ti­cal pub­lic to accept a pre-deter­mined gam­bit, the arti­cle high­lights the method­ol­o­gy of behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion through media pre­sen­ta­tion.

“Cri­sis of Legit­i­ma­cy”; ger­man-for­eign-pol­i­cy com; 2014/05/05

The unprece­dent­ed dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign being waged by the lead­ing Ger­man media has reached a new cli­max with its report­ing on the mur­der of more than 40 peo­ple in Odessa. In the Ukrain­ian metrop­o­lis of a mil­lion inhab­i­tants, the Trade Union House “caught fire” — “a cat­a­stro­phe,” whose cause is still unknown. This is how it was report­ed imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the fire, on May 2. Even though sup­port­ers of the putschists in Kiev could be seen hurl­ing Molo­tov cock­tails at those bar­ri­cad­ed inside the Trade Union House on inter­na­tion­al press agency pho­tos, key Ger­man media organs chose to pub­lish the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vices’ fal­si­fied bul­letins claim­ing that “Moscow” was respon­si­ble for the crimes. Those mur­dered were among a group of demon­stra­tors call­ing for region­al auton­o­my. They had fled their attack­ers and were chased into the Trade Union House, blocked inside and left to a grue­some death by suf­fo­ca­tion.

Even though the con­text can long since be recon­struct­ed, the “Tagess­chau” evening news cast still described the scene in delib­er­ate­ly vague terms 24 hours lat­er. For exam­ple, on May 3, at 20:15 the inci­dent in Odessa was described in the First Ger­man Tele­vi­sion Net­work (ARD): “The Trade Union House caught fire.”[1] This for­mu­la­tion sounds like a tech­ni­cal defect, while avoid­ing link­ing the inci­dent to an abun­dance of news mate­r­i­al from inter­na­tion­al agen­cies. That “uniden­ti­fied per­sons” may have set the fire is all that was admit­ted, claim­ing igno­rance of the sur­round­ing cir­cum­stances.


Forty-eight hours lat­er, that pro-gov­ern­ment TV chan­nel retreat­ed to the pre­scribed ter­mi­nol­o­gy; “both par­ties to the con­flict” accuse each oth­er, mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion unclear. After hav­ing cov­ered, in Feb­ru­ary, the Rus­so­phobe vio­lence on Kiev’s Maid­an with elab­o­rate live broad­casts from its cor­re­spon­dents, let­ting them from time to time be accom­pa­nied by the shrill atmos­phere, today, the ARD seems inca­pable of doing its own research.

Inter­pre­ta­tion Hege­mo­ny

The ARD was again on the Odessa scene, giv­ing the putsch par­tic­i­pant, Vladimir Klitschko the oppor­tu­ni­ty to express in an inter­view his regrets about what had hap­pened and his wish that the city’s inhab­i­tants will find more peace. This gave the sym­bol­ic fig­ure of Ger­man inter­fer­ence into Ukraine’s inter­nal affairs [2] to impose a hege­mo­ny over the inter­pre­ta­tion of this crime; it has dete­ri­o­rat­ed into pas­toral mourn­ing. The tele­vi­sion audi­ence learned noth­ing about the fact that those respon­si­ble for the crime are sus­pect­ed of being among Klitschko’s polit­i­cal asso­ciates in Kiev.

Own Fault

Yes­ter­day, (Sun­day) — 72 hours after the mur­ders in Odessa — the ARD ulti­mate­ly had the idea of let­ting Arseniy Yat­senyuk, one of the most aggres­sive rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Kiev’s putschists, attempt to jus­ti­fy what had hap­pened. He alleged that the police in Odessa had failed, but that those respon­si­ble for the inci­dent are to be found in Rus­sia (Moscow’s “Plan to destroy Ukraine”). The ARD exhaus­tive­ly quot­ed ver­ba­tim these anti-Russ­ian tirades on its web­page [3] and dur­ing a prime time pho­to report at 20:00, with­out even men­tion­ing a sec­ond source to cor­rob­o­rate or con­tra­dict this pro­pa­gan­da. The ARD refers also to “bloody clash­es,” nam­ing no active par­tic­i­pants or insin­u­at­ing that the respon­si­bil­i­ty lies sole­ly with the anti-gov­ern­ment insur­gents. For exam­ple, in yes­ter­day’s 20:00 “Tagess­chau,” the ARD alleged that the mur­ders in Odessa were only the reac­tion to the attacks made by the vic­tims them­selves.


