Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Between

Those old enough to remember when President Clinton's penis was a big news item will also remember the "Peace Dividend," that the world was going to be able to cash now that that nasty cold war was over. But guess what? Those spies didn't want to come in from the Cold, so while the planet is heating up, the political environment is dropping to sub-zero temperatures. It's deja vu all over again.

Re: Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Betw

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:27 am

NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War
By Robert Parry
August 10, 2014

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The New York Times reported almost in passing on Sunday that the Ukrainian government’s offensive against ethnic Russian rebels in the east has unleashed far-right paramilitary militias that have even raised a neo-Nazi banner over the conquered town of Marinka, just west of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

That might seem like a big story – a U.S.-backed military operation, which has inflicted thousands of mostly civilian casualties, is being spearheaded by neo-Nazis. But the consistent pattern of the mainstream U.S. news media has been – since the start of the Ukraine crisis – to white-out the role of Ukraine’s brown-shirts.

Only occasionally is the word “neo-Nazi” mentioned and usually in the context of dismissing this inconvenient truth as “Russian propaganda.” Yet the reality has been that neo-Nazis played a key role in the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February as well as in the subsequent coup regime holding power in Kiev and now in the eastern offensive.

On Sunday, a Times article by Andrew E. Kramer mentioned the emerging neo-Nazi paramilitary role in the final three paragraphs:

“The fighting for Donetsk has taken on a lethal pattern: The regular army bombards separatist positions from afar, followed by chaotic, violent assaults by some of the half-dozen or so paramilitary groups surrounding Donetsk who are willing to plunge into urban combat.

“Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.

“In pressing their advance, the fighters took their orders from a local army commander, rather than from Kiev. In the video of the attack, no restraint was evident. Gesturing toward a suspected pro-Russian position, one soldier screamed, ‘The bastards are right there!’ Then he opened fire.”

In other words, the neo-Nazi militias that surged to the front of anti-Yanukovych protests last February have now been organized as shock troops dispatched to kill ethnic Russians in the east – and they are operating so openly that they hoist a Swastika-like neo-Nazi flag over one conquered village with a population of about 10,000.

Burying this information at the end of a long article is also typical of how the Times and other U.S. mainstream news outlets have dealt with the neo-Nazi problem in the past. When the reality gets mentioned, it usually requires a reader knowing much about Ukraine’s history and reading between the lines of a U.S. news account.

For instance, last April 6, the New York Times published a human-interest profile of a Ukrainian nationalist named Yuri Marchuk who was wounded in the uprising against Yanukovych in February. If you read deep into the story, you learn that Marchuk was a leader of the right-wing Svoboda from Lviv, which – if you did your own research – you would discover is a neo-Nazi stronghold where Ukrainian nationalists hold torch-light parades in honor of World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.

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

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

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

“Ukraine’s February revolution, said Mr. Koval, would never have happened without Right Sector and other militant groups,” the Times wrote.

Burning Insects

The brutality of these neo-Nazis surfaced again on May 2 when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encampment of ethnic Russian protesters driving them into a trade union building which was then set on fire with Molotov cocktails. As the building was engulfed in flames, some people who tried to flee were chased and beaten, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrainian nationalists liken them to black-and-red-striped potato beetles called Colorados, because those colors are used in pro-Russian ribbons.

“Burn, Colorado, burn” went the chant.

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

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

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

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

Though most of the Maidan protesters in 2013-14 appeared motivated by anger over political corruption and by a desire to join the European Union, neo-Nazis made up a significant number and surged to the front during the seizure of government buildings and the climatic clashes with police.

In the days after the Feb. 22 coup, as the neo-Nazi militias effectively controlled the government, European and U.S. diplomats scrambled to help the shaken parliament put together the semblance of a respectable regime, although at least four ministries, including national security, were awarded to the right-wing extremists in recognition of their crucial role in ousting Yanukovych.



As extraordinary as it was for a modern European state to hand ministries over to neo-Nazis, virtually the entire U.S. news media cooperated in playing down the neo-Nazi role. Stories in the U.S. media delicately step around this neo-Nazi reality by keeping out relevant context, such as the background of the coup regime’s national security chief Andriy Parubiy, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991, blending radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols. Parubiy was commandant of the Maidan’s “self-defense forces.”


Last April, as the Kiev regime launched its “anti-terrorist operation” against the ethnic Russians in the east, Parubiy announced that his right-wing paramilitary forces, incorporated as National Guard units, would lead the way. On April 15, Parubiy went on Twitter to declare, “Reserve unit of National Guard formed #Maidan Self-defense volunteers was sent to the front line this morning.” (Parubiy resigned from his post this past week for unexplained reasons.)

Now, however, as the Ukrainian military tightens its noose around the remaining rebel strongholds, battering them with artillery fire and aerial bombardments, thousands of neo-Nazi militia members are again pressing to the front as fiercely motivated fighters determined to kill as many ethnic Russians as they can. It is a remarkable story but one that the mainstream U.S. news media would prefer not to notice.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
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Re: Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Betw

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:40 am

Why are Nazi and Confederate flags on display in Kiev?
By Sara Flounders
Global Research
workers.org
March 05, 2014

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When Kiev’s City Hall was seized with guns and Molotov cocktails, one of the first acts of the Euromaidan street fighters was to unfurl a number of flags and insignia.

Prominent among the flags were swastikas, Iron Crosses, Nazi SS lightning bolts, the Celtic cross used by the Ku Klux Klan, and the Confederate “stars and bars” flag of slaveholders in the United States. (tinyurl.com/ltfu4vq)



This is no accident. The flag of the U.S. Southern slaveholders and the Klan cross are symbols understood around the world. They stand for racism, reaction, lynchings and mass terror, for keeping oppressive institutions intact and for beating down people of color and all those who struggle for a better world.

Racists from across Europe have traveled to Kiev. Wearing these symbols on their helmets and jackets, these thugs roamed Kiev and defaced the homes of Jews. They destroyed memorials to those who fought the Nazi invasion and occupation of the Ukraine in World War II. Offices of the Communist Party of the Ukraine were ransacked and destroyed, revolutionary books publicly burned in bonfires. Twenty-five statues of Lenin have been destroyed, requiring heavy equipment. (tinyurl.com/lfs734u) Amidst this offense of fascist vandalism, progressive people have mobilized to protect progressive centers, monuments and government buildings.

Symbols send a message. They are shorthand to millions of people for the aspirations and goals of social and political movements.

Naming a street, boulevard, school or holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks is recognition of the historic Civil Rights movement and Black liberation movement in the U.S. It resonates with all who stand against racism and oppression.

Certain symbols of revolution, resistance and liberation, such as the red flag, the red and black flag, the red star and the rainbow flag, are recognized around the world. The struggle to remove racist names of sports teams is well understood, as is the struggle to remove memorials to racists, slave owners and Confederates throughout the U.S. South.

Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, publicly bragged that Washington has committed more than $5 billion to these “democratic forces” in the Ukraine. (tinyurl.com/q577smd)

Nuland, Sen. John McCain and other U.S. and German politicians have publicly embraced known fascist thugs. Open U.S. support for the Ukrainian Fatherland Party, the Svoboda party and Right Sector is hardly a mistake. It is a sign of how the U.S. and European Union plan to impose austerity, cutbacks and rule by Western banks.

