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

For The Record  

FTR #849 Walkin’ the Snake in Ukraine, Part 6

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by 12/19/2014. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #827.  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012 and con­tained FTR #748.)

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Lis­ten: MP3  This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: The title of the pro­gram refers–once again–to the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk.

In that book, the SS go under­ground in the after­math of World War II, build up their eco­nom­ic mus­cle, buy into the opin­ion-form­ing media, infil­trate the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary, and–following a series of ter­ror­ist inci­dents in the U.S. which cause the dec­la­ra­tion of mar­tial law–take over the Unit­ed States.

Cen­tral to this takeover is the use of the Nazi-con­trolled main­stream media to fun­da­men­tal­ly revise his­to­ry in a pro-Hitler fash­ion. Just such a revi­sion is under­way in Ukraine, with the heirs to the Third Reich-allied OUN/B char­ac­ter­ized as “good guys” who share our val­ues.

Fun­da­men­tal to the points of argu­ment pre­sent­ed here is the cen­sor­ship of media both in Ukraine and around the world, includ­ing the U.S.

A new law passed by the Rada (the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment) bestows enti­tle­ments on sur­viv­ing mem­bers of the OUN and its mil­i­tary wing, the UPA. Fur­ther­more, the law makes it ille­gal to crit­i­cize those Third Reich allies for their activ­i­ties on behalf of Nazi Germany–it is those activ­i­ties that con­sti­tut­ed Ukraine’s first dri­ve for “inde­pen­dence.”

The Ukrain­ian Week­ly–for­mer­ly edit­ed by Michael Bor­ciukiw (who heads the OSCE’s Spe­cial Study Mis­sion to Ukraine)–is attack­ing artists and oth­er pub­lic fig­ures who are not sup­port­ive of the OUN/B heirs in Ukraine. “Buoyed by this suc­cess, the Ukrain­ian Week­ly now has its sights set on two oth­er West­ern con­cert per­form­ers deemed over­ly sym­pa­thetic to Rus­sia. The ground war in Ukraine sput­ters on. The ide­o­log­i­cal purges here [in Cana­da] are just begin­ning.

The Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment and high­er edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions in that coun­try are active­ly assist­ing the polit­i­cal reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the 14th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion, rein­vent­ing them as “Free­dom Fight­ers.”

In past dis­cus­sion of Ukraine, we have not­ed not only the Orwellian nature of U.S. media cov­er­age of the cri­sis, but the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Ser­pen­t’s Walk sce­nario. Doc­u­ment­ed World War II his­to­ry about the East­ern front and Ukrain­ian (and oth­er East­ern Euro­pean eth­nic) SS units and their role fight­ing for the Third Reich and par­tic­i­pat­ing in Nazi atroc­i­ties is now being writ­ten off as “Russian/Kremlin pro­pa­gan­da.”

Fur­ther­more, any­one who dares to dis­cuss this and its rel­e­vance to the OUN/B heirs installed by the Maid­an coup is labeled as, at best, a “dupe” or, at worst, an agent of an ene­my pro­pa­gan­da machine.

Now, things have dis­in­te­grat­ed still fur­ther. There is a cyber warfare/cyber pro­pa­gan­da offen­sive under­way by Ukraine and its NATO allies, appar­ent­ly being spear­head­ed by a U.S. Spe­cial Forces and cyber-war­fare vet named Joel Hard­ing.

Trag­i­cal­ly, Hard­ing seems to have had a pret­ty real­is­tic grasp of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal and rhetor­i­cal real­i­ty (see below) as recent­ly as 2012, if we can judge by his pro­nounce­ments. Now, how­ev­er, he cas­ti­gates crit­ics of U.S. and West­ern sup­port for the OUN/B heirs dom­i­nat­ing Ukraine in the strongest terms.

We also won­der if recent dif­fi­cul­ties expe­ri­enced by Robert Par­ry’s Con­sor­tium News web­site have any­thing to do with the sub­stance of George Elia­son’s alle­ga­tions? We have used numer­ous arti­cles from that web­site on the sub­ject of Ukraine.

In that same vein, a fright­en­ing arti­cle in The Nation dis­cuss­es the devel­op­ment of a neo-McCarthy­ism in Amer­i­can jour­nal­ism as a result of the cov­er­age of the Ukraine cri­sis. Will be accom­pa­nied by actu­al phys­i­cal vio­lence against crit­ics of U.S. and West­ern Ukraine pol­i­cy?

Exem­pli­fy­ing the Ser­pen­t’s Walk sce­nario vis a vis Ukraine is one Vita Zaverukha.

The West­ern medi­a’s orgias­tic fawn­ing over the fas­cists who have been installed in Ukraine is reach­ing new heights, or depths, depend­ing on one’s per­spec­tive. Seek­ing to mint heroes (and hero­ines) from the ranks of the OUN/B heirs gov­ern­ing Ukraine, the French edi­tion of Elle mag­a­zine anoint­ed one Vita Zaverukha as Ukraine’s ver­sion of Joan of Arc. One of the com­bat­ants grouped in the “pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions,” Zaverukha is actu­al­ly a Nazi, recent­ly arrest­ed for her role in rob­bing a gas sta­tion, a crime in which two Ukrain­ian police­men were killed.

The oth­er mem­bers of the gang to which Zaverukha belongs are also mem­bers of Nazi pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions.

Zaverukha’s sta­tus as a “hero­ine” imped­ed her arrest, despite the fact that she and her Nazi com­rades had “long ter­ror­ized the city [Kiev–capital of Ukraine].” She also appears to have been one of the par­tic­i­pants in the attack on The Odessa House of Trade Unions, in which 46 peo­ple were burned alive, while “Sve­ta” (as she calls her­self) and her Nazi com­rades voiced cel­e­bra­to­ry chants.

It is impos­si­ble with­in the scope of this post to cov­er our volu­mi­nous cov­er­age of the Ukraine cri­sis. Pre­vi­ous pro­grams on the sub­ject are: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794800803804, 808811817818824826829832833837.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

  • Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist Anne Apple­baum has pro­posed elim­i­nat­ing anonymi­ty with regard to inter­net com­ments as a result of “Russ­ian trolls.”
  • Analy­sis by Robert Par­ry of an Aus­tralian “doc­u­men­tary” that pur­ports to show that Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists shot down MH 17, using obvi­ous­ly doc­tored infor­ma­tion.
  • Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment and edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions sup­port­ing the polit­i­cal reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the 14th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion.

1. In Cana­da, gov­ern­men­tal and high­er edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions are assist­ing the resus­ci­ta­tion of the 14th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion into “free­dom fight­ers.”

The Waf­fen-SS as Free­dom Fight­ers” by Per Anders Rudling; The Alge­meiner; 1/31/2012.

. . . . Out­side of Europe, Waf­fen–SS vet­er­ans have been more suc­cess­ful in gain­ing accep­tance for their own nar­ra­tive. In Cana­da, gov­ern­ment author­i­ties, in the name of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism have agreed to share the con­struc­tion cost for mon­u­ments with the asso­ci­a­tion of the Ukrain­ian vet­er­ans of the 14th Waf­fen Grenadier Divi­sion of the SS (1st Ukrain­ian), bet­ter known at the Waf­fen–SS Gal­izien. Pub­lic insti­tu­tions of high­er edu­ca­tion insti­tute endow­ments in the hon­or of Ukrain­ian Waf­fen–SS vol­un­teers. [!] . . .

2. A new law passed by the Rada (the Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment) bestows enti­tle­ments on sur­viv­ing mem­bers of the OUN and its mil­i­tary wing, the UPA. Fur­ther­more, the law makes it ille­gal to crit­i­cize those Third Reich allies in their activ­i­ties on behalf of Nazi Germany–it is those activ­i­ties that con­sti­tut­ed Ukraine’s dri­ve for “inde­pen­dence.”

“Rada Rec­og­nizes OUN and UPA Mem­bers as Fight­ers for Inde­pen­dence of Ukraine”; Zik.ua; 4/9/2015.

“The state acknowl­edges that the fight­ers for Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence played an impor­tant role in rein­stat­ing the country’s state­hood declared on Aug. 24, 1991,” the law runs.

In com­pli­ance with the law, the gov­ern­ment will pro­vide social guar­an­tees and bestow hon­ors on OUN-UPA fight­ers.

“Pub­lic denun­ci­a­tion of the role of OUN-UPA in restor­ing the inde­pen­dence of Ukraine is ille­gal,” the law says.

3. More about the new law in Ukraine aimed at elim­i­nat­ing ref­er­ences to Ukraine’s Sovi­et past appears poised to cen­sor crit­i­cism of the OUN/B and its mil­i­tary wing the UPA.

“Will Ukraine’s New Anti-Com­mu­nist Law Ush­er in a Free Speech Dark Age?” by Alec Luhn; The Nation; 4/13/2015.

. . . . “Even if the state won’t be inter­ested in per­se­cut­ing Ukraine’s mar­ginal, weak left­ist orga­ni­za­tions, the far right will like­ly use this law … to harass politi­cians and also schol­ars on the basis that they are not crit­i­cal enough of the Sovi­et Union or are over-crit­i­cal of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists,” Volodymyr Ishchenko, deputy direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Social and Labor Research and a mem­ber of the edi­to­r­ial board of the pro­gres­sive jour­nal Com­mons, told The Nation.

Mean­while, anoth­er law passed last Thurs­day rec­og­nizes as inde­pen­dence fight­ers a con­tro­ver­sial nation­al­ist group accused of eth­nic cleans­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Nazis.

The new laws would like­ly tap into wide­spread anger with Rus­sia, which has backed a sep­a­ratist cam­paign in east­ern Ukraine. But they would also fur­ther pro­voke ten­sions with­in Ukrain­ian soci­ety, which has been frac­tured by a pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratist cam­paign that enjoys pop­u­lar sup­port in east­ern Ukraine. A peace plan spon­sored by France, Ger­many, Ukraine and Rus­sia fore­sees con­sti­tu­tional reforms giv­ing the rebel-con­trolled areas of east­ern Ukraine greater auton­o­my.

The anti-total­i­tar­i­an law is less wide-reach­ing than a bill intro­duced last year that pro­posed ban­ning “com­mu­nist ide­ol­ogy,” and it’s hard to dis­agree with its con­dem­na­tion of the repres­sions con­ducted under the Sovi­et regime. But it also would give the author­i­ties the pow­er to shut down any orga­ni­za­tion that makes even oblique ref­er­ence to the com­mu­nist tra­di­tion. . . .


“The leg­is­la­tion bans cita­tions of Lenin, which means that we’ll need to destroy half of our aca­d­e­mic works, it bans all com­mu­nist sym­bols, which means a war vet­eran will for­bid­den from wear­ing the Red Star medal he shed his blood for,” said Pyotr Simo­nenko, the leader of Ukraine’s com­mu­nist par­ty, which will have to change its name. “All this is a path to an even big­ger schism in Ukrain­ian soci­ety and a con­tin­u­a­tion of war.”

Even though the Ukrain­ian group Left Oppo­si­tion has crit­i­cized the com­mu­nist par­ty for its defense of Vladimir Putin’s “con­ser­v­a­tive and impe­ri­al­is­tic poli­cies,” it also con­demned the law, not­ing that it had been found to be over­ly harsh by the Ukrain­ian parliament’s own research depart­ment. In an analy­sis, the group argued that since the law for­bids not only pro­pa­ganda but also “infor­ma­tion jus­ti­fy­ing the crim­i­nal char­ac­ter of the com­mu­nist regime,” almost any­one can be accused.

“This doc­u­ment will strike a blow to aca­d­e­mic dis­cus­sions, cre­ate an instru­ment for repres­sion, and hin­der the strug­gle against oli­garchy and the cre­ation of a real left alter­na­tive,” it wrote.

Bill spon­sor Yury Lut­senko, a for­mer inter­nal affairs min­is­ter who was impris­oned under for­mer pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, argued that the leg­is­la­tion “doesn’t ban ide­ol­ogy, because that’s not accept­able in any demo­c­ra­tic coun­try.”

“This leg­is­la­tion bans a total­i­tar­ian regime under what­ever col­ors it uses, fas­cist, com­mu­nist, any oth­ers,” he told jour­nal­ists.