The way news of the crimes in Odessa are being report­ed cor­re­sponds to months of con­tin­u­ous, sys­tem­at­ic gra­da­tion of jour­nal­is­tic stan­dards, which have almost entire­ly been tai­lored to Berlin’s for­eign pol­i­cy stipulations.[4] For exam­ple, for days, the ARD had harped on the delib­er­ate con­fu­sion around the Bun­deswehr’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tion with­out call­ing the oper­a­tion by its name. The Bun­deswehr had dis­patched so-called observers to East Ukraine at the demand of Kiev’s putsch regime. The ARD either referred to these Ger­man mil­i­tary per­son­nel as “mem­bers of an OSCE mis­sion” or called them “diplo­mats.”[5]


The fact that these Ger­man mil­i­tary per­son­nel were oper­at­ing under a secret agree­ment with the ille­git­i­mate putsch regime, need­ing infor­ma­tion on the deploy­ment of insur­gent forces to pre­pare its “anti-ter­ror” war on East­ern Ukraine, was either con­sid­ered not news­wor­thy or it was rel­e­gat­ed to the noc­tur­nal “talk shows” (“con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry”). Instead, the ARD net­work made a spe­cial broad­cast (May 2), pre­sent­ing an assumed non-par­ti­san spe­cial­ist for the OSCE the­sis. On the screen, the spe­cial­ist was iden­ti­fied as an asso­ciate of the Ger­man Insti­tute for Inter­na­tion­al and Secu­ri­ty Affairs (SWP). He was per­mit­ted — in the course of a minute-long mono­logue — to con­firm the ver­sion of an alleged OSCE-spon­sored mis­sion. Is espi­onage behind it? This ques­tion was nev­er even raised. The tele­vi­sion view­ers were nev­er informed that the inter­view part­ner was Wolf­gang Richter, cur­rent­ly a Colonel, mem­ber of the Bun­deswehr’s Gen­er­al Staff, and the sec­tion com­man­der of these obscure mil­i­tary observers, whose head­quar­ters are in Geilenkirchen, a Bun­deswehr — and pre­vi­ous­ly a NATO nuclear weapons — site. The ARD opened their air­waves to a dis­guised mil­i­tary offi­cer.


The mas­quer­ade of schol­ar­ship put on by the Bun­deswehr in that spe­cial broad­cast on pub­lic tele­vi­sion has degen­er­at­ed to the lev­el of cold war news report­ing. In the years 1962 to 1975, the ARD (includ­ing its cor­re­spon­dent Win­fried Schar­lau) and the Sec­ond Ger­man Tele­vi­sion, “ZDF,” (includ­ing its cor­re­spon­dent Peter Scholl-Latour) fueled the Fed­er­al Ger­man Repub­lic’s mil­i­tary readi­ness against Hanoi, Moscow and Peking. Vil­i­fy­ing the adver­sary — as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple — and alleged­ly defend­ing the west­ern “com­mu­ni­ty of val­ues” are part of the lead­ing medi­a’s stan­dard reper­toire. The large-scale war crimes com­mit­ted by the USA and its allies in Viet­nam, Laos and Cam­bo­dia were either not men­tioned at all in news reports or dis­missed as com­mu­nist inspired rumors.

Three Stages

The lead­ing Ger­man media used a sim­i­lar approach dur­ing the war on Yugoslavia and the aggres­sion against Iraq. Three stages can be dis­tin­guished in this approach. Dur­ing the first stage — the stage of prepar­ing and con­duct­ing offen­sive oper­a­tions — reli­able cor­re­spon­dents with appro­pri­ate con­nec­tions to mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal staffs, super­vise the pro­duc­tion of news. Cor­re­spon­dents and “spe­cial cor­re­spon­dents” in Brus­sels (NATO), Wash­ing­ton and Moscow pro­vide the ori­en­ta­tion. Long-time WDR jour­nal­ist Rolf-Dieter Krause (nick­named “NATO-Krause” in the WDR) is cur­rent­ly direc­tor of the ARD’s Brus­sels stu­dio. Dur­ing this first stage, which does not leave any room for skep­tics, Ina Ruck (WDR) was Moscow’s cor­re­spon­dent and Ukraine com­men­ta­tor. The news report­ing is her­met­ic and hys­ter­i­cal.


Once the oper­a­tion’s goal is with­in reach (or remain­ing obsta­cles seem sur­mount­able), the infor­ma­tion­al hori­zon widens (sec­ond stage). In the Ukraine con­flict, this sec­ond stage began when the gov­ern­ment in Kiev was suc­cess­ful­ly over­thrown in late Feb­ru­ary. The par­tic­u­lar­ly gung-ho cor­re­spon­dents are then replaced with more lib­er­al col­leagues. Media-hype aimed at cre­at­ing a pub­lic image of the ene­my is replaced by a report­ing aimed at calm­ing the pub­lic. This report­ing includes crit­ics, who are wel­comed (par­tic­u­lar­ly in talk shows) to point out short­com­ing, errors and per­haps act as prompters to pro­pose improve­ments in the ongo­ing oper­a­tion.


