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

For The Record  

FTR #803 Walkin’ The Snake in 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 infor­ma­tion not includ­ed in the orig­i­nal broad­cast.

Intro­duc­tion: The ongo­ing, Orwellian cov­er­age of the civ­il war result­ing from the OUN/B‑derived coup in Ukraine is ana­lyzed in terms of the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk, a book we feel is far more than just a nov­el. In that book the SS go under­ground (true), build up their eco­nom­ic mus­cle (true) and buy into the “opin­ion-form­ing media” (true.) Fol­low­ing a series of ter­ror­ist attacks on the U.S. involv­ing WMD’s, mar­tial law is decalred and the Under­ground Reich, which has infil­trat­ed the mil­i­tary, takes over the Unit­ed States.

In this pro­gram we note that OUN/B ele­ments are at the fore­front in the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of events in Ukraine to the gen­er­al pub­lic, there­by manip­u­lat­ing puplic opinin in the very man­ner that Ser­pen­t’s Walk details.

(We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of pro­grams: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794800.)

Almost obscured is the fact that a Pravy Sek­tor ban­ner was flown from the Inte­ri­or Min­istry build­ing in Slovyan­sk after its cap­ture by pro-gov­ern­ment forces. A tweet from a BBC jour­nal­ist dis­clos­es that infor­ma­tion.

Exem­plary of the manip­u­la­tion of pub­lic opin­ion is the uncrit­i­cal cov­er­age of Swo­bo­da mem­ber Andriy Paru­biy, the high­est rank­ing defense offi­cial in Ukraine. He is quot­ed at length, in an author­i­ta­tive con­text on the con­flict, with no com­ment on the fact that he is a Nazi.

We should not be sur­prised that the Pravy Sek­tor ban­ner should fly over the Inte­ri­or Min­istry build­ing in Slovyan­sk after its cap­ture by pro-gov­ern­ment forces. The Ukrain­ian Inte­ri­or Min­istry mus­tered the Azov Bat­tal­ion, which, despite the Min­istry’s denials, is obvi­ous­ly Nazi in char­ac­ter.

Before vis­it­ing the sub­ject of the downed Malaysian Air­lines plane, we recap some of the his­tor­i­cal ele­ments of the evo­lu­tion and ascen­sion of the OUN/B suc­ces­sor gov­ern­ment in Ukraine.

The down­ing of the Malaysian air­lin­er takes place against the back­ground of unre­strained, all-out war­fare by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment against the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion of East­ern Ukraine.

Although are media are uncrit­i­cal­ly accept­ing the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­men­t’s asser­tion that sep­a­ratists (with Russ­ian back­ing) brought down the plane, the coura­geous Robert Par­ry is report­ing that U.S. recon­nais­sance satel­lites may well have record­ed Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment forces fir­ing the fatal mis­sile.

The “Go-To-Guy” for much of world polit­i­cal and jour­nal­is­tic opin­ion in the down­ing of the Malaysian air­lin­er is Michael [“Mykhai­lo”] Boci­urkiw, head of the OSCE’s Spe­cial Mon­i­tor­ing Mis­sion in Ukraine.

Boci­urkiw is a for­mer assis­tant edi­tor for the Ukrain­ian Week­ly, which man­i­fests a def­i­nite pro-OUN/B, anti-OSI stance.

Boci­urkiw also net­works with a Malaysian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood nexus with evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries run­ning in the direc­tion of the polit­i­cal milieu under­ly­ing the “dis­ap­pear­ance” of Malaysian Air­lines Flight 370. That same net­work also over­laps the Al-Taqwa milieu impli­cat­ed in the jihadist activ­i­ty in Chech­nya and else­where in the Cau­ca­sus, as well as the Boston Marathon bomb­ing.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The fact that Russ­ian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s flight flew through rough­ly the same air­space as MH 17, rough­ly a half-hour ear­li­er; the fact that the SA-11 “BUK” mis­sile sys­tem requires a seper­ate radar track­ing vehi­cle to oper­ate properly–there is no indi­ca­tion that the seper­atists have such a vehi­cle; review of John Lof­tus’ work head­ing the OSI (rou­tine­ly dis­par­aged in the Ukrain­ian Week­ly); review of Anwar Ibrahim’s links to both the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Islam­ic Thought and Zaharie Shah, the pilot of Malaysian Air­lines Flight 370; the pres­ence of a large con­tin­gent of AIDS researchers on MH 17; links between Michael Boci­urki­w’s Malaysian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood net­work­ers and the Nation of Islam; the unlike­ly coin­ci­dence of Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jong, who was booked to fly on both Malaysia Air­lines Flight 370 and MH 17.

1a. Ser­pen­t’s Walk sum­ma­rizes its the­sis on the back cov­er:

Ser­pen­t’s Walk by “Ran­dolph D. Calver­hall;” Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X; Notes from back cov­er.

. . . . It assumes that Hitler’s war­rior elite — the SS — did­n’t give up their strug­gle for a White world when they lost the Sec­ond World War. Instead their sur­vivors went under­ground and adopt­ed some of their tac­tics of their ene­mies: they began build­ing their eco­nom­ic mus­cle and buy­ing into the opin­ion-form­ing media. A cen­tu­ry after the war they are ready to chal­lenge the democ­rats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Amer­i­cans, who have begun to have their fill of gov­ern­ment-enforced mul­ti-cul­tur­al­ism and ‘equal­i­ty.’

1b. The broad­cast address­es the shap­ing of pub­lic opin­ion in such a way as to sway the pub­lic to a fascist/Nazi view­point.

Ser­pen­t’s Walk by “Ran­dolph D. Calver­hall;” Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X; pp. 42–44.

. . . . Hell, if you can con granny into buy­ing Sug­ar Turds instead of Bran Farts, then why can’t you swing pub­lic opin­ion over to a cause as vital and impor­tant as ours?’ . . . In any case, we’re slow­ly replac­ing those neg­a­tive images with oth­ers: the ‘Good Bad Guy’ rou­tine’ . . . ‘What do you think of Jesse James? John Dillinger? Julius Cae­sar? Genghis Khan?’ . . . The real­i­ty may have been rough, but there’s a sort of glit­ter about most of those dudes: mean hon­chos but respectable. It’s all how you pack­age it. Opin­ion is a godamned com­mod­i­ty!’ . . . It works with any­body . . . Give it time. Aside from the media, we’ve been buy­ing up pri­vate schools . . . and help­ing some pub­lic ones through phil­an­thropic foun­da­tions . . . and work­ing on the church­es and the Born Agains. . . .

2. High­light­ing an impor­tant fact, delib­er­ate­ly omit­ted by our media, a BBC jour­nal­ist not­ed a Pravy Sek­tor flag fly­ing over Slovyan­sk, short­ly after the city was “lib­er­at­ed” by Ukrain­ian pro-gov­ern­ment forces.

“Pravyi Sektor/Ukrainian Insur­gent Army (red & black) flag was fly­ing from Inte­rior Min. build­ing in #Slovyan­sk today. Dan­ger­ous & wor­ry­ing— Will Ver­non (@BBCWillVernon) July 7, 2014

3.The Ukrain­ian defense estab­lish­ment is still head­ed by Andriy Paru­biy of Swo­bo­da. Our media quote him in a lengthy, author­i­ta­tive way, with no com­ment what­so­ev­er on the nature of his Nazi affil­i­a­tion.

“Ukraine Mil­i­tary Finds Its Foot­ing Against Pro-Russ­ian Rebels” by David M. Her­szen­horn; The New York Times; 7/7/2014.

. . . .  “I am con­vinced that there are many oth­er coun­tries which are not ready — prop­er­ly speak­ing, their armed forces are not ready, are unpre­pared, for this type of war,” Mr. Paru­biy said in an inter­view last week. “We, of course, stud­ied the expe­ri­ence of both Croa­t­ia and Israel, but here a lot of new fea­tures are added. And, if Rus­sia sees that this expe­ri­ence is suc­cess­ful, this expe­ri­ence can very eas­i­ly be used in any Baltic coun­tries, and even in Belarus and Kaza­khstan.”

Mr. Paru­biy invoked Igor Girkin, a Russ­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer who has been a com­man­der of the insur­rec­tion in east­ern Ukraine, under the name of Igor Strelkov. “If we do not stop Putin here,” Mr. Paru­biy said, “nobody knows where his Girkins will appear next.”

In the inter­view, Mr. Paru­biy laid his hands on a table and, exhal­ing in dis­gust, described the paral­y­sis of the ini­tial response to the insur­gency.

“The key tac­tic of Russ­ian sabo­teurs is: Cap­ture a build­ing, sta­tion an armed gar­ri­son there and have a pick­et around, most­ly Com­mu­nists, who would pro­vide a human shield,” he said, offer­ing an exam­ple he wit­nessed. “They had it this way in Luhan­sk. There is a five-sto­ry build­ing where each win­dow is a fir­ing spot and, right next to the build­ing, are 500 peo­ple — a pick­et.

“When we tell Alpha, a spe­cial unit of the S.B.U., whose pur­pose is to fight ter­ror­ists, to enter the build­ing and con­duct the oper­a­tion, they tell us, ‘Take away the peo­ple because the oper­a­tion can only be con­duct­ed when we are able to enter with­out a scuf­fle with civil­ians,’ ” he said. “When we tell the inte­ri­or troops to make a cor­ri­dor and drag away civil­ians, they say, ‘How can we do that when ter­ror­ists in win­dows point guns at us? We’re not able to ful­fill this task.’ ”

The mil­i­tary was so under­fi­nanced that the gov­ern­ment issued a plea for dona­tions from cit­i­zens. Some of the country’s rich­est busi­ness­men used their per­son­al for­tunes to cre­ate mili­tias that are now effec­tive­ly part of a new nation­al guard.

“As one col­league from the Unit­ed States said, we have to repair a plane dur­ing flight,” Mr. Paru­biy said. . . . .

4. Next, we present an arti­cle about a trend that may well inten­si­fy the fight­ing: for­eign neo-Nazis con­tin­ue to swell the ranks of the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary for­ma­tions. The neo-Nazi Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed and armed by the inte­rior min­istry, and the bat­tal­ion leader is also the leader of the “Social Nation­al Assem­bly.” We are informed by the inte­ri­or min­istry, is NOT a neo-Nazi group, even though it pro­claims that it’s fight to “lib­er­ate the White Race” and wants to severe­ly pun­ish inter­ra­cial con­tacts. The min­istry assured us that there are no for­eign fight­ers nor any neo-Nazis any­where to be seen.

“Ukraine Con­flict: ‘White pow­er’ War­rior from Swe­den” by Dina New­man; BBC News; 7/16/2014.

The appear­ance of far-right activists, both for­eign and home-grown, among the Ukrain­ian vol­un­teers fight­ing in east Ukraine is caus­ing unease.

Mikael Skillt is a Swedish sniper, with sev­en years’ expe­ri­ence in the Swedish Army and the Swedish Nation­al Guard. He is cur­rently fight­ing with the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a pro-Ukrain­ian vol­un­teer armed group in east­ern Ukraine. He is known to be dan­ger­ous to the rebels: report­edly there is a boun­ty of near­ly $7,000 (£4,090; 5,150 euros) on his head.

In a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion from an undis­closed loca­tion, Mr Skillt told me more about his duties: “I have at least three pur­poses in the Azov Bat­tal­ion: I am a com­man­der of a small recon­nais­sance unit, I am also a sniper, and some­times I work as a spe­cial coor­di­na­tor for clear­ing hous­es and going into civil­ian areas.”

As to his polit­i­cal views, Mr Skillt prefers to call him­self a nation­al­ist, but in fact his views are typ­i­cal of a neo-Nazi.

“It’s all about how you see it,” he says. “I would be an idiot if I said I did not want to see sur­vival of white peo­ple. After World War Two, the vic­tors wrote their his­tory. They decid­ed that it’s always a bad thing to say I am white and I am proud.” [Com­pare this with the notes on the back cov­er of Ser­pen­t’s Walk cov­ered in item #1, as well as the excerpt in item #2–D.E.]

‘One stray lib­er­al’

Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white peo­ple. His next project is to go fight for Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-Assad because he believes Mr Assad is stand­ing up to “inter­na­tional Zion­ism”.

Not all of Mr Skillt’s views are wide­ly shared in the Azov Bat­tal­ion, which is about 300-strong in total.

He says his com­rades do not dis­cuss pol­i­tics much, though some of them may be “nation­al social­ists” and may wear swastikas. On the oth­er hand, “there is even one lib­eral, though I don’t know how he got there”, he adds, with a smile in his voice.

Mr Skillt says there is only a hand­ful of for­eign fight­ers in the Azov Bat­tal­ion and they do not get paid. “They see it as a good thing, to come and fight,” he explains. How­ever, Mr Skillt is expect­ing more for­eign­ers to join soon: he says there is now a recruiter who is look­ing for “seri­ous fight­ers” from out­side Ukraine.

The key fig­ures in the Azov Bat­tal­ion are its com­man­der, Andriy Bilet­sky, and his deputy, Ihor Mosiy­chuk.

Andriy Bilet­sky is also the leader of a Ukrain­ian organ­i­sa­tion called the Social Nation­al Assem­bly. Its aims are stat­ed in one of their online pub­li­ca­tions:

* “to pre­pare Ukraine for fur­ther expan­sion and to strug­gle for the lib­er­a­tion of the entire White Race from the dom­i­na­tion of the inter­na­tion­al­ist spec­u­la­tive cap­i­tal”

* “to pun­ish severe­ly sex­ual per­ver­sions and any inter­ra­cial con­tacts that lead to the extinc­tion of the white man”

This, accord­ing to experts, is a typ­i­cal neo-Nazi nar­ra­tive.

‘For­eign jour­nal­ists’

The Azov Bat­tal­ion was formed and armed by Ukraine’s inte­rior min­istry. A min­is­te­r­ial advis­er, Anton Gerashchenko, got angry when I asked him if the bat­tal­ion had any neo-Nazi links through the Social Nation­al Assem­bly.

“The Social Nation­al Assem­bly is not a neo-Nazi organ­i­sa­tion,” he said.

