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

News & Supplemental  

The Pierre Omidyar School of Journalism

WFMU-FM is pod­cast­ing For The Record–You can sub­scribe to the pod­cast HERE.

You can sub­scribe to e‑mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can sub­scribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can sub­scribe to the com­ments made on pro­grams and posts–an excel­lent source of infor­ma­tion in, and of, itself HERE.

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 late sum­mer of 2018.

COMMENT: Sup­ple­ment­ing recent thoughts about the events in, and sub­se­quent to, Char­lottesville, we note a recent high-pro­file assas­si­na­tion in India. Intre­pid jour­nal­ist Gau­ri Lankesh was shot to death by an as-yet-uniden­ti­fied assailant. Ms. Lankesh was fierce­ly crit­i­cal of the Hin­dut­va fas­cist gov­ern­ment of Naren­dra Modi.

(Hin­dut­va is a Hin­du nation­al­ist man­i­fes­ta­tion of fas­cism, for­mal­ized by V.D. Savarkar in the ear­ly 1920’s. Mod­i’s BJP is a polit­i­cal cat’s paw for the RSS, the Hin­dut­va fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion launched by Savarkar and pro­pelled by admir­ers of Hitler and Mus­soli­ni. It was the RSS that mur­dered Gand­hi.) For excel­lent back­ground on the assas­si­na­tion of Gand­hi and the Hin­dut­va fas­cist forces that engen­dered that, we hearti­ly rec­om­mend James Dou­glass’ work Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able. We will be high­light­ing this work in the not-too-dis­tant future.

In FTR #‘s 972 and 973, we under­scored the grotesque dynam­ic man­i­fest­ing in Char­lottesville, with the main­stream media, the so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor, the main­stream media and the GOP hyp­o­crit­i­cal­ly con­demn­ing the fas­cists protest­ing the pro­posed removal of a stat­ue of Robert E. Lee. All of the above have pros­ti­tut­ed them­selves to the same forces.

Under­lin­ing the grotesque, hyp­o­crit­i­cal nature of the so-called pro­gres­sive sec­tor, the so-called “alter­na­tive” media and the main­stream media is their orgias­tic fawn­ing over Nazi fel­low-trav­el­er Glenn Green­wald and his jour­nal­is­tic finan­cial angel Pierre Omid­yar.

In this post, we under­score the depth of Omid­yar’s treach­er­ous hypocrisy, shared by his obse­quious acolytes. We note that:

  • Omid­yar helped finance the rise of Modi and his Hin­dut­va fas­cist BJP in India. Most of Mod­i’s cab­i­net selec­tions were drawn from the RSS: ” . . . . This week, India’s new­ly-elect­ed ultra­na­tion­al­ist leader Naren­dra Modi unveiled his cab­i­net, three-quar­ters of whom come from a fas­cist para­mil­i­tary out­fit, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh) . . . .  found­ed in 1925 by open admir­ers of Mus­soli­ni and Hitler; in 1948, an RSS mem­ber assas­si­nat­ed paci­fist Mahat­ma Gand­hi. . . .”
  • Omid­yar helped finance the Maid­an coup in Ukraine, which brought to pow­er Ukrain­ian fas­cists evolved from the OUN/B.
  • Omid­yar worked with U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Development–a fre­quent vehi­cle for U.S. covert operation–to effect the Maid­an coup.
  • Omid­yar has now part­nered with the inap­pro­pri­ate­ly-named Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­ra­cy to fur­ther his ends. NED is lit­tle more than a front for con­tin­ued covert oper­a­tions.
  • Omid­yar’s charges in Ukraine have been com­plic­it in the mur­der of jour­nal­ists crit­i­cal of their activ­i­ties.
  • Omid­yar’s OUN/B suc­ces­sor asso­ciates in Ukraine have worked to intim­i­date jour­nal­ists with whom they dis­agree, tar­ring them with the use­ful sobri­quet of “Kremlin/Russian” dupes.
  • The late Gau­ri Lankesh open­ly labeled the Hin­dut­va fas­cist RSS as being what they are: ” . . . . On Mon­day, the day before she was killed, she shared a post on her Face­book page that was writ­ten by some­one else. ‘The RSS is the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion,’ it read. . . .”
  • Ms. Lankesh’s mur­der was the lat­est in a string of killings of jour­nal­ist crit­i­cal of Modi/BJP/RSS.
  • Sup­port­ed by for­mer Trump aide Steve Ban­non, Modi was char­ac­ter­ized by a crit­ic in terms that would apt­ly char­ac­ter­ize Trump: ” . . . . ‘Peo­ple like Modi,’ Mr. Anan­thamurthy writes, ‘live in a gum­baz, a dome that echoes what they say to them­selves over and over again.’ Mr. Modi’s elec­tion as prime min­is­ter has been fol­lowed by, as many feared, a cli­mate of hos­til­i­ty toward minori­ties and renewed assaults on civ­il soci­ety and free expres­sion. . . .”

In short, Omid­yar has worked to ele­vate polit­i­cal forces that vio­lent­ly sup­press those who dare to “tell truth to pow­er.” That such as he could become icons of jour­nal­is­tic integri­ty speaks vol­umes for the depths to which our soci­ety has descend­ed. SHAME!

1a. Ukraine Spy Agency ‘May Have Seen Plant­i­ng of Bomb that Killed Jour­nal­ist’” by Alec Luhn; The Guardian; 5/10/2017.

New film sug­gests an intel­li­gence ser­vices agent was present when device was hid­den under Pavel Sheremet’s car last July

A new doc­u­men­tary film alleges that Ukraine’s spy agency may have wit­nessed the plant­i­ng of a car bomb that killed a promi­nent jour­nal­ist last July in Kiev.

Pavel Sheremet had just left his home in the Ukrain­ian cap­i­tal and was dri­ving to work when his car explod­ed. The mur­der was the most high-pro­file assas­si­na­tion of a reporter in the coun­try since the behead­ing in 2000 of the inves­tiga­tive reporter Georgiy Gongadze.