Once this stage of the oper­a­tion is end­ed or — due to unex­pect­ed prob­lems — post­poned, the third stage starts: A media review with, at times, star­tling inves­tiga­tive reports. This stage aims at com­pre­hen­sive­ly inte­grat­ing civ­il soci­ety, whose paci­fist skep­sis or polit­i­cal accu­sa­tions should (and must) be aired, before the next oper­a­tion starts. The WDR doc­u­men­tary “It Began With a Lie” [6] fol­low­ing the war on Yugoslavia and — fol­low­ing the Maid­an mas­sacre — the WDR “Mon­i­tor” report about the alleged assas­sins com­ing from the Kiev putschist cir­cles (“Who Were the Gun­men on the Maidan?”)[7] are exam­ples of this media inclu­sion. It becomes appar­ent that the report­ing region­al ARD sta­tions (cur­rent­ly WDR), may be iden­ti­cal in all of the stages. They do not reflect their inter­nal polit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tions, but fol­low the guid­ing con­cepts of the lead­ing per­son­nel and the ties these have to struc­tures of the state-sup­port­ing par­ties.

Grow­ing War Dan­ger

There is mas­sive protest against the lead­ing Ger­man media organs’ dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign. The protest response is so strong that pub­lic tele­vi­sion chan­nels have had to peri­od­i­cal­ly shut down the com­men­tary func­tions of their inter­net pages, “due to overload.”[8] In fact, the gov­ern­ment-line press has been inca­pable of con­vinc­ing a major­i­ty of pub­lic opin­ion of an inevitable mil­i­tary reori­en­ta­tion, as was blunt­ly demand­ed by the NATO Gen­er­al Sec­re­tary (also yes­ter­day May 4, in the ARD) with increas­es in the arms expen­di­tures. A major­i­ty of the pop­u­la­tion is also skep­ti­cal about the fur­ther encir­clement of Rus­sia, which will ratch­et up the dan­ger of war and demon­strate that the EU’s guid­ing prin­ci­ple “Peace in Europe” is a lie. The per­sist­ing inten­si­ty of their unsuc­cess­ful news report­ing is the expres­sion of a polit­i­cal cri­sis of legit­i­ma­cy.

More reports and back­ground infor­ma­tion on the cur­rent Ger­man pol­i­cy toward Ukraine can be found here: A Broad-Based Anti-Russ­ian Alliance, Expan­sive Ambi­tions, Our Man in Kiev, Inte­gra­tion Rival­ry with Moscow, On the Offen­sive, At all Costs, The Crimean Con­flict, The Kiev Esca­la­tion Strat­e­gy, Cold War Images, The Free World, A Fatal Taboo Vio­la­tion, The Euro­peaniza­tion of Ukraine, Offi­cial Gov­ern­ment Voca­tive and An Unusu­al Mis­sion.

[1] Wort­pro­tokoll der Sendung.
[2] See Our Man in Kiev and Der Mann der Deutschen.
[3] Pro-rus­sis­che Kräfte attack­ieren Polizeizen­trale. www.tagesschau.de 04.05.2014.
[4] See The Free World.
[5] See An Unusu­al Mis­sion.
[6] Sendung am 08.04.2001.
[7] Sendung am 11.04.2014.
[8] So am 03.05.2014 auf der Inter­net-Seite der ARD-“Tagesschau”/“Tagesthemen”.

10. The new­ly-elect­ed Poroshenko has recon­sti­tut­ed the old Yuschenko polit­i­cal team.

“Ukraine’s New Pres­i­dent Poroshenko Leads Old Team”; Deutsche Welle; 6/7/2014.

. . . . But a close look at his team quick­ly shows that Poroshenko has sur­round­ed him­self with offi­cials from the Yushchenko era.

For exam­ple, Poroshenko’s elec­tion cam­paign was planned by Ihor Hryniv. The 53-year-old mem­ber of par­lia­ment and for­mer direc­tor of the Kyiv Insti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies was once Yushchenko’s advis­er. He lat­er rep­re­sent­ed his par­ty “Nasha Ukraina” (Our Ukraine) in par­lia­ment.

The 43-year-old for­eign pol­i­cy expert and diplo­mat Valeri Chaly was also part of Yushchenko’s team. Dur­ing Poroshenko’s elec­tion cam­paign Chaly was in charge of for­eign pol­i­cy issues. The 60-year-old Roman Svarych is also back in pol­i­tics: Yushchenko’s for­mer jus­tice min­is­ter now con­sults with Poroshenko on legal issues. [Svarych was the per­son­al sec­re­tary to OUN/B leader Yaroslav Stet­sko in the ear­ly 1980’s–D.E.]