The display of hated racist and fascist symbols should serve as a dire warning of what is at stake in the Ukraine today for all progressive people fighting for change, liberation and human solidarity. All capitalism can offer in its state of decay is more poverty, repression, fascism and war.

The original source of this article is workers.org
Copyright © Sara Flounders, workers.org, 2014
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Re: Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Betw

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:49 am

Tending Their Wounds, Vowing to Fight On
By ALISON SMALE
New York Times
APRIL 5, 2014

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Yuri Kravchuk at a hospital in Germany. He is one of dozens of injured Ukrainian protesters sent to nations across Europe to heal. Credit Ben Kilb for The New York Times

KOBLENZ, Germany — Shot twice at the bloody denouement of Ukraine’s revolution, Yuri Kravchuk spends his days in the most pristine of hospital wards, gazing out the window at this orderly German city, churning images of battle through his mind.

Mr. Kravchuk, 36, a self-described nationalist and small-business man, is among several dozen Ukrainians sent to four countries in Europe to recover, physically and mentally, from their wounds.

Their memories bring stark life to the drier language of a report last week by the acting government in Kiev that blamed former President Viktor F. Yanukovych, his riot police and their suspected Russian assistants for the violence that killed more than 100 people in Kiev in February.

Those who survived could prove to be important witnesses to the events of Feb. 18 to 21, days in which, Mr. Kravchuk said, the protesters almost lost control of their Independence Square, the Maidan, before pushing back riot police despite deadly fusillades from unseen snipers. That bloodshed prompted three European foreign ministers to broker an agreement between the protesters and Mr. Yanukovych, who fled some hours later as his government crumbled around him.

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In February, flowers were laid in Kiev, Ukraine, to memorialize those killed in the protests. Credit Sergey Dolzhenko/European Pressphoto Agency

Mr. Kravchuk and others who were wounded are being treated in five hospitals in Germany, as well as in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and say that they are chafing at being out of action. They are left hoping against hope that the blood spilled to oust Mr. Yanukovych will, after 23 years of rocky independence and flagrant corruption, finally usher in a new era in Ukraine.

“Some people on Maidan were irritated by corruption, some by bribery, some by police injustice, some by absolutely buyable judges,” Mr. Kravchuk said. “For some, it was hard to accept that they live from pension to pension while others sit on gold toilet seats.

“But for all the people on Maidan, there was a uniting factor,” he added. “That is ‘dostalo,’ ” he said, repeating three times the Ukrainian word meaning “We’ve had enough!”

Now we know that the Egyptian leaders of the protest movement of the so-called Arab Spring, they were trained in Belgrade. They were trained by OTPOR! And it should come as no surprise that the clenched fist was used also in Egypt. And it was used in a number of countries. It's of interest that the name of the resistance movement in Georgia was "Enough." And in Egypt, the Kifaya movement, also in Arabic, means "Enough." So that in fact, you find the same names, the same logos, the same catch phrases in several countries. And this is no coincidence, because CANVAS is operating as a professional consulting arm assisting the movements in various countries.

-- Michel Chossudovsky on the OWS Movement & The Libyan War, by Potent News


Dmitri Herasimenko, 28, an electrician who worked near the Maidan in Kiev and went each day to the square after work, now nurses serious internal and shoulder wounds that his doctors in Prague say will keep him off work for a year. “My only hope is that we elect the right people to government this time,” he said in an interview last week. “Those who will not steal and then run.”

While foreign reports on the unrest in Kiev often depicted peaceful scenes of tens of thousands waving European flags, some of those hurt said it was always clear to them that violence would be needed for real change.

Vitaly Samoylenko, 37, from Irpin, just outside Kiev, took part in the peaceful 2004 Orange Revolution, which ultimately brought little relief from Ukraine’s chronic problems. “I knew this time we would need force and that there would be blood if we wanted to break free,” he said in Prague, a day before he was released and returned to Ukraine. He was treated for triple gunshot wounds to his arms and chest sustained on the Maidan on Feb. 18.

That night, Feb. 18-19, Mr. Kravchuk recalled as “the longest night of my life.” The Berkut riot police advanced on the protesters, who set fire to their own barricades, he said, in a desperate effort to confuse their attackers.

When the smoke had cleared at dawn, Mr. Kravchuk said, he was struck by the realization that “there were critically few people on Maidan.” At night, he said, the Berkut had been like “blind cats,” lashing out because they could not see their exact targets. In daylight, he said, “it was really, really scary” because the Berkut could overwhelm the protesters.

Carefully skirting questions about the arrival of guns stolen from a government depot in the western Ukraine city of Lviv, he said the Maidan was saved because hundreds of new volunteers from three cities in western Ukraine got around roadblocks and arrived by bus. At the time, organizers in Lviv said they alone were sending 600 people a day to Kiev. That enabled exhausted defenders to eat and sleep while new arrivals built barricades and then, early on Feb. 20, thrust toward the Berkut positions.

Mr. Kravchuk, who said he was from Khmelnitsky and the leader of a sotin, or hundred — an organizational formation used by protesters — followed around 8:30 a.m. He was shot in his right leg, and said he lost much blood but continued on Institutska Street, the main scene of carnage that Thursday. Only when he took a second hit, from a bullet that seared through his left leg, did he crawl under a shield, he said.

Others carried him to the makeshift medical center at the nearby Hotel Ukraina, then to another first aid post, where he was taken to a hospital. “Later, I understood that many people died because they did not get medical assistance in time,” he said.

Against a doctor’s advice, Mr. Kravchuk said he discharged himself after getting a splint on his left leg and bandages on his right. He went back to City Hall, he said, checking on the fate of the 35 members of his hundred who had volunteered for that Thursday. Two were killed, 12 wounded, the rest all right, he found.

Two days later, he said, friends sent an ambulance that took him to a hospital in Khmelnitsky. His father, Nikolai, had been a surgeon in the town, but it was not clear if that connection played a role in Mr. Kravchuk’s being transported to Germany.

Volunteers, either Ukrainian or with Maidan connections, helped select and arrange the transport of the wounded in Europe.

Ivo Dokoupil, of the charity People in Need, in Prague, said he traveled to Kiev several times during the protests. After the Feb. 18-20 violence, he said, he and his colleagues took care of about 150 people, many in private apartments because they were frightened of arrest — or worse — in state hospitals. “Police would barge in and drag people out of medical facilities,” Mr. Dokoupil said, citing witnesses.

He said he and others selected 38 of the wounded to come to the Czech Republic. Most had been hurt in Kiev, but three came from Khmelnitsky, where a Feb. 19 demonstration turned violent, killing two bystanders and wounding several people.

Mr. Dokoupil said he was still getting word of patients needing treatment, some even from as far east as Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

In Koblenz, Mr. Kravchuk said he will need at least one operation to graft bone from the back of his body to his knee. A volunteer from Cologne visited him and brought postcards of its splendors, and strawberries.

All that matters to Mr. Kravchuk — a man who said he had fought official corruption and harassment since 1998 and has long been close to Oleg Tyagnibok, leader of the nationalist Svoboda party — is getting back to the action, he said.