But the law is not so much anti-total­i­tar­i­an as it is anti-Russ­ian, and its con­tent dwells more on com­mu­nism than Nazism. Its spon­sors point­edly pushed it through before the cel­e­bra­tion on May 9 of the defeat of Nazi Ger­many. The St. George rib­bon com­mem­o­rat­ing the Sovi­et vic­tory has become a de-fac­to sym­bol for the pro-Russ­ian cam­paign in east­ern Ukraine, which the Krem­lin and the rebels have described as a sim­i­lar strug­gle against fas­cism.


Oth­er east­ern bloc coun­tries that left Russia’s orbit after the breakup of the Sovi­et Union, in par­tic­u­lar Poland and the Baltics, passed sim­i­lar anti-com­mu­nist laws. But Ishchenko, who is work­ing on an analy­sis of these laws, said the Ukrain­ian leg­is­la­tion is “far more repres­sive than laws in oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries.” In par­tic­u­lar, he said it lim­its aca­d­e­mic research by stip­u­lat­ing that you can cite sym­bols or pro­pa­ganda of a com­mu­nist regime only if you’re not legit­imiz­ing it.

The leg­is­la­tion could also encour­age far-right groups in their con­flicts with left­ist activists. . . .


. . . . Per­versely, the anti-total­i­tar­i­an law report­edly soft­ens reg­u­la­tions on pro-Nazi speech in one case: A sec­tion of arti­cle 436 of the crim­i­nal cade, which for­bids “deny­ing or jus­ti­fy­ing” the crimes of fas­cism, the Waf­fen-SS or those who “coop­er­ated with the fas­cist occu­pants,” has been removed, leav­ing only a ban on using “sym­bols of the Nazi total­i­tar­ian regime.”

While it’s not clear why this arti­cle was changed, it could be seen to ben­e­fit some nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions. Notably, the pro-Kiev Azov vol­un­teer bat­tal­ion fight­ing in east­ern Ukraine, many of whose mem­bers have expressed neo-Nazi views, uses the wolf­san­gel sym­bol that was also employed by a Waf­fen-SS tank divi­sion. And one of the trou­bling lega­cies of today’s Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists is that mem­bers of the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army, their ide­o­log­i­cal pre­de­ces­sor, have been accused of col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Nazis.

Anoth­er law passed last Thurs­day declared fight­ers of the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army and oth­ers to be “mem­bers of the strug­gle for Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence.” While the law would main­ly enti­tle nation­al­ist fight­ers to more gov­ern­ment ben­e­fits, it also helps more firm­ly estab­lish their rep­u­ta­tion as heroes of the state, despite the fact that nation­al­ists also report­edly orches­trated eth­nic cleans­ing that killed thou­sands of Poles and Jews dur­ing the war years.

David Marples, a his­tory pro­fes­sor spe­cial­iz­ing in Rus­sia, Belarus and Ukraine at the Uni­ver­sity of Alber­ta, called the law a “crude dis­tor­tion of the past” that lumps con­tro­ver­sial nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions like the UPA togeth­er with less ruth­less ones, lend­ing cre­dence to Krem­lin claims that the Kiev gov­ern­ment is run by nation­al­ists.

“Pre­sum­ably now his­to­ri­ans can be arrest­ed for deny­ing the hero­ism of [nation­al­ist] Stepan Ban­dera or the father of the intro­ducer of the bill, [UPA leader] Roman Shukheyvch,” Marples wrote in a blog post. “Russ­ian trolls oper­at­ing on social net­works, very promi­nently fea­tured in West­ern media over the past week, have now acquired new and authen­tic ammu­ni­tion for their ver­bal arse­nals.” . . . .

4. Next, the pro­gram presents analy­sis by Robert Par­ry of an Aus­tralian “doc­u­men­tary” that pur­ports to show that Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists shot down MH 17, using obvi­ous­ly doc­tored infor­ma­tion.

“A Reck­less ‘Stand-Upper’ on MH17” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 5/28/2015.

Exclu­sive: Australia’s “60 Min­utes” claimed to do an inves­tiga­tive report prov­ing the anti-air­craft bat­tery that shot down Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 last July fled into Rus­sia and pin­ning the atroc­i­ty on Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Putin. But the news show did a mean­ing­less “stand-upper,” not an inves­ti­ga­tion, writes Robert Par­ry.

By Robert Par­ry

In TV jour­nal­ism, there’s a dif­fer­ence between doing a “stand-upper” and doing an inves­tiga­tive report, although appar­ent­ly Australia’s “60 Min­utes” doesn’t under­stand the dis­tinc­tion. A “stand-upper” is the TV prac­tice of rush­ing a cor­re­spon­dent to a scene to read some pre­pared script or state some pre­or­dained con­clu­sion. An inves­ti­ga­tion calls for check­ing out facts and test­ing out assump­tions.

That inves­tiga­tive com­po­nent is espe­cial­ly impor­tant if you’re prepar­ing to accuse some­one of a heinous crime, say, mass mur­der, even if the accused is a demo­nized fig­ure like Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. Such charges should not be cast about casu­al­ly. Indeed, it is the job of jour­nal­ists to show skep­ti­cism in the face of these sorts of accu­sa­tions. In the case of Rus­sia, there’s the oth­er pos­si­ble com­pli­ca­tion that biased jour­nal­ism and over-the-top pro­pa­gan­da could con­tribute to a nuclear show­down.

We are still liv­ing with the cat­a­stro­phe of the main­stream media going with the flow of false claims about Sad­dam Hus­sein and Iraq’s weapons of mass destruc­tion. Now many of the same media out­lets are par­rot­ing sim­i­lar pro­pa­gan­da aimed at Rus­sia with­out demon­strat­ing inde­pen­dence and ask­ing tough ques­tions – although the con­se­quences now could be even more cat­a­stroph­ic.

That is the con­text of my crit­i­cism of Australia’s “60 Min­utes” han­dling of the key video evi­dence sup­pos­ed­ly impli­cat­ing Rus­sia and Putin in the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 over east­ern Ukraine. It is appar­ent from the show’s orig­i­nal, much-hyped pre­sen­ta­tion and a three-minute-plus fol­low-up that the show and its cor­re­spon­dent Michael Ush­er failed to check out the facts sur­round­ing an ama­teur video alleged­ly show­ing a BUK anti-air­craft mis­sile bat­tery – miss­ing one mis­sile – after the MH-17 shoot-down.

In the days fol­low­ing that tragedy, killing 298 peo­ple, Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials pro­mot­ed the video on social media as sup­pos­ed­ly show­ing the BUK bat­tery mak­ing its get­away past a bill­board in Krasnodon, a town south­east of Luhan­sk, alleged­ly en route toward Rus­sia. That claim pri­mar­i­ly came from Ukraine’s Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov, con­sid­ered one of the regime’s most right-wing fig­ures who rose to pow­er after a U.S.-back coup in Feb­ru­ary 2014.

From a jour­nal­is­tic stand­point, Avakov and the oth­er Kiev author­i­ties should have been con­sid­ered biased observers. Indeed, they were among the pos­si­ble sus­pects for the shoot-down. More­over, the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment placed the video’s bill­board in the town of Krasnoarmiis’k, north­west of Donet­sk and then under Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment con­trol. To sup­port that claim, the Rus­sians cit­ed a local address on the bill­board. . .

. . . .In the ini­tial pro­gram, you see the “60 Min­utes” team doing exact­ly that on some videos of less­er sig­nif­i­cance by super­im­pos­ing some of its own shots over ama­teur footage. How­ev­er, when it came to the key piece of evi­dence – the “get­away” video – the pro­gram devi­at­ed from that pat­tern. Instead of match­ing any­thing up, Ush­er just did a “stand-upper” in front of one of the bill­boards.

Ush­er bold­ly accused the Rus­sians of lying about the loca­tion of the bill­board and assert­ed that he and his team had found the real loca­tion. Ush­er ges­tured to the bill­boards on the inter­sec­tion in rebel-con­trolled Luhan­sk. He then accused Putin of respon­si­bil­i­ty for the 298 deaths.

But none of Usher’s images matched up with the “get­away” video. The scene in the video was clear­ly dif­fer­ent from the scene shown by Ush­er. After sev­er­al peo­ple sent me the seg­ment on Australia’s “60 Min­utes,” I watched it and wrote an arti­cle not­ing the obvi­ous prob­lems in the scene as pre­sent­ed.

My point was not to say where the video was shot. As far as I know, it might even have been shot in Luhan­sk. My point was that Ush­er and his team had failed to do their inves­tiga­tive duty to ver­i­fy the loca­tion as pre­cise­ly as pos­si­ble. Under prin­ci­ples of Eng­lish-based law — and of West­ern jour­nal­ism — there is a pre­sump­tion of inno­cence until suf­fi­cient­ly cor­rob­o­rat­ed evi­dence is pre­sent­ed. The bur­den of proof rests on the pros­e­cu­tors or, in this case, the jour­nal­ists. It’s not enough to guess at these things.

But Ush­er and his team treat­ed their job like they were just doing a “stand-upper” – putting Ush­er in front of some bill­boards in Luhan­sk to deliv­er his con­clu­sions (or those of Hig­gins) – not as an inves­tiga­tive assign­ment, which would have skep­ti­cal­ly exam­ined the assump­tions behind cit­ing that loca­tion as the scene in the video.

Ush­er offered no details about how he and his team had reached their con­clu­sion on where the video was shot beyond ref­er­enc­ing their meet­ings with blog­ger Hig­gins, who oper­ates out of a house in Leices­ter, Eng­land.

Though there was no dis­pute that the images of the “get­away” video and Usher’s “stand-upper” didn’t match, an irate “60 Min­utes” pro­duc­er released a state­ment denounc­ing me and defend­ing the show. The state­ment did, how­ev­er, acknowl­edge that the team had not tried to repli­cate the scene in the “get­away” video, say­ing:

“We opt­ed to do our piece to cam­era as a wide shot show­ing the whole road sys­tem so the audi­ence could get the lay­out and see which way the Buk was head­ing. The back­ground in our piece to cam­era looks dif­fer­ent to the orig­i­nal Buk video sim­ply because it was shot from a dif­fer­ent angle. The orig­i­nal video was obvi­ous­ly shot from one of the apart­ments behind, through the trees — which in in sum­mer were in full leaf.”

Those claims, how­ev­er, were more excus­es than real argu­ments. The wide shot did noth­ing to help Aus­tralian view­ers get a mean­ing­ful sense of the “lay­out” in Luhan­sk. There was also no map or oth­er graph­ic that could have shown where the apart­ments were and how that would have explained the dra­mat­ic dis­crep­an­cies between the “get­away” video and the “wide shot.”

After the pub­lic state­ment, there were oth­er rum­blings that I would be fur­ther put down in a fol­low-up that “60 Min­utes” was prepar­ing. I thought the update might present out-takes of the crew seek­ing access to the apart­ments or at least lin­ing up a shot from that angle as best they could – you know, inves­tiga­tive stuff.

Instead, when the update aired, it con­sist­ed of more insults – ref­er­ences to “Krem­lin stooges” and “Russ­ian pup­pets” – and a reprise of ear­li­er parts of the pro­gram that I had not dis­put­ed. When the update final­ly got to the key “get­away” scene, Ush­er went into full blus­ter mode but again failed to present any seri­ous evi­dence that his crew had matched up any­thing from the orig­i­nal video to what was found in Luhan­sk.

First, Ush­er pulled a sleight of hand by show­ing a traf­fic-cam­era shot of the inter­sec­tion appar­ent­ly sup­plied by Hig­gins and then match­ing up those land­marks to show that the crew had found the same inter­sec­tion. But that is irrel­e­vant to the ques­tion of whether the “get­away” video was tak­en in that inter­sec­tion. In oth­er words, Ush­er was try­ing to fool his audi­ence by mix­ing togeth­er two dif­fer­ent issues.

Sure, Ush­er and his team had found the inter­sec­tion picked out by Hig­gins as the pos­si­ble scene, but so what? The chal­lenge was to match up land­marks from the “get­away” video to that inter­sec­tion. On that point, Ush­er cit­ed only one item, a non-descript util­i­ty pole that Ush­er claimed looked like a util­i­ty pole in the “get­away” video.