Else­where in the coun­try the pic­ture is the same. Vik­tor Balo­ha, for exam­ple, was the head of Yushchenko’s sec­re­tari­at dur­ing his pres­i­den­cy. He head­ed Poroshenko’s elec­tion cam­paign in the west­ern Ukrain­ian province of Tran­scarpathia. . . .


2 comments for “FTR #794 The Fires This Time: Update on the Ukraine”

  1. Two days ago there were reports that Svo­bo­da was call­ing for mar­tial law in the east:

    Ukrain­ian Fas­cist Par­ty Demands Mar­tial Law in South­east
    June 2, 2014

    Kiev, Jun 2 (Pren­sa Lati­na) The Ukrain­ian fas­cist par­ty Svo­bo­da (Free­dom) demand­ed today that mar­tial law be imposed in Donet­sk and Lugan­sk regions and the bor­ders with Rus­sia closed.

    In his address dur­ing a meet­ing of the fac­tions of the Supreme Rada (uni­cam­er­al Par­lia­ment), extrem­ist-nation­al­ist Oleg Tyag­ni­bok, leader of Svo­bo­da, said that a mil­i­tary sit­u­a­tion must be declared in the two rebel regions, where Kiev author­i­ties have been lead­ing an offen­sive since mid-April.

    He also urged clos­ing the bor­ders with Rus­sia and elim­i­nat­ing the visa free regime between the two coun­tries, a mea­sure that has been repeat­ed­ly request­ed by the Secu­ri­ty Nation­al Coun­cil, also con­trolled by the Svo­bo­da par­ty.

    Accord­ing to Tyg­ni­bok, one of the lead­ers of the vio­lent events staged in Ukraine at the end of 2013 as well as the coup d’e­tat in Feb­ru­ary, the bill was reg­is­tered at the Rada.

    Bat­tles between Ukrain­ian reg­u­lar forces and the self-defense mili­tia took place today in Lugan­sk and Slavyan­sk, in Donet­sk, a region whose res­i­den­tial areas have been sub­ject­ed to indis­crim­i­nate bomb­ings from air­craft and heavy artillery.


    And just today, with the Kiev gov­ern­ment announc­ing that over 300 sep­a­ratists had been killed and 500 injured over the last 24 hours, it’s being report­ed that act­ing pres­i­dent Olek­san­dr V. Turchynov thinks mar­tial law will sta­bi­lize the sit­u­a­tion and is ask­ing the Svo­bo­da-con­trolled Nation­al Secu­ri­ty and Defense Coun­cil to do con­sid­er it. And accord­ing to deputy prime min­is­ter Vitaly Yare­ma, the coun­cil will do exact­ly that this Sat­ur­day, right after Petro Poroshenko’s inau­gu­ra­tion:

    The New York Times
    Rebels in East­ern Ukraine Cap­ture Gov­ern­ment Posts


    LUHANSK, Ukraine — Rebel fight­ers in Ukraine’s trou­bled east have scored a major vic­to­ry, cap­tur­ing a bor­der guard com­mand base here after besieg­ing it for two days and then over­whelm­ing a sec­ond base that housed Ukrain­ian inter­nal secu­ri­ty forces.

    Gun­fire rat­tled for hours into the night on Tues­day as fight­ers sur­round­ed the inter­nal secu­ri­ty base in cen­tral Luhan­sk, on a back street near a gro­cery store. By Wednes­day morn­ing, men in cam­ou­flage could be seen mov­ing around inside the base, which goes by the num­ber 3035, and blood was smeared in three large patch­es on a wall and side­walk near­by. It was not clear how many Ukrain­ian per­son­nel had been inside, but they were ordered to remove their uni­forms, which lay in a pile inside the base.

    The Asso­ci­at­ed Press cit­ed offi­cials as say­ing six mil­i­tants were killed and three Ukrain­ian ser­vice­men were injured in the fight­ing.


    The mil­i­tary rever­sals came as Olek­san­dr V. Turchynov, Ukraine’s act­ing pres­i­dent, arrived in east­ern Ukraine — the first vis­it by a mem­ber of Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment to the east­ern regions since sep­a­ratists seized gov­ern­ment build­ings and large stretch­es of ter­ri­to­ry. A spokes­woman for Mr. Turchynov, Anna Vakhot­skaya, said she could not give details about where he was or what he was doing, cit­ing secu­ri­ty con­cerns.

    In Luhan­sk, mourn­ers were occu­pied Wednes­day with bury­ing the vic­tims of an airstrike two days ear­li­er. More than 100 stood in a crowd­ed ceme­tery by the grave of Alexan­der Gizai, a respect­ed com­mu­ni­ty leader who was killed in the strike. The death of Mr. Gizai, who ran a local youth club, has angered res­i­dents.