For instance, last April 6, the New York Times published a human-interest profile of a Ukrainian nationalist named Yuri Marchuk who was wounded in the uprising against Yanukovych in February. If you read deep into the story, you learn that Marchuk was a leader of the right-wing Svoboda from Lviv, which – if you did your own research – you would discover is a neo-Nazi stronghold where Ukrainian nationalists hold torch-light parades in honor of World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.

-- NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War, By Robert Parry


In these revolutionary times, he suggested, it is not enough simply to be a patriot. You have to defend what you treasure. “To sit in the kitchen and simply cry about how much we love Ukraine, that is a crime,” he said.

While thankful to Germany for his treatment in one of the country’s best hospitals, the army facility in Koblenz, he says he is disgusted by what he sees as German acquiescence and puny sanctions in the face of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

“Germans are used to living by exact rules,” he said, gesturing to the ward, the town and the neat vineyards etched for centuries into the Rhine and Mosel Valleys here. “That doesn’t exist in Ukraine. If we had these rules, we wouldn’t have needed to make this revolution.”

Correction: April 13, 2014
An article last Sunday about the Ukrainians who could become important witnesses to the police violence that broke out in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, just before the government collapsed in February misstated the surname of a small-business man who is recovering in Germany from gunshot wounds he sustained during the upheaval. He is Yuri Kravchuk, not Marchuk. The error also appeared in a picture caption.


Hana de Goeij contributed reporting from Prague, Czech Republic, and Victor Homola from Berlin.
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Re: Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Betw

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:30 am

Is the US backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine?
John McCain and other State Department members have troubling ties to the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party
by MAX BLUMENTHAL
ALTERNET
FEB 25, 2014

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John McCain (Credit: AP/Chris Usher)

As the Euromaidan protests in the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev culminated this week, displays of open fascism and neo-Nazi extremism became too glaring to ignore. Since demonstrators filled the downtown square to battle Ukrainian riot police and demand the ouster of the corruption-stained, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, it has been filled with far-right streetfighting men pledging to defend their country’s ethnic purity.

White supremacist banners and Confederate flags were draped inside Kiev’s occupied City Hall, and demonstrators have hoisted Nazi SS and white power symbols over a toppled memorial to V.I. Lenin. After Yanukovich fled his palatial estate by helicopter, EuroMaidan protesters destroyed a memorial to Ukrainians who died battling German occupation during World War II. Sieg heil salutes and the Nazi Wolfsangel symbol have become an increasingly common site in Maidan Square, and neo-Nazi forces have established “autonomous zones” in and around Kiev.

An Anarchist group called AntiFascist Union Ukraine attempted to join the Euromaidan demonstrations but found it difficult to avoid threats of violence and imprecations from the gangs of neo-Nazis roving the square. “They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists,” one of its members said. “There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult.”

“There are lots of Nationalists here, including Nazis,” the anti-fascist continued. “They came from all over Ukraine, and they make up about 30% of protesters.”

One of the “Big Three” political parties behind the protests is the ultra-nationalist Svoboda, whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, has called for the liberation of his country from the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” After the 2010 conviction of the Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for his supporting role in the death of nearly 30,000 people at the Sobibor camp, Tyahnybok rushed to Germany to declare him a hero who was “fighting for truth.” In the Ukrainian parliament, where Svoboda holds an unprecedented 37 seats, Tyahnybok’s deputy Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn is fond of quoting Joseph Goebbels – he has even founded a think tank originally called “the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center.” According to Per Anders Rudling, a leading academic expert on European neo-fascism, the self-described “socialist nationalist” Mykhalchyshyn is the main link between Svoboda’s official wing and neo-Nazi militias like Right Sector.

Right Sector is a shadowy syndicate of self-described “autonomous nationalists” identified by their skinhead style of dress, ascetic lifestyle, and fascination with street violence. Armed with riot shields and clubs, the group’s cadres have manned the front lines of the Euromaidan battles this month, filling the air with their signature chant: “Ukraine above all!” In a recent Right Sector propaganda video, the group promised to fight “against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, for traditional national morality and family values.” With Svoboda linked to a constellation of international neo-fascist parties through the Alliance of European National Movements, Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on “a great European Reconquest.”

Svoboda’s openly pro-Nazi politics have not deterred Senator John McCain from addressing a EuroMaidan rally alongside Tyahnybok, nor did it prevent Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland from enjoying a friendly meeting with the Svoboda leader this February. Eager to fend off accusations of anti-Semitism, the Svoboda leader recently hosted the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine. “I would like to ask Israelis to also respect our patriotic feelings,” Tyahnybok has remarked. “Probably each party in the [Israeli] Knesset is nationalist. With God’s help, let it be this way for us too.”

In a leaked phone conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, Nuland revealed her wish for Tyahnybok to remain “on the outside,” but to consult with the US’s replacement for Yanukovich, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, “four times a week.” At a December 5, 2013 US-Ukraine Foundation Conference, Nuland boasted that the US had invested $5 billion to “build democratic skills and institutions” in Ukraine, though she did not offer any details.

“The Euro-Maidan movement has come to embody the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies,” Nuland proclaimed.

Two weeks later, 15,000 Svoboda members held a torchlight ceremony in the city of Lviv in honor of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B). Lviv has become the epicenter of neo-fascist activity in Ukraine, with elected Svoboda officials waging a campaign to rename its airport after Bandera and successfully changing the name of Peace Street to the name of the Nachtigall Battalion, an OUN-B wing that participated directly in the Holocaust. “’Peace’ is a holdover from Soviet stereotypes,” a Svoboda deputy explained.


Revered by Ukrainian nationalists as a legendary freedom fighter, Bandera’s real record was ignominious at best. After participating in a campaign to assassinate Ukrainians who supported accommodation with the Polish during the 1930’s, Bandera’s forces set themselves to ethnically cleanse western Ukraine of Poles in 1943 and 1944. In the process, they killed over 90,000 Poles and many Jews, whom Bandera’s top deputy and acting “Prime Minister,” Yaroslav Stetsko, were determined to exterminate. Bandera held fast to fascist ideology in the years after the war, advocating a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe while his affiliated Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) carried out a doomed armed struggle against the Soviet Union. The bloodbath he inspired ended when KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959.

The Right Connections

Many surviving OUN-B members fled to Western Europe and the United States – occasionally with CIA help – where they quietly forged political alliances with right-wing elements. “You have to understand, we are an underground organization. We have spent years quietly penetrating positions of influence,” one member told journalist Russ Bellant, who documented the group’s resurgence in the United States in his 1988 book, “Old Nazis, New Right, and the Republican Party.”

In Washington, the OUN-B reconstituted under the banner of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), an umbrella organization comprised of “complete OUN-B fronts,” according to Bellant. By the mid-1980’s, the Reagan administration was honeycombed with UCCA members, with the group’s chairman Lev Dobriansky, serving as ambassador to the Bahamas, and his daughter, Paula, sitting on the National Security Council. Reagan personally welcomed Stetsko, the Banderist leader who oversaw the massacre of 7000 Jews in Lviv, into the White House in 1983.

“Your struggle is our struggle,” Reagan told the former Nazi collaborator. “Your dream is our dream.”

When the Justice Department launched a crusade to capture and prosecute Nazi war criminals in 1985, UCCA snapped into action, lobbying Congress to halt the initiative. “The UCCA has also played a leading role in opposing federal investigations of suspected Nazi war criminals since those queries got underway in the late 1970’s,” Bellant wrote. “Some UCCA members have many reasons to worry – reasons which began in the 1930’s.”