How­ev­er, the prob­lems with that claim were mul­ti­ple. First, util­i­ty poles tend to look alike and these two appear to have some dif­fer­ences though it’s hard to tell from the grainy “get­away” video. But what’s not hard to tell is that the sur­round­ings are almost entire­ly dif­fer­ent. The pole in the “get­away” video has a great deal of veg­e­ta­tion to its right while Usher’s pole doesn’t.

And then there’s the case of the miss­ing house. The one notable land­mark in that sec­tion of the “get­away” video is a house to the pole’s left. That house does not appear in Usher’s video, although “60 Min­utes” par­tial­ly obscured the spot where the house should be by insert­ing an inset, thus adding to a viewer’s con­fu­sion.

Yet, one has to think that if Usher’s crew had found the house – or for that mat­ter, any­thing besides a util­i­ty pole that looked like some­thing from the video – they would have high­light­ed it.

Some of the show’s defend­ers are now say­ing that the pole was shot from a dif­fer­ent angle, too, so it’s not fair for me to say it doesn’t line up. But, again, that’s not the point. It’s “60 Min­utes” that is mak­ing an accu­sa­tion of mass mur­der, so it has the respon­si­bil­i­ty to present mean­ing­ful evi­dence to sup­port that charge. It can’t start whin­ing because some­one notes that its evi­dence is faulty or non-exis­tent.

So, here’s the prob­lem: As angry as “60 Min­utes” is with me for not­ing the flaws in its report, it was Usher’s job to check out whether the “get­away” video matched with the inter­sec­tion iden­ti­fied by Hig­gins as the pos­si­ble scene in Luhan­sk. Based on what was shown in the first show and then in the update, Usher’s team failed mis­er­ably. . . .

5. The West­ern medi­a’s orgias­tic fawn­ing over the fas­cists who have been installed in Ukraine is reach­ing new heights, or depths, depend­ing on one’s per­spec­tive. Seek­ing to mint heroes (and hero­ines) from the ranks of the OUN/B heirs gov­ern­ing Ukraine, the French edi­tion of “Elle” mag­a­zine anoint­ed one Vita Zaverukha as Ukraine’s ver­sion of Joan of Arc. One of the com­bat­ants grouped in the “pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions,” Zaverukha is actu­al­ly a Nazi, recent­ly arrest­ed for her role in rob­bing a gas sta­tion, a crime in which two Ukrain­ian police­men were killed.

The oth­er mem­bers of the gang to which Zaverukha belongs are also mem­bers of Nazi pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions.

Zaverukha’s sta­tus as a “hero­ine” imped­ed her arrest, despite the fact that she and her Nazi com­rades had “long ter­ror­ized the city [Kiev–capital of Ukraine].” She also appears to have been one of the par­tic­i­pants in the attack on The Odessa House of Trade Unions, in which 46 peo­ple were burned alive, while “Sve­ta” (as she calls her­self) and her Nazi com­rades voiced cel­e­bra­to­ry chants.

They just aren’t mak­ing those saints like they used to.

This brings to mind Gand­hi’s response when he was asked what he thought of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion: “I think it would be a good idea.”

Good grief, Charley Brown!

“Teenage Girl Sol­dier Hailed as Ukraine’s ‘Joan of Arc’ by Elle Mag­a­zine Is Revealed as Neo-Nazi and Is Arrest­ed over Cop Killing” by Will Stew­art and Flo­ra DruryDai­ly Mail; 5/08/2015.

A neo-Nazi por­trayed as Ukraine’s ver­sion of Joan of Arc by French fash­ion mag­a­zine Elle for her ‘brave’ fight against the Russ­ian sep­a­ratists has been arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with the deaths of two policemen.Vita Zaverukha was tak­en into cus­tody after two offi­cers were killed and three more injured on May 4, fol­low­ing a gang’s failed attempt to rob a petrol sta­tion in the cap­i­tal Kiev.

The gang, who all have links to the far-right in Ukraine, and alleged­ly were involved in a shoot out as they tried to flee the scene.

At first glance, it seems shock­ing that this slight, blonde teenag­er could be involved at all.

But Vita, 19, is charged with ‘an attempt on an offi­cer of the law’, report­ed news out­lets in Moscow — and a quick search reveals she is an active pro­moter and sup­porter of vile neo-Nazi ideals.

What’s more, she is also sus­pected of being linked to an attack on a traf­fic police post in Bykovnya two days before­hand, and it is also claimed she par­tic­i­pated in bloody attacks on the Odessa House of Trade Unions in May last year in which 46 per­ished and 200 were injured.

Yet just six months ago, Elle magazine’s French edi­tion was por­tray­ing her as a Joan of Arc-type fig­ure, brave­ly defend­ing her home from Russ­ian sep­a­ratists — tak­en in, it seems, by her inno­cent appear­ance.


But the magazine’s mis­take was quick­ly picked up: Vita is a well-known mem­ber of the Aidar Bat­tal­ion, which last Sep­tem­ber was slammed by Amnesty Inter­na­tional for its cam­paign of ter­ror through the war-torn Luhan­sk region.

Among the 400-strong vol­un­teer unit’s alleged crimes were abduc­tions, unlaw­ful deten­tion, ill-treat­ment, theft, extor­tion, and pos­si­ble exe­cu­tions.

The bat­tal­ion is known for its links to the far-right, and mem­bers have pre­vi­ously been pic­tured with Nazi insignia.

But it is Vita’s VK page — the Russ­ian equiv­a­lent of Face­book — which pro­vide unequiv­o­cal evi­dence of her own extreme views.

Pic­tures of the blonde teenag­er per­form­ing the Nazi salute, pos­ing in a t‑shirt cov­ered in the fas­cists’ emblem and even dec­o­rat­ing her tent with a colour­ful swasti­ka pop­u­late the page, while pic­tures she shares include things like ‘Ukraine with Yids’.

What Vita — who says she is ‘Aidar from the begin­ning’ and will con­tinue to be so — writes on the page makes her vile views even more star­tling obvi­ous.

‘I pro­mote Nazism, ter­ror, geno­cide,’ she wrote in Decem­ber last year. ‘For all this, I’m not a bad per­son. The jus­ti­fi­ca­tion is the “War for Peace”. If you go bring­ing the work to the end, only in this case, jus­tify my actions would not. Win­ners are not judged.’

. . . .Eka­te­rina Roshuk, for­mer Man­ag­ing Direc­tor at The Kyiv Times, claimed she had ‘long ‘ter­rorised’ the city, with no one able to do any­thing about her.

’The police were afraid to touch a hero of the Anti-Ter­ror­ist Oper­a­tion, which in turn was used as license to engage in law­less­ness.’ . . .

. . . . Vesti report­ed that Vita’s four male accom­plices were mem­bers of vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions fight­ing in country’s east­ern con­flict zone.

They were named as Vadim Pinus, 23, a dec­o­rated Azov Bat­tal­ion fight­er who was killed in the shootout with police, Evgeniy Koshe­lyuk, 20, sniper Andrei Romanyuk, 17, and Niko­lai Mon­ishenko, 17. . . .

6.  The Ukrain­ian Week­ly–for­mer­ly edit­ed by Michael Bor­ciukiw (who heads the OSCE’s Spe­cial Study Mis­sion to Ukraine)–is attack­ing artists and oth­er pub­lic fig­ures who are not sup­port­ive of the OUN/B heirs in Ukraine. “Buoyed by this suc­cess, the Ukrain­ian Week­ly now has its sights set on two oth­er West­ern con­cert per­form­ers deemed over­ly sym­pa­thetic to Rus­sia. The ground war in Ukraine sput­ters on. The ide­o­log­i­cal purges here [in Cana­da] are just begin­ning”:

“Pianist Pun­ished for Dar­ing to Chal­lenge Polit­i­cal Ortho­doxy in Ukraine: Walkom” by Thomas Walkom; The Star; 4/7/2015.

Sure­ly it is enough that Cana­dian politi­cians have tak­en sides in Ukraine’s bit­ter con­flict.

All three major par­ties in Par­lia­ment agree that Ukraine’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Kyiv is hero­ic and that east­ern rebels bat­tling it are mere cats-paws of Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

Must we now pun­ish any piano play­er who dares to dis­sent?

Appar­ently, the man­age­ment of the Toron­to Sym­phony Orches­tra thinks we should. It has can­celled two per­for­mances this week by U.S. pianist Valenti­na Lisit­sa, sim­ply because it doesn’t like her posi­tion on Ukraine.

Sym­phony man­agers appar­ently didn’t real­ize that Kyiv-born Lisit­sa has def­i­nite views on polit­i­cal devel­op­ments in her native Ukraine.

Nor did they seem to real­ize that the polit­i­cally pow­er­ful Ukrain­ian-Cana­di­an estab­lish­ment finds these views out­ra­geous.

. . . . In a Face­book post­ing this week, Lisit­sa describes her­self as some­one who ini­tially sup­ported last year’s rev­o­lu­tion in Kyiv, say­ing she hoped the so-called Maid­an move­ment would rid Ukraine of its cor­rupt, oli­garchic rul­ing class.

But, she writes, she soon became dis­il­lu­sioned when the same oli­garchs com­man­deered the rev­o­lu­tion and, in her words, start­ed to turn Ukraini­ans against one anoth­er.

Her crit­ics, of which there are many, say she nev­er sup­ported an inde­pen­dent Ukraine and has always been a Russ­ian stooge.

To sup­port­ers of the Ukrain­ian cen­tral gov­ern­ment, how­ever, she was an abom­i­na­tion. . . .

. . . . The Ukrain­ian Week­ly was also out­raged when, in anoth­er tweet, she referred to Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko as “clus­ter-bomber in chief.” And the pub­li­ca­tion was beside itself when she reprint­ed a car­toon depict­ing the West­ern media’s cov­er­age of Ukraine as a daisy chain of indi­vid­u­als with their heads up one another’s rec­tums.

Crit­ics also object­ed to a tweet regard­ing a bat­tle in East­ern Ukraine in which she wrote “Kiev kills scores of civil­ians.” And they attacked her for observ­ing that some who sup­port Ukraine’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment are neo-Nazis.

In retal­i­a­tion, sup­port­ers of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment pick­eted her appear­ance last fall at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall. They car­ried signs sug­gest­ing she was a Nazi and call­ing her racist.


Buoyed by this suc­cess, the Ukrain­ian Week­ly now has its sights set on two oth­er West­ern con­cert per­form­ers deemed over­ly sym­pa­thetic to Rus­sia. The ground war in Ukraine sput­ters on. The ide­o­log­i­cal purges here are just begin­ning.

7. In past dis­cus­sion of Ukraine, we have not­ed not only the Orwellian nature of U.S. media cov­er­age of the cri­sis, but the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Ser­pen­t’s Walk sce­nario. Doc­u­ment­ed World War II his­to­ry about the East­ern front and Ukrain­ian (and oth­er East­ern Euro­pean eth­nic) SS units and their role fight­ing for the Third Reich and par­tic­i­pat­ing in Nazi atroc­i­ties is now being writ­ten off as “Russian/Kremlin pro­pa­gan­da.”

Fur­ther­more, any­one who dares to dis­cuss this and its rel­e­vance to the OUN/B heirs installed by the Maid­an coup is labeled as, at best, a “dupe” or, at worst, an agent of an ene­my pro­pa­gan­da machine.

Now, things have dis­in­te­grat­ed still fur­ther. There is a cyber warfare/cyber pro­pa­gan­da offen­sive under­way by Ukraine and its NATO allies, appar­ent­ly being spear­head­ed by a U.S. Spe­cial Forces and cyber-war­fare vet named Joel Hard­ing.

Trag­i­cal­ly, Hard­ing seems to have had a pret­ty real­is­tic grasp of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal and rhetor­i­cal real­i­ty as recent­ly as 2012, if we can judge by his pro­nounce­ments. Now, how­ev­er, he cas­ti­gates crit­ics of U.S. and West­ern sup­port for the OUN/B heirs dom­i­nat­ing Ukraine in the strongest terms.

Hard­ing also appears to be direct­ing active inter­dic­tion and pro­pa­gan­da efforts against those crit­ics, who face some­thing that might be called “cyber-McCarthy­ism.”

We also won­der if recent dif­fi­cul­ties expe­ri­enced by Robert Par­ry’s Con­sor­tium News web­site has any­thing to do with the sub­stance of George Elia­son’s alle­ga­tions? We have used numer­ous arti­cles from that web­site on the sub­ject of Ukraine.