“It is a par­ty of Ukrain­ian patri­ots who are giv­ing their lives while the rich Euro­peans are only talk­ing about sup­port­ing Ukraine. When, may I ask, will Eng­lish peo­ple come here and help us fight ter­ror­ists sent by Russia’s Pres­i­dent [Vladimir] Putin, instead of lec­tur­ing us on our moral val­ues or people’s polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions?”

Mr Gerashchenko was adamant, how­ever, that there were no for­eign cit­i­zens fight­ing in the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

“There are for­eign jour­nal­ists, from Swe­den, Spain and Italy, who have come to report on the hero­ic achieve­ments of the fight­ers in their strug­gle against ter­ror­ism,” he said.

He insist­ed he had nev­er heard of Mikael Skillt, the Swedish sniper. . . .


5. A Pan­do Dai­ly sto­ry notes the extent of the car­nage in the Ukrain­ian civ­il war, as well as the omis­sion by our news media of key details.

“The Fog of Twit­ter: Ukraine’s Civ­il War and the Lim­its of Social News Gath­er­ing” by Yasha Levine; Pan­do Dai­ly; 7/3/2014.

Just in case you missed it, there’s a real fuck­ing civ­il war rag­ing in East­ern Ukraine. On July 2, a day after new­ly elect­ed bil­lion­aire Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko called off a cease­fire, res­i­den­tial areas in sev­er­al towns and vil­lages in the Lugan­sk and Don­estk regions came under intense shelling and air bom­bard­ment.

The town of Slavyan­sk, which has seen a lot of fight­ing, was shelled. The Ukrain­ian Air Force bombed the vil­lage of Stanyt­sia Luhan­s­ka. The attack oblit­er­at­ed an entire res­i­den­tial area, shred­ding hous­es, peo­ple and pets, and lit­ter­ing the area with pieces of intestines, toes and cats — yes, dead kit­ties. There are sev­er­al very graph­ic videos of the after­math — faces of death deliv­ered to YouTube for glob­al view­ing with­in a few dozen min­utes of it hap­pen­ing.

Here’s one of the less graph­ic videos from strike on Stanyt­sia Luhan­s­ka, where at least 10 peo­ple were killed and many more injured. . . .

. . . . But you wouldn’t know any of this from the U.S. news media, which has been soft-cen­sor­ing and white­wash­ing any­thing that could show the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment in a bad light from the very begin­ning of the con­flict. The New York Times allud­ed to yesterday’s”ground assaults and air bom­bard­ments” and mum­bled some­thing about “civil­ian casu­al­ties” — but made it unclear who was doing the shoot­ing or the dying. Oth­er news­pa­pers are equal­ly mum on Ukraine’s attack on Ukrain­ian civil­ians. Mean­while, US cable net­work news pre­tends none of this even exists.

For its part, the U.S. State Depart­ment praised Ukraine’s “restraint” and accused Rus­sia of exag­ger­at­ing — if not being behind — the attacks on civil­ians. . . . .

6. A Nation arti­cle fur­ther devel­ops the silence sur­round­ing what is tak­ing place in Ukraine.

“The Silence of Amer­i­can Hawks About Kiev’s Atroc­i­ties” by Stephen F. Cohen; The Nation; 6/30/2014.

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.

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8b. Robert Par­ry also con­tributes an arti­cle not­ing pos­si­ble “spin” on the story–that a Ukrain­ian army “defec­tor” may have fired the mis­sile.

“The Mys­tery of a Ukrain­ian Army ‘Defec­tor’ ” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 7/22/2014.

As the U.S. gov­ern­ment seeks to build its case blam­ing east­ern Ukrain­ian rebels and Rus­sia for the shoot-down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17, the evi­dence seems to be get­ting twist­ed to fit the pre­or­dained con­clu­sion, includ­ing a curi­ous expla­na­tion for why the troops sus­pect­ed of fir­ing the fate­ful mis­sile may have been wear­ing Ukrain­ian army uni­forms.

On Tues­day, main­stream jour­nal­ists, includ­ing for the Los Ange­les Times and the Wash­ing­ton Post, were giv­en a brief­ing about the U.S. intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion that sup­pos­ed­ly points the fin­ger of blame at the rebels and Rus­sia. While much of this cir­cum­stan­tial case was derived from post­ings on “social media,” the brief­in­gs also addressed the key issue of who fired the Buk anti-air­craft mis­sile that is believed to have downed the air­lin­er killing all 298 peo­ple onboard.

After last Thursday’s shoot-down, I was told that U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts were exam­in­ing satel­lite imagery that showed the crew man­ning the sus­pect­ed mis­sile bat­tery wear­ing what looked like Ukrain­ian army uni­forms, but my source said the ana­lysts were still strug­gling with whether that essen­tial­ly destroyed the U.S. government’s case blam­ing the rebels.

The Los Ange­les Times arti­cle on Tuesday’s brief­ing seemed to address the same infor­ma­tion this way: “U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies have so far been unable to deter­mine the nation­al­i­ties or iden­ti­ties of the crew that launched the mis­sile. U.S. offi­cials said it was pos­si­ble the SA-11 [anti-air­craft mis­sile] was launched by a defec­tor from the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary who was trained to use sim­i­lar mis­sile sys­tems.”

That state­ment about a pos­si­ble “defec­tor” might explain why some ana­lysts thought they saw sol­diers in Ukrain­ian army uni­forms tend­ing to the mis­sile bat­tery in east­ern Ukraine. But there is anoth­er obvi­ous expla­na­tion that the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty seems unwill­ing to accept: that the mis­sile may have been launched by some­one work­ing for the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary.

In oth­er words, we may be see­ing anoth­er case of the U.S. gov­ern­ment “fix­ing the intel­li­gence” around a desired pol­i­cy out­come, as occurred in the run-up to war with Iraq. . . .

9. Pres­i­dent Putin’s plane flew through rough­ly the same area less than an hour before. Amer­i­can main­stream media have been con­temp­tu­ous of Russ­ian media spec­u­la­tion that the mis­sile may have been intend­ed for Pres­i­dent Putin’s plane. In light of the state­ments of lethal intent against Putin by the OUN/B heirs now gov­ern­ing Ukraine, such a pos­si­bil­i­ty is not to be tak­en so light­ly, in our opin­ion.

“With Jet Strike, War in Ukraine is Felt Glob­al­ly” by Peter Bak­er; The New York Times; 7/19/2014.

. . . . Mr. Putin was also in the air above East­ern Europe that after­noon, as he was return­ing from a six-day tour of Latin Amer­i­ca aboard his pres­i­den­tial Air­bus, referred to as Air­craft No. 1 by the media. The Russ­ian jet appar­ent­ly passed near the doomed Malaysian plane, both fly­ing in rough­ly the same air­space over War­saw at 33,000 feet some 37 min­utes apart, accord­ing to an Inter­fax report. He got on the tele­phone with Mr. Oba­ma short­ly after land­ing. . . . 

. . . . The coin­ci­den­tal prox­im­i­ty of Mr. Putin’s plane even led to con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that who­ev­er destroyed the Malaysia jet was actu­al­ly try­ing to tar­get the Russ­ian pres­i­dent. Rossiya 24, the state-run cable net­work, played past clips of Ukrain­ian pub­lic fig­ures say­ing they wished Mr. Putin dead and then inter­viewed sup­posed experts about how the two planes might have been con­fused.

Mr. Putin released a state­ment 40 min­utes after mid­night, blam­ing Ukraine. “Cer­tain­ly,” he said, “the gov­ern­ment over whose ter­ri­to­ry it occurred is respon­si­ble for this ter­ri­ble tragedy.” . . . .

10. Accu­sa­tions against the rebels cen­ter on the asser­tion that they had the Russ­ian-made “Buk” SA-11 mis­sile sys­tem. That sys­tem’s abil­i­ty to effec­tive­ly dis­tin­guish between a mil­i­tary and a civil­ian air­craft is depen­dent on an inde­pen­dent, mobile tracked vehi­cle with the radar and elec­tron­ics nec­es­sary to make such a dis­tinc­tion. There is no indi­ca­tion that the rebels have such a vehi­cle.

“A Mis­sile Radar Might Have Saved Malaysian Plane” by Dani­ka Kir­ka, John-Thor Dahlburg; Talk­ing Points Memo; 7/19/2013.

If Ukrain­ian rebels shot down the Malaysian jet­lin­er, killing 298 peo­ple, it may have been because they did­n’t have the right sys­tems in place to dis­tin­guish between mil­i­tary and civil­ian air­craft, experts said Sat­ur­day.

Amer­i­can offi­cials said Fri­day that they believe the Boe­ing 777 was brought down by an SA-11 mis­sile fired from an area of east­ern Ukraine con­trolled by pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists. U.N. Ambas­sador Saman­tha Pow­er said the Rus­sians might have pro­vid­ed tech­ni­cal help to the rebels to oper­ate the sys­tems.

But to func­tion cor­rect­ly, an SA-11 launch­er, also known as a Buk, is sup­posed to be con­nect­ed to a cen­tral radar com­mand — as opposed to act­ing alone — to be cer­tain of exact­ly what kind of air­craft it is shoot­ing at.

From the infor­ma­tion that has come to light so far, the rebels don’t appear to have such sys­tems, said Pavel Fel­gen­hauer, a respect­ed defense colum­nist for Novaya Gaze­ta, a Moscow-based news­pa­per known for its crit­i­cal cov­er­age of Russ­ian affairs.

“They could eas­i­ly make a trag­ic mis­take and shoot down a pas­sen­ger plane when indeed they want­ed to shoot down a Ukrain­ian trans­port plane,” he said.

On Fri­day, Rus­si­a’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency also quot­ed Kon­stan­tin Sivkov, direc­tor of the Acad­e­my of Geopo­lit­i­cal Prob­lems, as say­ing Buk mis­siles “should be pro­vid­ed with exter­nal sys­tems of tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, that is, radio-loca­tion sys­tems. It’s an entire sys­tem. And the insur­gents cer­tain­ly don’t have radio-loca­tion.”

With­out a back­up, a mis­sile can be fired by oper­a­tors who are not total­ly sure of what they are aim­ing at.

“Just see­ing a blip on a radar screen was in no away suf­fi­cient to make a tar­get­ing deci­sion,” said Keir Giles, asso­ciate fel­low for inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty and Rus­sia and Eura­sia pro­grams at the Roy­al Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Affairs. “You need an addi­tion­al radar sys­tem to which these weapons sys­tems can be con­nect­ed for addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion.” . . . .

. . . . A NATO mil­i­tary offi­cer, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because he was not autho­rized to make pub­lic state­ments, said a Buk launch­er, which is a self-pro­pelled tracked vehi­cle resem­bling a tank, is ordi­nar­i­ly under the orders of a sep­a­rate com­mand post vehi­cle.

“In a total­ly text­book way of set­ting up, the com­mand post vehi­cle assigns tar­gets and des­ig­nates the fir­ing units — launch­er 1 or launch­er 2,” the NATO offi­cer said. . . . .

11. In the wake of the rhetorical/political firestorm over the down­ing of Malaysian Air­lines Flight MH17, we note that the OSCE (Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe) is front and cen­ter in the “inves­ti­ga­tion” into the event.

“OSCE Describes Process for Iden­ti­fy­ing Bod­ies from MH17 Attack” by Simon San­tow; ABC  News; 7/21/2014.

The OSCE has told AM it has final­ly obtained bet­ter access on the ground near the site where MH17 was shot down in east­ern Ukraine. The spokesman for the Spe­cial Mon­i­tor­ing Mis­sion to Ukraine, Michael Boci­urkiw, says they have seen some remains and bod­ies stored in refrig­er­at­ed rail wag­ons in the town of Tores. He says after the ear­li­er chaos, there’s now greater co-oper­a­tion but there are still plen­ty of con­cerns about get­ting access for crash inves­ti­ga­tors and of secur­ing the perime­ter of the area 24 hours a day.

12a. We put the quo­ta­tion marks around “inves­ti­ga­tion” because the OSCE’s Spe­cial Mon­i­tor­ing Mis­sion is head­ed by one Michael [“Mykhai­lo”] Boci­urkiw. A Cana­di­an cit­i­zen of Ukrain­ian extrac­tion, he was an assis­tant edi­tor for the Ukrain­ian Week­ly.

Issues of the peri­od­i­cal avail­able online point to a “pro-OUN/B” bias.

PDF copies of issues are avail­able at their web­site. This issue appears fair­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and man­i­fests a def­i­nite anti-OSI, pro Repub­li­can Her­itage Groups Coun­cil bias. (The RHGC is the Nazi/ABN wing of the GOP, dis­cussed at length in FTR #465, among oth­er pro­grams. It heav­i­ly over­laps the OUN/B.

A 1987 let­ter from the World Jew­ish Con­gress’ gen­er­al coun­sel notes an appar­ent anti-OSI bias on the part of arti­cles writ­ten by Boci­urkiw. Note that the Office of Spe­cial Inves­ti­ga­tions was the Jus­tice Depart­ment unit charged with inves­ti­gat­ing Nazi war crim­i­nals liv­ing the U.S.

The unit was for­mer­ly head­ed by John Lof­tus, who resigned his posi­tion as head of OSI as the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion was tak­ing office because many of the peo­ple he was inves­ti­a­gat­ing held staff posi­tions with Rea­gan.

Boci­urki­w’s posi­tion with the OSCE appar­ent­ly places yet anoth­er OUN/B advo­cate in the mix, charged with “inves­ti­gat­ing” actions tak­en by a gov­ern­ment inex­tri­ca­bly linked with OUN/B heirs such as Swo­bo­da, Pravy Sek­tor and the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Con­gress.

Feb­ru­ary 2, 1987


Ms. Janet Ben­don

Direc­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions

Cana­di­an Jew­ish Con­gress

1590 Avenue Doc­teur Pen­field

Mon­tre­al, Que­bec H3G 1C5


Re: Michael Boci­urkiw

Dear Janet:

Enclosed, in accor­dance with your request of this date, is a near­ly com­plete run of The Ukrain­ian Week­ly (Jer­sey City, N.J.) from Vol. LIII, No. 40 (Octo­ber 6, 1985) through Vol. LV, No. 4 (Jan­u­ary 25, 1987).  These 61 issues come from my per­son­al library, and I appre­ci­ate your assur­ance that they will be returned to me by couri­er at your ear­li­est oppor­tu­ni­ty.