Still an active and influential lobbying force in Washington, the UCCA does not appear to have shed its reverence for Banderist nationalism. In 2009, on the 50th anniversary of Bandera’s death, the group proclaimed him “a symbol of strength and righteousness for his followers” who “continue[s] to inspire Ukrainians today.” A year later, the group honored the 60th anniversary of the death of Roman Shukhevych, the OUN-B commander of the Nachtigall Battalion that slaughtered Jews in Lviv and Belarus, calling him a “hero” who “fought for honor, righteousness…”

Back in Ukraine in 2010, then-President Viktor Yushchenko awarded Bandera the title of “National Hero of Ukraine,” marking the culmination of his efforts to manufacture an anti-Russian national narrative that sanitized the OUN-B’s fascism. (Yuschenko’s wife, Katherine Chumachenko, was a former Reagan administration official and ex-staffer at the right-wing Heritage Foundation). When the European Parliament condemned Yushchenko’s proclamation as an affront to “European values,” the UCCA-affiliated Ukrainian World Congress reacted with outrage, accusing the EU of “another attempt to rewrite Ukrainian history during WWII.” On its website, the UCCA dismissed historical accounts of Bandera’s collaboration with the Nazis as “Soviet propaganda.”

Following the demise of Yanukovich this month, the UCCA helped organize rallies in cities across the US in support of the EuroMaidan protests. When several hundred demonstrators marched through downtown Chicago, some waved Ukrainian flags while others proudly flew the red and black banners of the UPA and OUN-B. “USA supports Ukraine!” they chanted.

Max Blumenthal is an award winning journalist and the bestselling author of "Republican Gomorrah: Inside the movement that shattered the party"
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Re: Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Betw

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:51 am

Mystery Surrounds Death of Ukrainian Activist
By ANDREW HIGGINS
New York Times
APRIL 11, 2014

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A memorial in Barmaky, Ukraine, marks where Oleksandr Muzychko of the Right Sector group died. A government report said that he shot himself. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

BARMAKY, Ukraine — For more than 20 years, Oleksandr Muzychko battled and somehow survived Russian power, taking up arms against Moscow-backed rebels in Georgia and Moldova, against Russia’s army in Chechnya and finally against Ukraine’s pro-Russia president, Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Late last month, however, his luck ran out in a grove of oak trees just a few hundred yards from his parents’ house in this placid, dirt-tracked village. Shot in the heart, Mr. Muzychko — a militant activist in the nationalist group Right Sector — died fleeing the reach of a Ukrainian government he had helped bring to power just a month earlier.

Who fired the bullets is unclear and a matter of bitter controversy. The mystery reflects the deep rifts in Ukraine over a February revolution that toppled Mr. Yanukovych but left rival camps sharply and sometimes violently divided over its purpose.

Right Sector, with its pugnacious anti-Russian nationalism and celebration of long-dead Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazis against the Soviets in World War II, lies at the heart of the debate. Will its members lay down their arms and accede to Kiev’s authority, as they say they will? Or are they determined to bring down the existing, corrupt order in a coup, as Russia’s fascist-baiting news media insist?

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A photo of Oleksandr Muzychko, foreground, at a memorial for activists in Rivne, Ukraine, near Barmaky. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

The tumultuous life and mysterious death of Mr. Muzychko, one of Right Sector’s most charismatic and mercurial leaders, speak directly to those questions, reflecting the sharp differences among those who cheered Mr. Yanukovych’s fall and now disagree on the shape and mission of Ukraine’s post-revolutionary order.

These resulted in the violent confrontation that claimed Mr. Muzychko’s life late at night on March 24. The new government, which saw Mr. Muzychko as an out-of-control extremist sent heavily armed police officers to try to arrest him at the Three Carp Cafe here. A report issued by the Interior Ministry last week said that the burly 51-year-old militant shot himself after a shootout with the police on a grassy hill behind the cafe. At the time of his death, he was under investigation by a police unit responsible for combating organized crime.

Mr. Muzychko’s family, friends and former comrades in Right Sector, a coalition of once-fringe Ukrainian nationalist groups, believe that he was killed in order to silence an uncompromising rebel who wanted to oust not only Mr. Yanukovych, but an entire class of politicians and civil servants he viewed as irredeemably corrupt.

“This is an unfinished revolution and he wanted to carry it through to its logical conclusion,” said Yuriy Shukhevych, a veteran Ukrainian nationalist leader whose father, Roman, commanded the Ukrainian Insurgent Army against the Polish and Soviet authorities in the 1930s and ’40s. Mr. Muzychko’s death, said Mr. Shukhevych, who spent more than three decades in Soviet prisons and labor camps, was a “pre-ordered hit” orchestrated by establishment forces fearful of a thorough break with the past and who were “afraid of him because he was so determined and so decisive.”

Mr. Muzychko certainly made many enemies, particularly among officials appalled by his gun-waving displays of bravado and his reputation as a man who took the law into his own hands and combined nationalist fervor with racketeering and revenge.

A week after Mr. Yanukovych fled Kiev on Feb. 21, for example, Mr. Muzychko, a holstered pistol on his belt, stormed into the state prosecutor’s office in Rivne, a city near his home village in northwestern Ukraine, and terrorized an official he accused of failing to prosecute a man accused of rape and murder.

“If you don’t sign an arrest warrant, I will beat you like a dog,” he screamed, grabbing the prosecutor’s tie and demanding to know why the judicial system let criminals with connections go free, but pursued innocent, ordinary people. A video recording of the scene was quickly posted on YouTube and was broadcast repeatedly by Russian television as proof that Ukraine had fallen into the hands of violent extremists.

He also waved an automatic rifle at leaders of Rivne’s regional council, defying a government order that Right Sector and other militant groups hand over their weapons. “No one tells us when to carry arms and when not,” Mr. Muzychko warned. “You did not give them to us and you won’t take them away.” A video of this also popped up on the Internet.

Russia Today, a state-controlled broadcaster, described Mr. Muzychko as a “shellshocked psychopath.”

The episodes embarrassed and infuriated Ukraine’s new government, which has been struggling to assert its authority and present itself as a responsible, stable power in the face of a barrage of Russian propaganda about fascists on the rampage.

But Mr. Muzychko’s antics struck a chord with some ordinary Ukrainians, who wonder when Ukraine’s revolution will bring tangible benefits and ask why law enforcement and other government agencies are still staffed mostly by people who served under Mr. Yanukovych.

When Mr. Muzychko was buried two days after his death, throngs from his village and Rivne flocked to mourn a man they knew as Sashko Bely, a nom de guerre meaning Sashko White. In Kiev, the capital, Right Sector militants besieged the national Parliament, retreating only after legislators promised to conduct an independent investigation into Mr. Muzychko’s death. Right Sector’s leader, Dmytro Yarosh, demanded that Ukraine’s interior minister resign and vowed revenge for Mr. Muzychko’s death.

The European Union, on the defensive against criticism from Moscow that it was coddling Ukrainian extremists, condemned Right Sector’s unruly pressure tactics. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, called on the group “to refrain from the use or threat of violence” and denounced its “intimidation of the Parliament” as a violation of “democratic principles and the rule of law.”