    The A.P. report­ed on Wednes­day that Mr. Turchynov, who will hand over pow­er to Pres­i­dent-elect Petro O. Poroshenko on Sat­ur­day, has asked the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty and Defense Coun­cil of Ukraine to con­sid­er impos­ing mar­tial law in east­ern parts of the coun­try to try to sta­bi­lize the sit­u­a­tion.

    Ukraine’s first deputy prime min­is­ter, Vitaly Yare­ma, was quot­ed by the news agency Inter­fax Ukraine as say­ing that the coun­cil would con­vene to dis­cuss mar­tial law only after Mr. Poroshenko’s inau­gu­ra­tion.

    Poroshenko, on the oth­er hand, just came out in oppo­si­tion to the idea:

    Ukraine’s pres­i­dent-elect oppos­es calls for mar­tial law in the coun­try’s tur­bu­lent east
    Asso­ci­at­ed Press June 4, 2014

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Ukraine’s pres­i­dent-elect says he oppos­es calls to insti­tute mar­tial law in the coun­try’s trou­bled east, and sup­ports peace­ful solu­tions.

    Petro Poroshenko spoke Wednes­day in War­saw after meet­ing with U.S. and Euro­pean lead­ers dur­ing his first for­eign trip since being elect­ed on May 25.

    He said mar­tial law — a sce­nario sug­gest­ed by inter­im Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Olek­san­dr Turchynov — would not serve peace efforts in the east. The coun­try’s armed forces are fight­ing pro-Russ­ian insur­gents in the region.

    Speak­ing in Eng­lish, Poroshenko said he will use his inau­gu­ra­tion day Sat­ur­day to make a pro­pos­al to restore law, order and peace. It would include a wide amnesty and the “cre­ation of the con­di­tions for ear­ly local elec­tions” — part of efforts to reform Ukraine’s local admin­is­tra­tions.

    Keep in mind that Poroshenko is also call­ing for direct US mil­i­tary aid under a “lend-lease” arrange­ment and demands a return of Crimea, so it’s pret­ty clear that Poroshenko is prepar­ing to use exten­sive armed force against both Ukrain­ian sep­a­ratists and, poten­tial­ly, Russ­ian forces in Crimea so WWIII isn’t exact­ly out of the ques­tion in terms of Poroshenko’s stat­ed goals. And he’s the rel­a­tive mod­er­ate in this sit­u­a­tion.

    So will Svo­bo­da’s calls for mar­tial law pre­vail when the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty and Defense Coun­cil meets this Sat­ur­day? We’ll see. But it rais­es the ques­tion of how much longer Svo­bo­da is going to be con­trol­ling the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty and Defense Coun­cil. Will it still be a Svo­bo­da-con­trolled insti­tu­tion under Poroshenko’s rule? That’s unclear from the report­ing, so we’ll have to wait and see about that too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 4, 2014, 5:08 pm
  2. One of the rea­sons the fog of war is so dis­ori­ent­ing is that it involves a lot noise and a lot of silence:

    The Nation
    The Silence of Amer­i­can Hawks About Kiev’s Atroc­i­ties

    The regime has repeat­ed­ly car­ried out artillery and air attacks on city cen­ters, cre­at­ing a human­i­tar­i­an catastrophe—which is all but ignored by the US polit­i­cal-media estab­lish­ment.
    Stephen F. Cohen
    June 30, 2014

    For weeks, the US-backed regime in Kiev has been com­mit­ting atroc­i­ties against its own cit­i­zens in south­east­ern Ukraine, regions heav­i­ly pop­u­lat­ed by Russ­ian-speak­ing Ukraini­ans and eth­nic Rus­sians. While vic­tim­iz­ing a grow­ing num­ber of inno­cent peo­ple, includ­ing chil­dren, and degrad­ing America’s rep­u­ta­tion, these mil­i­tary assaults on cities, cap­tured on video, are gen­er­at­ing pres­sure in Rus­sia on Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin to “save our com­pa­tri­ots.”

    The reac­tion of the Oba­ma administration—as well as the new cold-war hawks in Con­gress and in the estab­lish­ment media—has been twofold: silence inter­rupt­ed only by occa­sion­al state­ments excus­ing and thus encour­ag­ing more atroc­i­ties by Kiev. Very few Amer­i­cans (notably, the inde­pen­dent schol­ar Gor­don Hahn) have protest­ed this shame­ful com­plic­i­ty. We may hon­or­ably dis­agree about the caus­es and res­o­lu­tion of the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, the worst US-Russ­ian con­fronta­tion in decades, but not about deeds that are ris­ing to the lev­el of war crimes, if they have not already done so.