Ukraine’s pres­i­dent, Petro Poroshenko, had said it was a “mat­ter of hon­our” that Sheremet’s case be prompt­ly solved. He called for a trans­par­ent inves­ti­ga­tion by police and the secu­ri­ty ser­vices. How­ev­er, 10 months lat­er no one has been arrest­ed.

The film, Killing Pavel, sug­gests that an agent work­ing for Ukraine’s intel­li­gence ser­vices was present when the explo­sive device was hid­den under the journalist’s car. The Orga­nized Crime and Cor­rup­tion Report­ing Project (OCCRP) and Slidstvo.info released the doc­u­men­tary on Wednes­day, when it was screened on Ukrain­ian TV.

Inves­ti­ga­tors have said Sheremet was killed by a remote­ly det­o­nat­ed explo­sive device, most like­ly in ret­ri­bu­tion for his inves­tiga­tive work in Ukraine and oth­er places. The jour­nal­ist sup­port­ed the pro-west­ern upris­ing in 2014 that saw Vik­tor Yanukovych flee to Rus­sia, but had also been bit­ing­ly crit­i­cal of Ukraine’s new author­i­ties.

Sur­veil­lance cam­era footage pub­lished by the media and police revealed that an unknown man and a woman approached Sheremet’s Sub­aru car on the street the night before the blast. The woman is seen kneel­ing beside the parked car on the driver’s side.

The mak­ers of “Killing Pavel” tracked down new sur­veil­lance footage not found by police. It gives fresh details of the appar­ent killers, who returned to the scene the next morn­ing short­ly before Sheremet got into his doomed vehi­cle.

The footage reveals sev­er­al sus­pi­cious men who arrived in the street that night. They appeared to be car­ry­ing out sur­veil­lance. They were still there when the man and the woman went past and alleged­ly fixed the bomb. The Belling­cat cit­i­zen jour­nal­ist group man­aged to iden­ti­fy their car – a grey Sko­da – and its reg­is­tra­tion.

The inves­tiga­tive reporters sub­se­quent­ly tracked down one of the men and iden­ti­fied him as Igor Usti­menko. Usti­menko admit­ted being in the area that night and said he had been hired as a pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor to keep watch on someone’s chil­dren. He denied see­ing the bombers and said police had not con­tact­ed him.

The reporters then spoke to a gov­ern­ment source. He con­firmed that Usti­menko had been work­ing since 2014 for Ukraine’s SBU secret intel­li­gence ser­vice. Usti­menko declined to com­ment fur­ther. The film also pre­sent­ed evi­dence sug­gest­ing that Sheremet was under sur­veil­lance in the weeks before his mur­der.

Ukraine’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter, Arsen Avakov, has denied the gov­ern­ment car­ried this out. A min­istry spokesman declined to com­ment on the film. The secu­ri­ty ser­vice did not imme­di­ate­ly respond.

“The gov­ern­ment of Ukraine repeat­ed­ly promised to find Pavel’s killer but it’s clear they didn’t do too much,” said Drew Sul­li­van, edi­tor of the Orga­nized Crime and Cor­rup­tion Report­ing Project. “Now we have to con­sid­er the pos­si­bil­i­ty that some­one in gov­ern­ment played a role in the mur­der.”

A pio­neer­ing tele­vi­sion jour­nal­ist in his native Belarus, Sheremet was forced to move to Rus­sia after he was arrest­ed in 1997 while report­ing on bor­der smug­gling. His cam­era­man on that sto­ry, Dmit­ry Zavad­sky, was kid­napped and killed in Belarus in 2000. Sheremet lat­er moved to Ukraine, where he was a well-known jour­nal­ist with his own radio show.

In his last blog­post for the Ukrain­ian Prav­da news­pa­per, Sheremet said some mili­tia com­man­ders and vet­er­ans of the con­flict with pro-Moscow rebels in east­ern Ukraine had escaped pun­ish­ment for oth­er crimes. Sheremet’s part­ner, Ole­na Pry­tu­la, co-found­ed the paper with Gongadze, whose bru­tal mur­der ignit­ed nation­al out­rage. . . .

. . . . The killing caused a major scan­dal, and Amer­i­can FBI spe­cial­ists were brought in to help iden­ti­fy the explo­sives. The Unit­ed Nations deputy high com­mis­sion­er for human rights, Kate Gilmore, said Sheremet’s mur­der would be a “test of the abil­i­ty and will­ing­ness of Ukraine’s insti­tu­tions to inves­ti­gate assaults on media free­dom”. . . .

1b. “The Anony­mous Black­list Quot­ed by the Wash­ing­ton Post Has Appar­ent Ties to Ukrain­ian Fas­cism and CIA Spy­ing” by Mark Ames; Alternet.org; 12/7/2016.”

. . . . Still the ques­tion lingers: Who is behind Pro­pOrNot? Who are they? We may have to await the defama­tion law­suits that are almost cer­tain­ly com­ing from those smeared by the Post and by Pro­pOrNot. Their descrip­tion sounds like the “About” tab on any num­ber of Wash­ing­ton front groups that jour­nal­ists and researchers are used to com­ing across:

“Pro­pOrNot is an inde­pen­dent team of con­cerned Amer­i­can cit­i­zens with a wide range of back­grounds and exper­tise, includ­ing pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence in com­put­er sci­ence, sta­tis­tics, pub­lic pol­i­cy, and nation­al secu­ri­ty affairs.”

The only spe­cif­ic clues giv­en were an admis­sion that at least one of its mem­bers with access to its Twit­ter han­dle is “Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can”. They had giv­en this away in a hand­ful of ear­ly Ukrain­ian-lan­guage tweets, par­rot­ing Ukrain­ian ultra­na­tion­al­ist slo­gans, before the group was known.