As I indi­cat­ed on the phone, Michael Boci­urkiw is a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to the news­pa­per.  Indeed, one of his arti­cles appears on the front page of the old­est of the enclosed issues (Octo­ber 6, 1985), under the byline “Mykhai­lo” Boci­urkiw.  Vol. LIII, issue no. 50 (Decem­ber 15, 1985) reports that he has been named Assis­tant Edi­tor of the news­pa­per.  As you can see, I have made a prac­tice of not­ing on the front page of each issue those pages which con­tain arti­cles of inter­est (which, of course, would include all arti­cles, edi­to­ri­als, opin­ion pieces, adver­tise­ments, etc. regard­ing Nazi crimes and their per­pe­tra­tors).  Where more than one arti­cle of inter­est appears on a par­tic­u­lar page, I gen­er­al­ly have not­ed this fact through the use of par­en­thet­i­cals.  I am con­vinced, by the way, that many of the unby­lined “Nazi sto­ries” were penned by Mr. Boci­urkiw.  In any event, the anti-OSI, anti-Nazi pros­e­cu­tion bias in Boci­urki­w’s writ­ten out­put and in the news­pa­per gen­er­al­ly will be read­i­ly appar­ent as you read through the enclosed issues. . . .

Sin­cere­ly yours,


Eli M. Rosen­baum

Gen­er­al Coun­sel

12b. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of The Ukrain­ian Week­ly’s pro-OUN/B cov­er­age is this obit­u­ary of OUN/B leader Jaroslav Stet­sko (also “Stet­zko”). Note that the OUN/B is also known as the OUN’s “rev­o­lu­tion­ary fac­tion.”

Nowhere in this sto­ry do you see any­thing about OUN/B’s mur­der­ous col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Nazis, nor the fas­cist nature and Third Reich ori­gin of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations.

“Yaroslav Stet­zko, Nation­al­ist Leader and For­mer Prime Min­is­ter Dies” by Ihor Dia­bo­ha; The Ukrain­ian Week­ly; 7/13/1986.

Yaroslav Stet­zko, head of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (rev­o­lu­tion­ary fac­tion) and prime min­is­ter of Ukraine dur­ing World War II, died Sat­ur­day at the age of 74 after a pro­longed ill­ness. He is sur­vived by his wife Sla­va, head of the ABN Cor­re­spon­dence. . . .

. . . In Feb­ru­ary, 1940, fol­low­ing the split in the OUN, Mssrs. Ban­dera and Stet­zko assumed the lead­er­ship of the OUN’s rev­o­lu­tion­ary lead­er­ship.

Plans were imme­di­ate­ly set in motion to pro­claim the estab­lish­ment of Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence. This was fur­ther expand­ed with oth­er polit­i­cal par­ties through  Mr. Stetzko’s role in the Ukrain­ian Nation­al Com­mit­tee.

Inde­pen­dence was pro­claimed on June 30, 1941, less than two weeks after Nazi Ger­many invad­ed Sovi­et Russ­ian occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries. Mssrs. Ban­dera and Stet­zko, the rev­o­lu­tion­ary lead­er­ship and oth­er nation­al­is­tic fig­ures were impris­oned in con­cen­tra­tion camps by the Nazis. Mr. Stet­zko’ s work on behalf of the Ukrain­ian nation and its inde­pen­dence con­tin­ued after the war.

In 1947 he was elect­ed chair­man of the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations, which had its roots in the clan­des­tine Con­fer­ence of Cap­tive Nations con­vened by Gen­er­al Taras Chupryn­ka in 1943. Mr. Stet­zko served as its only chair­man.

In 1968, Mr. Stet­zko was elect­ed head of the OUN® cen­tral lead­er­ship.

Mr. Stetzko’s anti-Com­mu­nist activ­i­ty extend­ed beyond Ukrain­ian affairs. As chair­man of the Euro­pean Free­dom Coun­cil and a mem­ber of the pre­sid­i­um of the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League. Mr. Stet­sko met with inter­na­tion­al lead­ers and var­i­ous states­men impress­ing on them the need to wage a free­dom cam­paign on behalf of cap­tive nations.

Among the West­ern lead­ers he met were Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan and Vice-Pres­i­dent George Bush.

The funer­al litur­gy was to be offered on Sat­ur­day, July 12, at the Ukrain­ian catholic cathe­dral in Munich. Bur­ial was to fol­low at the Wal­fried­hoff Ceme­tery.

13. Boci­urkiw has net­worked with a Malaysian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-con­nect­ed milieu that over­laps the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Islam­ic Thought and–by extension–that of the pilot of Malaysian Air­lines Flight 370.

Inter­est­ing­ly and, per­haps sig­nif­i­cant­ly, Boci­urkiw edit­ed a puff-piece book about Dr. Mahathir Mohammed,  a hard­line fun­da­men­tal­ist Mus­lim and–like promi­nent Malaysian Mus­lim Broth­er Anwar Ibrahim–a for­mer Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter. Mahathir Mohammed is a rav­ing anti-Semi­te, as are the OUN/B knock-off groups like Swo­bo­da and Pravy Sek­tor.

The book is titled: Mahathir: 22Years, 22Voices.

In addi­tion to an intro­duc­tion writ­ten by Michael Boci­urkiw, anoth­er was writ­ten by Abdul­lah Badawi. Both Mahathir Mohammed and Abdul­lah Badawi were pro­teges of Muham­mad M. Abdul Rauf, a Malaysian Mus­lim Broth­er and a per­son­al stu­dent of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood founder Has­san El-Ban­na.

In turn, Abdul Rauf was very close to the IIIT, one of the orga­ni­za­tions raid­ed in the Oper­a­tion Green Quest Raids of 3/20/2002. Malaysian Air­lines Flight 370 was pilot­ed by Zaharie Shah, a devo­tee of Anwar Ibrahim, anoth­er for­mer Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter and promi­nent Malaysian Mus­lim Broth­er. Ibrahim was also a co-founder of the IIIT and a lob­by­ing client of Grover Norquist. Recall that the flight com­put­er on 370 appears to have been re-pro­grammed in the cock­pit.

For more about Shah, Ibrahim and the down­ing of Flight 370, see FTR #790.

Also worth not­ing is the fact that Rauf has net­worked with the milieu of Louis Far­rakhan and the Nation of Islam!

As strange as it might appear to be at first, a jihadist/Nazi link vis a vis Rus­sia is not strange at all. Rus­sia appears to be under­go­ing a pin­cers move­ment, with West­ern intel­li­gence-con­nect­ed fas­cist ele­ments dri­ving East through Ukraine and West­ern intel-backed jihadists com­ing from the south.

It should be remem­bered that there is evi­dence that West­ern intel­li­gence ele­ments appear to sup­port jihadists in Chech­nya and else­where in the Cau­ca­sus. The IIIT and the El Hara­main char­i­ty dis­cussed in FTR #381 are linked to Al-Taqwa. The Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids–with the IIIT at the epi­cen­ter of the SAAR net­work raid­ed in that oper­a­tion, is inex­tri­ca­bly linked to Al-Taqwa and Third Reich intel­li­gence agent Youssef Nada. Al-Taqwa, in turn, dove­tails with the Under­ground Reich in a num­ber of ways.

“Name: Muham­mad M. Abdul Rauf”; Unmask­ing the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in Amer­i­ca.


  • Strong­ly advo­cat­ed estab­lish­ment of sharia law in Amer­i­ca
  • Estab­lished Islam­ic “trust” con­trol­ling land and man­age­ment of New York Islam­ic Cul­tur­al Cen­ter, which employed at least two Egypt­ian MB imams, that, after 9/11 blamed the atroc­i­ties on Israel. One said Amer­i­can would “exter­mi­nate” the Jew­ish peo­ple like Hitler if they knew.
  • Co-authored book and reg­u­lar­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with hard line MB leader Ismaʾil R. Al-Faruqi, a mid 1980s co-founder of the Hern­don, Va.-based IIIT, long sus­pect­ed of broad­ly fund­ing ter­ror.
  • Reg­u­lar­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with IIIT and Asso­ci­a­tion of Mus­lim Social Sci­en­tists (AMSS), both among the 29 “friends” list­ed in the 1991 Mohammed Akram inter­nal MB mem­o­ran­dum out­lin­ing secret plans to replace U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion­al democ­ra­cy with sharia law.
  • Instruct­ed hard-line Islam­ic leader Abdul­lah Ahmad Badawi, who served as Malaysian prime min­is­ter from 2003 to 2009.
  • Close asso­ciate and friend of for­mer Malaysian prime min­is­ter and active anti-Semi­te Mahathir Mohamad, who in 2002, incit­ed glob­al anti-West finan­cial war as a “jihad worth fight­ing for.” . . . .
  • Rauf also great­ly admired the “accom­plish­ments” of Amer­i­can Mus­lim Soci­ety (AMS) founder W. D. Mohammed (Oct. 30, 1933–Sept. 9, 2008), the for­mer Nation of Islam leader  who reg­u­lar­ly met Mus­lim Broth­er­hood lead­ers, attend­ed their meet­ings and accept­ed gifts from their chief donors. In July 1997, Mohammed attend­ed the 22nd annu­al Islam­ic Cir­cle of North Amer­i­ca con­ven­tion in Pitts­burgh. In 2000 Mohammed joined Mus­lim Broth­er and Islam­ic Soci­ety of North Amer­i­ca (ISNA) gen­er­al sec­re­tary Sayyid Say­eed in wel­com­ing Louis Far­rakahn into the “main­stream” of Amer­i­can Sun­ni Islam.

14. We also note in pass­ing that MH 17 went down with an impor­tant group of AIDS researchers on board, viewed by some observers as great­ly set­ting back inter­na­tion­al AIDS research. Nei­ther the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood nor the OUN/B milieu are sym­pa­thet­ic to gays. (The Euro­Maid­an demon­stra­tions fea­tured the beat­ing of a num­ber of gays, although it received lit­tle pub­lic­i­ty.)

It is also worth not­ing in pass­ing that there is dis­turb­ing evi­dence that AIDS was delib­er­ate­ly cre­at­ed. IF any of the now-deceased researchers was aware of, and/or inves­ti­gat­ing this, that would have pro­vid­ed motive for the Under­ground Reich ele­ments that appear to have cre­at­ed the dis­ease to dis­pose of them.

“Del­e­gates to Mel­bourne AIDS Sum­mit on Doomed Flight 17” by Rick Mor­ton; The Aus­tralian; 7/18/2014.

More than 100 AIDS activists, researchers and health work­ers bound for a major con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne were on the Malaysia Air­lines flight downed in the Ukraine.

It is believed that del­e­gates to the 20th Inter­na­tion­al AIDS Con­fer­ence, due to begin on Sun­day, will be informed today that 108 of their col­leagues and fam­i­ly mem­bers died on MH17.

Stunned researchers, activists and devel­op­ment work­ers arriv­ing at Mel­bourne Air­port paid trib­ute to AIDS researcher Joep Lange and the oth­er atten­dees believed killed aboard MH17. . . .

15. Pos­si­bly apoc­ryphal under the cir­cum­stances, we note the unlike­ly coin­ci­dence of a Dutch cyclist who was booked to fly on both Malaysia Air Flight 370 and MH17. While pos­si­ble, it is unlike­ly from an actu­ar­i­al stand­point. Might there be more to Mr. De Jong than meets the eye? (De Jong, by the way, is one of the most com­mon of Dutch sur­names, not unlike “Smith” in Eng­lish. This would be use­ful IF he were an oper­a­tive of some kind.

“Dutch Cyclist Maarten de Jonge Cheats Death Twice after Chang­ing Flights from Both Malaysia Air­lines MH17 and MH370” by Adam With­nall; The Inde­pen­dent [UK]; 7/20/2014. 

A Dutch cyclist has revealed how he twice cheat­ed death after chang­ing his plans to fly on both the Malaysia Air­lines pas­sen­ger jets involved in inter­na­tion­al avi­a­tion dis­as­ters over the past four months.

Maarten de Jonge, 29, has to trav­el around the world to com­pete for Malaysia’s Tereng­ganu cycling team – and in doing so has now had two extra­or­di­nary near miss­es. . . . .
. . . . The cyclist said that he only decid­ed to swap flights at the last minute, after dis­cov­er­ing that trav­el­ling via Frank­furt today would prove cheap­er.

Tweet­ing a link on Thurs­day to a Dutch arti­cle about the MH17 dis­as­ter, De Jonge said: “Had I depart­ed today, then…”

Dur­ing his inter­view with the local broad­cast­er, the cyclist revealed some­thing even more remark­able – that he had also been plan­ning to trav­el on flight MH370, the Malaysia jet which van­ished on 8 March and which remains miss­ing some­where in the Indi­an Ocean. . . .



10 comments for “FTR #803 Walkin’ The Snake in Ukraine”

  1. It sounds like Aus­trali­a’s plan to send in armed police the MH17 crash site has been reject­ed for being too risky. That’s prob­a­bly for the best giv­en the intense bat­tles being waged near the crash site:

    AFP News
    Rebels claim Kiev now con­trols part of MH17 site
    By Dario Thuburn in Donet­sk with Hui Min Neo in Kiev

    Ukraine’s army on Mon­day seized con­trol of part of the vast site where Malaysian air­lin­er MH17 crashed, insur­gents said, as the Unit­ed Nations announced the down­ing of the plane could con­sti­tute a war crime.

    After explo­sions and fight­ing blocked a new attempt by Dutch and Aus­tralian police to access the east Ukraine crash site, Kiev con­firmed that its troops had now entered a string of towns around the scene, includ­ing Shakhtarsk, 10 kilo­me­tres (six miles) away.

    The unarmed inter­na­tion­al mis­sion was forced to turn back for the sec­ond day run­ning before reach­ing the site, where the remains of some of the 298 vic­tims still lie since the July 17 dis­as­ter.