    * * *

    In mid-April, the new Kiev gov­ern­ment, pre­dom­i­nant­ly west­ern Ukrain­ian in com­po­si­tion and out­look, declared an “anti-ter­ror­ist oper­a­tion” against a grow­ing polit­i­cal rebel­lion in the South­east. At that time, the rebels were most­ly mim­ic­k­ing the ini­tial Maid­an protests in Kiev in 2013—demonstrating, issu­ing defi­ant procla­ma­tions, occu­py­ing pub­lic build­ings and erect­ing defen­sive barricades—before Maid­an turned rag­ing­ly vio­lent and, in Feb­ru­ary, over­threw Ukraine’s cor­rupt but legit­i­mate­ly elect­ed pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovych. (The entire Maid­an episode, it will be recalled, had Washington’s enthu­si­as­tic polit­i­cal, and per­haps more tan­gi­ble, sup­port.) Indeed, the prece­dent for seiz­ing offi­cial build­ings and demand­ing the alle­giance of local author­i­ties had been set even ear­li­er, in Jan­u­ary, in west­ern Ukraine—by pro-Maid­an, anti-Yanukovych pro­test­ers, some declar­ing “inde­pen­dence” from his gov­ern­ment.

    Con­sid­er­ing those pre­ced­ing events, but above all the country’s pro­found his­tor­i­cal divi­sions, par­tic­u­lar­ly between its west­ern and east­ern regions—ethnic, lin­guis­tic, reli­gious, cul­tur­al, eco­nom­ic and political—the rebel­lion in the south­east, cen­tered in the indus­tri­al Don­bass, was not sur­pris­ing. Nor were its protests against the uncon­sti­tu­tion­al way (in effect, a coup) the new gov­ern­ment had come to pow­er, the southeast’s sud­den loss of effec­tive polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the cap­i­tal and the real prospect of offi­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion. But by declar­ing an “anti-ter­ror­ist oper­a­tion” against the new pro­test­ers, Kiev sig­naled its inten­tion to “destroy” them, not nego­ti­ate with them.

    On May 2, in this incen­di­ary atmos­phere, a hor­rif­ic event occurred in the south­ern city of Odessa, awak­en­ing mem­o­ries of Nazi Ger­man exter­mi­na­tion squads in Ukraine and oth­er Sovi­et republics dur­ing World War II. An orga­nized pro-Kiev mob chased pro­test­ers into a build­ing, set it on fire and tried to block the exits. Some forty peo­ple, per­haps many more, per­ished in the flames or were mur­dered as they fled the infer­no. A still unknown num­ber of oth­er vic­tims were seri­ous­ly injured.

    Mem­bers of the infa­mous Right Sec­tor, a far-right para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion ide­o­log­i­cal­ly aligned with the ultra­na­tion­al­ist Svo­bo­da par­ty, itself a con­stituent part of Kiev’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment, led the mob. Both are fre­quent­ly char­ac­ter­ized by knowl­edge­able observers as “neo-fas­cist” move­ments. (Hate­ful eth­nic chants by the mob were audi­ble, and swasti­ka-like sym­bols were found on the scorched build­ing.) Kiev alleged that the vic­tims had them­selves acci­den­tal­ly start­ed the fire, but eye­wit­ness­es, tele­vi­sion footage and social media videos told the true sto­ry, as they have about sub­se­quent atroc­i­ties.

    Instead of inter­pret­ing the Odessa mas­sacre as an imper­a­tive for restraint, Kiev inten­si­fied its “anti-ter­ror­ist oper­a­tion.” Since May, the regime has sent a grow­ing num­ber of armored per­son­nel car­ri­ers, tanks, artillery, heli­copter gun­ships and war­planes to south­east­ern cities, among them, Slovyan­sk (Slavyan­sk in Russ­ian), Mar­i­upol, Kras­noarmeisk, Kram­a­torsk, Donet­sk and Luhan­sk (Lugan­sk in Russ­ian). When its reg­u­lar mil­i­tary units and local police forces turned out to be less than effec­tive, will­ing or loy­al, Kiev hasti­ly mobi­lized Right Sec­tor and oth­er rad­i­cal nation­al­ist mili­tias respon­si­ble for much of the vio­lence at Maid­an into a Nation­al Guard to accom­pa­ny reg­u­lar detachments—partly to rein­force them, part­ly, it seems, to enforce Kiev’s com­mands. Zeal­ous, bare­ly trained and drawn most­ly from cen­tral and west­ern regions, Kiev’s new recruits have report­ed­ly esca­lat­ed the eth­nic war­fare and killing of inno­cent civil­ians. (Episodes described as “mas­sacres” soon also occurred in Mar­i­upol and Kram­a­torsk.)