One Pro­pOrNot tweet, dat­ed Novem­ber 17, invokes a 1940s Ukrain­ian fas­cist salute “Hero­iam Sla­va!!” [17] to cheer a news item on Ukrain­ian hack­ers fight­ing Rus­sians. The phrase means “Glo­ry to the heroes” and it was for­mal­ly intro­duced by the fas­cist Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) at their March-April 1941 con­gress in Nazi occu­pied Cra­cow, as they pre­pared to serve as Nazi aux­il­iaries in Oper­a­tion Bar­barossa. As his­to­ri­an Grz­gorz Rossolińs­ki-Liebe, author of the defin­i­tive biog­ra­phy [18] on Ukraine’s wartime fas­cist leader and Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor [19] Stepan Ban­dera, explained [20]:

“the OUN‑B intro­duced anoth­er Ukrain­ian fas­cist salute at the Sec­ond Great Con­gress of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists in Cra­cow in March and April 1941. This was the most pop­u­lar Ukrain­ian fas­cist salute and had to be per­formed accord­ing to the instruc­tions of the OUN‑B lead­er­ship by rais­ing the right arm ‘slight­ly to the right, slight­ly above the peak of the head’ while call­ing ‘Glo­ry to Ukraine!’ (Sla­va Ukraїni!) and respond­ing ‘Glo­ry to the Heroes!’ (Hero­iam Sla­va!).”

Two months after for­mal­iz­ing this salute, Nazi forces allowed Bandera’s Ukrain­ian fas­cists to briefly take con­trol of Lvov [21], at the time a pre­dom­i­nant­ly Jew­ish and Pol­ish city—whereupon the Ukrain­ian “patri­ots” mur­dered, tor­tured and raped thou­sands of Jews [22], in one of the most bar­bar­ic [23] and blood­i­est pogroms ever.

Since the 2014 Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion brought Ukrain­ian neo-fas­cists [24] back into the high­est rungs of pow­er [25], Ukraine’s Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors and wartime fas­cists have been reha­bil­i­tat­ed [26] as heroes [27], with major high­ways and roads named after them [28], and pub­lic com­mem­o­ra­tions. The speak­er of Ukraine’s par­lia­ment, Andriy Paru­biy [29], found­ed Ukraine’s neo-Nazi “Social-Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine” [30] and pub­lished a white suprema­cist man­i­festo, “View From the Right” [31] fea­tur­ing the par­lia­ment speak­er in full neo-Nazi uni­form in front of fas­cist flags with the Nazi Wolf­san­gel sym­bol. Ukraine’s pow­er­ful Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter, Arsen Avakov, spon­sors [32] sev­er­al ultra­na­tion­al­ist and neo-Nazi mili­tia groups like the Azov Bat­tal­ion [33], and last month he helped appoint anoth­er neo-Nazi[34], Vadym Troy­an [35], as head of Ukraine’s Nation­al Police [36]. (Ear­li­er this year, when Troy­an was still police chief of the cap­i­tal Kiev, he was wide­ly accused [35] of hav­ing ordered an ille­gal sur­veil­lance oper­a­tion on inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Pavel Sheremet just before his assas­si­na­tion by car bomb [37].)

A Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice black­list as PropOrNot’s mod­el

Since com­ing to pow­er in the 2014 Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion, Ukraine’s US-backed regime has waged an increas­ing­ly sur­re­al war on jour­nal­ists who don’t toe the Ukrain­ian ultra­na­tion­al­ist line, and against treach­er­ous Krem­lin pro­pa­gan­dists, real and imag­ined. Two years ago, Ukraine estab­lished a “Min­istry of Truth” [38]. This year the war has gone from sur­re­al para­noia [39] to an increas­ing­ly dead­ly [40] kind of “ter­ror.” [41]

One of the more fright­en­ing poli­cies enact­ed by the cur­rent oli­garch-nation­al­ist regime in Kiev is an online black­list [42] of jour­nal­ists accused of col­lab­o­rat­ing with pro-Russ­ian “ter­ror­ists.” [43]  The web­site, “Myrotvorets” [43] or “Peacemaker”—was set up by Ukrain­ian hack­ers work­ing with state intel­li­gence and police, all of which tend to share the same ultra­na­tion­al­ist ide­olo­gies as Paru­biy and the new­ly-appoint­ed neo-Nazi chief of the Nation­al Police.

Con­demned by the Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists [44] and numer­ous news orga­ni­za­tions in the West and in Ukraine, the online black­list includes the names and per­son­al pri­vate infor­ma­tion on some 4,500 jour­nal­ists [45], includ­ing sev­er­al west­ern jour­nal­ists [43] and Ukraini­ans work­ing for west­ern media. The web­site is designed to fright­en and muz­zle jour­nal­ists from report­ing any­thing but the pro-nation­al­ist par­ty line, and it has the back­ing of gov­ern­ment offi­cials, spies and police—including the SBU (Ukraine’s suc­ces­sor to the KGB), the pow­er­ful Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Avakov and his noto­ri­ous far-right deputy, Anton Geraschenko.

Ukraine’s jour­nal­ist black­list website—operated by Ukrain­ian hack­ers work­ing with state intelligence—led to a rash of death threats against the doxxed jour­nal­ists, whose email address­es, phone num­bers and oth­er pri­vate infor­ma­tion was post­ed anony­mous­ly to the web­site. Many of these threats came with the wartime Ukrain­ian fas­cist salute: “Sla­va Ukrai­ni!” [Glo­ry to Ukraine!] So when PropOrNot’s anony­mous “researchers” reveal only their Ukrainian(s) iden­ti­ty, it’s hard not to think about the spy-linked hack­ers who post­ed the dead­ly “Myrotvorets” black­list of “trea­so­nous” jour­nal­ists.

The DNC’s Ukrain­ian ultra-nation­al­ist researcher cries trea­son

Because the Pro­pOrNot black­list of Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist “trai­tors” is anony­mous, and the Wash­ing­ton Post front-page arti­cle pro­tects their anonymi­ty, we can only spec­u­late on their iden­ti­ty with what lit­tle infor­ma­tion they’ve giv­en us. And that lit­tle bit of infor­ma­tion reveals only a Ukrain­ian ultra­na­tion­al­ist thread—the salute, the same obses­sive­ly vio­lent para­noia towards Rus­sia, and towards jour­nal­ists, who in the eyes of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists have always been dupes and stooges, if not out­right col­lab­o­ra­tors, of Russ­ian evil.