    Dutch inves­ti­ga­tors lead­ing the probe said it was now like­ly that some of these remains may nev­er be recov­ered.

    “I would love to give a guar­an­tee that all the remains will come back, and all pos­ses­sions, but... I believe the chances are not very good that we will get it all,” Dutch police chief Ger­ard Bouman told par­lia­ment in The Hague.

    More than 1,100 peo­ple have been killed in the fight­ing engulf­ing east Ukraine over the past three months, the Unit­ed Nations said, a toll that does not include the plane crash vic­tims.

    UN High Com­mis­sion­er for Human Rights Navi Pil­lay con­demned the “hor­ren­dous shoot­ing down” of the Malaysian pas­sen­ger jet in what was then rebel-held ter­ri­to­ry on July 17, and demand­ed a “thor­ough, effec­tive, inde­pen­dent and impar­tial inves­ti­ga­tion”.

    “This vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law, giv­en the pre­vail­ing cir­cum­stances, may amount to a war crime,” she said.

    The Red Cross has said Ukraine is now in civ­il war — a clas­si­fi­ca­tion that would make par­ties in the con­flict liable to pros­e­cu­tion for war crimes.

    West­ern pow­ers, which has accused Moscow of fan­ning the rebel­lion by sup­ply­ing it with weapons includ­ing the mis­sile sys­tem alleged­ly used to shot down MH17, urged new sanc­tions against Rus­sia.

    Data from the plane’s black box­es analysed as a part of a Dutch-led probe showed that the crash was caused by shrap­nel from a rock­et explo­sion, Kiev said.

    But on the ground, inves­ti­ga­tors have made lit­tle head­way into gath­er­ing evi­dence because of the inten­si­fy­ing fight­ing around the crash site.


    If Kiev man­ages to cement its lat­est gains, it could cut off access to main rebel bas­tion Donet­sk from Rus­sia, which stands accused by the West of fun­nelling arms to the insur­gents.

    The rebels did not spec­i­fy which part of the crash site is now back under Kiev con­trol and there is no con­fir­ma­tion from Ukrain­ian offi­cials.

    Andriy Lysenko, Ukraine’s mil­i­tary spokesman, claimed that troops were not car­ry­ing out any fight­ing but that “we would occu­py (the crash site) once the rebels with­draw”.

    Rebels sig­nalled they were in no mood for retreat.

    The top rebel mil­i­tary com­man­der of the self-pro­claimed “Donet­sk Peo­ple’s Repub­lic”, Igor Strelkov, told a press con­fer­ence: “We are plan­ning to restore the con­nec­tion between Shakhtarsk and Torez this evening. Our fight­ers are there now on the attack.”

    The esca­lat­ing fight­ing has led author­i­ties in The Nether­lands — which lost 193 cit­i­zens in the crash — to con­clude that it was unre­al­is­tic to send an armed mis­sion to secure the site as troops risked get­ting dragged into the con­flict.

    Both sides in Ukraine’s war have trad­ed blame over who is respon­si­ble for the chaos around the site, with Kiev accus­ing the rebels of “destroy­ing evi­dence” and the insur­gents say­ing army shelling was dev­as­tat­ing parts of the site where the plane wreck­age is locat­ed.


    You have to won­der what inter­na­tion­al police force that has­n’t been able to reach the crash site for days due to heavy fight­ing think about com­ments like:

    Andriy Lysenko, Ukraine’s mil­i­tary spokesman, claimed that troops were not car­ry­ing out any fight­ing but that “we would occu­py (the crash site) once the rebels with­draw”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 28, 2014, 5:00 pm
  2. bon appetit


    Ger­man offi­cer to serve as U.S. Army Europe’s chief of staff
    Jul. 31, 2014 — 02:38PM |
    67 Com­ments

    Gen. Markus Lauben­thal is the first Ger­man offi­cer to be assigned to U.S. Army Europe. He is the com­mand’s new chief of staff.
    Gen. Markus Lauben­thal is the first Ger­man offi­cer to be assigned to U.S. Army Europe. He is the com­mand’s new chief of staff. (U.S. Army Europe)

    By Jim Tice
    Staff report
    World News
    A Ger­man Army brigadier gen­er­al who recent­ly served with NATO forces in Afghanistan is assum­ing duties as the chief of staff of U. S. Army Europe, the first time a non-Amer­i­can offi­cer has held that posi­tion.

    Brig. Gen. Markus Lauben­thal, most recent­ly the com­man­der of Germany’s 12th Panz­er Brigade in Amberg, and chief of staff of Region­al Com­mand North, Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Afghanistan, will be sta­tioned at USAREUR head­quar­ters, Wies­baden, Ger­many. He could report to duty as ear­ly as Mon­day.

    Lauben­thal also has served as mil­i­tary assis­tant to the deputy com­man­der of oper­a­tions and assis­tant chief of staff of oper­a­tions for NATO forces in Koso­vo.

    As the major staff assis­tant to USAREUR com­man­der Lt. Gen. Don­ald Camp­bell, Lauben­thal will syn­chro­nize the command’s staff activ­i­ties much as Amer­i­can pre­de­ces­sors have in the past.

    “This is a bold and major step for­ward in USAREUR’s com­mit­ment to oper­at­ing in a multi­na­tion­al envi­ron­ment with our Ger­man allies,” said Camp­bell.

    “U. S. and Ger­man senior mil­i­tary lead­ers have been serv­ing togeth­er in NATO’s Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force in Afghanistan for years. Sus­tain­ing the shared capa­bil­i­ty from this expe­ri­ence will ben­e­fit both the U. S. and Ger­man armies,” said Camp­bell who has head­ed the Army’s largest and old­est over­seas com­mand since 2012.

    Posted by participo | July 31, 2014, 11:08 pm
  3. Will a secret “land for gas” deal between Merkel and Putin end the con­flict in Ukraine? We’ll see:

    The Inde­pen­dent
    Land for gas: Merkel and Putin dis­cussed secret deal could end Ukraine cri­sis

    Mar­gare­ta Pagano
    Thurs­day 31 July 2014

    Ger­many and Rus­sia have been work­ing on a secret plan to bro­ker a peace­ful solu­tion to end inter­na­tion­al ten­sions over the Ukraine.

    The Inde­pen­dent can reveal that the peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, hinges on two main ambi­tions: sta­bil­is­ing the bor­ders of Ukraine and pro­vid­ing the finan­cial­ly trou­bled coun­try with a strong eco­nom­ic boost, par­tic­u­lar­ly a new ener­gy agree­ment ensur­ing secu­ri­ty of gas sup­plies.

    More con­tro­ver­sial­ly, if Ms Merkel’s deal were to be accept­able to the Rus­sians, the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty would need to recog­nise Crimea’s inde­pen­dence and its annex­a­tion by Rus­sia, a move that some mem­bers of the Unit­ed Nations might find dif­fi­cult to stom­ach.

    Sources close to the secret nego­ti­a­tions claim that the first part of the sta­bil­i­sa­tion plan requires Rus­sia to with­draw its finan­cial and mil­i­tary sup­port for the var­i­ous pro-sep­a­ratist groups oper­at­ing in east­ern Ukraine. As part of any such agree­ment, the region would be allowed some devolved pow­ers.

    At the same time, the Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent would agree not to apply to join Nato. In return, Pres­i­dent Putin would not seek to block or inter­fere with the Ukraine’s new trade rela­tions with the Euro­pean Union under a pact signed a few weeks ago.

    Sec­ond, the Ukraine would be offered a new long-term agree­ment with Russia’s Gazprom, the giant gas sup­pli­er, for future gas sup­plies and pric­ing. At present, there is no gas deal in place; Ukraine’s gas sup­plies are run­ning low and are like­ly to run out before this win­ter, which would spell eco­nom­ic and social ruin for the coun­try.

    As part of the deal, Rus­sia would com­pen­sate Ukraine with a bil­lion-dol­lar finan­cial pack­age for the loss of the rent it used to pay for sta­tion­ing its fleets in the Crimea and at the port of Sev­astopol on the Black Sea until Crimea vot­ed for inde­pen­dence in March.

    How­ev­er, these attempts by Ms Merkel to act as a bro­ker between Pres­i­dent Putin and the Ukraine’s Pres­i­dent, Petro Poroshenko, were put on the back-burn­er fol­low­ing the shoot­ing down of the MH17 plane in east­ern Ukraine.

    But insid­ers who are par­ty to the dis­cus­sions said yes­ter­day that the “Ger­man peace plan is still on the table and the only deal around. Nego­ti­a­tions have stalled because of the MH17 dis­as­ter but they are expect­ed to restart once the inves­ti­ga­tion has tak­en place.”


    Clos­er trad­ing ties with the EU have been one of the big ambi­tions of Mr Poroshenko’s pres­i­den­cy. He has been a staunch sup­port­er of the country’s pro-Euro­pean move­ment even though he is unaf­fil­i­at­ed to any polit­i­cal par­ty. He was one of the back­ers of the 2004 Orange Rev­o­lu­tion and served as For­eign Min­is­ter under Yulia Tymoshenko.

    A spokesman for the For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Office said they had no knowl­edge of such nego­ti­a­tions tak­ing place. How­ev­er, the spokesman said he thought it high­ly unlike­ly that either the US or UK would agree to recog­nis­ing Russ­ian con­trol over Crimea. There was no one avail­able at the Ger­man embassy’s press office yes­ter­day.

    Reach­ing a solu­tion to the ongo­ing dis­pute is per­ti­nent for the Ger­mans as Rus­sia is their sin­gle biggest trad­ing part­ner. Under Ms Merkel, the Rus­so-Ger­man axis has strength­ened sig­nif­i­cant­ly and, until the plane shoot­ing, her gov­ern­ment had been staunch­ly against puni­tive sanc­tions for com­mer­cial but also diplo­mat­ic rea­sons.

    Such strong trade ties between the two coun­tries have also served to strength­en Ms Merkel’s hand and the Russ­ian speak­er has emerged as the lead­ing advo­cate of clos­er rela­tions between the EU and Rus­sia. “This is Merkel’s deal. She has been deal­ing direct with Pres­i­dent Putin on this. She needs to solve the dis­pute because it’s in no one’s inter­est to have ten­sion in the Ukraine or to have Rus­sia out in the cold. No one wants anoth­er Cold War,” said one insid­er close to the nego­ti­a­tions.

    Some of Germany’s biggest com­pa­nies have big oper­a­tions in Rus­sia, which is now one of Europe’s biggest car mar­kets, while many of its small to medi­um com­pa­nies are also expand­ing into the coun­try. Although Rus­sia now pro­vides EU coun­tries with a third of their gas sup­plies through pipelines cross­ing the Ukraine, Ger­many has its own bilat­er­al gas pipeline direct to Rus­sia mak­ing it less vul­ner­a­ble than oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries.

    How­ev­er, Rus­sia is still the EU’s third-biggest trad­ing part­ner with cross-bor­der trade of $460bn (£272bn) last year, and the lat­est sanc­tions being intro­duced by the EU towards Russ­ian indi­vid­u­als and banks will hurt Euro­pean coun­tries more than any oth­er – par­tic­u­lar­ly Ger­many, but also the City of Lon­don.

    Cen­tral to the nego­ti­a­tions over any new gas deal with Gazprom is under­stood to be one of Ukraine’s wealth­i­est busi­ness­men, the gas bro­ker, Dmit­ry Fir­tash. Mr Fir­tash – who nego­ti­at­ed the first big gas deal between the Ukraine and Rus­sia between 2006 and 2009 – is now liv­ing in Vien­na fight­ing extra­di­tion charges from the Amer­i­cans. But he has close rela­tions with the Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian lead­ers – he sup­port­ed Mr Poroschenko – and has been act­ing as a go-between behind the scenes at the high­est lev­els.

    Since the first crit­i­cal part of the plan requires Rus­sia end all finan­cial and mil­i­tary sup­port for the rebels in exchange for greater fed­er­al­ism and more pow­ers for the east, but there’s no appar­ent pro­vi­sion for an end the Kiev gov­ern­ment to end its attempts to mil­i­tar­i­ly defeat the rebels, it seems like the key fac­tor in this whole plan is going be the rebels. If they accept that deal and a peace treaty is agreed upon, well, that could be the path for­ward. But if the rebels don’t accept the plan and the bloody urban war con­tin­ues or esca­lates or turns into a mas­sacre, it’s kind of hard to imag­ine the Rus­sian’s pop­u­lace stand­ing by giv­en the enor­mous domes­tic sup­port giv­en to Putin’s poli­cies towards Ukraine so far. But at least it’s some­thing oth­er than the cur­rent mad­ness so hope­ful­ly some­thing use­ful can emerge from these deal­ings.

    Also, it should be inter­est­ing to see what kind of deal Dmi­ty Fir­tash works out in the gas-shar­ing nego­ti­a­tions and the Ukrain­ian pub­lic’s response. Real­ly real­ly real­ly inter­est­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 1, 2014, 5:06 pm
  4. Posted by Bob In Portland | August 3, 2014, 12:05 pm
  5. FWIW, Berlin is offi­cial­ly reject­ing the reports of the secret ‘land for gas’ deal that was secret­ly get­ting nego­ti­at­ed between Merkel and Putin:

    The Local
    Ger­many Edi­tion

    Ger­many denies ‘land for gas’ deal with Putin

    Pub­lished: 31 Jul 2014 09:57 GMT+02:00
    Updat­ed: 31 Jul 2014 09:57 GMT+02:00

    UPDATE: Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin have been work­ing on a secret peace plan for Ukraine, The Inde­pen­dent news­pa­per report­ed on Thurs­day. The report was lat­er denied by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment.

    Accord­ing to the British news­pa­per The Inde­pen­dent, under the con­tro­ver­sial deal, the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty would have to rec­og­nize Rus­sia’s annex­a­tion of Crimea. In return, Ukraine’s bor­ders in the east would be sta­bi­lized and gas sup­plies to the Ukraine from Rus­sia would be secured.

    The paper cit­ed sources close to the nego­ti­a­tions claim­ing the first part of the deal would require Rus­sia to with­draw sup­port for the rebels in east­ern Ukraine.