Roman Koval, the head of the Rivne branch of Right Sector, acknowledged that Mr. Muzychko’s methods perhaps played into Russian propaganda, but added that he understood and supported his comrade’s belief that peaceful protest alone could not always bring real change. Ukraine’s February revolution, said Mr. Koval, would never have happened without Right Sector and other militant groups.

This process, he added, needs to continue because the ouster of Mr. Yanukovych has so far “changed a few faces but not the structure of the system.” Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt traffic police force, for example, stopped extorting money for a few weeks, but has now started to demand bribes once again.

Mr. Muzychko’s rage against authority, particularly the judiciary, was not just political but also deeply personal. Born in the Russian region of Perm in 1962 to a mother from Belarus and a Ukrainian coal-miner father who had been forced to leave Ukraine by Soviet authorities, he grew up bitterly resentful of a Soviet system that he saw as a tool for Russian domination of its neighbors.

“He was always interested in politics,” said his 78-year-old mother, Olena. Wailing with grief as chickens clucked at her feet outside the family home, she cursed “criminals” for killing the older of her two sons.

“He could have liked Russians if they had lived with us in peace,” she said. “Maybe the Russians did not like him.”

Moscow’s dislike of Mr. Muzychko stretched back to 1994, when he joined Chechen separatists fighting for independence from Russia. A Russian human rights activist who knew Mr. Muzychko in Chechnya remembered the Ukrainian as a jocular, friendly character who showed little sign of the showy aggression that would later make him a hero for some and villain for many others. The Russian authorities, however, say that while in Chechnya, Mr. Muzychko was involved in a string of atrocities against Russian soldiers and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Shortly before his death, Mr. Muzychko released a video in which he predicted that Ukrainian authorities would either kill him or hand him over to Russian security services. Mr. Shukhevych, the son of the wartime nationalist hero, said Mr. Muzychko visited him about 10 days before his death and told him that an emissary from the government in Kiev had offered to pay him $20,000 if he disappeared for a few months and stopped causing trouble. “If he had taken the money and gone on a long holiday to the Bahamas he might still be alive,” Mr. Shukhevych said.

But Mr. Muzychko never retreated from a fight. As a young man he had repeated brushes with the law and was convicted on charges of brawling and extortion. An early marriage quickly fell apart.

Sergei Pandrak, a longtime friend and political ally, insisted that Mr. Muzychko was never a gangster. But in the 1990s Mr. Muzychko had combined activities in a nationalist youth movement with work providing “physical support,” or protection, in return for money from local businessmen who backed the nationalist cause and worried about their safety. “It was a very gray period,” Mr. Pandrak acknowledged.

As far as anyone can tell, Mr. Muzychko never held a regular job and, between his time on the battlefields of Chechnya and elsewhere, devoted himself to a string of Ukrainian nationalist organizations, notably the Ukrainian National Assembly, a political party that was led for a time by Mr. Shukhevych. He ran for Parliament on the party’s ticket in 2012 and came in sixth, with just 1.1 percent of the vote.

After Mr. Muzychko’s flop at the ballot box, he focused on street politics, pushing the Ukrainian National Assembly into cooperation with, and then in March absorption by, Right Sector.

Despite having no obvious source of income, Mr. Muzychko built himself a large two-story house in Barmaky. Unlike the ramshackle single-story home of his parents, located at the entrance to the village near the main road, Mr. Muzychko’s home, which builders finished shortly before he died, sits atop a secluded hill in a far more prosperous district. Local residents estimated that his house was worth more than $200,000, a hefty sum in this part of the world.

Mr. Shukhevych dismissed suspicions that the property was the fruit of criminal activity, recalling that the house took 15 years to build because Mr. Muzychko kept running out of cash to pay the builders. He acknowledged that Mr. Muzychko had a hot temper that pushed him into trouble with the law and even his friends. “He was very emotional, but always apologized afterwards when he did something stupid,” Mr. Shukhevych said.

A version of this article appears in print on April 12, 2014, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Mystery Surrounds Death of Fiery Ukrainian Activist
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Re: Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Betw

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 7:06 am

Ukraine’s Reins Weaken as Chaos Spreads
By ANDREW E. KRAMER
New York Times
MAY 4, 2014

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A man who was one of 67 pro-Russian militants who were released from a police station on Sunday after the building was stormed in Odessa, Ukraine. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

ODESSA, Ukraine — Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine spun further out of the central government’s control on Sunday as a mob stormed a police station in this Black Sea port and freed from detention 67 pro-Russian militants, on the same day that Ukraine’s prime minister was visiting the city.

It was intended to be a chance for the prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, to express condolences for the dozens of people who died here on Friday in street fighting and in a horrific fire at a trade union building, and to reinforce the government’s narrative that Russia and inept or disloyal local police were to blame.

Speaking at a news conference, Mr. Yatsenyuk cast aspersion on the police, suggesting that if they had done their jobs instead of concentrating on soliciting bribes at an outdoor market, “these terrorist organizations would have been foiled.”

“There were dozens of casualties resulting from a well-prepared and organized action against people, against Ukraine and against Odessa,” Mr. Yatsenyuk said, speaking at the news conference on Sunday morning, western and Ukrainian news media reported. He denounced Russia’s claim that Ukraine was not seeking a compromise with its Russian-speakers. “The process of dialogue had begun, only it was drowned out by the sound of shooting from automatic rifles of Russian production,” he said.

Mr. Yatsenyuk said the violence showed that Russia wanted to kindle unrest in Odessa, as it had in eastern Ukrainian cities. Odessa is a major port between the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia in March, and the Russian-backed separatist enclave of Transnistria in Moldova on Ukraine’s eastern border.

President Vladimir V. Putin, in a speech last month, hinted at a claim to an entire arc of Russian-speaking regions in the east and the south of Ukraine by calling these provinces of steppe and Black Sea coastline Novorossiya, or New Russia, as they were known after Catherine the Great’s conquest of the region in the 18th century. Russia has said it does not intend to invade, though tens of thousands of its troops are still positioned on the border.

The violence on Friday and the freeing of prisoners on Sunday highlighted a distinction between Odessa and the east: In both places, the police have sided with rebels. But here, local pro-Kiev activists routinely field street fighters ready to confront the Novorossiya group, with lethal consequences on Friday.

At the police station on Sunday, the riot police stood idly by as men and women gathered, banging on a gate and chanting, and then they demonstratively walked through the crowd led by a uniformed man wearing the black-and-orange ribbon that is a symbol of pro-Russian groups.

Soon enough, the prisoners emerged through the gate, pumping their fists in the air to chants of “heroes! heroes!”

The men belong to a group known as the Activists of Kulikovo Field, which had camped out on the square of that name in Odessa. They had been in jail for two days after being rescued from the trade union building blaze that killed at least 40 other pro-Russian militants.

After establishing a tent camp on Kulikovo Square, the activists, following the example of pro-Russian groups in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, had proclaimed an independent state, the Republic of Novorossiya. An exile in Moscow then claimed the presidency.

But unlike in eastern Ukraine, they faced strong opposition from pro-Ukrainian activists, including soccer fans. The fan clubs of the Chernomorets and Metalist teams, who had a long and fierce rivalry that often led to fights, recently declared a truce because of the crisis. Before a match on Friday, they scheduled a march in support of Ukrainian unity down Deribasovskaya Street, a pedestrian thoroughfare in the heart of the city.