One of the key media sources [46] who blamed the DNC hacks on Rus­sia, ramp­ing up fears of cryp­to-Putin­ist infil­tra­tion, is a Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can lob­by­ist work­ing for the DNC. She is Alexan­dra Chalupa—described as the head of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Committee’s oppo­si­tion research on Rus­sia and on Trump, and founder and pres­i­dent of the Ukrain­ian lob­by group “US Unit­ed With Ukraine Coali­tion” [47], which lob­bied hard to pass a 2014 bill increas­ing loans and mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine, impos­ing sanc­tions on Rus­sians, and tight­ly align­ing US and Ukraine geostrate­gic inter­ests.

In Octo­ber of this year, Yahoo News named Chalu­pa [48] one of “16 Peo­ple Who Shaped the 2016 Elec­tion” [49] for her role in pin­ning the DNC leaks on Russ­ian hack­ers, and for mak­ing the case that the Trump cam­paign was under Krem­lin con­trol. “As a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty con­sul­tant and proud Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can, Alexan­dra Chalu­pa was out­raged last spring when Don­ald Trump named Paul Man­afort as his cam­paign man­ag­er,” the Yahoo pro­file began. “As she saw it, Man­afort was a key fig­ure in advanc­ing Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s agen­da inside her ances­tral home­land — and she was deter­mined to expose it.”

Chalu­pa worked with vet­er­an reporter Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News to pub­li­cize her oppo­si­tion research on Trump, Rus­sia and Paul Man­afort, as well as her many Ukrain­ian sources. In one leaked DNC email [50] ear­li­er this year, Chalu­pa boasts to DNC Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Luis Miran­da that she brought Isikoff to a US-gov­ern­ment spon­sored Wash­ing­ton event fea­tur­ing 68 Ukrain­ian jour­nal­ists, where Chalu­pa was invit­ed “to speak specif­i­cal­ly about Paul Man­afort.” In turn, Isikoff named her as the key inside source [46] “prov­ing” that the Rus­sians were behind the hacks, and that Trump’s cam­paign was under the spell of Krem­lin spies and sor­cer­ers.

(In 2008, when I broke the sto­ry [51] about the Man­afort-Krem­lin ties in The Nation with Ari Berman, I did not go on to to accuse him or John McCain, whose cam­paign was being run by Manafort’s part­ner, of being Manchuri­an Can­di­dates under the spell of Vladimir Putin. Because they weren’t; instead, they were sleazy, cor­rupt, hyp­o­crit­i­cal politi­cians who fol­lowed mon­ey and pow­er rather than prin­ci­ple. A media hack feed­ing fren­zy turned Man­afort from what he was—a sleazy scumbag—into a fan­tas­ti­cal Krem­lin mole [52], forc­ing Man­afort to resign from the Trump cam­paign, thanks in part to kom­pro­mat mate­r­i­al leaked by the Ukrain­ian SBU [53], suc­ces­sor to the KGB.)

Mean­while, Chalupa’s Twit­ter feed went wild accus­ing Trump of treason—a crime that car­ries the death penal­ty. Along with well over 100 tweets hash­tagged #Trea­so­nous­Trump [54] Chalu­pa repeat­ed­ly asked pow­er­ful gov­ern­ment offi­cials and bod­ies like the Depart­ment of Jus­tice [55] to inves­ti­gate Trump for the cap­i­tal crime of trea­son. In the weeks since the elec­tion, Chalu­pa has repeat­ed­ly accused [56] both the Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia of rig­ging the elec­tions, demand­ing fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tions. Accord­ing to The Guardian [57], Chalu­pa recent­ly sent a report to Con­gress prov­ing Russ­ian hacked into the vote count, hop­ing to ini­ti­ate a Con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion. In an inter­view with Gothamist [58], Chalu­pa described alleged Russ­ian inter­fer­ence in the elec­tion result as “an act of war.”

To be clear, I am not argu­ing that Chalu­pa is behind Pro­pOrNot. But it is impor­tant to pro­vide con­text to the boasts by Pro­pOrNot about its Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist links—within the larg­er con­text of the Clin­ton campaign’s anti-Krem­lin hys­te­ria, which crossed the line into Cold War xeno­pho­bia time and time again, an anti-Russ­ian xeno­pho­bia shared by Clinton’s Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist allies. To me, it looks like a clas­sic case of blow­back: A hyper-nation­al­ist group whose extrem­ism hap­pens to be use­ful to Amer­i­can geopo­lit­i­cal ambi­tions, and is there­fore nur­tured to cre­ate prob­lems for our com­peti­tor. Indeed, the US has cul­ti­vat­ed extreme Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists as prox­ies [59] for decades, since the Cold War began.

As inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Russ Bel­lant doc­u­ment­ed in his clas­sic exposé, “Old Nazis, New Right,” Ukrain­ian Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors were brought into the Unit­ed States and weaponized [60] for use against Rus­sia dur­ing the Cold War, despite what­ev­er role they may have played in the Holo­caust and in the mass slaugh­ter of Ukraine’s eth­nic Poles. After spend­ing so many years encour­ag­ing extreme Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism, it’s no sur­prise that the whole pol­i­cy is begin­ning to blow back.

1c. “EBay Shrugged: Pierre Omid­yar Believes there Should Be No Phil­an­thropy With­out Prof­it” by Mark Ames; Pan­do Dai­ly; 5/31/2014.

This week, India’s new­ly-elect­ed ultra­na­tion­al­ist leader Naren­dra Modi unveiled his cab­i­net, three-quar­ters of whom come from a fas­cist para­mil­i­tary out­fit, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh) — includ­ing one min­is­ter accused by police last year of incit­ing dead­ly Hin­du-Mus­lim vio­lence that left over 50 dead. The RSS was found­ed in 1925 by open admir­ers of Mus­soli­ni and Hitler; in 1948, an RSS mem­ber assas­si­nat­ed paci­fist Mahat­ma Gand­hi.

