Nel's New Day

April 18, 2015

U.S.-Supported Ukraine Run by Neo-Nazis, Oligarchs

Filed under: Foreign policy — trp2011 @ 9:52 PM
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Announcements of presidential candidates, hawks demanding the U.S. declare war on Iran, and the bills giving “religious” discrimination rights to the ultra-conservative have pushed Ukraine off the media. Yet the United States continues to support the neo-Nazi leadership in a country taken over, like the United States, by oligarchs. Yesterday, however, hundreds of U.S. paratroopers landed in Ukraine to train its forces in a fight against “pro-Russian rebels.” Brigade planning officer Captain Ashish Patel said, “This training will help them defend their borders and their sovereignty.” The 173rd Airborne Brigade already trained with Ukrainian forces last September.

The conflict has been going on for 18 months since street protests ousted President Viktor Yanukovych because he prevented treaties with the European Union. In the past year, over 4,800 people have been killed and 1.2 million displaced by the conflict. By July EU nations and the U.S. declared sanctions against Moscow, accusing Russians of supplying rebels with the missile that took down a Malaysian commercial airplane. A ceasefire in September was renewed in February although separatists have reclaimed 200 square miles of land in eight months. A bipartisan group of congressional members, led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), insist on supplying Ukraine with antitank missiles, reconnaissance drones and other arms.

The U.S. allies in Europe—including Great Britain, Italy, and Germany—oppose this move, arguing that Russia will overcome Ukraine and take the weapons. Ukrainians may even hand the weapons over to Russia; espionage shows that Ukrainian forces cannot be trusted with these weapons. Sending the weapons will also increasingly deteriorate U.S. relationship with Russia, driving Putin to join China in an alliance against the United States.

War hawks ignore or deny the part that neo-Nazis played in the February 2014 coup and their subsequent military offensives against ethnic Russians. Fourteen months later, on the 70th anniversary of the conclusion to the Holocaust, the Ukrainian parliament extended official recognition to Ukrainian fascists who collaborated with the Nazis in killing Jews. Any politicians and journalists who criticize the U.S.-backed regime in Ukraine suffer from not only repression but also death.

During World War II, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army joined the Nazis in their mass-murder of Jews, Poles and other minority groups. The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned both Ukraine’s recognition of the UIA and a second bill that equated Communist and Nazi crimes. Dr. Efraim Zuroff said:

“The decision to honor local Nazi collaborators and grant them special benefits turns Hitler’s henchmen into heroes despite their active and zealous participation in the mass murder of innocent Jews. These attempts to rewrite history, which are prevalent throughout post-Communist Eastern Europe, can never erase the crimes committed by Nazi collaborators in these countries.”

 

After the 2014 coup, neo-Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russian cities in eastern Ukraine wore swastikas and SS symbols, a fact largely ignored in the mainstream U.S. news media. Despite the resurgence of neo-Nazi rioters warring against ethnic Russians in the east, the mainstream U.S. media blames ethnic Russians for not submitting to the post-coup regime in Kiev. Hatred for Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin, is so prevalent in the United States that it can be easily used to justify aggression against Russia while actually protecting the Ukrainian neo-Nazi leadership.

 

The Jerusalem Post has written about concerns for the safety of Jews in Ukraine, especially after the discovery that the police chief for Kiev’s province has ties with a neo-Nazi organization. Right-wing

Dimitri Jarosch, official adviser to the army leadership, also organized many of the fighters behind the February 2014 putsch. U.S.-backed Maidan protests against Yanukovych in November 2014 came from neo-Nazi militias trained in western Ukraine and bused to Kiev. Commander of the Maidan forces, Andriy Parubiy, became national security chief and incorporated Maidan militia forces into the National Guard that sent to eastern Ukraine to fight ethnic Russians resisting the coup. The U.S. government and media consistently cheered the openly white supremacist, anti-Semite neo-Nazis who overcame Ukraine. Azov commander Andriy Biletsky, also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly, said, “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.”