    Ukraine would have to agree to not join Nato and Rus­sia would then offer a long-term agree­ment with Rus­sia gas giant Gazprom to secure its gas sup­plies.

    Rus­sia would also pay Ukraine for the loss of rent from the Russ­ian naval fleet in the Crimea caused by the annex­a­tion of the Black Sea penin­su­la.

    Accord­ing to the Inde­pen­dent, Merkel has been try­ing to bro­ker the deal between Putin and Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko for some time, but it was put on hold after the shoot­ing down of Malaysia Air­lines flight MH17.

    How­ev­er, sources told The Inde­pen­dent the “peace plan is still on the table and the only deal around. Nego­ti­a­tions have stalled because of the MH17 dis­as­ter but they are expect­ed to restart once the inves­ti­ga­tion has tak­en place.”

    “It is in everyone’s inter­ests to do a deal. Hope­ful­ly, talks will be revived if a sat­is­fac­to­ry out­come can be reached to inves­ti­ga­tions now tak­ing place as to the caus­es of the MH17 cat­a­stro­phe,” insid­ers said.

    How­ev­er, the deal is unlike­ly to be palat­able to oth­er Nato coun­tries who have refused to rec­og­nize Russia’s annex­a­tion of Crimea from Ukraine.

    On Wednes­day, Ger­many and oth­er G7 coun­tries issued a state­ment on Ukraine crit­i­ciz­ing Rus­sia and describ­ing the annex­a­tion of Crimea as “unac­cept­able”.

    “We once again con­demn Russia’s ille­gal annex­a­tion of Crimea and actions to desta­bi­lize east­ern Ukraine. Those actions are unac­cept­able and vio­late inter­na­tion­al law.”


    In oth­er news, the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment reject­ed Prime Min­is­ter Yat­senyuk’s recent res­ig­na­tion, so it sounds like he’s going to be stay­ing on, but the col­lapse of the gov­ern­ing coali­tion is still in effect which will allow for the call of snap elec­tions if a new coali­tion can’t be formed by August 24th. So Yat­senyuk is prob­a­bly stay­ing, but it remains to be seen if a big shake up in the Kiev par­lia­ment is still on the agen­da:

    Los Ange­les Times
    l Ukraine’s par­lia­ment rejects prime min­is­ter’s res­ig­na­tion

    By Steven Zeitchik
    July 31, 2014, 2:09 PM

    A week after Ukrain­ian Prime Min­is­ter Arse­ny Yat­senyuk said he want­ed to resign, the gov­ern­ment offered a reply: You can’t.

    The Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment vot­ed Thurs­day to keep Yat­senyuk as prime min­is­ter. The tal­ly was 109–16 against Yatsenyuk’s res­ig­na­tion. A total of 325 mem­bers either abstained or weren’t present.

    Accord­ing to the Ukrain­ian Con­sti­tu­tion, the par­lia­ment must accept the prime minister’s res­ig­na­tion for it to take effect. A major­i­ty of the body — 226 mem­bers — would have had to offer a no-con­fi­dence vote for the res­ig­na­tion to be approved.

    Yat­senyuk will now almost cer­tain­ly stay — leav­ing over the par­lia­men­t’s objec­tions is regard­ed as career sui­cide — with some ana­lysts believ­ing he was nev­er com­mit­ted to exit­ing the post and had offered his res­ig­na­tion to make a state­ment about leg­isla­tive log­jam.

    On Thurs­day, that log­jam appeared to ease a bit as the par­lia­ment, called in out of recess, vot­ed to approve new fund­ing for the fight­ing against pro-Rus­sia insur­gents via a 1.5% “mil­i­tary duty” and to pass bud­get changes that would allow Kiev to meet its oblig­a­tions to the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund per a bailout agree­ment with that group.

    Yat­senyuk had pre­vi­ous­ly issued a plea to fel­low mem­bers of par­lia­ment to turn out for the spe­cial ses­sion, call­ing on them to “vote for these laws and to take the respon­si­bil­i­ty before the Ukrain­ian peo­ple.” After the bills passed, he took the floor and said, “Ukraine has nev­er declared default and nev­er will.”

    A col­lapse of the gov­ern­ing coali­tion that pre­ced­ed Yatsenyuk’s res­ig­na­tion still applies, which would allow Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko to call snap par­lia­men­tary elec­tions if par­ty lead­ers can’t form a new gov­ern­ment by Aug. 24. Last Thurs­day, sev­er­al par­ties left the coali­tion with Yatsenyuk’s Father­land par­ty, caus­ing the gov­ern­ment to col­lapse.


    The Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment on Thurs­day also approved a mea­sure that would allow near­ly 1,000 Dutch and Aus­tralian armed per­son­nel to enter the site to pro­tect inves­ti­ga­tors, though it remains to be seen if those coun­tries’ gov­ern­ments would want to send in such forces.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 3, 2014, 6:58 pm
  6. The de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of the pub­lic images of Ukraine’s vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion just got an inter­est­ing boost from Newsweek. There’s a new inter­view of the Swedish neo-Nazi who joined the Azov Bat­tal­ion last year, Mikael Skillt. It’s a long arti­cle with a great deal of detail about Skillt’s expe­ri­ences on the bat­tl­field. And the take away mes­sage of it all? War made Skillt a bet­ter per­son after serv­ing with jews and arabs and blacks, and he’s total­ly not a neo-Nazi at all:

    Putin’s War: A Swedish Sniper in Ukraine

    By Nolan Peter­son
    8/15/15 at 12:25 PM

    This sto­ry first appeared on The Dai­ly Sig­nal.

    KIEV, Ukraine—This was sup­posed to be a rou­tine recon­nais­sance mis­sion, but sud­den­ly it became com­pli­cat­ed.

    They had been crawl­ing in the woods to stay con­cealed when the jeep with four sep­a­ratists inside pulled up and parked along the road a few hun­dred meters away. They had two options: Start run­ning, or the oth­er thing.

    Mikael Skillt laid a reas­sur­ing hand on his Smith & Wes­son knife. They would wait until dark.

    Skillt was unusu­al­ly anx­ious. Nor­mal­ly before com­bat he went into what he called “work mode,” shut­ting off all unnec­es­sary thoughts and emo­tions. He felt that way now too, behind sep­a­ratist lines in Ilo­vaisk in east­ern Ukraine. But he also could feel his heart pump­ing, which was unfa­mil­iar.

    Skillt, a Swede, had killed many men in com­bat, yet this time would be dif­fer­ent. Typ­i­cal­ly he saw the ene­my through a rifle­scope. His enemy’s death was reg­is­tered by the faster-than-grav­i­ty way that dead men fall to the earth.

    And, in Skillt’s expe­ri­ence, a bal­a­cla­va nor­mal­ly con­cealed the enemy’s face. Not that he looked at the faces. That’s what they teach you in sniper school: Nev­er look at the faces.

    When night fell, it was time. The sep­a­ratists remained parked at the same spot. They had rolled down the win­dows of the jeep and had been smok­ing and drink­ing vod­ka for a while. They were prob­a­bly drunk, Skillt thought.

    Creep­ing up to the vehi­cle, Skillt took the driver’s side. His friend, anoth­er Swede who had joined the Azov Bat­tal­ion to fight for Ukraine, took the passenger’s side. The man in the driver’s seat was asleep and hang­ing halfway out the win­dow. Skillt put the knife in and pulled it out.

    The doomed man made a few gur­gling sounds and looked at Skillt in ter­ror. He flailed his arms a lit­tle bit, but didn’t put up much of a fight. He was gone in 15 or 20 sec­onds.

    On the pas­sen­ger side of the jeep, Skillt’s friend did his job. The back door on the driver’s side opened and a man spilt out. He tried to run, but slipped. Skillt lunged. He was a lit­tle ner­vous and slipped too, but he found his mark. He stabbed the man in the eye, break­ing off the knife’s blade in the act. Skillt noticed the cop­per smell of blood.

    He and his friend dragged the bod­ies into the woods and took up posi­tions to hide. The next morn­ing, anoth­er car pulled up. The men inside got out, looked at the tableau of the jeep, which was swim­ming in blood, then fled.

    “There are times when I can hear that nasty sound,” Skillt, 38, says in his Swedish accent, almost a year lat­er. “The blood going down the wind­pipe. It’s a very nasty sound. Some­times when I go to sleep, I can hear the sound and smell the blood. If there’s one thing I wish I could be with­out, it would be that.”

    Iden­ti­ty Cri­sis

    Skillt sits in a ply­wood hut at the Azov Battalion’s bar­racks in an aban­doned indus­tri­al park on the out­skirts of Kiev. Out­side is the sound of ham­mer­ing as civil­ian vol­un­teers and troops build a class­room and fin­ish a Cross­Fit work­out area. They are con­struct­ing, from scratch, a mil­i­tary train­ing facil­i­ty for the unit’s more than 1,400 sol­diers.

    Peri­od­i­cal­ly, a sol­dier will open the door to the small room. See­ing Skillt inside, he low­ers his head def­er­en­tial­ly and apol­o­gizes for inter­rupt­ing.

    “The myth is more excit­ing than real­i­ty,” Skillt says with a sheep­ish smile. “But when you’re in heavy fire, it feels like all the guns in the world are point­ed at your posi­tion. So when I, as a sniper, can make the fir­ing stop for a guy, it makes me their hero.”

    In a series of inter­views, includ­ing vis­its to the loca­tions of some of the bat­tles in which he par­tic­i­pat­ed, The Dai­ly Sig­nal spoke with Skillt to gain an under­stand­ing of how his expe­ri­ences in the Ukraine war have affect­ed him. Descrip­tions of the bat­tles are based on his rec­ol­lec­tions as well as news reports and inter­views with oth­er Azov Bat­tal­ion sol­diers.

    Skillt has close-cropped, red­dish-blond hair and a beard. He has an easy­go­ing demeanor and mat­ter-of-fact way of speak­ing. He is quick to make a self-dep­re­cat­ing joke. But he rarely breaks eye con­tact while talk­ing.

    He wears U.S. Mul­ti­Cam fatigues with a Ukrain­ian army sniper badge pinned to his left breast. He looks a lit­tle soft­er now than in some of the pic­tures of him on the front lines, the result of the more seden­tary life of an instruc­tor at Azov Battalion’s base in down­town Kiev—and, he says, of the cook­ing of his girl­friend, Anna. “Ukrain­ian women don’t like skin­ny men,” he explains.

    “This may not be the most excit­ing thing I’ve done,” Skillt adds, “but it’s the most impor­tant. I was on the front for nine months, and I have a lot of things I can pass down.”

    ‘Some Things Were Black and White’

    Lat­er, walk­ing through the halls of Azov’s base, just a few hun­dred meters from Maid­an Neza­lezh­nos­ti, or Inde­pen­dence Square, Skillt’s pres­tige among the sol­diers is appar­ent.

    In a unit that eschews tra­di­tion­al mil­i­tary rank and pro­to­col, the men treat Skillt like a com­mand­ing offi­cer. Sol­diers stand up when he enters a room and pull to the side of the hall­way as he pass­es. Almost every­one greets him with the Azov hand­shake: Hands grasp fore­arms and voic­es intone, “Sla­va Ukrayi­ni,” which means “Glo­ry to Ukraine.”

    Skillt bear-hugs a tall, tat­tooed sol­dier nick­named Spi­der. He throws a few light­heart­ed jabs mak­ing fun of Spider’s dat­ing habits.

    “He’s fear­less in com­bat,” Skillt says lat­er. “Absolute­ly afraid of noth­ing.”

    Sev­en­teen months ago, Mikael Skillt’s cur­rent life would have been unthink­able. Skillt, who had served as a sniper in the Swedish Nation­al Home Guard, was a mem­ber of Sweden’s far right and a spokesman for sev­er­al neo-Nazi groups. Before the Ukraine war, he was in and out of jail and work­ing a job in con­struc­tion.

    Skillt doesn’t shy away from dis­cussing his neo-Nazi past, but talks about it open­ly, refer­ring to his ear­li­er beliefs as “mis­guid­ed” and “idi­ot­ic.” He claims his ser­vice in the Ukraine war shat­tered his pre­vi­ous­ly held stereo­types and spurred him to aban­don Nation­al Social­ism.

    “I’m not a Nazi, and I don’t believe in Nation­al Social­ism,” Skillt says. “When I got to Ukraine 17 months ago, I was a real bas­tard. I had stereo­types against Jews, blacks, Arabs. But I’ve fought with them, and now they are like broth­ers. Before, some things were black and white. But now I know noth­ing is cer­tain. Good and bad peo­ple come in all col­ors. The world is very gray.

    “You know,” he adds, “the Mikael from 17 months ago would pick a fight with the Mikael from now. But the Mikael from now would win.”

    Whether because of bat­tle­field com­pro­mis­es nec­es­sary for vic­to­ry or a gen­uine change of heart, to stand up the Azov Battalion’s train­ing pro­gram Skillt also has worked with gov­ern­ments around the world, includ­ing Israel, the U.S., and his native Swe­den.

    He has helped build the unit from a civil­ian vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion with about 100 sol­diers into a Ukrain­ian Nation­al Guard bat­tal­ion sanc­tioned by the Min­istry of Inter­nal Affairs, with per­son­nel top­ping 1,400 and bases through­out Ukraine.

    Despite the unit’s growth, many of the sol­diers Skillt trains receive only two weeks of for­mal instruc­tion before deploy­ing to the front lines. Skillt has stud­ied the train­ing pro­grams of var­i­ous West­ern mil­i­taries, mak­ing hard choic­es to con­dense into two weeks a syl­labus that usu­al­ly cov­ers nine months.

    “We focus on weed­ing out those who will freeze or pan­ic under fire,” he says.

    A Neo-Nazi Minor­i­ty

    The Azov Bat­tal­ion has played a key role in the Ukraine war. How­ev­er, the unit was exclud­ed from Fear­less Guardian, a U.S. train­ing mis­sion in Yavoriv, Ukraine, because of a con­gres­sion­al amend­ment sin­gling it out for an alleged neo-Nazi ide­ol­o­gy.