The fighting started when the Activists of Kulikovo Field tried to block the march. Leaflets went up around Odessa on Friday morning, announcing the pro-Russian action to “defend Odessa from pogroms,” and the city braced for violence.

What followed were hours of bloody street clashes involving bats, pistols and firebombs. Many in the pro-Russian group carried bowie knives, photographs show. Four people died on and around Deribasovskaya Street. The pro-Russians, outnumbered by the Ukrainians, fell back, abandoning their tent camp on Kulikovo Square, which was burned by their opponents. Many then sought refuge in the trade union building.

Yanus Milteynus, a 42-year-old construction worker and pro-Russian activist, said he watched from the roof as the pro-Ukrainian crowd threw firebombs into the building’s lower windows, while those inside feared being beaten to death by the crowd if they tried to flee.

“Some people jumped or tried to run away, but they chased them and beat them,” he said. Videos of the inferno, however, also show pro-Ukrainian activists trying to move scaffolding from a stage to the building, to rescue those inside.

Only when the police managed to form a cordon to escort out those rescued by firefighters was he able to leave. If the roof caught fire before then, he said, “I would have stayed and sizzled like a sausage in a frying pan.”

The conflict is hardening hearts on both sides. As the building burned, Ukrainian activists sang the Ukrainian national anthem, witnesses on both sides said. They also hurled a new taunt: “Colorado” for the Colorado potato beetle, striped red and black like the pro-Russian ribbons. Those outside chanted “burn Colorado, burn,” witnesses said. Swastikalike symbols were spray painted on the building, along with graffiti reading “Galician SS,” though it was unclear when it had appeared, or who had painted it.

“The biggest thing they ever did to make me hate this country was sing the anthem,” Mr. Milteynus said. “I was going to die, and they sang the anthem. I hate them deeply.”

In an embarrassment for the Ukrainian Army, separatists tricked five soldiers at a checkpoint outside the eastern city of Mariupol into eating food laced with a sleeping potion, then they returned half an hour later and captured the dazed men with their weapons, the Ukrainian military confirmed on Sunday, saying it had issued new regulations limiting what soldiers can accept from apparently friendly civilians. The soldiers were released after negotiations Saturday.

The United States ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, in a telephone interview with CNN, called for an investigation into the violence here and suggested that local police were complicit.

Even against the incessant backdrop of violence in the Ukraine crisis, the causes of the fire at the trade union building and its terrible toll in lives is sure to be carefully parsed. The Russian Foreign Ministry has cited the blaze as justification for pro-Russian groups to take up arms.

It was the worst internecine street fighting in Odessa in a century, taking place coincidentally on Kulikovo Square, the site of a monument and a common grave for the 118 victims of street fighting in 1918 among the Reds, the Whites and pro-independence Ukrainians during the Russian civil war.

Militants in Odessa have posted online the names and addresses of pro-Ukrainian activists, apparently to invite revenge attacks. One of the targets, Varvara Chernoivanenko, a psychology professor and pro-Ukrainian activist, said in a telephone interview Sunday that she fled the town after the release of the pro-Russian prisoners. “I got a note saying ‘Varvara is a killer, and should die,’ and I’m taking it seriously.”

A version of this article appears in print on May 5, 2014, on page A12 of the New York edition with the headline: Kiev’s Reins Weaken as Chaos Spreads
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Re: Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Betw

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:19 am

Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers
By Robert Parry
August 13, 2014

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The U.S.-backed Ukrainian government is knowingly sending neo-Nazi paramilitaries into eastern Ukrainian neighborhoods to attack ethnic Russians who are regarded by some of these storm troopers as “Untermenschen” or subhuman, according to Western press reports.

Recently, one eastern Ukrainian town, Marinka, fell to Ukraine’s Azov battalion as it waved the Wolfsangel flag, a symbol used by Adolf Hitler’s SS divisions in World War II. The Azov paramilitaries also attacked Donetsk, one of the remaining strongholds of ethnic Russians opposed to the Kiev regime that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.

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The Wolfsangel symbol of Adolf Hitler’s SS on a banner in Ukraine.

Yet, despite this extraordinary reality – modern-day Nazi storm troopers slaughtering Slavic people in eastern Ukraine – the Obama administration continues to concentrate its criticism on Russia for sending a convoy of humanitarian supplies to the embattled region. Suddenly, the administration’s rhetoric about a “responsibility to protect” civilians has gone silent.

This same hypocrisy has permeated nearly everything said by the U.S. State Department and reported by the mainstream U.S. news media since the Ukraine crisis began last year. There was fawning coverage of the Maidan protesters who sought to overthrow Yanukovych and then an immediate embrace of the “legitimacy” of the regime that followed the Feb. 22 coup. As part of this one-sided U.S. narrative, reports about the key roles played by neo-Nazi activists and militias were dismissed as “Russian propaganda.”

But the ugly reality has occasionally broken through the blinders of the Western press. For instance, on Sunday, in the last three paragraphs of a long article about the Ukraine conflict, the New York Times reported that the Ukrainian military strategy has been to pound rebel-held cities from afar and then turn loose paramilitary forces to carry out “chaotic, violent assaults.”

“Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War.”]

Actually, the Azov fighters do more than wave a Swastika-like flag; they favor the Wolfsangel flag of Hitler’s SS divisions, much as some of Ukraine’s neo-Nazis still honor Hitler’s Ukrainian SS auxiliary, the Galician SS. A Ukrainian hero hailed during the Maidan protests was Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera whose paramilitary forces helped exterminate Jews and Poles.

Yet, this dark side of the Kiev regime generally gets ignored by the mainstream U.S. media despite the fact that the idea of modern-day Nazi storm troopers wreaking havoc on Slavic “Untermenschen” would seem like a very juicy story.

But it would destroy the white-hat/black-hat narrative that the State Department and the MSM have built around the Ukraine crisis, with the Kiev regime in the white hats and the ethnic Russian rebels and Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing the black hats. It might be hard to sell the American people on the notion that neo-Nazis waving an SS flag and ranting about “Untermenschen” deserve white hats.

Kiev’s Tolerance of Neo-Nazis

More details about the Azov battalion’s role in the fighting were reported in the conservative London Telegraph. In a somewhat sympathetic article, Telegraph correspondent Tom Parfitt wrote that “In Marinka, on the western outskirts, the [Azov] battalion was sent forward ahead of tanks and armoured vehicles of the Ukrainian army’s 51st Mechanised Brigade. …

“[Despite some casualties] Andriy Biletsky, the battalion’s commander, told the Telegraph the operation had been a ‘100% success’. …’Most important of all, we established a bridgehead for the attack on Donetsk. And when that comes we will be leading the way.’”

The Telegraph then added: ”But Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’, proclaimed in eastern Ukraine in March, should send a shiver down Europe’s spine. Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.”

In interviews, some of the fighters questioned the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis, a fact also known by Kiev authorities.

Biletsky, the Azov commander, “is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly,” according to the Telegraph article which quoted a recent commentary by Biletsky as declaring: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

The battalion itself is founded on right-wing views, Biletsky acknowledged, adding that Nazi allegiances are not grounds for exclusion. “The most important thing is being a good fighter and a good brother so that we can trust each other,” he said.