We note in pass­ing that we view with a jaun­diced eye the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of the web­sites and indi­vid­u­als cit­ed as tar­gets of the Hard­ing infor­ma­tion war­fare effort by George Elia­son. We also remind the casu­al read­er that we are very sup­port­ive of the NSA and GCHQ in “L’Af­faire Snow­den.” We also believe that the Under­ground Reich attack on NSA/GCHQ and its attack on Russia/Eastern Ukraine are part of the same “mega-op.” We MIGHT be the only folks on earth who are very sup­port­ive of both Rus­sia vis a vis Ukraine and NSA/GCHQ vis a vis Snowden/WikiLeaks.

Nonethe­less, we feel that the impli­ca­tions of this sto­ry are sin­is­ter.

“Can the Ukrain­ian Gov­ern­ment Tar­get Amer­i­can Jour­nal­ists in Amer­i­ca?” by George Elia­son; OpEd News; 3/19/2015.

If you are a jour­nal­ist writ­ing about or a per­son con­cerned about issues like Free Speech, read or write in alter­na­tive media or news, Occu­py move­ment, Fer­gu­son, Gaza, Ukraine, Rus­sia, police bru­tal­i­ty, US inter­ven­tion­ism, fair gov­ern­ment, home­less­ness, keep­ing the gov­ern­ment account­able, rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment, gov­ern­ment intru­sions like the NSA is doing, or you are lib­er­al, pro­gres­sive, lib­er­tar­i­an, con­ser­v­a­tive, sep­a­ra­tion of church and state, reli­gion, …

If you have a web­site, write, read, or like some­thing in social media that strays out­side the new lines the war isn’t com­ing, it’s now here.

What would we do?  Dis­rupt, deny, degrade, deceive, cor­rupt, usurp or destroy the infor­ma­tion.  The infor­ma­tion, please don’t for­get, is the ulti­mate objec­tive of cyber.  That will direct­ly impact the deci­sion-mak­ing process of the adversary’s leader who is the ulti­mate tar­get.”- Joel Hard­ing on Ukraine’s cyber strat­e­gy

Wel­come to World of Pri­vate Sec­tor IO (Infor­ma­tion Oper­a­tions)

IO or IIO (Inform and Influ­ence Oper­a­tions) defined by the US Army includes the fields of psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions and mil­i­tary decep­tion.

In mil­i­tary IIO oper­a­tions cen­ter on the abil­i­ty to influ­ence for­eign audi­ences, US and glob­al audi­ences, and adverse­ly affect ene­my deci­sion mak­ing through an inte­grat­ed approach. Even cur­rent event news is released in this fash­ion. Each por­tal is giv­en mes­sages that fol­low the same themes because it is an across the board main­stream effort that fills the infor­ma­tion space entire­ly when it is work­ing cor­rect­ly.

The pur­pose of “Inform and Influ­ence Oper­a­tions”  is not to pro­vide a per­spec­tive, opin­ion, or lay out a pol­i­cy. It is defined as the abil­i­ty to make audi­ences “think and act” in a man­ner favor­able to the mis­sion objec­tives. This is done through apply­ing per­cep­tion man­age­ment tech­niques which tar­get the audience’s emo­tions, motives, and rea­son­ing.

These tech­niques are not geared for debate. It is to over­whelm and change the tar­get psy­che.

Using these tech­niques infor­ma­tion sources can be manip­u­lat­ed and those that write, speak, or think counter to the objec­tive are rel­e­gat­ed as pro­pa­gan­da, ill informed, or irrel­e­vant.

Meet Joel Harding-Ukraine’s King Troll

Accord­ing to his own bio- Joel spent 26 years in the Army; his first nine years were spent as an enlist­ed sol­dier, most­ly in Spe­cial Forces, as a SF qual­i­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tor and medic, on an A Team. After com­plet­ing his degree, Joel then received his com­mis­sion as an Infantry Offi­cer and after four years tran­si­tioned to the Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence Corps. In the mid 1990s Joel was work­ing in the Joint Staff J2 in sup­port of spe­cial oper­a­tions, where he began work­ing in the new field called Infor­ma­tion Oper­a­tions. Eli­gi­ble Receiv­er 1997 was his tri­al by fire, after that he became the Joint Staff J2 liai­son for IO to the CIA, DIA, NSA, DISA and oth­er assort­ed agen­cies in the Wash­ing­ton DC area, work­ing as the intel­li­gence lead on the Joint Staff IO Response Cell for Solar Sun­rise and Moon­light Maze. Joel fol­lowed this by a tour at SOCCENT and then INSCOM, work­ing in both IO and intel­li­gence. Joel retired from the Army in 2003, work­ing for var­i­ous large defense con­trac­tors until accept­ing the posi­tion with the Asso­ci­a­tion of Old Crows.

Accord­ing to TechRe­pub­lic -The career of Joel Hard­ing, the direc­tor of the group’s (Old Crows) Infor­ma­tion Oper­a­tions Insti­tute, exem­pli­fies the increas­ing role that com­put­ing and the Inter­net are play­ing in the mil­i­tary. A 20-year vet­er­an of mil­i­tary intel­li­gence, Mr. Hard­ing shift­ed in 1996 into one of the ear­li­est com­mands that stud­ied gov­ern­ment-spon­sored com­put­er hack­er pro­grams. After leav­ing the mil­i­tary, he took a job as an ana­lyst at SAIC, a large con­trac­tor devel­op­ing com­put­er appli­ca­tions for mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence agen­cies.

Joel Hard­ing estab­lished the Infor­ma­tion Oper­a­tions Insti­tute short­ly after join­ing the Insti­tute at the Asso­ci­a­tion of Old Crows; he then pro­cured the rights to Infowar­Con and stood it up in 2009. Joel is an edi­tor of “The IO Jour­nal”, the pre­mier pub­li­ca­tion in the field of IO.  Joel formed an IO advi­so­ry com­mit­tee, con­sist­ing of the 20 key lead­ers from Us and UK cor­po­rate, gov­ern­ment, mil­i­tary and acad­e­mia IO. Joel wrote the white paper for IO which was used as back­ground paper for US Office of the Sec­re­tary of Defense’s QDR IO sub­com­mit­tee.

For ten years the Asso­ci­a­tion of Old Crows has been the Elec­tron­ic War­fare and Infor­ma­tion Oper­a­tions Asso­ci­a­tion, but there has been no con­cert­ed effort to ral­ly the IO Com­mu­ni­ty. This has changed, the IO Insti­tute was approved as a Spe­cial Inter­est Group of the AOC in 2008 and we have already become a major play­er in the IO Com­mu­ni­ty. This is espe­cial­ly impor­tant with the recent for­ma­tion of the US Cyber Com­mand, with the new def­i­n­i­tion of Infor­ma­tion Oper­a­tions com­ing out of the Qua­dren­ni­al Defense Review, with a new per­spec­tive of Elec­tron­ic War­fare and a myr­i­ad of oth­er changes. The IO Insti­tute brings you events, most notably Infowar­Com. Our flag­ship pub­li­ca­tion is the IO Jour­nal, already assigned read­ing by at least two mil­i­tary IO edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams. IO class­es are inte­grat­ed with Elec­tron­ic War­fare class­es to edu­cate, sat­is­fy require­ments and enable con­trac­tors to be more com­pet­i­tive.

When you look at the begin­ning of the NSA’s intru­sive poli­cies you find Joel Hard­ing. Hard­ing helped pio­neer the inva­sive soft­ware used by gov­ern­ment and busi­ness to explore your social net­works, influ­ence you, and dig out every per­son­al detail. In Oper­a­tion Eli­gi­ble Receiv­er 1997 he used free­ware tak­en from the inter­net to invade the DoD com­put­ers, util­i­ties, and more. It’s because most of it is based in “free­ware” that NSA snoop­ing has a legal basis. If you can get the soft­ware for freeand use it, why can’t the gov­ern­ment use it on you?

Ukraine-Bring­ing it into Focus

Look­ing back at Joel Hard­ing in 2012 seems like a dif­fer­ent man. This is the same accom­plished pro­fes­sion­al described above before Maid­an. Here’s how he describes the Russ­ian, Chi­nese, and Amer­i­can expe­ri­ence before his involve­ment in Ukraine.

…These expe­ri­ences, and the fact that I spent nine years in Spe­cial Forces and that kind of thing, caused me to think.  Then I began to won­der.  How much of what we read and what we see is pro­pa­gan­da?  Not for­eign pro­pa­gan­da, but domes­tic?  How much of that domes­tic ‘infor­ma­tion’ is pro­pa­gan­da? …We are being smoth­ered in one lie after anoth­er. All in the name of pol­i­tics. It seems to me that these politi­cians are almost com­pla­cent with us behav­ing like suck­ling pigs, absolute igno­rant morons…Free, unfet­tered, uncen­sored infor­ma­tion expos­es the lies their gov­ern­ments pre­fer to feed them, allow­ing their cit­i­zens to know and under­stand the truth.  Author­i­tar­i­ans, like dic­ta­tors, com­mu­nists, fas­cists and many sec­tar­i­an or reli­gious gov­ern­ments, are said to enhance their author­i­ty over their cit­i­zens with the use of fil­ters.”

So I ask you, do you see more lies and pro­pa­gan­da here than I saw in Chi­na or Rus­sia? I would say it depends on your per­spec­tive.  I see more lies aimed at us from our own politi­cians than I have ever seen any­place else in the world…   you tell me. Are Amer­i­cans more sus­cep­ti­ble to propaganda?-Harding

Joel Hard­ing has quite a dif­fer­ent opin­ion in 2014 after tak­ing con­trol of Infor­ma­tion Oper­a­tions (IO) in Ukraine.

Part of USIA formed what is now called the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, the BBG, who over­see VOA, RFE/RL, RFA, MEBN, Radio Mar­ti and oth­er inter­na­tion­al broad­cast­ing bureaus – their mis­sion is to broad­cast “fair and objec­tive” report­ing to what I called ‘denied areas’, such as Rus­sia – Hard­ing


Febuary 22nd 2014 marks Harding’s first involve­ment in the Ukrain­ian cri­sis. “Yes­ter­day I agreed to help present the infor­ma­tion of this sit­u­a­tion, bring­ing in rep­re­sen­ta­tives from many of the sources cit­ed above.  It is time Inter­na­tion­al Broad­cast­ing is exam­ined.”- Hard­ing

On Feb­ru­ary 28th 2014 he was announced direc­tor of the NSE Strat­e­gy Cen­ter. Hard­ing reached out imme­di­ate­ly to the IO com­mu­ni­ty to see what infor­ma­tion any­one had on cur­rent Russ­ian cyber­space oper­a­tions. On March 1st 2014 Hard­ing announced cyber options for Ukraine. . . .

8. A pro­pos­al to sub­ject Amer­i­can pub­li­ca­tions to a kind of neo-McCarthy­ism is dis­cussed in a Nation mag­a­zine piece. This would seem to indi­cate that Elia­son’s con­cerns are war­rant­ed.

“Neo-McCarthy­ism and the US Media” by James Car­den ; The Nation; 6/08/2015.

The cru­sade to ban Rus­sia pol­icy crit­ics

As a result of the civ­il war that has raged in Ukraine since April 2014, at least 7,000 peo­ple have been killed and more than 15,400 wound­ed, many of them griev­ously. Accord­ing to the Inter­nal Dis­place­ment Mon­i­tor­ing Cen­tre, 1.2 mil­lion east­ern Ukraini­ans have been inter­nally dis­placed, while the num­ber of those who have fled abroad, main­ly to Rus­sia and Belarus, has reached 674,300. Fur­ther, the Unit­ed Nations has report­ed that mil­lions of peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly the elder­ly and the very young, are fac­ing life-threat­en­ing con­di­tions as a result of the con­flict. Large parts of east­ern Ukraine lie in ruins, and rela­tions between the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia have per­haps reached their most dan­ger­ous point since the Cuban mis­sile cri­sis of 1962.