    As proof, Russ­ian and some West­ern media out­lets, as well as sev­er­al U.S. law­mak­ers, point to the sym­bol of the Azov Bat­tal­ion, which close­ly resem­bles the Nazi Wolf­san­gel.

    Bat­tal­ion sol­diers dis­agree. They say their sym­bol stands for “idea of the nation,” which refers to Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism. In the Ukrain­ian lan­guage, “idea of the nation” is pho­net­i­cal­ly pro­nounced “ideya nat­siyi,” some­times spurring what the sol­diers claim are mis­guid­ed Nazi com­par­isons because of mis­trans­la­tion.

    With­in the Azov Bat­tal­ion, how­ev­er, are a minor­i­ty of sol­diers with far-right, neo-Nazi per­sua­sions. And those sol­diers do lit­tle to hide their beliefs. Some have tat­toos of the Nazi swasti­ka and SS sym­bols. Oth­ers wear jew­el­ry with Nazi sym­bols and read Adolf Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, at night in their bunks.

    But the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of Azov sol­diers say they’re fight­ing for Ukraine’s sov­er­eign­ty and to repel what they call a “Russ­ian inva­sion” of their home­land. Those with far-right con­vic­tions live and fight side-by-side with sol­diers from 22 coun­tries and var­i­ous back­grounds, includ­ing Arabs, Rus­sians and Americans—as well as Chris­tians, Mus­lims and Jews.

    “Young men often have extreme views,” Skillt says. “But they want to pick the raisins out of the cake. This part is good and that part is bad.” He adds: “In any army there is always a lit­tle bit of bad meat. For exam­ple, when I was in the Swedish army, I was that lit­tle per­cent­age of bad meat. But is a man’s desire to die for his coun­try or a cause any less hero­ic if he is a nation­al­ist?”

    Skillt says he isn’t a nation­al social­ist. He believes in nation­al­ism, he says, and is fight­ing to defend Ukraine’s sov­er­eign­ty and to stop Russ­ian aggres­sion. He dis­tances him­self from the Swedish far right, which, he says, is focused on Mus­lim immi­gra­tion into Europe.

    Skillt’s self-pro­claimed ide­o­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion has left him a pari­ah among neo-Nazi groups in Swe­den. That country’s far-right move­ment, which large­ly cel­e­brates Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin for his con­ser­vatism and hard line against homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and immi­gra­tion, fre­quent­ly accus­es Skillt of being on the wrong side of the Ukraine war.

    A July 8 arti­cle post­ed by Nord­front, an online news site for the Swedish Resis­tance Move­ment (a mil­i­tant, neo-Nazi group for which Skillt was a region­al com­man­der), pro­vides an exam­ple.

    “Skillt,” it says, “has long tak­en an active part in the U.S.-created civ­il wars that occurred in Ukraine after the U.S.-sponsored coup d’état in late Feb­ru­ary last year oust­ed the demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych.” The arti­cle is one in a series in which the Swedish Resis­tance Move­ment crit­i­cizes Skillt for sup­port­ing a “Jew­ish coup regime” in Kiev.

    Nord­front also takes issue with the Azov Bat­tal­ion, claim­ing “crim­i­nal Jew­ish bil­lion­aire” Igor Kolo­moisky finances the unit. “Rus­sia calls me a Nazi bas­tard, and my old friends in Swe­den call me a Jew-lack­ey,” Skillt says. “I’m hav­ing an iden­ti­ty cri­sis.”

    Pre­lude to War

    In Feb­ru­ary 2014, Skillt’s life final­ly seemed to be going in the right direc­tion. He had a steady job with a decent pay­check, a girl­friend, a house in a Stock­holm sub­urb. He was stay­ing out of trou­ble.

    In 2009, the same year he left the Swedish mil­i­tary, Skillt was arrest­ed for assault. He land­ed in jail for two months and spent six weeks in soli­tary con­fine­ment after attack­ing anoth­er inmate.

    In 2011, Skillt ran into trou­ble with the law again. He con­front­ed an under­cov­er police offi­cer who he says was beat­ing up a drunk­en hooli­gan at a soc­cer game. “I told him I’d shove the baton down his throat if he hit the guy again,” Skillt recalls.

    Because the offi­cer failed to iden­ti­fy him­self, Skillt spent only two days in jail. He was sen­tenced to three months of com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice. The arrests made it hard to find work, though. So did his role as a spokesman for Sweden’s most infa­mous far-right groups. “I was the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of evil,” he says.

    Skillt had joined the Swedish Resis­tance Move­ment in 2003, when he was 26. He rose quick­ly through the ranks of the neo-Nazi group, becom­ing the equiv­a­lent of a region­al com­man­der after one year. He left the group to join the N Nation­al Democ­rats for a year, then jumped to the Par­ty of the Swedes—a neo-Nazi polit­i­cal par­ty that dis­solved in May.

    Frus­tra­tion with the Swedish polit­i­cal sys­tem drew Skillt to the far right, he says, adding that he even­tu­al­ly became dis­il­lu­sioned with the move­ment because of those it attract­ed. He says: “I real­ized I was not a nation­al social­ist. Many of the peo­ple in the nation­al­is­tic move­ments were idiots, and did not behave prop­er­ly. We attract­ed a lot of idiots.”

    Skillt’s time in the far-right move­ment over­lapped his ser­vice in the Swedish Nation­al Guard from 2004 to 2009. He was a sniper, but nev­er deployed or saw com­bat. He says he turned down oppor­tu­ni­ties to go on U.N. peace­keep­ing mis­sions, which were vol­un­tary, because he found the rules of engage­ment too restric­tive. So his mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence left him with unan­swered ques­tions.

    “I think almost all guys who go into the mil­i­tary want to see com­bat some­time,” Skillt says. “I was always seek­ing adven­ture, no mat­ter what.”

    In 2011, Skillt says, he was approached by a Jor­dan­ian doc­tor who was trav­el­ing through­out Europe recruit­ing mer­ce­nar­ies for Syr­i­an dic­ta­tor Bashar al-Assad. Lured by the pay­check and adven­ture, Skillt seri­ous­ly con­sid­ered the offer.

    “I would have done it, but the guy just van­ished,” he says. “But now I’m very glad I didn’t go.”

    Skillt land­ed a min­i­mum-wage job with a con­struc­tion con­trac­tor. He want­ed to prove him­self and move up. By Feb­ru­ary 2014, he was mak­ing about $32,700 a year, and was on track to make about $65,400. He had a sta­ble life and a future.

    And then Ukraine hap­pened.

    Unex­pect­ed Pur­pose

    Cow­ards. That’s what Skillt thought as he pored over pho­tos and YouTube videos of the car­nage play­ing out on Maid­an Neza­lezh­nos­ti, or Inde­pen­dence Square, in cen­tral Kiev.

    The snipers both­ered him the most. Why don’t they just shoot the pro­test­ers in the leg? he thought. And why shoot pro­test­ers at all, any­way? What threat did a man in a motor­cy­cle hel­met and a met­al shield pose to police in riot gear?

    Civil­ians were dying. And here he was, work­ing con­struc­tion. Out of the action. Use­less.

    Watch­ing the videos of snipers mur­der­ing pro­test­ers, Skillt was angry. He con­sid­ered them cow­ards. Let’s see if they have any counter-sniper train­ing, he thought. Let’s see if they can sur­vive me.

    “Some­thing woke up in me,” he says. “Maybe it was the war­rior men­tal­i­ty.”

    Skillt bought a one-way tick­et to Kiev for Feb­ru­ary 28, 2014. He told his boss he’d be gone for a few days and he tried to explain to his girl­friend why he had to go to Ukraine. “Our rela­tion­ship went from not the best in the world to the worst,” he says, chuck­ling. “And that was the end of it.”

    Skillt had a friend in Ukraine who said he had a Saiga 7.62×39 assault rifle wait­ing for him. But Vik­tor Yanukovych, then the Ukraine pres­i­dent, fled Feb­ru­ary 21. By Feb­ru­ary 25, the rev­o­lu­tion was over. When Skillt arrived in Kiev three days lat­er, he had “missed the whole she­bang.”

    In March, Rus­sia annexed Crimea. A sep­a­ratist move­ment took hold in east­ern Ukraine and there was talk of war. Protest groups born on Inde­pen­dence Square began to morph into para­mil­i­tary units.

    “We could see some­thing bad was going to hap­pen,” Skillt says. “The only rea­son we didn’t go to Crimea is because we had no guns.”


    Full Cir­cle

    It’s 2 a.m. at an under­ground night club in Mar­i­upol, more than a year after Skillt’s first bat­tle. The walls, cov­ered in mul­ti­col­ored light­ed tiles, flick­er with the heavy bass notes of the Russ­ian tech­no the DJ is spin­ning. Despite the war, a 20-minute dri­ve away in Shy­rokyne, the dance floor is crowd­ed.

    Skillt is shar­ing a bot­tle of cheap vod­ka and some Red Bulls with Jonas Nils­son, a Swedish army sergeant and friend of more than 10 years. Nils­son and Skillt used to be room­mates. They worked for the same con­struc­tion con­trac­tor in Swe­den, and Skillt used to help out with the event-plan­ning busi­ness Nils­son ran.

    Nils­son has an eclec­tic back­ground. He’s a for­mer French For­eign Legion sol­dier and a mixed mar­tial arts fight­er who has writ­ten a book on gen­der roles in the mod­ern fam­i­ly. And, like Skillt, he’s a for­mer mem­ber of the Swedish Resis­tance Move­ment.

    Now Nils­son is an out­cast, crit­i­cized for his lib­er­tar­i­an writ­ings as a free­lance jour­nal­ist on sub­jects such as social issues and immigration—and for express­ing sup­port for Ukraine in its war with Rus­sia.

    A stu­dent at the Swedish Defense Uni­ver­si­ty, Nils­son is in Ukraine research­ing Azov and oth­er vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions. Swe­den has so far shied away from allow­ing sim­i­lar groups to exist, but con­cerns over Russ­ian aggres­sion have spurred the his­tor­i­cal­ly neu­tral Scan­di­na­vian state to reex­am­ine how its mil­i­tary is orga­nized and even con­sid­er the pos­si­bil­i­ty of join­ing NATO.

    As the night drags on, Nils­son and Skillt trade sto­ries about their time with Sweden’s far right. Skillt talks about his expe­ri­ences in the Ukraine war, explain­ing how the tran­si­tion back to civil­ian life in Kiev has left him feel­ing out of place.

    “He has always been a very con­fi­dent man in his nature, almost to the grade that one might think that he believes he can fight the gods him­self,” Nils­son says lat­er: “This is where I find the change in him dur­ing this war to be the great­est. He still has his con­fi­dence, but he is more hum­ble. Every­thing isn’t black and white as it maybe once was.”


    ‘War Made Me a Bet­ter Per­son’

    Skillt sits with a for­mer French spe­cial forces sol­dier in the out­door, tent­ed ter­race of a bar in down­town Kiev. A veg­e­tar­i­an, Skillt is eat­ing a piz­za, smok­ing a cig­a­rette and sip­ping an Amer­i­cano cof­fee.

    A soc­cer game is on TV. Dnipro, a Ukrain­ian team, is play­ing Napoli in the Europa League semi-final match. It’s rain­ing out­side and get­ting late. But Azov sol­diers in the sta­di­um at the game are going to unfurl an enor­mous Ukrain­ian flag.

    Skillt is tex­ting them. He doesn’t want to leave the bar until he sees the flag on TV. As he watch­es the game he tells war sto­ries, casu­al­ly laugh­ing off details of life-and-death dra­ma.

    Inter­rupt­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, a young Azov sol­dier walks up to Skillt’s table and shakes his hand. In his bro­ken, lim­it­ed Russ­ian, Skillt returns the greet­ing. He polite­ly declines to join the sol­dier and his friends for a beer, explain­ing that he has to be up ear­ly the next morn­ing to train new recruits.

    Most nights, Skillt sleeps in a bunk in one of the camp’s ply­wood huts. He could sleep at his girlfriend’s place, but he feels like he needs to be close to the men. He wor­ries that every minute he miss­es with the trainees might be a lost oppor­tu­ni­ty to keep them alive.

    Skillt doesn’t go to the war any­more, but he nev­er tru­ly left it. Over piz­za and cof­fee he talks about com­bat and “work mode.” He also talks about Ukraine’s future, link­ing it to his own. He plans to run for par­lia­ment in 2019 to help Ukraine “find its own way.”

    “Ukraine has the pos­si­bil­i­ty to build some­thing good,” he says. “If only Rus­sia would leave it be.”

    The bar erupts in cel­e­bra­tion when penal­ty time runs out and Dnipro wins the game, 1–0. The TV screens show Azov’s enor­mous Ukrain­ian flag wav­ing in the stands. You can’t hear over the sounds of laugh­ter and cheers in the bar. A breeze car­ries in the clean smell of rain.

    “War can bring a man to destruc­tion or help him to reach new heights,” Skillt says. “War peels off every lay­er of your human­i­ty. But, in the end, war made me into a much bet­ter per­son.”

    Meet the new and improved Mikael Skillt! He’s so new and improved and might run for par­lia­ment!

    Skillt doesn’t shy away from dis­cussing his neo-Nazi past, but talks about it open­ly, refer­ring to his ear­li­er beliefs as “mis­guid­ed” and “idi­ot­ic.” He claims his ser­vice in the Ukraine war shat­tered his pre­vi­ous­ly held stereo­types and spurred him to aban­don Nation­al Social­ism.

    “I’m not a Nazi, and I don’t believe in Nation­al Social­ism,” Skillt says. “When I got to Ukraine 17 months ago, I was a real bas­tard. I had stereo­types against Jews, blacks, Arabs. But I’ve fought with them, and now they are like broth­ers. Before, some things were black and white. But now I know noth­ing is cer­tain. Good and bad peo­ple come in all col­ors. The world is very gray.

    “You know,” he adds, “the Mikael from 17 months ago would pick a fight with the Mikael from now. But the Mikael from now would win.”

    Skillt doesn’t go to the war any­more, but he nev­er tru­ly left it. Over piz­za and cof­fee he talks about com­bat and “work mode.” He also talks about Ukraine’s future, link­ing it to his own. He plans to run for par­lia­ment in 2019 to help Ukraine “find its own way.”