In 1992, it was the RSS that orga­nized the destruc­tion of the Ayo­d­ha Mosque, leav­ing 2000 dead, most­ly Mus­lims; and in 2002, the RSS played a key role in the mass-mur­ders of minor­i­ty Mus­lims in Gujarat, accord­ing to Human Rights Watch, when the state of Gujarat was ruled by Naren­dra Modi — him­self a prod­uct of the RSS.

Ear­li­er this week, Pan­do report­ed that Modi’s elec­tion received help from unlike­ly sources in Sil­i­con Val­ley includ­ing Google, and to a much more seri­ous extent, Omid­yar Net­work, the phil­an­thropy fund of eBay bil­lion­aire and First Look pub­lish­er Pierre Omid­yar. From 2009 through Feb­ru­ary of this year, Omid­yar Net­work India Advis­ers was head­ed by Jayant Sin­ha, a long­time Modi advis­er and new­ly-elect­ed MP in Modi’s ultra­na­tion­al­ist BJP par­ty tick­et.

 The Omid­yar Net­work part­ner and man­ag­ing direc­tor played a dou­ble role, invest­ing funds in Indi­an non­prof­its and for-prof­its, some with dis­tinct­ly polit­i­cal agen­das; while pri­vate­ly, the Omid­yar man “worked in Modi’s team” in 2012–13, and served as direc­tor in the ultra­na­tion­al­ist BJP party’s main think tank on secu­ri­ty and eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy, the India Foun­da­tion. This week, Modi appoint­ed the head of the India Foun­da­tion, for­mer intel­li­gence chief Ajit Doval, as his Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor.

1b. Pierre Omid­yar–Glenn Greenwald’s finan­cial angel–helped finance the Ukrain­ian coup, along with AID. The lat­ter is a fre­quent cov­er for U.S. intel­li­gence activ­i­ties.

We note that Oleh Rybachuk, the recip­i­ent of Omidyar’s funds, was the right-hand man for Vik­tor Yuschenko in the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion.

 “Pierre Omid­yar Co-fund­ed Ukraine Rev­o­lu­tion Groups with US gov­ern­ment, Doc­u­ments Show” by Mark Ames;Pan­do Dai­ly; 2/28/2014.

. . . . Pan­do has con­firmed that the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment – in the form of the US Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment (USAID) – played a major role in fund­ing oppo­si­tion groups pri­or to the rev­o­lu­tion. More­over, a large per­cent­age of the rest of the fund­ing to those same groups came from a US bil­lion­aire who has pre­vi­ously worked close­ly with US gov­ern­ment agen­cies to fur­ther his own busi­ness inter­ests.

Accord­ing to finan­cial dis­clo­sures and reports seen by Pan­do, the founder and pub­lisher of Glenn Greenwald’s gov­ern­ment-bash­ing blog,“The Inter­cept,” co-invest­ed with the US gov­ern­ment to help fund regime change in Ukraine. When the rev­o­lu­tion came to Ukraine, neo-fas­cists played a front-cen­ter role in over­throw­ing the country’s pres­i­dent. But the real polit­i­cal pow­er rests with Ukraine’s pro-west­ern neolib­er­als.

Polit­i­cal fig­ures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State Depart­mentDC neo­consEU, and NATO—and the right-hand man to Orange Rev­o­lu­tion leader Vik­tor Yushchenko. Last Decem­ber, the Finan­cial Times wrote that Rybachuk’s “New Cit­i­zen” NGO cam­paign “played a big role in get­ting the protest up and run­ning.”

. . . . In 1992, after the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union, Rybachuk moved to the new­ly-formed Ukraine Cen­tral Bank, head­ing the for­eign rela­tions depart­ment under Cen­tral Bank chief and future Orange Rev­o­lu­tion leader Vik­tor Yushchenko. In his cen­tral bank post, Rybachuk estab­lished close friend­ly ties with west­ern gov­ern­ment and finan­cial aid insti­tu­tions, as well as pro­to-Omid­yar fig­ures like George Soros, who fund­ed many of the NGOs involved in “col­or rev­o­lu­tions” includ­ing small dona­tions to the same Ukraine NGOs that Omid­yar backed. (Like Omid­yar Net­work does today, Soros’ char­ity arms—Open Soci­ety and Renais­sance Foundation—publicly preached trans­parency and good gov­ern­ment in places like Rus­sia dur­ing the Yeltsin years, while Soros’ finan­cial arm spec­u­lated on Russ­ian debt and par­tic­i­pated in scan­dal-plagued auc­tions of state assets.) In ear­ly 2005, Orange Rev­o­lu­tion leader Yushchenko became Ukraine’s pres­i­dent, and he appoint­ed Rybachuk deputy prime min­is­ter in charge of inte­grat­ing Ukraine into the EU, NATO, and oth­er west­ern insti­tu­tions. Rybachuk also pushed for the mass-pri­va­ti­za­tion of Ukraine’s remain­ing state hold­ings. Over the next sev­eral years, Rybachuk was shift­ed around Pres­i­dent Yushchenko’s embat­tled admin­is­tra­tion, torn by inter­nal divi­sions. In 2010, Yushchenko lost the pres­i­dency to recent­ly-over­thrown Vik­tor Yanukovych, and a year lat­er, Rybachuk was on Omidyar’s and USAID’s pay­roll, prepar­ing for the next Orange Rev­o­lu­tion.

As Rybachuk told the Finan­cial Times two years ago:“We want to do [the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion] again and we think we will.”