And yet a spe­cial report pub­lished last fall by the online mag­a­zine the Inter­preter would have us believe that Russ­ian “dis­in­for­ma­tion” ranks among the gravest threats to the West. The report, titled “The Men­ace of Unre­al­ity: How the Krem­lin Weaponizes Infor­ma­tion, Cul­ture and Mon­ey,” is a joint project of the Inter­preter and the Insti­tute for Mod­ern Rus­sia (IMR), a Man­hat­tan-based think tank fund­ed by the exiled Russ­ian oli­garch Mikhail Khodor­kovsky. Cowrit­ten by the jour­nal­ists Michael Weiss and Peter Pomer­ant­sev, this high­ly polem­i­cal man­i­festo makes the case for why the Unit­ed States, and the West gen­er­ally, must com­bat what the authors allege to be the Kremlin’s extrav­a­gantly designed pro­pa­ganda cam­paign. If imple­mented, the mea­sures they pro­pose would sti­fle demo­c­ra­tic debate in the West­ern media.

The report seeks to awak­en a pur­port­edly som­no­lent Amer­i­can pub­lic to the dan­ger posed by the Kremlin’s media appa­ra­tus. Accord­ing to Weiss and Pomer­ant­sev, the Russ­ian government—via RT, the Krem­lin-fund­ed inter­na­tional tele­vi­sion out­let, as well as a net­work of “expa­tri­ate NGOs” and “far-left and far-right movements”—is cre­at­ing an “anti-West­ern, author­i­tar­ian Inter­na­tionale that is becom­ing ever more popular…throughout the world.”

While it would be easy to dis­miss the report as a pub­lic­ity stunt by two jour­nal­ists attempt­ing to cash in on the Rus­so­pho­bia so in vogue among Amer­i­can pun­dits, their the­sis has gained wide accep­tance, nowhere more so than in the halls of Con­gress. On April 15, Pomer­ant­sev tes­ti­fied before the House For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee on the sup­posed threat posed by “Russia’s weaponiza­tion of infor­ma­tion.” Com­mit­tee chair Ed Royce and rank­ing mem­ber Eliot Engel are now expect­ed to rein­tro­duce a 2014 bill to reform the Voice of Amer­ica, which fell into dis­ar­ray fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union. In his open­ing state­ments at the hear­ing, Royce argued that the bill “will help us fight Putin’s pro­pa­ganda,” though some crit­ics believe it would turn the fed­eral government’s inter­na­tional broad­cast­ing ser­vice into “some­thing fun­da­men­tally not Amer­i­can.”

Who Are These Guys?

Weiss and Pomer­ant­sev are an unlike­ly pair. Weiss, youth­ful yet pro­fes­so­r­ial in man­ner, has become a near­ly con­stant pres­ence on cable news because of his sup­posed exper­tise on, among oth­er things, Rus­sia, Syr­ia, and ISIS. A long­time neo­con­ser­v­a­tive jour­nal­ist, he began his rise to cable-news ubiq­uity as a pro­tégé of the late Christo­pher Hitchens. After work­ing with Hitchens, he made his way to the Hen­ry Jack­son Soci­ety (HJS), a Lon­don-based bas­tion of neo­con­ser­vatism that, accord­ing to a report in The Guardian, has “attract­ed con­tro­versy in recent years—with key staff crit­i­cised in the past for alleged­ly anti-Mus­lim and anti-immi­grant com­ments.”

The his­to­rian Marko Atti­la Hoare, who resigned in protest from the HJS in 2012, has writ­ten that the orga­ni­za­tion pub­lishes “polem­i­cal and super­fi­cial pieces by aspir­ing jour­nal­ists and pun­dits that pan­der to a nar­row read­er­ship of extreme Euro­pho­bic British Tories, hard­line US Repub­li­cans and Israeli Likud­niks.” Accord­ing to Hoare, Weiss rein­vented him­self at the HJS “as an expert on Russia—about which he has no more aca­d­e­mic exper­tise than he does about the Mid­dle East.” Weiss served as HJS com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor before mov­ing on to found the Inter­preter under the aus­pices of the US-based IMR in 2013. Solid­i­fy­ing his main­stream-media cre­den­tials, he will join the Dai­ly Beast as a senior edi­tor on June 1.

Where Weiss’s mod­er­ate demeanor belies a deep com­mit­ment to neo­con­ser­v­a­tive ide­ol­ogy, Pomer­ant­sev exudes a kind of louche non­cha­lance. A British cit­i­zen of Russ­ian extrac­tion, this rum­pled tele­vi­sion pro­ducer has par­layed his career in the less-than-rep­utable dis­tricts of the Russ­ian media land­scape into a role as a kind of lat­ter-day Cas­san­dra, sound­ing a clar­ion call about the dan­ger that Russ­ian state pro­pa­ganda pos­es to the West.

An assid­u­ous self-pro­mot­er, Pomer­ant­sev chron­i­cled his jour­ney into the bel­ly of the Russ­ian media beast in a recent book, Noth­ing Is True and Every­thing Is Pos­si­ble. A launch par­ty in ear­ly 2015 at the Lega­tum Insti­tute, a Lon­don-based research orga­ni­za­tion with close links to the IMR, offered a glimpse of the esteem that Pomer­ant­sev enjoys. At the event, the Amer­i­can direc­tor of the institute’s Tran­si­tions Forum,Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist Anne Apple­baum, told the audi­ence that she believes his book is “an extra­or­di­nary achieve­ment.”

Pomer­ant­sev, it turns out, is an expe­ri­enced lob­by­ist too. In his book he recalls vis­it­ing the British Par­lia­ment in 2013 to make the case for “why Europe needs a Mag­nit­sky Act.” The orig­i­nal ver­sion of the bill, pushed by British hedge-fund mag­nate Bill Brow­der and passed by the US Con­gress in 2012, imposed bans on a group of Russ­ian offi­cials deemed respon­si­ble for the prison death of Russ­ian whistle­blower Sergei Mag­nit­sky. This in itself is notable, since Brow­der was an enthu­si­as­tic sup­porter of Vladimir Putin’s deci­sion to jail Khodor­kovsky in 2003.

Like Weiss, Pomer­ant­sev has become a fre­quent pres­ence in the US media. He appeared on the op-ed page of The New York Times last Decem­ber to inform read­ers that at the core of the Kremlin’s infor­ma­tion strat­egy is “the idea that there is no such thing as objec­tive truth.” Two months lat­er, he was the sub­ject of a fawn­ing Times pro­file in which he described his book as being “about the Faus­t­ian bar­gain made by an ambi­tious young­ster work­ing in Russia’s medi­a­land of oppor­tu­nity.” In join­ing forces with the edi­tor of a Khodor­kovsky-fund­ed webzine, he seems to have trad­ed one Faus­t­ian bar­gain for anoth­er.

Because of his decade-long impris­on­ment, Khodor­kovsky has attained the stature of a sec­u­lar saint in some cir­cles. But it should not be for­got­ten that the oil tycoon made his for­tune in a spec­tac­u­larly cor­rupt and some­times vio­lent fash­ion. Indeed, in 2000, For­eign Affairs described him and his fel­low oli­garchs as “a dan­ger­ous posse of plu­to­crats” who “threat­en Russia’s tran­si­tion to democ­racy and free mar­kets” as well as “vital US inter­ests.”

Accord­ing to a recent pro­file of Khodor­kovsky in The New York­er, staff mem­bers of a Riga-based news out­let in which he planned to invest object­ed. “He’s a tox­ic investor,” said a per­son “close to the project.” The arti­cle added that “his views of jour­nal­ists haven’t changed much since the nineties, when reporters could be bought and sold, and ‘hit’ pieces could be ginned up for the right price.” Khodorkovsky’s agenda—to bring regime change to Russia—is faith­fully reflect­ed in the work of IMR, the Inter­preter, and the “Men­ace of Unre­al­ity” report.

With the report’s pub­li­ca­tion, Weiss and Pomer­ant­sev have joined the long line of West­ern jour­nal­ists who have played to the public’s dark­est sus­pi­cions about the pow­er, inten­tions, and reach of those gov­ern­ments that are per­ceived as threats to the Unit­ed States. In his sem­i­nal essay on McCarthy­ism, “The Para­noid Style in Amer­i­can Pol­i­tics,” the his­to­rian Richard Hof­s­tadter wrote that in the world­view of these oppor­tunists, “very often the ene­my is held to pos­sess some espe­cially effec­tive source of pow­er: he con­trols the press; he has unlim­ited funds; he has a new secret for influ­enc­ing the mind (brain­wash­ing).” There exists no bet­ter pré­cis of Weiss and Pomerantsev’s view of Putin and the Russ­ian government’s media appa­ra­tus.

The report asserts that Putin’s Rus­sia is “arguably more dan­ger­ous than a com­mu­nist super­power.” Any effec­tive response to the virus of Russ­ian pro­pa­ganda, Weiss insists, must com­bine “the wis­dom of Orwell…with the savvy of Don Drap­er.” Read­ers will cer­tainly cede that the duo has led by exam­ple, since the report and its set of “mod­est rec­om­men­da­tions” are noth­ing if not Orwellian.

The authors call for the cre­ation of an “inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized rat­ings sys­tem for dis­in­for­ma­tion” that would fur­nish news orga­ni­za­tions and blog­gers with the “ana­lyt­i­cal tools with which to define forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.” While they throw in an oblig­a­tory caveat that “top-down cen­sor­ship should be avoid­ed” (exact­ly how is left unex­plained), they nonethe­less endorse what amounts to a media black­list. “Vig­or­ous debate and dis­agree­ment is of course to be encour­aged,” the authors write, “but media orga­ni­za­tions that prac­tice con­scious decep­tion should be exclud­ed from the com­mu­ni­ty.”

What qual­i­fies as “con­scious decep­tion” is also left unde­fined, but it isn’t dif­fi­cult to sur­mise. Orga­ni­za­tions that do not share the authors’ enthu­si­asm for regime change in Syr­ia or war with Rus­sia over Ukraine would almost cer­tainly be “exclud­ed from the com­mu­nity.” Weiss, for instance, has assert­ed repeat­edly that Rus­sia is to blame for the July 2014 down­ing of Malaysia Air­lines Flight MH17. But would a news orga­ni­za­tion like, say, The Atlantic or Der Spiegel be “exclud­ed from the com­mu­nity” for writ­ing about a Ger­man intel­li­gence report that indi­cated the mis­sile in ques­tion did not come from Rus­sia? Would jour­nal­ists like Robert Par­ry be black­listed for ques­tion­ing the main­stream account of the tragedy? Would schol­ars like the Uni­ver­sity of Ottawa’s Paul Robin­son be banned from appear­ing on op-ed pages and cable-news pro­grams for chal­leng­ing the notion that there is, in the words of Ukraine’s ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States, “no civ­il war in Ukraine,” but rather a war “start­ed and waged by Rus­sia”?

Weiss and Pomer­ant­sev accuse the Krem­lin of “mak­ing decep­tion equiv­a­lent to argu­men­ta­tion and the delib­er­ate mis­use of facts as legit­i­mate as ratio­nal per­sua­sion.” Maybe so. But these tac­tics are hard­ly unique to the Krem­lin. In Decem­ber, a group of Kiev par­lia­men­tar­i­ans pre­sented pho­tographs to the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee pur­port­ing to show Russ­ian troops and tanks invad­ing east­ern Ukraine. Sub­se­quent reports revealed that the images had been tak­en dur­ing the Russ­ian-Geor­gian war in 2008. Did the Inter­preter denounce the Ukrain­ian del­e­ga­tion for try­ing to pass off doc­tored pho­tos? No. Its warn­ings about dis­in­for­ma­tion cut only one way.

So do its oft-expressed con­cerns about trans­parency. Time and again, the authors call on pun­dits and think tanks to be more trans­par­ent with regard to their affil­i­a­tions, finan­cial inter­ests, and fund­ing. But the Inter­preter doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily prac­tice what it so ardent­ly preach­es. In addi­tion to the sup­port pro­vided by Khodor­kovsky, the pub­li­ca­tion iden­ti­fies its oth­er ini­tial source of fund­ing as the Herzen Foun­da­tion of Lon­don. Weiss respond­ed to a query ask­ing about the prove­nance of the foun­da­tion by admit­ting, “I don’t know Herzen’s cur­rent orga­ni­za­tional sta­tus, board of direc­tors, etc. You are most wel­come to inquire with the Char­i­ties Aid Foun­da­tion in the UK.” Mul­ti­ple requests to the Char­i­ties Aid Foun­da­tion, with which Herzen had claimed to be reg­is­tered, have all gone unan­swered. Indeed, there is no evi­dence Herzen exists.