    Huh, so 17 months of death and con­flict alleged­ly knocked the Nazism out of the guy. Well, it’s pos­si­ble. Stranger things have hap­pened. But, of course, it’s also quite pos­si­ble that this is all pub­lic rela­tions BS as a result of the US gov­ern­ment sin­gling out Azov as a neo-Nazi-infest­ed unit that can’t receive US sup­port.

    Either way, it’s too bad that the Skillt’s alleged war-induced ide­o­log­i­cal mel­low­ing has­n’t hap­pened more often through­out his­to­ry. Espe­cial­ly around 70 years ago. That would have been real­ly nice.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 20, 2015, 9:01 pm
  7. Igor Mosiy­chuk, the neo-Nazi and for­mer Azov bat­tal­ion sec­ond in com­mand who was elect­ed to par­lia­ment last year, prob­a­bly isn’t going to be in par­lia­ment much longer:

    Kyiv Post
    Law­mak­er stripped of immu­ni­ty in par­lia­ment, arrest­ed (VIDEO)

    by Johannes Wamberg Ander­sen
    Sept. 17, 2015, 10:15 p.m. | Ukraine

    Out­spo­ken mem­ber of par­lia­ment Ihor Mosiy­chuk of the pop­ulist Rad­i­cal Par­ty of Oleh Lyashko saw his polit­i­cal career col­lapse on Sept. 17 when the Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Vik­tor Shokin showed par­lia­ment a video of the law­mak­er alleged­ly nego­ti­at­ing bribes of tens of thou­sands of dol­lars and hryv­nias.

    Mosiy­chuk was prompt­ly stripped of his par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty and lat­er arrest­ed in the Verk­hov­na Rada, out­side the ses­sion hall.

    Com­ment­ing on the incrim­i­nat­ing video, Par­lia­ment Speak­er Volodymyr Groys­man said “this is a dis­grace to the par­lia­ment,” and said the dig­ni­ty of the insti­tu­tion had to be pro­tect­ed “if we have a black sheep in the flock.”

    Groys­man then pro­ceed­ed to have a vote on with­draw­ing Mosiychuk’s immu­ni­ty from pros­e­cu­tion includ­ed on parliament’s agen­da. The Rad­i­cal Par­ty fac­tion vot­ed for the deci­sion, believ­ing Mosiy­chuk would get a chance to rebuff the accu­sa­tions of bribery, par­ty leader Oleh Lyashko lat­er explained.

    But Mosiy­chuk wasn’t giv­en the floor.

    Instead 262 law­mak­ers, most­ly from the gov­ern­ment coali­tion par­ties, vot­ed to give the green light to Mosiychuk’s arrest as request­ed by the gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor. A sim­ple major­i­ty of 226 in the 450-seat par­lia­ment is required for a deci­sion to be approved.

    Mosiy­chuk denied the accu­sa­tions, claim­ing that the video had been manip­u­lat­ed and assem­bled from shots tak­en out of con­text. He also reject­ed the video’s claim that bribes were passed to him as marked bank notes would have been used in a spe­cial oper­a­tion against him, and no marked notes were found on his per­son. “They couldn’t get me for any­thing, so they made this up,” Mosiy­chuk said, accus­ing the president’s camp of fram­ing him.

    The video was indeed com­posed of sev­er­al shots, but they appeared gen­uine and paint­ed an incrim­i­nat­ing pic­ture of Mosiy­chuk demand­ing mon­ey in return for lob­by­ing for busi­ness-relat­ed issues. “We can pro­tect you from the police … but not from the pros­e­cu­tors,” Mosiy­chuk said at one point in the video.

    Lyashko seemed shell-shocked after the video was shown and the vote to strip Mosiy­chuk of his immu­ni­ty vote was passed. “I was shocked, I was shocked, when I saw the video … If there is a fair court, then let it work,” he said, adding that if Mosiy­chuk had vio­lat­ed the law, he should face the con­se­quences. He went on to apol­o­gize to his vot­ers.

    Lyashko sub­se­quent­ly regained his com­po­sure. He first accused Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko of stag­ing the scan­dal as revenge for Lyashko’s par­ty leav­ing the gov­ern­ing coali­tion. Ana­lysts pre­vi­ous­ly sug­gest­ed that the Rad­i­cal Par­ty had left the coali­tion because crim­i­nal cas­es were mount­ing against sev­er­al of the faction’s law­mak­ers, includ­ing Lyashko. Claim­ing that the gov­ern­ment was per­se­cut­ing the oppo­si­tion would be a good defense strat­e­gy, ana­lysts said.

    After the vote, a unit of the Alfa spe­cial police force in full cam­ou­flage uni­forms and masks entered par­lia­ment to arrest Mosiy­chuk. Lyashko tried to stall them, argu­ing that police weren’t allowed to enter par­lia­ment.

    “This is law­less­ness! This is becom­ing a dic­ta­tor­ship! Even (ex-Pres­i­dent Vik­tor) Yanukovych didn’t arrest peo­ple in par­lia­ment,” Lyashko argued, but in vain.

    After Mosiychuk’s arrest, Lyashko turned up the vol­ume. He accused Poroshenko of attempt­ing to offer him bribes and gov­ern­ment posi­tions in return for assis­tance in get­ting per­sons linked to the pres­i­dent appoint­ed to state posi­tions.

    Lyashko also said that Poroshenko had defend­ed the inter­ests of gas oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash, against the inter­ests of the coun­try.

    “I told Poroshenko yes­ter­day that he was cor­rupt,” Lyashko said.


    Accused of hav­ing neo-Nazi sym­pa­thies, Mosiy­chuk was pre­vi­ous­ly in deten­tion for more than two years for attempt­ing to blow up a stat­ue of Vladimir Lenin in the Kyiv sub­urb of Boryspil. He was released in Feb­ru­ary 2014 after Yanukovych’s regime tum­bled.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 17, 2015, 2:02 pm
  8. Robert Par­ry has a new piece on the recent Dutch report on the MH17 shoot­down. It turns out the “Dutch-led inves­ti­ga­tion was per­haps com­pro­mised by a cen­tral role giv­en to the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment which appar­ent­ly had the pow­er to veto what was includ­ed in the report.” And as Par­ry point out, it also turns out crit­i­cal US intel­li­gence that could pur­port­ed­ly pin­point the site of the mis­sile launch did­n’t make it into the report:

    Con­sor­tium News
    MH-17: The Dog Still Not Bark­ing
    Octo­ber 13, 2015

    Exclu­sive: The dog not bark­ing in the Dutch report on the shoot-down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 is the silence regard­ing U.S. intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion that sup­pos­ed­ly had pinned down key details just days after the crash but has been kept secret, writes Robert Par­ry.

    By Robert Par­ry

    The Dutch Safe­ty Board report con­cludes that an old­er mod­el Buk mis­sile appar­ent­ly shot down Malaysia Air­line Flight 17 on July 17, 2014, but doesn’t say who pos­sessed the mis­sile and who fired it. Yet, what is per­haps most strik­ing about the report is what’s not there – noth­ing from the U.S. intel­li­gence data on the tragedy.

    The dog still not bark­ing is the absence of evi­dence from U.S. spy satel­lites and oth­er intel­li­gence sources that Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry insist­ed just three days after the shoot-down pin­point­ed where the mis­sile was fired, an obvi­ous­ly impor­tant point in deter­min­ing who fired it.

    On July 20, 2014, Ker­ry declared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the tra­jec­to­ry. We know where it came from. We know the tim­ing. And it was exact­ly at the time that this air­craft dis­ap­peared from the radar.”

    But such U.S. gov­ern­ment infor­ma­tion is not men­tioned in the 279-page Dutch report, which focused on the fail­ure to close off the east­ern Ukrain­ian war zone to com­mer­cial flights and the cause of the crash rather than who fired on MH-17. A Dutch crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion is still under­way with the goal of deter­min­ing who was respon­si­ble but with­out any sign of an immi­nent con­clu­sion.

    I was told by a U.S. intel­li­gence source ear­li­er this year that CIA ana­lysts had met with Dutch inves­ti­ga­tors to describe what the clas­si­fied U.S. evi­dence showed but appar­ent­ly with the caveat that it must remain secret.

    Last year, anoth­er source briefed by U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts told me they had con­clud­ed that a rogue ele­ment of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment – tied to one of the oli­garchs – was respon­si­ble for the shoot-down, while absolv­ing senior Ukrain­ian lead­ers includ­ing Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko and Prime Min­is­ter Arseniy Yat­senyuk. But I wasn’t able to deter­mine if this U.S. analy­sis was a con­sen­sus or a dis­si­dent opin­ion.

    Last Octo­ber, Der Spiegel report­ed that Ger­man intel­li­gence, the BND, con­clud­ed that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment was not the source of the mis­sile bat­tery – that it had been cap­tured from a Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary base – but the BND blamed the eth­nic Russ­ian rebels for fir­ing it. How­ev­er, a Euro­pean source told me that the BND’s analy­sis was not as con­clu­sive as Der Spiegel had described.

    The Dutch report, released Tues­day, did lit­tle to clar­i­fy these con­flict­ing accounts but did agree with an analy­sis by the Russ­ian man­u­fac­tur­er of the Buk anti-air­craft mis­sile sys­tems that the shrap­nel and pieces of the mis­sile recov­ered from the MH-17 crash site came from the 9M38 series, rep­re­sent­ing an old­er, now dis­con­tin­ued Buk ver­sion.

    The report said: “The dam­age observed on the wreck­age in amount of dam­age, type of dam­age, bound­ary and impact angles of dam­age, num­ber and den­si­ty of hits, size of pen­e­tra­tions and bowtie frag­ments found in the wreck­age, is con­sis­tent with the dam­age caused by the 9N314M war­head used in the 9M38 and 9M38M1 BUK sur­face-to-air mis­sile.”

    Last June, Almaz-Antey, the Russ­ian man­u­fac­tur­er which also pro­vid­ed declas­si­fied infor­ma­tion about the Buk sys­tems to the Dutch, said its analy­sis of the plane’s wreck­age revealed that MH-17 had been attacked by a “9M38M1 of the Buk M1 sys­tem.” The company’s Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer Yan Novikov said the mis­sile was last pro­duced in 1999.

    Who Has This Mis­sile?

    The Russ­ian gov­ern­ment has insist­ed that it no longer uses the 9M38 ver­sion. Accord­ing to the Russ­ian news agency TASS, for­mer deputy chief of the Russ­ian army air defense Alexan­der Luzan said the sus­pect war­head was phased out of Russia’s arse­nal 15 years ago when Rus­sia began using the 9M317 mod­el.

    “The 9M38, 9M38M, 9M38M1 mis­siles are for­mer mod­i­fi­ca­tions of the Buk sys­tem mis­siles, but they all have the same war­head. They are not in ser­vice with the Russ­ian Armed Forces, but Ukraine has them,” Luzan said.

    “Based on the mod­i­fi­ca­tion and type of the used mis­sile, as well as its loca­tion, this Buk belongs to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. By the way, Ukraine had three mil­i­tary dis­tricts — the Carpathi­an, Odessa and Kiev, and these three dis­tricts had more than five Buk anti-air­craft mis­sile brigades of var­i­ous mod­i­fi­ca­tions – Buk, Buk‑M, Buk-M1, which means that there were more than 100 mis­sile vehi­cles there.”

    But Luzan’s account would not seem to rule out the pos­si­bil­i­ty that some old­er Buk ver­sions might have gone into stor­age in some Russ­ian ware­house. It is com­mon prac­tice for intel­li­gence ser­vices, includ­ing the CIA, to give old­er, sur­plus equip­ment to insur­gents as a way to cre­ate more deni­a­bil­i­ty if ques­tions are ever raised about the source of the weapons.

    For its part, the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment claimed to have sold its stock­pile of old­er Buks to Geor­gia, but Ukraine appears to still pos­sess the 9M38 Buk sys­tem, based on pho­tographs of Ukrain­ian weapons dis­plays. Pri­or to the MH-17 crash, eth­nic Russ­ian rebels in east­ern Ukraine were report­ed to have cap­tured a Buk sys­tem after over­run­ning a gov­ern­ment air base, but Ukrain­ian author­i­ties said the sys­tem was not oper­a­tional, as recount­ed in the Dutch report. The rebels also denied pos­sess­ing a func­tion­ing Buk sys­tem.

    As for the missile’s fir­ing loca­tion, the Dutch report said the launch spot could have been any­where with­in a 320-square-kilo­me­ter area in east­ern Ukraine, mak­ing it hard to deter­mine whether the fir­ing loca­tion was con­trolled by the rebels or gov­ern­ment forces. Giv­en the flu­id­i­ty of the front­lines in July 2014 – and the fact that heavy fight­ing was occur­ring to the north – it might even have been pos­si­ble for a mobile mis­sile launch­er to slip from one side to the oth­er along the south­ern front.

    The Dutch report did seek to dis­cred­it one alter­na­tive the­o­ry raised by Russ­ian offi­cials in the days after the shoot-down – that MH-17 could have been the vic­tim of an air-to-air attack. The Dutch dis­missed Russ­ian radar data that sug­gest­ed a pos­si­ble Ukrain­ian fight­er plane in the area, rely­ing instead of Ukrain­ian data which the Dutch found more com­plete.

    But the report ignored oth­er evi­dence cit­ed by the Rus­sians, includ­ing elec­tron­ic data of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment alleged­ly turn­ing on the radar that is used by Buk sys­tems for tar­get­ing air­craft. Russ­ian Lt. Gen. Andrey Kar­topolov called on the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment to explain the move­ments of its Buk sys­tems to sites in east­ern Ukraine in mid-July 2014 and why Kiev’s Kupol-M19S18 radars, which coor­di­nate the flight of Buk mis­siles, showed increased activ­i­ty lead­ing up to the July 17 shoot-down.