Some of Omidyar’s funds were specif­i­cally ear­marked for cov­er­ing the costs of set­ting up Rybachuk’s “clean up par­lia­ment” NGOs in Ukraine’s region­al cen­ters. Short­ly after the Euro­maidan demon­stra­tions erupt­ed last Novem­ber, Ukraine’s Inte­rior Min­istry opened up a mon­ey laun­der­ing inves­ti­ga­tion into Rybachuk’s NGOs, drag­ging Omidyar’s name into the high-stakes polit­i­cal strug­gle. Accord­ing to a Kyiv Post arti­cle on Feb­ru­ary 10 titled, “Rybachuk: Democ­ra­cy-pro­mot­ing non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion faces ‘ridicu­lous’ inves­ti­ga­tion”: “Police are inves­ti­gat­ing Cen­ter UA, a pub­lic-sec­tor watch­dog fund­ed by West­ern donors, on sus­pi­cion of mon­ey laun­der­ing, the group said. The group’s leader, Oleh Rybachuk, said it appears that author­i­ties, with the probe, are try­ing to warn oth­er non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions that seek to pro­mote democ­racy, trans­parency, free speech and human rights in Ukraine.

“Accord­ing to Cen­ter UA, the Kyiv eco­nomic crimes unit of the Inte­rior Min­istry start­ed the inves­ti­ga­tion on Dec. 11. Recent­ly, how­ever, inves­ti­ga­tors stepped up their efforts, ques­tion­ing some 200 wit­nesses. “… Cen­ter UA received more than $500,000 in 2012, accord­ing to its annu­al report for that year, 54 per­cent of which came from Pact Inc., a project fund­ed by the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment. Near­ly 36 per­cent came from Omid­yar Net­work, a foun­da­tion estab­lished by eBay founder Pierre Omid­yar and his wife.

1c. “Omid­yar-Fund­ed Can­di­date Takes Seat in New Ukraine Par­lia­ment” by Mark AmesPan­do Dai­ly; 10/30/2014.

Ukraine just held its first post-rev­o­lu­tion par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, and amid all of the oli­garchs, EU enthu­si­asts, neo-Nazisnepo­tism babies, and death squad com­man­ders, there is one new­ly-elect­ed parliamentarian’s name that stands out for her con­nec­tion to Sil­i­con Val­ley: Svit­lana Zal­ishchuk, from the bil­lion­aire president’s Poroshenko Bloc par­ty. Zal­ishchuk was giv­en a choice spot on the president’s par­ty list, at num­ber 18, ensur­ing her a seat in the new Rada. And she owes her rise to pow­er to anoth­er oli­garch besides Ukraine’s pres­i­dent — Pierre Omid­yar, whose fund­ing with USAID helped top­ple the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment. Zalishchuk’s pro-Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion out­fits were direct­ly fund­ed by Omid­yar. Ear­lier this year, Pan­do exposed how eBay bil­lion­aire and Inter­cept pub­lisher Pierre Omid­yar co-fund­ed with USAID Zalishchuk’s web of non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions — New Cit­i­zenChes­noCen­ter UA.

 Accord­ing to the Finan­cial Times, New Cit­i­zen, which received hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars from Omid­yar, “played a big role in get­ting the [Maid­an] protest up and run­ning” in Novem­ber 2013. Omid­yar Network’s web­site fea­tures Zalishchuk’s pho­to­graph on its page describ­ing its invest­ment in New Cit­i­zen. Zal­ishchuk was brought into the NGOs by her long­time men­tor, Oleh Rybachuk, a for­mer deputy prime min­ster who led the last failed effort to inte­grate Ukraine into the EU and NATO. Zalishchuk’s pho­tos also grace the Poroshenko Bloc’s web­site and twit­ter feed, as she emerged as one of the pres­i­den­tial party’s lead­ing spokesper­sons.

The Poroshenko Bloc is named after Ukraine’s pro-West­ern pres­i­dent, Petro Poroshenko, a bil­lion­aire with a lock on Ukraine’s con­fec­tionary indus­try, as well as own­ing a nation­al TV sta­tion and oth­er prized assets. He came to pow­er this year thanks to the rev­o­lu­tion orig­i­nally orga­nized by Zalishchuk’s Omid­yar-fund­ed NGOs, and has reward­ed her with a seat in the Rada. The president’s par­ty tasked Zalushchik with pub­licly sell­ing the high­ly con­tro­ver­sial new “lus­tra­tion law” — essen­tially a legal­ized witch-hunt law first pro­posed by the neo-fas­cist Svo­boda Par­ty ear­lier this year, and sub­se­quently denounced by Ukraine’s pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral and by Human Rights Watch, which described a draft of the law as “arbi­trary and over­ly broad and fail(s) to respect human rights prin­ci­ples,” warn­ing it “may set the stage for unlaw­ful mass arbi­trary polit­i­cal exclu­sion.”

The lus­tra­tion law was passed under a wave of neo-Nazi vio­lence, in which mem­bers of par­lia­ment and oth­ers set to be tar­geted for purges were forcibly thrown into trash dumps. Zal­ishchuk, how­ever, praised the lus­tra­tion law, claim­ing that the legal­ized purges would “give Ukraine a chance at a new life.” Short­ly before the elec­tions, on Octo­ber 17, Zal­ishchuk used her Omid­yar-fund­ed out­fit, “Ches­no,” to orga­nize a round­table with lead­ers of pro-EU and neo-fas­cist par­ties. It was called “Par­lia­ment for Reform”and it brought togeth­er lead­ers from eight par­ties,includ­ing Zalishchuk’s “Poroshenko Bloc” (she served as both NGO orga­nizer and as pro-Poroshenko par­ty can­di­date), the prime minister’s “People’s Par­ty” and lead­ers from two unabashed­ly neo-Nazi par­ties: Svo­boda, and the Rad­i­cal Par­ty of Oleh Lyashko, who was denounced by Amnesty Inter­na­tional for post­ing YouTube videos of him­self inter­ro­gat­ing naked and hood­ed pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratist pris­on­ers. Lyashko’s cam­paign posters fea­tured him impal­ing a car­i­ca­tured Jew­ish oli­garch on a Ukrain­ian tri­dent.