The Ukrainian offensive against the ethnic Russian rebels also has attracted neo-Nazis from around Europe. “Mr Biletsky says he has men from Ireland, Italy, Greece and Scandinavia,” the Telegraph reported.

These foreign recruits include Mikael Skillt, a former sniper with the Swedish Army and National Guard who leads and trains a reconnaissance unit. Skillt identified himself as a National Socialist who has been active in the extreme right-wing Party of the Swedes. “Now I’m fighting for the freedom of Ukraine against Putin’s imperialist front,” he said.

The Kiev government is aware of the Nazi sympathies among the fighters that it has sent into eastern Ukraine to crush the ethnic Russian resistance. “Ukraine’s government is unrepentant about using the neo-Nazis,” the Telegraph reported, quoting Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, as saying:

“The most important thing is their spirit and their desire to make Ukraine free and independent. …A person who takes a weapon in his hands and goes to defend his motherland is a hero. And his political views are his own affair.”


President Petro Poroshenko even hailed one of the militiamen who died in fighting on Sunday as a hero, the Telegraph reported.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
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Re: Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Betw

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:34 am

Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists
Kiev throws paramilitaries – some openly neo-Nazi - into the front of the battle with rebels
By Tom Parfitt
The Telegraph
11 Aug 2014

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Phantom, 23, a fighter in the Azov battalion, outside its HQ in the Ukrainian seaside town of Urzuf Photo: Tom Parfitt

The fighters of the Azov battalion lined up in single file to say farewell to their fallen comrade. His pallid corpse lay under the sun in an open casket trimmed with blue velvet.

Some of the men placed carnations by the body, others roses. Many struck their chests with a closed fist before touching their dead friend’s arm. One fighter had an SS tattoo on his neck.

Sergiy Grek, 22, lost a leg and died from massive blood loss after a radio-controlled anti-tank mine exploded near to him.
As Ukraine’s armed forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the western-backed government in Kiev is throwing militia groups – some openly neo-Nazi - into the front of the battle.

The Azov battalion has the most chilling reputation of all. Last week, it came to the fore as it mounted a bold attack on the rebel redoubt of Donetsk, striking deep into the suburbs of a city under siege.

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Andriy Biletsky, in black T-shirt, commander of Ukraine's Azov battalion (Tom Parfitt)

In Marinka, on the western outskirts, the battalion was sent forward ahead of tanks and armoured vehicles of the Ukrainian army’s 51st Mechanised Brigade. A ferocious close-quarters fight ensued as they got caught in an ambush laid by well-trained separatists, who shot from 30 yards away. The Azov irregulars replied with a squall of fire, fending off the attack and seizing a rebel checkpoint.

Mr Grek, also known as “Balagan”, died in the battle and 14 others were wounded. Speaking after the ceremony Andriy Biletsky, the battalion’s commander, told the Telegraph the operation had been a “100% success”. “The battalion is a family and every death is painful to us but these were minimal losses,” he said. “Most important of all, we established a bridgehead for the attack on Donetsk. And when that comes we will be leading the way.”

The military achievement is hard to dispute. By securing Marinka the battalion “widened the front and tightened the circle”, around the rebels’ capital, as another fighter put it. While Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, prevaricates about sending an invasion force into Ukraine, the rebels he backs are losing ground fast.

But Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics”, proclaimed in eastern Ukraine in March, should send a shiver down Europe’s spine. Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming.

The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.


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The Azov battalion uses the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf''s Hook) symbol on its banner (Tom Parfitt)

“Personally, I’m a Nazi,” said “Phantom”, a 23-year-old former lawyer at the ceremony wearing camouflage and holding a Kalashnikov. “I don’t hate any other nationalities but I believe each nation should have its own country.” He added: “We have one idea: to liberate our land from terrorists.”

The Telegraph was invited to see some 300 Azov fighters pay respects to Mr Grek, their first comrade to die since the battalion was formed in May. An honour guard fired volleys into the air at the battalion’s headquarters on the edge of Urzuf, a small beach resort on Ukraine’s Azov Sea coast. Two more militiamen died on Sunday fighting north of Donetsk. Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president, called one of them a hero.

Each new recruit receives only a couple of weeks of training before joining the battalion. The interior ministry and private donors provide weapons.

The HQ is a seaside dacha compound dotted with pines that once belonged to the ousted president of Ukraine, Vladimir Yanukovich, when he was governor of this region. Families in swimsuits with towels and inflatable rings walk past gate-guards toting automatic rifles.

Parked inside among wooden gazebos overlooking the sea are the tools of Azov’s trade – two armoured personnel carriers, a converted truck with retractable steel shutters to cover its windows, and several Nissan pick-ups fitted with machine-gun mounts.

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A converted truck with steel shutters used by the Azov battalion and known to the fighters as 'the Lump of Iron' (Tom Parfitt)

Mr Biletsky, a muscular man in a black T-shirt and camouflage trousers, said the battalion was a light infantry unit, ideal for the urban warfare needed to take cities like Donetsk.

The 35-year old commander began creating the battalion after he was released from pre-trial detention in February in the wake of pro-western protests in Kiev. He had denied a charge of attempted murder, claiming it was politically motivated.

A former history student and amateur boxer, Mr Biletsky is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly. “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival,” he wrote in a recent commentary. “A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

The battalion itself is founded on right wing views, the commander said in Urzuf, and no Nazi convictions could exclude a recruit. “The most important thing is being a good fighter and a good brother so that we can trust each other,” he said.

Interestingly, many of the men in the battalion are Russians from eastern Ukraine who wear masks because they fear their relatives in rebel-controlled areas could be persecuted if their identities are revealed.

Phantom said he was such a Russian but that he was opposed to Moscow supporting “terrorists” in his homeland: “I volunteered and all I demanded was a gun and the possibility to defend my country.”

Asked about his Nazi sympathies, he said: “After the First World World War, Germany was a total mess and Hitler rebuilt it: he built houses and roads, put in telephone lines, and created jobs. I respect that.” Homosexuality is a mental illness and the scale of the Holocaust “is a big question”, he added.

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Fighters of the Azov battalion say farewell to their first comrade to die in the war against Russia-backed rebels (Tom Parfitt)

Stepan, 23, another fighter, said that if leaders of the pro-Russian separatists were captured they should be executed after a military tribunal.

Such notions seem a far cry from the spirit of the “Maidan” protests that peaked in Kiev in February with the ousting of Mr Yanukovich, who had refused to sign a trade agreement with the European Union. Young liberals led the way but the uprising, which ended with the president fleeing to Russia, provoked a huge patriotic awakening that sucked in hardline groups.

Azov’s extremist profile and slick English–language pages on social media have even attracted foreign fighters. Mr Biletsky says he has men from Ireland, Italy, Greece and Scandinavia. At the base in Urzuf, Mikael Skillt, 37, a former sniper with the Swedish Army and National Guard, leads and trains a reconnaissance unit.

“When I saw the Maidan protests I recognised bravery and suffering,” he told the Telegraph. “A warrior soul was awakened. But you can only do so much, going against the enemy with sticks and stones. I had some experience and I though maybe I could help.”