    Ini­tial­ly, the “anti-ter­ror­ist” cam­paign was lim­it­ed pri­mar­i­ly, though not only, to rebel check­points on the out­skirts of cities. Since May, how­ev­er, Kiev has repeat­ed­ly car­ried out artillery and air attacks on city cen­ters that have struck res­i­den­tial build­ings, shop­ping malls, parks, schools, kinder­gartens and hos­pi­tals, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Slovyan­sk and Luhan­sk. More and more urban areas, neigh­bor­ing towns and even vil­lages now look and sound like war zones, with tell­tale rub­ble, destroyed and pock­marked build­ings, man­gled vehi­cles, the dead and wound­ed in streets, wail­ing mourn­ers and cry­ing chil­dren. Con­flict­ing infor­ma­tion from Kiev, local resis­tance lead­ers and Moscow make it impos­si­ble to esti­mate the num­ber of dead and wound­ed noncombatants—certainly hun­dreds. The num­ber con­tin­ues to grow due also to Kiev’s block­ade of cities where essen­tial med­i­cines, food, water, fuel and elec­tric­i­ty are scarce, and where wages and pen­sions are often no longer being paid. The result is an emerg­ing human­i­tar­i­an cat­a­stro­phe.

    Anoth­er effect is clear. Kiev’s “anti-ter­ror­ist” tac­tics have cre­at­ed a reign of ter­ror in the tar­get­ed cities. Pan­icked by shells and mor­tars explod­ing on the ground, men­ac­ing heli­copters and planes fly­ing above and fear of what may come next, fam­i­lies are seek­ing sanc­tu­ary in base­ments and oth­er dark­ened shel­ters. Even The New York Times, which like the main­stream Amer­i­can media gen­er­al­ly has delet­ed the atroc­i­ties from its cov­er­age, described sur­vivors in Slovyan­sk “as if liv­ing in the Mid­dle Ages.” Mean­while, an ever-grow­ing num­ber of refugees, dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly women and trau­ma­tized chil­dren, have been flee­ing across the bor­der into Rus­sia. In late June, the UN esti­mat­ed that as many as 110,000 Ukraini­ans had already fled to Rus­sia and about half that many to oth­er Ukrain­ian sanc­tu­ar­ies.

    It is true, of course, that anti-Kiev rebels in these regions are increas­ing­ly well-armed (though lack­ing the government’s arse­nal of heavy and air­borne weapons), orga­nized and aggres­sive, no doubt with some Russ­ian assis­tance, whether offi­cial­ly sanc­tioned or not. But call­ing them­selves “self-defense” fight­ers is not wrong. They did not begin the com­bat; their land is being invad­ed and assault­ed by a gov­ern­ment whose polit­i­cal legit­i­ma­cy is arguably no greater than their own, two of their large regions hav­ing vot­ed over­whelm­ing­ly for auton­o­my ref­er­en­da; and, unlike actu­al ter­ror­ists, they have not com­mit­ted acts of war out­side their own com­mu­ni­ties. The French adage sug­gest­ed by an Amer­i­can observ­er seems applic­a­ble: “This ani­mal is very dan­ger­ous. If attacked, it defends itself.”

    * * *

    Among the cru­cial ques­tions rarely dis­cussed in the US polit­i­cal-media estab­lish­ment: What is the role of the “neo-fas­cist” fac­tor in Kiev’s “anti-ter­ror­ist” ide­ol­o­gy and mil­i­tary oper­a­tions? Putin’s posi­tion, at least until recently—that the entire Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment is a “neo-fas­cist junta”—is incor­rect. Many mem­bers of the rul­ing coali­tion and its par­lia­men­tary major­i­ty are aspir­ing Euro­pean-style democ­rats or mod­er­ate nation­al­ists. This may also be true of Ukraine’s new­ly elect­ed pres­i­dent, the oli­garch Petro Poroshenko. Equal­ly untrue, how­ev­er, are claims by Kiev’s Amer­i­can apol­o­gists, includ­ing even some aca­d­e­mics and lib­er­al intel­lec­tu­als, that Ukraine’s neo-fascists—or per­haps quasi-fascists—are mere­ly agi­tat­ed nation­al­ists, “gar­den-vari­ety Euro-pop­ulists,” a “dis­trac­tion” or lack enough pop­u­lar sup­port to be sig­nif­i­cant.

    Inde­pen­dent West­ern schol­ars have doc­u­ment­ed the fas­cist ori­gins, con­tem­po­rary ide­ol­o­gy and declar­a­tive sym­bols of Svo­bo­da and its fel­low-trav­el­ing Right Sec­tor. Both move­ments glo­ri­fy Ukraine’s mur­der­ous Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors in World War II as inspi­ra­tional ances­tors. Both, to quote Svoboda’s leader Oleh Tyah­ny­bok, call for an eth­ni­cal­ly pure nation purged of the “Moscow-Jew­ish mafia” and “oth­er scum,” includ­ing homo­sex­u­als, fem­i­nists and polit­i­cal left­ists. And both hailed the Odessa mas­sacre. Accord­ing to the web­site of Right Sec­tor leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was “anoth­er bright day in our nation­al his­to­ry.” A Svo­bo­da par­lia­men­tary deputy added, “Bra­vo, Odessa…. Let the Dev­ils burn in hell.” If more evi­dence is need­ed, in Decem­ber 2012, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment decried Svoboda’s “racist, anti-Semit­ic and xeno­pho­bic views [that] go against the EU’s fun­da­men­tal val­ues and prin­ci­ples.” In 2013, the World Jew­ish Con­gress denounced Svo­bo­da as “neo-Nazi.” Still worse, observers agree that Right Sec­tor is even more extrem­ist.