Mean­while, Zalishchuk’s boss, Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko, has led a bloody war against pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists in the east of the coun­try that left at least 3700 dead in a half year of fight­ing. Human Rights Watch recent­ly accused Poroshenko’s forces of “indis­crim­i­nate” use of clus­ter bombs in heav­ily pop­u­lated areas, that “may amount to war crimes.” Poroshenko’s forces include neo-Nazi death squads like the noto­ri­ous Azov bat­tal­ion.

Last month, Poroshenko fur­ther cement­ed his ties to the extreme right by hail­ing Ukraine’s wartime Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors, the vio­lently anti-Semit­ic UPA, as “heroes.” The fas­cist UPA par­tic­i­pated in the Holo­caust, and were respon­si­ble for killing tens of thou­sands of Jews and eth­nic Poles in their bid to cre­ate an eth­ni­cally pure Ukraine. Many UPA mem­bers filled the ranks of the Nazi SS “Gali­cia” Divi­sion.

The neo-Nazi Right Sek­tor, which spear­headed the vio­lent lat­er stages of the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion, sees itself as the UPA’s con­tem­po­rary suc­ces­sors; Right Sektor’s leader, Dmit­ry Yarosh, believes that any “eth­nic minor­ity that pre­vents us from being mas­ters in our own land” is an “ene­my.” Yarosh was just elect­ed to the new par­lia­ment. This week, Omid­yar Network’s “invest­ment lead” for Ukraine, Stephen King, accept­ed an award for Omid­yar Network’s role in a major new USAID-backed project, Glob­al Impact Invest­ing Net­work. . . .

1d. “What Pierre Did Next” by Mark Ames; Pan­do Dai­ly; 7/31/2015.

The Guardian report­ed on Tues­day that the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy has just been banned from Rus­sia, under strict new laws reg­u­lat­ing NGOs act­ing as for­eign agents. In that sto­ry, the Guardian cit­ed the fact that Inter­cept pub­lisher Pierre Omid­yar co-fund­ed Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion groups with USAID and the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy (NED). If the Omid­yar con­nec­tion sounds famil­iar, that’s because it was Pan­do that first broke the sto­ry in Feb­ru­ary 2014 (the Guardian linked to our orig­i­nal scoop in its cov­er­age.)

In the 18 months since we broke the sto­ry, Ukraine has col­lapsed into war and despair, with up to 10,000 peo­ple killed and one and a half mil­lion inter­nal­ly-dis­placed refugees — and top US brass talk open­ly of a new Cold War with nuclear-armed Rus­sia, while US mil­i­tary advi­sors train and arm Ukraini­ans to wage war on Russ­ian-backed sep­a­ratists. Svit­lana Zal­ishchuk, one of the lead­ers of the Omid­yar-fund­ed NGO that helped orga­nize last year’s rev­o­lu­tion in Kiev, is now in pow­er as an MP in Ukraine’s par­lia­ment, a mem­ber of the new, pro-NATO president’s par­ty bloc.

She’s gone from plucky Omid­yar-fund­ed adver­sar­ial activist, to head­ing a par­lia­men­tary sub­com­mit­tee tasked with inte­grat­ing Ukraine into NATO. I can’t think of anoth­er media tycoon who co-fund­ed a pro-US regime change with Amer­i­can intel­li­gence cutouts like USAID and the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy.

That Putin tar­geted the NED does not mean it’s either hero­ic or evil—the NED’s sto­ry speaks for itself: The brain­child of Reagan’s CIA direc­tor Bill Casey, the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy was set up as an intel­li­gence cutout to sup­port US geopo­lit­i­cal pow­er and under­mine unfriend­ly regimes. One of the NED co-founders, Allen Wein­stein, explained its pur­pose to the Wash­ing­ton Post:

“A lot of what we do today was done covert­ly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

Through­out its 30-year his­tory it’s been mired in very typ­i­cal CIA con­tro­ver­sies: In the 80s, the NED was caught fund­ing an out­lawed extreme-right French para­mil­i­tary gang dur­ing Social­ist pres­i­dent Mitterand’s rule; fund­ing a mil­i­tary leader’s vic­to­ri­ous elec­tion in Pana­ma against a more mod­er­ate civil­ian can­di­date; and financ­ing rightwing oppo­nents of Cos­ta Rica’s demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly-elect­ed Nobel Peace Prize-win­ning pres­i­dent, whose sin was oppos­ing Reagan’s dead­ly, dirty war in Nicaragua.

More recent­ly, the NED was caught fund­ing groups that orga­nized the 2002 coup against Venezuela’s demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly-elect­ed pres­i­dent Hugo Chavez; plant­ing a “free-lance jour­nal­ist” in the AP and New York Times to report on Haiti while the NED was simul­ta­ne­ously fund­ing rightwing groups to under­mine Haiti’s rul­ing par­ty; and co-fund­ing Ukraine regime-change groups with Pierre Omid­yar.

This week, Omid­yar Net­work announced yet anoth­er part­ner­ship with the Nation­al Endow­ment for Democ­racy and the Poyn­ter Insti­tute to cre­ate an inter­na­tional online fact-check­ing hub. Giv­en the pow­er that a monop­oly on “objec­tive” fact-check­ing offers, the tie-up with the NED takes the Omid­yar alliance with the US empire and media to new­er, creepi­er lev­els.

 In yet anoth­er Omid­yar-as-pri­vate-arm invest­ment, Omid­yar invest­ed in the slick new Ukrain­ian media, Hromadske.tv, which was set up on the eve of the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion with ini­tial seed fund­ing com­ing from the US Embassy in Kiev. Omidyar’s involve­ment in Ukraine media and “fact-check­ing” is all the more seri­ous giv­en that now Wash­ing­ton and NATO talk about “coun­ter­ing” Russia’s over­hyped “infor­ma­tion war” on the West and on Ukraine—this “infor­ma­tion war” which I cov­ered a bit in my piece on Peter Pomer­ant­sev, is con­sid­ered a top and urgent geostrate­gic pri­or­ity for NATO and the West. . . .