Mr Skillt says he called himself a National Socialist as a young man and more recently he was active in the extreme right wing Party of the Swedes. “Now I’m fighting for the freedom of Ukraine against Putin’s imperialist front,” he said.

His unit is improving fast under his tutelage. “What they lack in experience, they make up in balls,” he said. Once he is done with Azov –where he claimed he receives a nominal GBP100 a month – Mr Skillt plans to go to Syria to fight for President Bashar al-Assad as a hired gun earning “very good money”.

Such characters under Kiev’s control play straight into the hands of Russian and separatist propaganda that portrays Ukraine’s government as a “fascist junta” manipulated by the West.

“These battalions are made up of mercenaries, not volunteers,” said Sergei Kavtaradze, a representative of the rebel authorities in Donetsk. “They are real fascists who kill and rape civilians.” Mr Kavtaradze could not cite evidence of his claim and the battalion says it has not harmed a single civilian.

Ukraine’s government is unrepentant about using the neo-Nazis. “The most important thing is their spirit and their desire to make Ukraine free and independent,” said Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Arsen Avakov, the interior minister. “A person who takes a weapon in his hands and goes to defend his motherland is a hero. And his political views are his own affair.”

Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian and Ukrainian security affairs at New York University, fears battalions like Azov are becoming “magnets to attract violent fringe elements from across Ukraine and beyond”. “The danger is that this is part of the building up of a toxic legacy for when the war ends,” he said.

Extremist paramilitary groups who have built up “their own little Freikorps” and who are fundamentally opposed to finding consensus may demand a part in public life as victors in the conflict, Mr Galeotti added. “And what do you do when the war is over and you get veterans from Azov swaggering down your high street, and in your own lives?”
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Re: Who’s Winning This Escalating Geopolitical Struggle Betw

Postby admin » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:48 am

Warning Merkel on Russian ‘Invasion’ Intel
by Consortiumnews.com
September 1, 2014

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Alarmed at the anti-Russian hysteria sweeping Official Washington – and the specter of a new Cold War – U.S. intelligence veterans took the unusual step of sending this Aug. 30 memo to German Chancellor Merkel challenging the reliability of Ukrainian and U.S. media claims about a Russian “invasion.”

***

MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO

We the undersigned are long-time veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on Sept. 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian “invasion” of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the “intelligence” seems to be of the same dubious, politically “fixed” kind used 12 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Photo credit: א (Aleph))

We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicious of charges made by the U.S. State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Barack Obama tried on Aug. 29 to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as “a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now … it’s not really a shift.”

Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration – who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on “intelligence” that was dubious, at best.

Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days. More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week.

Experience With Untruth

Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s checkered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen’s speeches continue to be drafted by Washington. This was abundantly clear on the day before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish Prime Minister, he told his Parliament: “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know.”

Photos can be worth a thousand words; they can also deceive. We have considerable experience collecting, analyzing, and reporting on all kinds of satellite and other imagery, as well as other kinds of intelligence. Suffice it to say that the images released by NATO on Aug. 28 provide a very flimsy basis on which to charge Russia with invading Ukraine. Sadly, they bear a strong resemblance to the images shown by Colin Powell at the UN on Feb. 5, 2003, that, likewise, proved nothing.

That same day, we warned President Bush that our former colleague analysts were “increasingly distressed at the politicization of intelligence” and told him flatly, “Powell’s presentation does not come close” to justifying war. We urged Mr. Bush to “widen the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

Consider Iraq today. Worse than catastrophic.

Although President Vladimir Putin has until now showed considerable reserve on the conflict in the Ukraine, it behooves us to remember that Russia, too, can “shock and awe.” In our view, if there is the slightest chance of that kind of thing eventually happening to Europe because of Ukraine, sober-minded leaders need to think this through very carefully.

If the photos that NATO and the U.S. have released represent the best available “proof” of an invasion from Russia, our suspicions increase that a major effort is under way to fortify arguments for the NATO summit to approve actions that Russia is sure to regard as provocative. Caveat emptor is an expression with which you are no doubt familiar. Suffice it to add that one should be very cautious regarding what Mr. Rasmussen, or even Secretary of State John Kerry, are peddling.

We trust that your advisers have kept you informed regarding the crisis in Ukraine from the beginning of 2014, and how the possibility that Ukraine would become a member of NATO is anathema to the Kremlin. According to a Feb. 1, 2008 cable (published by WikiLeaks) from the U.S. embassy in Moscow to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, U.S. Ambassador William Burns was called in by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who explained Russia’s strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine.

Lavrov warned pointedly of “fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene.” Burns gave his cable the unusual title, “NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES,” and sent it off to Washington with IMMEDIATE precedence. Two months later, at their summit in Bucharest NATO leaders issued a formal declaration that “Georgia and Ukraine will be in NATO.”


On Aug. 29, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk used his Facebook page to claim that, with the approval of Parliament that he has requested, the path to NATO membership is open. Yatsenyuk, of course, was Washington’s favorite pick to become prime minister after the Feb. 22 coup d’etat in Kiev.

“Yats is the guy,” said Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland a few weeks before the coup, in an intercepted telephone conversation with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. You may recall that this is the same conversation in which Nuland said, “Fuck the EU.”

Timing of the Russian “Invasion”

The conventional wisdom promoted by Kiev just a few weeks ago was that Ukrainian forces had the upper hand in fighting the anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine, in what was largely portrayed as a mop-up operation. But that picture of the offensive originated almost solely from official government sources in Kiev. There were very few reports coming from the ground in southeastern Ukraine. There was one, however, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that raised doubt about the reliability of the government’s portrayal.

According to the “press service of the President of Ukraine” on Aug. 18, Poroshenko called for a “regrouping of Ukrainian military units involved in the operation of power in the East of the country. … Today we need to do the rearrangement of forces that will defend our territory and continued army offensives,” said Poroshenko, adding, “we need to consider a new military operation in the new circumstances.”

If the “new circumstances” meant successful advances by Ukrainian government forces, why would it be necessary to “regroup,” to “rearrange” the forces? At about this time, sources on the ground began to report a string of successful attacks by the anti-coup federalists against government forces. According to these sources, it was the government army that was starting to take heavy casualties and lose ground, largely because of ineptitude and poor leadership.

Ten days later, as they became encircled and/or retreated, a ready-made excuse for this was to be found in the “Russian invasion.” That is precisely when the fuzzy photos were released by NATO and reporters like the New York Times’ Michael Gordon were set loose to spread the word that “the Russians are coming.” (Michael Gordon was one of the most egregious propagandists promoting the war on Iraq.)

No Invasion – But Plenty Other Russian Support

The anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine enjoy considerable local support, partly as a result of government artillery strikes on major population centers. And we believe that Russian support probably has been pouring across the border and includes, significantly, excellent battlefield intelligence. But it is far from clear that this support includes tanks and artillery at this point – mostly because the federalists have been better led and surprisingly successful in pinning down government forces.

At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come.

This is precisely why the situation demands a concerted effort for a ceasefire, which you know Kiev has so far been delaying. What is to be done at this point? In our view, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk need to be told flat-out that membership in NATO is not in the cards – and that NATO has no intention of waging a proxy war with Russia – and especially not in support of the rag-tag army of Ukraine. Other members of NATO need to be told the same thing.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)
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