    The Dutch-led inves­ti­ga­tion was per­haps com­pro­mised by a cen­tral role giv­en to the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment which appar­ent­ly had the pow­er to veto what was includ­ed in the report. Yet, what may have spo­ken most loud­ly in the Dutch report was the silence about U.S. intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion. If – as Ker­ry claimed – the U.S. gov­ern­ment knew almost imme­di­ate­ly the site where the fate­ful mis­sile was launched, why has that evi­dence been kept secret?

    Giv­en the impor­tance of the con­flict in east­ern Ukraine to U.S. intel­li­gence, it was a high-pri­or­i­ty tar­get in July 2014 with sig­nif­i­cant resources devot­ed to the area, includ­ing satel­lite sur­veil­lance, elec­tron­ic eaves­drop­ping and human assets. In his rush-to-judg­ment com­ments the week­end after the crash, Ker­ry admit­ted as much.

    But the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion has refused to make any of its intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion pub­lic. Only belat­ed­ly did CIA ana­lysts brief the Dutch inves­ti­ga­tors, accord­ing to a U.S. gov­ern­ment source, but that evi­dence appar­ent­ly remained clas­si­fied.

    The sec­ond source told me that the rea­son for with­hold­ing the U.S. intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion was that it con­tra­dict­ed the ini­tial dec­la­ra­tions by Ker­ry and oth­er U.S. offi­cials point­ing the fin­ger of blame at the eth­nic Russ­ian rebels and indi­rect­ly at Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, who stood accused of giv­ing a rag­tag bunch of rebels a pow­er­ful weapon capa­ble of shoot­ing down com­mer­cial air­lin­ers.

    Despite Russ­ian denials, the world­wide revul­sion over the shoot-down of MH-17, killing all 298 peo­ple onboard, gave pow­er­ful momen­tum to anti-Putin pro­pa­gan­da and con­vinced the Euro­pean Union to con­sent to U.S. demands for tougher eco­nom­ic sanc­tions pun­ish­ing Rus­sia for its inter­ven­tion in Ukraine. Accord­ing to this source’s account, an admis­sion that a rogue Ukrain­ian group was respon­si­ble would take away a pow­er­ful P.R. club wield­ed against Rus­sia.


    But the release of the Dutch report – with­out any of that data – indi­cates that the U.S. gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to hide what evi­dence it has. That miss­ing evi­dence remains the dog not bark­ing, like the key fact that Sher­lock Holmes used to unlock the mys­tery of the “Sil­ver Blaze” when the sleuth not­ed that the fail­ure of the dog to bark sug­gest­ed who the guilty par­ty real­ly was.

    “As for the missile’s fir­ing loca­tion, the Dutch report said the launch spot could have been any­where with­in a 320-square-kilo­me­ter area in east­ern Ukraine, mak­ing it hard to deter­mine whether the fir­ing loca­tion was con­trolled by the rebels or gov­ern­ment forces. Giv­en the flu­id­i­ty of the front­lines in July 2014 – and the fact that heavy fight­ing was occur­ring to the north – it might even have been pos­si­ble for a mobile mis­sile launch­er to slip from one side to the oth­er along the south­ern front.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 14, 2015, 4:57 pm
  9. Here’s some­thing to keep in mind as the con­flict in Ukraine con­tin­ues to sim­mer: Until there’s a mean­ing­ful peace­ful res­o­lu­tion that actu­al­ly results in the kind of sit­u­a­tion where the con­flict isn’t just deesca­lat­ed but final­ly demil­i­ta­rized too, we aren’t just going to hear a lot more sto­ries about neo-Nazis and oth­er for­eign fight­ers flow­ing into Ukraine. We’re also going to hear about those same kinds of groups tak­ing weapons and explo­sives out of Ukraine:


    French sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ist held in Ukraine

    by RFI
    Issued on 04-06-2016 • Mod­i­fied 04-06-2016 to 16:01

    A French­man is being held in Ukraine after being caught trans­port­ing a large quan­ti­ty of explo­sives and weapons across the Pol­ish bor­der. He admit­ted plans to launch ter­ror attacks in France, sources told a French TV chan­nel that cit­ed evi­dence that he had far-right sym­pa­thies.

    The 25-year-old French­man is cur­rent­ly held by Ukrain­ian police after being arrest­ed at the Pol­ish fron­tier on 21 May and could be extra­dit­ed to France.

    At least three rock­et-launch­ers, about 100 det­o­na­tors, more than 100 kilos of TNT, half a dozen Kalash­nikov assault rifles and a num­ber of bal­a­cla­va hel­mets were found in his car, accord­ing to the M6 TV chan­nel which broke the sto­ry on Fri­day.

    Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty ser­vices had spot­ted him sev­er­al days ear­li­er and sus­pect­ed he was try­ing to buy weapons.

    M6’s sources said he admit­ted plan­ning attacks on French ter­ri­to­ry.

    A search of his home in east­ern France found mate­r­i­al for mak­ing explo­sives and a T‑shirt with the logo of a far-right organ­i­sa­tion, the chan­nel reports.

    He has no crim­i­nal record and was not on the secu­ri­ty ser­vices’ radar.

    A source told the Reuters news agency on Sat­ur­day that it was not “total­ly estab­lished” that a ter­ror attack was being planned.

    “M6’s sources said he admit­ted plan­ning attacks on French ter­ri­to­ry.”
    Keep in mind that, with France gripped with fear over Islamist ter­ror attacks and Marine Le Pen the like­li­est ben­e­fi­cia­ry in the 2017’s elec­tions, if there is anoth­er attack, there’s no rea­son to assume the French far-right group would­n’t have to actu­al claimed respon­si­bil­i­ty for what­ev­er this guy was plan­ning. They could just bomb some­thing and every­one would assume it’s ISIS or al Qae­da, who would prob­a­bly claim cred­it any­way. Or maybe they were plan­ning on sell­ing the weapons to local jihadists. Who knows. But with 2017 primed to big a his­toric polit­i­cal year for France’s far-right due in large part to pub­lic fears of Islamist ter­ror attacks and iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics fueled by a flood of Mus­lim refugees, this report is a big reminder that 2017 a num­ber of groups are going to ensure that 2017 is an extra crazy year for France.

    Also recall that the for­eign extrem­ists oper­at­ing in Ukraine who might be on the look­out for large amounts of TNT for sale aren’t lim­it­ed to neo-Nazis.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 4, 2016, 2:50 pm
  10. Here’s some more on the French neo-Naz­i’s arms pro­cure­ment activ­i­ties in Ukraine: Ukraine’s SBU states that cap­ture man claims he was plan­ning to attack the Euro 2016 games, mosques and syn­a­gogues to protest France’s immi­gra­tion poli­cies and glob­al­iza­tion. The SBU also state he admit­ted to plan­ning on car­ry­ing out as many as 15 attacks before and dur­ing the Euro 2016 games which start on June 10th and run through July 10th. The SBU claims he pur­chased the weapons from Ukraine’s East­ern sep­a­ratists. And while it’s pos­si­ble that he real­ly was plan­ning a large num­ber of attacks that would be attrib­uted to the French far-right’s griev­ances, he was obvi­ous­ly mak­ing these pur­chas­es on behalf of a large num­ber of neo-Nazis if that’s the case when you con­sid­er that 20 bal­a­clavas were includ­ed in his pur­chase in addi­tion to the large num­bers of weapons and explo­sives.

    But as the arti­cle below also notes, it sounds like the French author­i­ties aren’t ful­ly sold on the the­o­ries the SBU is putting for­ward and are still con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that he was sim­ply plan­ning on sell­ing the weapons on the black mar­ket. And that’s prob­a­bly a pos­si­bil­i­ty that real­ly can’t be ruled out since sell­ing those weapons to, say, French jihadis and let­ting the jihadis car­ry­ing out attacks instead of the neo-Nazis would accom­plish essen­tial­ly the same neo-Nazi goal of pro­vok­ing sec­tar­i­an con­flicts.

    At the same time, if this indi­vid­ual real­ly was plan­ning on sell­ing the weapons and explo­sives on the black mar­ket and came up with ter­ror plans as a cov­er sto­ry, who­ev­er he was plan­ning on sell­ing those weapons to must have been some pret­ty awful indi­vid­u­als for the “I’m plan­ning 15 ter­ror attacks” sto­ry to be worth ped­dling as a cov­er sto­ry. Assum­ing the sto­ry is real.

    So, as is often the case with these kinds of inves­ti­ga­tions, there’s more ques­tions than answers, although we can be pret­ty sure that what­ev­er the answer are they’re pro­found­ly unpleas­ant answers:

    The Local France

    What we know of French­man’s ‘plot to attack Euro 2016’

    Pub­lished: 06 Jun 2016 14:55 GMT+02:00

    Ukraine intel­li­gence ser­vices claimed on Mon­day they had thwart­ed a plot to car­ry out a wave of attacks at Euro 2016. As skep­ti­cal French author­i­ties inves­ti­gate those claims, here’s what we know.

    What was the plot?

    Accord­ing to the chief of Ukraine’s intel­li­gence agency SBU, a French­man was plan­ning to car­ry out as many as 15 ter­ror attacks “before and dur­ing Euro 2016 , which starts on June 10th and runs until July 10th.

    The agency’s chief Vasyl Hryt­sak said the alleged plot­ter planned to blow up “a Mus­lim mosque, a Jew­ish syn­a­gogue, tax col­lec­tion organ­i­sa­tions, police patrol units and numer­ous oth­er loca­tions.”

    Who was the man behind the alleged plot?

    He has been named in France as 25-year-old Gre­goire Moutaux, though his name has not been offi­cial­ly con­firmed. He comes from a lit­tle vil­lage in east­ern France called Nant-le-Petit, which is home to around 80 res­i­dents.

    What do we know about him?

    Moutaux worked as an “insem­i­na­tor” for a local farm­ing coop­er­a­tive in the Bas-Rhine depart­ment, in the Grand-Est region of France near the Ger­man bor­der. He often had rea­son to trav­el to Ukraine for his job.

    In terms of his back­ground the local pros­e­cu­tor Dominique Pen­salfi­ni-Demor­ise described him as a “nice kid, intel­li­gent, friend­ly and always will­ing to help”.

    “He’s a rather nice guy, who I think is actu­al­ly rather well-edu­cat­ed. I’ve even invit­ed him over for a glass of wine. I just can’t under­stand this,” neigh­bour Jean-Jacques Renck told France 3 TV.

    Dur­ing search­es of his police report­ed­ly found a T‑shirt bear­ing the emblem of an extreme right group in France. Some media reports that bal­a­clavas and explo­sive mate­ri­als were also found in his flat, although this remains uncon­firmed.

    The SBU’s Gryt­sak also said the sus­pect “expressed neg­a­tive views about his gov­ern­men­t’s approach to the immi­gra­tion of for­eign­ers into France, the spread of Islam and glob­al­i­sa­tion,” hence the rea­son this is being talked about as a pos­si­ble extreme right ter­ror plot.

    How was he caught?

    Gryt­sak said his ser­vice became aware in Decem­ber that a French nation­al had arrived in Ukraine and “began to estab­lish con­tacts with a num­ber of rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the (pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratist) east.”

    Ukraine’s east­ern war zone has been awash with arms since an insur­gency against the pro-West­ern gov­ern­ment in Kiev erupt­ed in April 2014,

    Gryt­sak said the arrest was made on May 21st when the man was try­ing to cross into Poland near the Ukrain­ian fron­tier town of Yago­dyn.

    “He obtained five Kalash­nikov rifles, more than 5,000 bul­lets, two anti-tank grenade launch­ers, 125 kilo­grammes (275 pounds) of TNT, 100 det­o­na­tors, 20 bal­a­clavas and oth­er things,” said the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence chief.

    The video below claims to show his arrest in Ukraine as he tried to cross the bor­der. He was pulled out a car with anoth­er indi­vid­ual who has not been named.

    How do we know he was plan­ning ter­ror attacks?

    Oth­er than the state­ments com­ing out of Ukraine, we don’t real­ly know any­thing for cer­tain about the alleged plot.

    There were reports in France on Mon­day that sug­gest­ed French author­i­ties were actu­al­ly skep­ti­cal about the claims from Ukraine.

    The Inte­ri­or Min­istry in Paris was appar­ent­ly treat­ing them with cau­tion. Telling­ly France’s spe­cial­ist counter ter­ror­ist inves­ti­ga­tors have not been put in charge of the probe.

    Cur­rent­ly that is in the hands of the unit that deals with arms traf­fick­ing in the east­ern city of Nan­cy. That sug­gests that for the moment the French still sus­pect the Gre­goire Moutaux may just have been plan­ning to sell the arms on the black mar­ket once he was back in France, rather than car­ry out the report­ed 15 ter­ror attacks.

    Nev­er­the­less it is expect­ed that the French author­i­ties will demand the sus­pect be extra­dite, after which more will become clear.

    Is there a real ter­ror threat from the far right in France?

    Whether this turns out to be a con­firmed plot by an indi­vid­ual with far right links or not, there is a clear threat accord­ing to French author­i­ties.


    French ter­ror expert Jean-Charles Bris­ard told The Local on Mon­day that the details of the plot were wor­ry­ing but said the French counter ter­ror­ist author­i­ties will not under­es­ti­mate the ter­ror threat from the extreme right.

    “They will not only be look­ing at the threat from Islamist extrem­ists,” Bris­ard said.

    He expressed cau­tion say­ing it was far too ear­ly to spec­u­late about the plot and the motives. But we can expect more infor­ma­tion to be revealed in the com­ing days.

    “French ter­ror expert Jean-Charles Bris­ard told The Local on Mon­day that the details of the plot were wor­ry­ing but said the French counter ter­ror­ist author­i­ties will not under­es­ti­mate the ter­ror threat from the extreme right.”
    Yeah, con­sid­er­ing that would be a com­plete­ly insane for French counter ter­ror author­i­ties to under­es­ti­mate the nation­al secu­ri­ty threat posed by the extreme right in a coun­try where the extreme right is so pop­u­lar it’s poised to win the French pres­i­den­cy next year, we can prob­a­bly be pret­ty con­fi­dent that French counter ter­ror author­i­ties will not under­es­ti­mate the ter­ror threat from the extreme right. At least for anoth­er year.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 6, 2016, 2:02 pm

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