The authors believe active mea­sures must be tak­en to shield gullible Amer­i­cans from the depre­da­tions of Putin’s pro­pa­ganda. That Amer­i­can news­pa­pers employ pub­lic edi­tors to mon­i­tor their news reports isn’t enough; they should also staff “counter-dis­in­for­ma­tion edi­tors” who “would pick apart what might be called all the news that is unfit to print.” Such pro­fes­sional cen­sors are nec­es­sary, we are told, because the Krem­lin “exploits sys­temic weak spots in the West­ern sys­tem, pro­vid­ing a sort of X‑ray of the under­belly of lib­eral democ­racy.” Worse, the authors charge, are the legions of “senior West­ern experts” pro­vid­ing aid and com­fort to the ene­my, whether by appear­ing on RT, accept­ing posi­tions on the boards of Russ­ian com­pa­nies, or sim­ply attend­ing Russ­ian-spon­sored forums. “The blur­ring of dis­tinc­tions between think tanks and lob­by­ing helps the Krem­lin push its agen­da with­out due scruti­ny,” they write.

Accord­ing to Weiss and Pomer­ant­sev, the most severe threat is the one posed by RT, a net­work to which they impute vast pow­ers. They are hard­ly alone. In Jan­u­ary, Andrew Lack, then chief exec­u­tive of the Broad­cast­ing Board of Governors—the fed­eral agency that over­sees the Voice of Amer­ica, Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­erty, and oth­er US-fund­ed media out­lets—likened RT’s threat to those posed by “the Islam­ic State in the Mid­dle East and groups like Boko Haram.” (Lack was recent­ly named chair­man of NBC News.)

RT is alleged­ly so skill­ful at mask­ing its nefar­i­ous mes­sage that “any­one tun­ing in would not imme­di­ately know it is Krem­lin-run or even asso­ciate it with Rus­sia,” the authors write—even though the network’s news broad­casts begin with the state­ment “Com­ing to you live from Moscow, this is RT.”

The Phan­tom Men­ace

The lead­ing author­ity on Sovi­et and Russ­ian mass media, Duke Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor Ellen Mick­iewicz, dis­putes the entire premise of Weiss and Pomerantsev’s report. She told me that the hypo­der­mic mod­el of media effects (in which mes­sages are “inject­ed” into the audi­ence sim­ply by virtue of being dis­sem­i­nated) was sci­en­tif­i­cally dis­proved decades ago. “It’s the most sim­ple­minded mis­take you can make in eval­u­at­ing media effects,” she said.


Slouch­ing Towards McCarthy­ism

One might expect that such neo-McCarthy­ism, reek­ing as it does of a bare­ly con­cealed attempt to cen­sor and intim­i­date, would have touched off protests, if not con­dem­na­tion, in the estab­lish­ment media. But the Inter­preter has been giv­en a rap­tur­ous recep­tion on both sides of the Atlantic.

Among its most vis­i­ble pro­po­nents has been the Lega­tum Insti­tute. As Mark Ames recent­ly report­ed in the online pub­li­ca­tion Pan­do­Daily, Lega­tum is the brain­child of bil­lion­aire ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Christo­pher Chan­dler. Like Brow­der and Khodor­kovsky, Chan­dler made his bil­lions in post-Sovi­et Rus­sia. Accord­ing to Ames, he and his broth­er “report­edly were the sin­gle biggest for­eign ben­e­fi­cia­ries of one of the great­est pri­va­ti­za­tion scams in his­tory: Russia’s vouch­er pro­gram in the ear­ly 1990s.”

To mark the pub­li­ca­tion of the “Men­ace of Unre­al­ity” report, Lega­tum host­ed a pan­el dis­cus­sion that fea­tured such lumi­nar­ies as Anne Apple­baum, US Ambas­sador to Ukraine Geof­frey Pyatt, for­mer US ambas­sador John Herb­st, and Ukrain­ian Ambas­sador at Large Olexan­der Scher­ba. All expressed grave con­cern over the threat that Putin’s pro­pa­ganda machine pos­es to the West.

The event was fol­lowed by sim­i­lar ses­sions host­ed by the Har­ri­man Insti­tute and the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy. At the lat­ter event, Weiss and Pomer­ant­sev were joined by Free­dom House direc­tor David Kramer; a young func­tionary of the neo­con­ser­v­a­tive For­eign Pol­icy Ini­tia­tive; and the NED’s Inter­na­tional Forum exec­u­tive direc­tor, Christo­pher Walk­er, who tout­ed the endowment’s “close ties” with both the Inter­preter and the Insti­tute for Mod­ern Rus­sia.

Two of the report’s most vis­i­ble sup­port­ers have been Apple­baum and Edward Lucas, a senior edi­tor at The Econ­o­mist. Soon after the launch par­ty at Lega­tum, Apple­baum took to the pages of The Wash­ing­ton Post and The New York Review of Books to plug Weiss and Pomerantsev’s cru­sade. In an essay for the for­mer, she warned that “for democ­ra­cies,” Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion pos­es “a seri­ous chal­lenge.”Russia’s use of what Weiss and Pomer­ant­sev refer to as Inter­net “trolls” is espe­cially wor­ry­ing to Apple­baum, who fears read­ers will be undu­ly influ­enced by their “neg­a­tive or mock­ing remarks.”


In the end, apart from being a frontal attack on the core tenets of free speech, the Weiss-Pomer­ant­sev cru­sade lets West­ern pun­dits and pol­i­cy-mak­ers off the hook for their com­plic­ity in the Ukraine cri­sis by dis­cour­ag­ing any kind of crit­i­cal think­ing or recon­sid­er­a­tion of US pol­icy. The inces­sant focus in “The Men­ace of Unre­al­ity” on the Kremlin’s media appa­ra­tus obscures the human­i­tar­ian cat­a­stro­phe unfold­ing in Ukraine, as well as the grow­ing dan­ger of a larg­er US-Rus­sia war. The pol­icy of bel­liger­ence toward Rus­sia that Weiss and Pomer­ant­sev so staunch­ly sup­port has been one of the pri­mary cul­prits in the Ukraine cri­sis. The fact that they now seek to silence, smear, and even black­list crit­ics of that pol­icy makes their project all the more egre­gious.

One would have hoped that jour­nal­ists, of all peo­ple, would object to this project in the strongest pos­si­ble terms. That no one has yet done so is an omi­nous sign.


9.  Con­cerned about “Russ­ian trolls” mak­ing com­ments on the inter­net, the Wash­ing­ton Post’s Anne Apple­baum has a solu­tion in mind. End inter­net anonymi­ty.
“Anoth­er Rea­son to Avoid Read­ing the Com­ments” by Anne Apple­baumWash­ing­ton Post; 11/28/2014.

If you are read­ing this arti­cle on the Inter­net, stop after­ward and think about it. Then scroll to the bot­tom and read the com­men­tary. If there isn’t any, try a Web site that allows com­ments, prefer­ably one that is very polit­i­cal. Then recheck your views.

Chances are your think­ing will have changed, espe­cially if you have read a series of insult­ing, neg­a­tive or mock­ing remarks — as so often you will. Once upon a time, it seemed as if the Inter­net would be a place of civ­i­lized and open debate; now, unedit­ed forums often dete­ri­o­rate to insult exchanges. Like it or not, this mat­ters: Mul­ti­ple exper­i­ments have shown that per­cep­tions of an arti­cle, its writer or its sub­ject can be pro­foundly shaped by anony­mous online com­men­tary, espe­cially if it is harsh. One group of researchers found that rude com­ments“not only polar­ized read­ers, but they often changed a participant’s inter­pre­ta­tion of the news sto­ry itself.” A dig­i­tal ana­lyst at Atlantic Media also dis­cov­ered that peo­ple who read neg­a­tive com­ments were more like­ly to judge that an arti­cle was of low qual­ity and, regard­less of the con­tent, to doubt the truth of what it stat­ed.

Some news orga­ni­za­tions have respond­ed by heav­ily curat­ing com­ments. One Twit­ter cam­paigner, @AvoidCommentsperi­od­i­cally reminds read­ers to ignore anony­mous posters: “You wouldn’t lis­ten to some­one named Bonerman26 in real life. Don’t read the com­ments.” But none of that can pre­vent waves of insult­ing com­men­tary from peri­od­i­cally wash­ing over oth­er parts of the Inter­net, infil­trat­ing Face­book or over­whelm­ing Twit­ter.

If all of this com­men­tary were spon­ta­neous, then this would sim­ply be an inter­est­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­non. But it is not. A friend who worked for a pub­lic rela­tions com­pany in Europe tells of com­pa­nies that hire peo­ple to post, anony­mously, pos­i­tive words on behalf of their clients and neg­a­tive words about rivals. Polit­i­cal par­ties of var­i­ous kinds, in var­i­ous coun­tries, are rumored to do the same.

States have grown inter­ested in join­ing the fray as well. Last year, Russ­ian jour­nal­ists infil­trated an orga­ni­za­tion in St. Peters­burg that pays peo­ple to post at least 100 com­ments a day; an inves­ti­ga­tion ear­lier this year found that a well-con­nect­ed busi­ness­man was pay­ing Russ­ian trollsto man­age 10 Twit­ter accounts apiece with up to 2,000 fol­low­ers. In the wake of the Russ­ian inva­sion of Ukraine, the Guardian of Lon­don admit­tedit was hav­ing trou­ble mod­er­at­ing what it called an “orches­trated cam­paign.” “Good­bye ‘Eddie,’ ” tweet­ed the Eston­ian pres­i­denta few months ago, as he blocked yet anoth­er Twit­ter troll.


For democ­ra­cies, this is a seri­ous chal­lenge. Online com­men­tary sub­tly shapes what vot­ers think and feel, even if it just rais­es the lev­el of irri­ta­tion, or gives read­ers the impres­sion that cer­tain views are “con­tro­ver­sial,” or makes them won­der what the “main­stream” ver­sion of events is con­ceal­ing. For the most part, the Russ­ian trolls aren’t sup­ply­ing clas­sic pro­pa­ganda, designed to trum­pet the glo­ries of Sovi­et agri­cul­ture. Instead, as jour­nal­ists Peter Pomer­ant­sev and Michael Weisshave writ­ten in a paperana­lyz­ing the new tac­tics of dis­in­for­ma­tion, their pur­pose is rather “to sow con­fu­sion via con­spir­acy the­o­ries and pro­lif­er­ate false­hoods.” In a world where tra­di­tional jour­nal­ism is weak and infor­ma­tion is plen­ti­ful, that isn’t very dif­fi­cult to do.

But no West­ern gov­ern­ment wants to “cen­sor” the Inter­net, either, and objec­tions will always be raised if gov­ern­ment mon­ey is even spent study­ing this phe­nom­e­non. Per­haps, as Weiss and Pomer­ant­sev have also argued, we there­fore need civic orga­ni­za­tions or char­i­ties that can iden­tify delib­er­ately false mes­sages and bring them to pub­lic atten­tion. Per­haps schools, as they once taught stu­dents about news­pa­pers, now need to teach a new sort of eti­quette: how to rec­og­nize an Inter­net troll, how to dis­tin­guish truth from state-spon­sored fic­tion.

Soon­er or lat­er, we may also be forced to end Inter­net anonymi­ty or to at least ensure that every online per­sona is linked back to a real per­son: Any­one who writes online should be as respon­si­ble for his words as if he were speak­ing them aloud. I know there are argu­ments in favor of anonymi­ty, but too many peo­ple now abuse the priv­i­lege. Human rights, includ­ing the right to free­dom of expres­sion, should belong to real human beings and not to anony­mous trolls.

“Soon­er or lat­er, we may also be forced to end Inter­net anonymi­ty or to at least ensure that every online per­sona is linked back to a real per­son: Any­one who writes online should be as respon­si­ble for his words as if he were speak­ing them aloud”

10. If the Guin­ness Book of World Records had a cat­e­go­ry for sheer polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal igno­rance, the Pol­ish for­eign min­is­ter just might lay claim to that dubi­ous prize.

The Red Army units that lib­er­at­ed Auschwitz were part of the Sovi­et force amal­ga­mat­ed under the com­mand rubric “Ukrain­ian Front.” Seiz­ing on that, the Pol­ish for­eign min­is­ter claimed that “Ukrain­ian” sol­diers lib­er­at­ed Auschwitz.