    Nor do elec­toral results tell the sto­ry. Tyah­ny­bok and Yarosh togeth­er received less than 2 per­cent of the June pres­i­den­tial vote, but his­to­ri­ans know that in trau­mat­ic times, when, to recall Yeats, “the cen­ter can­not hold,” small, deter­mined move­ments can seize the moment, as did Lenin’s Bol­she­viks and Hitler’s Nazis. Indeed, Svo­bo­da and Right Sec­tor already com­mand pow­er and influ­ence far exceed­ing their pop­u­lar vote. “Mod­er­ates” in the US-backed Kiev gov­ern­ment, oblig­ed to both move­ments for their vio­lence-dri­ven ascent to pow­er, and per­haps for their per­son­al safe­ty, reward­ed Svo­bo­da and Right Sec­tor with some five to eight (depend­ing on shift­ing affil­i­a­tions) top min­istry posi­tions, includ­ing ones over­see­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty, mil­i­tary, pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al and edu­ca­tion­al affairs. Still more, accord­ing to the research of Pietro Shakar­i­an, a remark­able young grad­u­ate stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan, Svo­bo­da was giv­en five gov­er­nor­ships, cov­er­ing about 20 per­cent of the coun­try. And this does not take into account the role of Right Sec­tor in the “anti-ter­ror­ist oper­a­tion.”

    Nor does it con­sid­er the polit­i­cal main­stream­ing of fascism’s dehu­man­iz­ing ethos. In Decem­ber 2012, a Svo­bo­da par­lia­men­tary leader anath­e­ma­tized the Ukrain­ian-born Amer­i­can actress Mila Kunis as “a dirty kike.” Since 2013, pro-Kiev mobs and mili­tias have rou­tine­ly den­i­grat­ed eth­nic Rus­sians as insects (“Col­orado bee­tles,” whose col­ors resem­ble a sacred Rus­sia orna­ment). More recent­ly, the US-picked prime min­is­ter, Arseniy Yat­senyuk, referred to resisters in the South­east as “sub­hu­mans.” His defense min­is­ter pro­posed putting them in “fil­tra­tion camps,” pend­ing depor­ta­tion, and rais­ing fears of eth­nic cleans­ing. Yulia Tymoshenko—a for­mer prime min­is­ter, tit­u­lar head of Yatsenyuk’s par­ty and run­ner-up in the May pres­i­den­tial election—was over­heard wish­ing she could “exter­mi­nate them all [Ukrain­ian Rus­sians] with atom­ic weapons.” “Ster­il­iza­tion” is among the less apoc­a­lyp­tic offi­cial mus­ings on the pur­suit of a puri­fied Ukraine.

    Con­front­ed with such facts, Kiev’s Amer­i­can apol­o­gists have con­jured up anoth­er ratio­nal­iza­tion. Any neo-fas­cists in Ukraine, they assure us, are far less dan­ger­ous than Putinism’s “clear aspects of fas­cism.” The alle­ga­tion is unwor­thy of seri­ous analy­sis: how­ev­er author­i­tar­i­an Putin may be, there is noth­ing authen­ti­cal­ly fas­cist in his ruler­ship, poli­cies, state ide­ol­o­gy or per­son­al con­duct.

    Indeed, equat­ing Putin with Hitler, as emi­nent Amer­i­cans from Hillary Clin­ton and Zbig­niew Brzezin­s­ki to George Will have done, is anoth­er exam­ple of how our new cold war­riors are reck­less­ly dam­ag­ing US nation­al secu­ri­ty in vital areas where Putin’s coop­er­a­tion is essen­tial. Look­ing ahead, would-be pres­i­dents who make such remarks can hard­ly expect to be greet­ed by an open-mind­ed Putin, whose broth­er died and father was wound­ed in the Sovi­et-Nazi war. More­over, tens of mil­lions of today’s Rus­sians whose fam­i­ly mem­bers were killed by actu­al fas­cists in that war will regard this defama­tion of their pop­u­lar pres­i­dent as sac­ri­lege, as they do the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted by Kiev.


    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 3, 2014, 6:34 pm

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