2. In ‘Hin­dut­va or Hind Swaraj’ a Warn­ing Against Hin­du Nation­al­ism” by Vaib­hav Shar­ma; The New York Times; 7/18/2016.

The last months of U. R. Ananthamurthy’s life were tumul­tuous. One of India’s fore­most nov­el­ists and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors, Mr. Anan­thamurthy, who died in August 2014 at 81, had threat­ened to leave the coun­try if Naren­dra Modi, then lead­ing the nation­al­ist Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty, won the vote in the nation­al elec­tion. Mr. Ananthamurthy’s remarks drew vit­ri­ol, abuse and death threats from Mr. Modi’s sup­port­ers, and he remained under round-the-clock police pro­tec­tion for months. In June, a polit­i­cal tract Mr. Anan­thamurthy wrote dur­ing the final stage of his life, the part­ing shot of a writer who devot­ed sub­stan­tial time to warn­ing of the dan­gers of Hin­du nation­al­ism, was pub­lished to wide­spread acclaim. More than two years after Mr. Modi’s elec­tion as prime min­is­ter, even as many con­tin­ue to fear that India’s found­ing val­ues of sec­u­lar­ism and diver­si­ty are under threat, Mr. Ananthamurthy’s voice has served as an urgent reminder of the per­ils of majori­tar­i­an­ism and hyper-nation­al­ism. . . .

. . . . Draw­ing on a for­mi­da­ble range of intel­lec­tu­al ref­er­ences, from Dos­toyevsky to the epics of Hin­du mythol­o­gy, Mr. Ananthamurthy’s “Hin­dut­va or Hind Swaraj” exam­ines the two rival ideas that have shaped mod­ern India: the plur­al nation­al­ism orig­i­nat­ing from the strug­gle against British colo­nial­ism, led by Mohan­das K. Gand­hi; and the mus­cu­lar, majori­tar­i­an nation­al­ism favored by Mr. Modi and his sup­port­ers. Mr. Anan­thamurthy com­pares the key texts of these dom­i­nant polit­i­cal strains: Mr. Gandhi’s “Hind Swaraj,” a riposte to British colo­nial­ism com­plet­ed in 10 days, dur­ing a ship jour­ney in 1909, and pub­lished a year lat­er; and “Hin­dut­va,” the 1923 found­ing text of Hin­du nation­al­ism, writ­ten by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a rightwing activist impris­oned by the British for his role in India’s free­dom move­ment. “He felt the choice was real­ly between these two ide­olo­gies,” Vivek Shanbhag, a promi­nent nov­el­ist and Mr. Ananthamurthy’s son-in-law, said of Mr. Anan­thamurthy. “He was say­ing that it’s time that we, as a nation, stop now and take a look before we blind­ly move for­ward.” . . . .

. . . . “Peo­ple like Modi,” Mr. Anan­thamurthy writes, “live in a gum­baz, a dome that echoes what they say to them­selves over and over again.” Mr. Modi’s elec­tion as prime min­is­ter has been fol­lowed by, as many feared, a cli­mate of hos­til­i­ty toward minori­ties and renewed assaults on civ­il soci­ety and free expres­sion. . . .

3. “In India, Anoth­er Gov­ern­ment Crit­ic Is Silenced by Bul­lets” by Jef­frey Get­tle­man and Hari Kumar; The New York Times; 9/6/2017.

Gau­ri Lankesh, one of India’s most out­spo­ken jour­nal­ists, was walk­ing into her house on Tues­day night. It was around 8. The night was warm. She was alone. As she stepped through her gate, just feet from her front door, sev­er­al gun­shots rang out.

She was killed instant­ly in what polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion offi­cials say appears to be yet anoth­er assas­si­na­tion of an intel­lec­tu­al who pub­licly crit­i­cized India’s gov­ern­ing par­ty and the Hin­du agen­da it has pur­sued. In recent years, at least three oth­er anti­estab­lish­ment activists have been silenced by bul­lets.

Ms. Lankesh’s death, which monop­o­lized tele­vi­sion news cov­er­age on Wednes­day, set off protests across India, a coun­try increas­ing­ly polar­ized by sup­port­ers of the Hin­du nation­al­ist gov­ern­ing par­ty and its detrac­tors. Some of Mrs. Lankesh’s friends say they have no idea who killed her. But among gov­ern­ment oppo­nents, the cir­cum­stances of the shoot­ing fueled sus­pi­cions that gov­ern­ing par­ty back­ers, embold­ened by their lead­ers to wipe out their ene­mies, were behind it.

“Any­body who speaks against the RSS/BJP is attacked & even killed,’’ Rahul Gand­hi, an oppo­si­tion leader, said in a Twit­ter mes­sage. (R.S.S. is a Hin­du orga­ni­za­tion that is close­ly con­nect­ed to India’s gov­ern­ing Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty.) “They want to impose only one ide­ol­o­gy which is against the nature of India.” . . .

. . . . The three oth­er activists killed in a some­what sim­i­lar man­ner in the past four years had also opposed the rise of hard-line Hin­duism. . . .

. . . . Lead­ers of the Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty had been annoyed with Ms. Lankesh for years and sued her for defama­tion. The first court to hear the case con­vict­ed her and sen­tenced her to six months in prison last year, but she was grant­ed bail while the case was on appeal. S. N. Sin­ha, pres­i­dent of India’s 28,000-member jour­nal­ist union and a mem­ber of a news over­sight coun­cil, said the coun­cil had got­ten many com­plaints about Ms. Lankesh.

“She used to write very strong­ly,” Mr. Sin­ha said. “We warned her she has to be a lit­tle care­ful in her writ­ing. It wasn’t the con­tent; it was her lan­guage.” On Mon­day, the day before she was killed, she shared a post on her Face­book page that was writ­ten by some­one else. “The RSS is the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion,” it read. . . .



No comments for “The Pierre Omidyar School of Journalism”

Post a comment