We don’t know what he has been drink­ing or smok­ing, but it must be real­ly strong stuff!

Good grief, Char­lie Brown!

“West Rains on Putin’s WWII Parade as Ukraine Cri­sis Takes Toll” by Anna Smolchenko and Olga Roten­berg [Agence France-Presse]; Yahoo News; 3/19/2015.

. . . . Pre­sid­ing over prepa­ra­tions for the Rus­sia-wide fes­tiv­i­ties this week, Putin said attempts to belit­tle Rus­si­a’s role in WWII were aimed at strip­ping it of its “moral author­i­ty.”

“Occa­sion­al­ly we hear sheer luna­cy — it’s amaz­ing how peo­ple even come to that.”

Poland angered Moscow when its for­eign min­is­ter said it was Ukrain­ian sol­diers — rather than the Sovi­et Red Army — who lib­er­at­ed Auschwitz in 1945. . . .



3 comments for “FTR #849 Walkin’ the Snake in Ukraine, Part 6”

  1. The Tele­graph has a report on Ukraine’s ‘his­to­ry laws’ that make it ille­gal to crit­i­cize Ukraine’s fas­cist Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors. The arti­cle con­tains lots of the expect­ed “some peo­ple say these groups were involved with [insert his­toric crime here], but oth­ers disagree”-back and forth when a top­ic like this gets report­ed on. But it also con­tains this lit­tle fun-fact: The MP in the Rad­i­cal Par­ty that wrote the “free­dom fight­ers” law, Yury Shukhevych, is the son of Roman Shukhevych, the for­mer head of the UPA:

    The Tele­graph
    Ukraine’s ‘his­to­ry laws’ purge it of com­mu­nist sym­bols but divide the pop­u­la­tion
    Lion­is­ing nation­al­ists and remov­ing Sovi­et mon­u­ments helps pro­tect Ukraine from Russ­ian aggres­sion, sup­port­ers say — but oth­ers see praise for Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors and an assault on the past

    By Tom Parfitt, Lviv, Kiev and Zapor­izhia

    8:00AM BST 30 Jun 2015

    Almost blind and 82 years old, Yury Shukhevych leans heav­i­ly on a stick topped with an orna­men­tal axe-head. “It’s a Hut­sul axe from the Carpathi­ans,” he says, with an imp­ish smile. “You could cleave a head in two with this.”

    His stooped body and eyes squeezed almost shut do not sug­gest much of a war­rior, but Mr Shukheyvch has pedi­gree. His father, Roman, was the head of the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA), a nation­al­ist group that fought both the Ger­mans and the Sovi­ets dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, col­lab­o­rat­ing for a time with the Nazis.

    For some in Ukraine, mem­bers of the UPA were hero­ic free­dom fight­ers who resist­ed all intrud­ers in an attempt to pre­serve a nation­al home­land. But for oth­ers in this deeply divid­ed coun­try of 45 mil­lion peo­ple, they were trai­tor­ous fas­cists, bent on mass mur­der and eth­nic cleans­ing.

    Now the argu­ment is being stirred anew after Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s pres­i­dent, approved a series of con­tro­ver­sial new “his­to­ry laws” last month. Under one law, Ukraine is to be purged of com­mu­nist sym­bols, includ­ing hun­dreds of stat­ues of Vladimir Lenin. Under anoth­er, UPA vet­er­ans – and oth­er 20th cen­tu­ry “fight­ers for Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence” – acquire a spe­cial sta­tus, mak­ing it ille­gal to express “pub­lic con­tempt” towards them or deny the legit­i­ma­cy of their strug­gle.

    The con­tentious laws feed into a wider bat­tle for iden­ti­ty and sur­vival as gov­ern­ment troops fight pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists in the east­ern Don­bas region, where a cease­fire is dis­in­te­grat­ing.

    ‘Let the Rus­sians not tell us who are our heroes’

    Mr Shukhevych, an MP with the nation­al­ist Rad­i­cal Par­ty since Octo­ber, draft­ed the law on free­dom fight­ers. He says his father and com­rades resist­ed Moscow’s dom­i­nance and as a result were sub­ject­ed to a Sovi­et – and now Russ­ian — smear cam­paign.

    “Let the Rus­sians not tell us who are our heroes,” he says. Fight­ing togeth­er with the Ger­mans against Sovi­et forces dur­ing the war was a tem­po­rary and prag­mat­ic move for Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists, Mr Shukhevych adds, and they did not sym­pa­thise with Nazi ideas.

    “This is all Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da,” he says. “The Ukrain­ian peo­ple were denied their right to inde­pen­dence. How can this be? This is the legal right of every nation. We know of many nations that have fought for their inde­pen­dence, includ­ing in Europe. Lithua­nia, Latvia, Esto­nia, Fin­land. Ser­bia against Bul­gar­ia; Poland fought in the 19th cen­tu­ry. Byron fought for the inde­pen­dence of Greece. So to deny the legit­i­ma­cy of Ukraine’s strug­gle is ille­gal.”

    Intro­duc­ing the new leg­is­la­tion pro­tect­ing the UPA drew a pre­dictably froth­ing response from Rus­sia, where Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment is derid­ed as a “fas­cist jun­ta”. But it has also pro­voked dis­qui­et in the West.

    Eth­nic cleans­ing

    A group of 70 schol­ars on Ukraine appealed to Mr Poroshenko to call off the “his­to­ry laws”, say­ing they would sti­fle debate and make it “a crime to ques­tion the legit­i­ma­cy of an organ­i­sa­tion (UPA) that slaugh­tered tens of thou­sands of Poles in one of the most heinous acts of eth­nic cleans­ing in the his­to­ry of Ukraine”.

    The UPA was estab­lished as a guer­ril­la group in 1942. The pre­vi­ous year, Roman Shukhevych and oth­er Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists had formed the Nachti­gall and Roland bat­tal­ions under Ger­man com­mand to sup­port the Nazi inva­sion of the Sovi­et Union.

    Mem­bers of the Organ­i­sa­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) and UPA, its mil­i­tary wing, mas­sa­cred between 60,000 and 100,000 Poles in Vol­hy­nia and Gali­cia, and also helped kill Jews, accord­ing to his­to­ri­ans.

    While the Com­mu­nists were its main ene­my, the UPA lat­er turned on the Nazis too after Adolf Hitler failed to sup­port the estab­lish­ment of a Ukrain­ian state. The par­ti­sans con­tin­ued to fight Sovi­et rule for sev­er­al years after the war had end­ed.

    A place of pil­grim­age

    Mr Shukhevych met the Tele­graph in the for­mer safe-house where his fugi­tive father hid and was final­ly assas­si­nat­ed in 1950 by agents of the MGB, pre­de­ces­sor of the KGB.

    The house, on the edge of Lviv in west­ern Ukraine, a nation­al­ist strong­hold, is now a muse­um and a place of pil­grim­age. It was set up after the Sovi­et col­lapse in 1991 and fund­ed by the descen­dants of UPA mem­bers who had fled to the US after the war.

    Vis­i­tors come to see Roman Shukhevych’s wartime uni­forms and a mock-up of a par­ti­sans’ for­est bunker. In one wall of the house is a bul­let-hole; left, it is said, when the UPA leader fired a final shot from his revolver as he was struck down by an MGB machine-gun vol­ley. The shot was to warn his assis­tant to swal­low a cyanide cap­sule.

    “We get a lot of men from the army and the vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions vis­it­ing before they go off to fight in Don­bas,” says Volodymyr Karan­da, the museum’s direc­tor, refer­ring to the war against Moscow-backed rebels in east­ern Ukraine, which has claimed more than 6,400 lives since April last year. “For them it’s an exam­ple of how to fight for one’s moth­er­land even against uneven odds, an inspi­ra­tion.”

    Mr Karan­da does not deny that the UPA mur­dered civil­ians in the 1940s, but he ques­tions the scale of the killings and says they took place at the time of a ruth­less, internecine con­flict.

    Mr Shukhevych, sit­ting at a table a few steps from where his father was shot, adds: “I don’t jus­ti­fy every­thing that was done. But we can also talk of tragedies.” The Poles killed many Ukraini­ans and destroyed church­es, he said, while the Sovi­ets slaugh­tered, deport­ed and impris­oned mil­lions.

    ‘Lenin is a man with blood on his hands’

    Besides giv­ing sta­tus to the UPA, Mr Poroshenko’s new “his­to­ry laws” make it a crime to deny the “crim­i­nal nature” of both the Nazi regime and the “com­mu­nist total­i­tar­i­an regime of 1917–1991 in Ukraine”. Using their sym­bols is also banned – mean­ing that over the next year com­mu­nist mon­u­ments will be pulled down, street names changed and sou­venirs pro­hib­it­ed.

    The aim is to “tear up the link with our Sovi­et past” says Mr Shukhevych, who spent more than 30 years in Sovi­et pris­ons and penal colonies because of his father. “We must under­stand that Lenin is a man with blood on his hands, a sym­bol of an anti-human sys­tem. He can be left in a muse­um but not on our streets.”

    In Kiev, Ukraine’s cap­i­tal, many see the new laws as part of an exis­ten­tial strug­gle in the face of Russ­ian aggres­sion.

    Oleg Sinyake­vich serves in the OUN Bat­tal­ion, a vol­un­teer unit which adopt­ed its name from the wartime nation­al­ist group. Last year he fought against Moscow-backed sep­a­ratists around Donet­sk air­port.

    UPA vet­er­ans are unfair­ly maligned as Hitler sup­port­ers, he says. Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, they “did not go to fight in Poland, or in Rus­sia, or in Belarus. We did not go any­where, we were in our own land. The fas­cists invad­ed, then the com­mu­nists, then the fas­cists again. We fought the aggres­sor.

    “It’s just the same now. Rus­sia attacked us. Rus­sia kills peo­ple, burns them alive, tells hor­ror tales about us and then calls us fas­cists. Where’s the log­ic?”

    Some say the laws make hero-wor­ship com­pul­so­ry

    The “de-com­mu­ni­sa­tion law” was draft­ed by Ukraine’s Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry, head­ed by Volodymyr Vya­tro­vych. He believes the upris­ing in Kiev last year which led to the oust­ing of Vik­tor Yanukovych, the pres­i­dent, was an “anti-Sovi­et” one.

    “It is extreme­ly impor­tant for Ukraine to have giv­en a legal eval­u­a­tion to the crimes of the com­mu­nist peri­od and to move away from that total­i­tar­i­an past.”

    Oth­er for­mer states of the USSR or Sovi­et bloc – like Poland or the Baltics — went through that process long ago and are now on an “irre­versible” demo­c­ra­t­ic path, says Mr Vya­tro­vych. “By con­trast, in Belarus, espe­cial­ly in Rus­sia and until recent­ly in Ukraine, the fail­ure to con­demn the past has result­ed in its grad­ual reha­bil­i­ta­tion.”

    The result, he says, was the hard­line gov­ern­ments of Vladimir Putin and Mr Yanukovych, bring­ing cen­sor­ship, polit­i­cal repres­sion, and a fond­ness for call­ing Joseph Stal­in “an effec­tive man­ag­er” rather than a tyrant.

    Yet some feel the his­to­ry laws them­selves veer towards intol­er­ance.

    Mikhail Pogre­bin­sky, a polit­i­cal ana­lyst, says they are the ini­tia­tive of a “par­ty of vic­tors” around Mr Poroshenko, who are unwill­ing to counter oth­er points of view inside Ukraine, espe­cial­ly in the Rus­so­phone east.

    “Glo­ri­fy­ing UPA might be under­stand­able if the coun­try was only ‘Lit­tle Ukraine’ in the west and Kiev. But only about a third of the pop­u­la­tion sup­ports the Rus­so­pho­bic, nation­al­is­tic view­point, and when they impose their will on the rest then I see a mass of prob­lems ahead.”

    The de-com­mu­ni­sa­tion law is an unnec­es­sary “stu­pid­i­ty” that will only dri­ve Don­bas fur­ther away, Mr Pogre­bin­sky added, even as Kiev tries to claw it back from the sep­a­ratists and Russia’s embrace.

    Andrew Wil­son, author of Ukraine Cri­sis, says one prob­lem with the leg­is­la­tion is that it is “so pre­scrip­tive” and makes hero-wor­ship com­pul­so­ry. “The most con­tro­ver­sial is OUN-UPA. Some peo­ple say they were heroes, some peo­ple say they were Nazis. The real­i­ty is that most of them were were locals just defend­ing their local ter­ri­to­ries. But they did bad things, they did good things. You can’t say they were all heroes.”


    Good­bye Lenin, hel­lo Super­man

    The Zaporozhia Lenin stat­ue stands at the end of Lenin Avenue, his arm raised towards the huge sweep of the dam which he con­ceived and which was built not long after his death in 1924.

    “I want him to stay, he’s part of our land­scape, our his­to­ry,” says Valenti­na, a hotel recep­tion­ist who works near­by. “My grand­moth­er came here in the 1930s to help build the hydro-elec­tric plant. I vis­it­ed Lenin on trips as a Pio­neer and my girl­friends all had their wed­ding pic­tures tak­en next to him.

    “Tak­ing him down and chang­ing all the com­mu­nist street names will cost a lot of mon­ey. The coun­try is at war and the econ­o­my is falling apart. Let’s feed peo­ple first.”

    Yury Baran­nik does not agree. An artist, he is cura­tor of the iron­i­cal­ly named Lenin mod­ern art gallery on a street cor­ner by the stat­ue.

    “Lenin was a crim­i­nal, he wrote orders for exe­cu­tions,” he says. “If there was debate and peo­ple of the com­mu­nist gen­er­a­tion repent­ed and admit­ted they were wrong then per­haps we could do with­out a law to remove all this. But they won’t.”

    To ease the process of get­ting rid of Lenin Mr Baran­nik has been hold­ing work­shops where stu­dents sketch alter­na­tives for his vacat­ed square: a swim­ming pool, a con­cert hall, a Super­man stat­ue and a mar­ble toi­let.

    At the hydro-elec­tric plant, Vik­tor Kuch­er, its gen­er­al direc­tor, is tight lipped. Inside the tur­bine hall, a large social­ist-real­ist paint­ing shows senior Bol­she­viks open­ing the dam in 1932.

    As a state enter­prise, the plant would com­ply with the new laws and remove its Lenin name­plate and ham­mer and sick­le emblems from the doors if ordered to do so, he says.

    Lead­ing the Tele­graph on a two-hour excur­sion of the dam, Mr Kuch­er pre­ferred to talk about the squir­rels and pheas­ants in its 43-hectare grounds rather than the pol­i­tics of the past.

    “Any change means upset,” he says.

    Good­bye Lenin, hel­lo Super­man? Well, if they’re going to tear down the stat­ues are Lenin every­where, at least it does­n’t sound like they’re replac­ing them with Stepan Ban­dera stat­ues. So as appalling as these laws are, let’s hope Ukraine decides to go with the Super­man-stat­ue plan because you could do worse than mak­ing a bunch of stat­ues of Super­man as part of your nation­al his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism push. Hope­ful­ly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 2, 2015, 12:50 pm
  2. Right Sec­tor just had a march in Kiev with all of their usu­al fan­fare includ­ing the white suprema­cy sym­bols. The mes­sage of the marchers? Drop the Min­sk cease-fire and wage full-scale war in the East

    BBC News
    Ukraine cri­sis: Ral­ly in Kiev urges war on east­ern rebels

    4 July 2015

    About 1,000 Ukrain­ian pro-gov­ern­ment fight­ers and far-right sup­port­ers have marched through the cen­tre of the cap­i­tal, Kiev.

    Many burned tyres and wore bal­a­clavas; some car­ried white suprema­cist flags.

    They called on the gov­ern­ment to end the Min­sk cease­fire accord and declare war on pro-Russ­ian rebels in the east.

    The demon­stra­tors say the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment is bring­ing troops and equip­ment into Ukraine, a claim that Rus­sia has always denied.

    Many in the ral­ly were from vol­un­teer bat­tal­ions and were dressed in their bat­tle fatigues.

    They said they had returned from fight­ing Russ­ian forces and demand­ed an end to all diplo­mat­ic rela­tions with Rus­sia.

    The ultra-nation­al­ist Right Sec­tor group called the march. Pro­test­ers also demand­ed the nation­al­i­sa­tion of Russ­ian-owned busi­ness­es.

    More than 6,400 peo­ple have been killed in fight­ing in east­ern Ukraine that began in April 2014 when rebels seized large parts of the two east­ern regions. This fol­lowed Rus­si­a’s annex­a­tion of the Crimea penin­su­la.

    The BBC’s David Stern in Kiev says Fri­day’s ral­ly was a show of strength in the heart of Ukrain­ian offi­cial­dom.

    But above all, our cor­re­spon­dent says, the demon­stra­tors were call­ing for change. Both in the way that the con­flict is being fought in the east and in the way that the coun­try is being run.

    Cen­tral to their demands is an end to the Min­sk cease­fire agree­ment signed in Feb­ru­arywhich they say is a cha­rade because of Rus­si­a’s activ­i­ties in Ukraine.

    The Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, West­ern lead­ers and Nato all say there is clear evi­dence that Rus­sia is help­ing the rebels in the Donet­sk and Luhan­sk regions with heavy weapons and sol­diers. Inde­pen­dent experts echo that accu­sa­tion.

    But Moscow denies it, insist­ing that any Rus­sians serv­ing with the rebels are vol­un­teers.

    Clash­es between gov­ern­ment troops and rebels have recent­ly inten­si­fied.


    So the folks that have repeat­ed­ly threat­ened to ‘march on Kiev’ when the war is over just marched in Kiev demand­ing more war. How help­ful.

    And in oth­er news, on the same day of march in Kiev, the sep­a­ratists in the East with­drew had their own sym­bol­ic march, of sorts: the marched out of strate­gic posi­tions and made renewed pleas for con­sti­tu­tion­al guar­an­tees for semi-autonomous sta­tus in the break­away regions as a path towards long-term peace:

    i24 News
    ‘Death to the ene­my’ as pro-Kiev fight­ers march in cap­i­tal

    Ukraine rebels with­draw from key front­line vil­lage

    Pub­lished July 04th 2015 01:38pm

    About 2,000 pro-Kiev vol­un­teer fight­ers and far-right group mem­bers ral­lied in the Ukrain­ian cap­i­tal on Fri­day evening to demand the dec­la­ra­tion of all-out war against the east­ern gun­men.

    Many in the ral­ly were from vol­un­teer fight­ing units wear­ing their fight­ing fatigues, bal­a­clavas and burn­ing tyres.

    Call­ing on the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment to end the Min­sk cease­fire accords with Rus­sia, some chant­ed “Death to the Ene­my” and “Glo­ry to Ukraine”.

    Ukraine rebels with­draw from key front­line vil­lage

    Pro-Russ­ian fight­ers have with­drawn from a strate­gic front­line vil­lage, Ukraine’s mil­i­tary report­ed on Fri­day, although some troops doubt­ed whether the sur­prise retreat and lull in fight­ing would last.

    Lying just 10 kilo­me­tres (six miles) east of the Sea of Azov indus­tri­al port of Mar­i­upol — the tar­get of repeat­ed rebel attacks — Shy­rokyne has been one of the dead­liest hotspots of the 15-month sep­a­ratist con­flict in the ex-Sovi­et state’s indus­tri­al east.

    “The rebels with­drew to the east, leav­ing the set­tle­ment of Shy­rokyne com­plete­ly destroyed,” mil­i­tary spokesman Olek­san­dr Motuzyanyk told reporters in Kiev.

    But sep­a­ratists warned that “uni­lat­er­al demil­i­tari­sa­tion” by their side may not be enough to estab­lish a last­ing peace.

    “We are wait­ing for a sim­i­lar step (from Ukraine),” sep­a­ratist leader Denis Pushilin told Rus­si­a’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

    A top offi­cial with the Orga­ni­za­tion for Secu­ri­ty and Coop­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE) said his Ukrain­ian mon­i­tor­ing teams had also not found any pro-Russ­ian fight­ers in the vil­lage, Inter­fax report­ed.

    West­ern pow­ers, Rus­sia and the OSCE have repeat­ed­ly urged the two sides to respect a Feb­ru­ary truce deal that demand­ed the imme­di­ate with­draw­al of heavy weapons from the front.

    But mutu­al mis­trust has prompt­ed dai­ly exchanges of fire and turned Shy­rokyne into an impor­tant stag­ing post for rebel attacks on Mar­i­upol — a port city the insur­gents had vowed to seize in Jan­u­ary before claim­ing to have changed their mind.


    -Diplo­mat­ic ten­sions -

    The insur­gents’ retreat along the south­ern edge of the front comes in a week that has wit­nessed a marked de-esca­la­tion of fight­ing and drop in the num­ber of dai­ly report­ed deaths.

    But diplo­mat­ic ten­sions between Moscow and Kiev remain high, with Rus­sia on Fri­day accus­ing Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko of refus­ing to agree final peace terms with the sep­a­ratist com­mand.

    The West­ern-backed Ukrain­ian leader irked both Moscow and the fight­ers by unveil­ing draft changes to the con­sti­tu­tion that gave sweep­ing pow­ers to the regions but crit­i­cal­ly failed to address the rebels’ main demands.

    His amend­ments, which Poroshenko on Fri­day asked par­lia­ment to approve with­in the next two weeks, refuse to add to the con­sti­tu­tion the semi-autonomous sta­tus demand­ed by mil­i­tants who now con­trol land rough­ly the size of Wales.

    Rebel parts of the most­ly Russ­ian-speak­ing Lugan­sk and Donet­sk regions would like to see their right to par­tial self-rule spelt out in con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments that would be enor­mous­ly dif­fi­cult to over­turn.

    But Poroshenko’s draft only makes ref­er­ence to an exist­ing piece of leg­is­la­tion that gives insur­gency lead­ers par­tial right to admin­is­ter the areas for an inter­im peri­od once a set of pre­lim­i­nary con­di­tions are met.

    The sep­a­ratists fear that the law could be revoked or sus­pend­ed by Ukraine’s strong­ly pro-Euro­pean par­lia­ment.

    For his part, Poroshenko is try­ing to avoid los­ing cred­i­bil­i­ty with more nation­al­ist Ukraini­ans who backed the pro-Euro­pean protests last year and remain a pow­er­ful voice in the cri­sis-torn coun­try’s frac­tured polit­i­cal sys­tem.

    “For his part, Poroshenko is try­ing to avoid los­ing cred­i­bil­i­ty with more nation­al­ist Ukraini­ans who backed the pro-Euro­pean protests last year and remain a pow­er­ful voice in the cri­sis-torn coun­try’s frac­tured polit­i­cal sys­tem.”

    Well, as the say­ing goes, the squeaky wheel wav­ing the white suprema­cy flags and chant­i­ng “Death to the Ene­my” gets the grease. It’s one of the more unfor­tu­nate char­ac­ter­is­tics of con­tem­po­rary socioe­co­nom­ic main­te­nance and repair.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 4, 2015, 3:27 pm
  3. Dave,
    Today I went back into the archives to look up some­thing con­nect­ing Odessa 2nd May 2014 with Berlin 2nd May 1933. I want­ed to send a link to the authors of a recent arti­cle on the anniver­sary of the May 2nd sack­ing of the Odessa House of Trades (Stal­in­ist jar­gon for “trade-union hall”) and your work did­n’t dis­ap­point me. More­over I want­ed to over­whelm the authors with your anti-fas­cist schol­ar­ship.
    One note: In East­ern Slav­ic lan­guages, an ‘e’ usu­al­ly implies the sound /yeh/. When translit­er­at­ed into Roman let­ters, it’s some­times left as ‘e’ and oth­er times writ­ten as ‘ye’. The lat­ter is the case with the name of the coun­try Bye­larus /byeh-lah-ROOS/ and the for­mer may be the case with the title “The Belarus Secret”, so /byeh-lah-ROOS SEE-kre­ht/ (hav­ing to do with 300 Byeloruss­ian Nazis smug­gled out to the West, but here the term for the lan­guage comes from Russ­ian, which weak­ens the ‘o’ to a short ‘a’ before a stressed syl­la­ble).
    Last­ly, can you find a way I can send you a dona­tion elec­tron­i­cal­ly? I almost nev­er use checks and may have run out of them. You can inform me at my Twit­ter address as a “Tweet”.

    Posted by Atlanta Bill | May 4, 2021, 1:38 am

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