 

Ukrainian officials in Kiev have acknowledged that they knew about the militias’ extremist positions but needed troops who were strongly motivated to fight. Over a year after the coup, mainstream U.S. news outlets claim that any mention of significant neo-Nazi presence in Ukraine is “Russian propaganda.”

Ten opposition figures have mysteriously died in the past few months: some are clearly murders while others are claimed to be suicides by the Ukrainian government. This past week Oleg Kalashnikov, a political leader of the opposition Party of Regions, was shot to death in his home. He had been campaigning for the Ukrainians to celebrate the World War II Allied victory, infuriating western Ukrainians who identify with Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. The next day Ukrainian journalist Oles Buzina was murdered after he protested government censorship on news outlets. Another dissident journalist, Serhiy Sukhobok, was supposedly killed in Kiev, but the Ukrainian government has withheld information about his murderers. If any reports about these deaths emerge in the U.S. media, the killed are called “pro-Russian,” and the U.S. media now avoid any mention of Ukrainian leaders as neo-Nazis.

 

The other rulers of Ukraine are oligarchs, the wealthy businessmen who made their money from privatization during the 1990s. One of them has gone too far even for President Petro Poroshenko, who had appointed him governor. Khor Kolomoisky, who financed volunteer battalions to supplement the country’s army, deployed his personal militia, many of them neo-Nazis, to block regulations on his business interests. The other oligarchs remain, owning and controlling the media and the banks while putting their people into the parliament through a closed party-list voting system. As in the United States, Ukraine’s government is controlled by the wealthy. U.S. media smoothed over the oligarchic control of Ukraine by writing that these men were “too rich to bribe.”

Like the far-right policies in the United States, slash old-age pensions and remove worker protections. They also hiked the price of heating fuel in exchange for a $17.5 billion bailout of the country’s collapsing financial structure.

 

U.S. control of Ukraine is also seen in its Finance Minister, Natalie Jaresko, former chief executive officer of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), created by Congress from taxpayer money in the 1990s to help jumpstart an investment economy in Ukraine. Although her salary was only $150,000, her IRS reporting in 2004 was approximately $450,000. To attain her new position, Jaresko gained Ukrainian citizenship literally overnight; now she is responsible for dispensing $17.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund and billions more from U.S. and European government. Later compensation was removed from public disclosure.

 

Considering Jaresko’s history, there is a question about whether the money she manages will go to the poor Ukrainians or its other oligarchs. Meanwhile the United States is sending paratroopers to the Ukraine to train neo-Nazis who already commit “ISIS-style” war crimes, according to Amnesty International. Ukrainian neo-Nazis want a war with Russia, and the United States plans to give it to them.

March 12, 2014

Ukraine – Follow the Money

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:30 PM
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The media flavor of the month is Ukraine. Everyone has an opinion about what we should do with the country, but most people don’t know anything about the country and its issues. GOP members vary taking military action to free Ukraine weeks ago, as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and only 8 percent of CPAC attendees want, to a position that would “secure and guarantee American safety at home and abroad.” Sen. Paul Rand (R-KY) is a strict isolationist, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wants a fight against “totalitarianism,” and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wobbles somewhere in between. The only thing that the GOP members agree on is that President Obama is wrong, no matter what he does.

Those vilifying President Obama for not taking action need to look back prior to Election Day 2008 about anyone criticizing the president’s approach toward foreign conflict when this was described as “traitor” and “fifth columnist.” They were accused of “treason,”  and characterizing the president as weak or inept was to encourage enemies to act aggressively against the United States.  Ed Koch wrote:

“Democrats and some Republicans in Congress are seeking to humble, embarrass and, if they can, destroy the President and the prestige of his position as the Commander-in-Chief who is responsible for the safety of our military forces and the nation’s defenses. By doing so, they are adding to the dangers that face our nation.”

Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved legislation to help Ukraine and sanction Russia. If the entire Senate doesn’t pass the bill tomorrow, it must wait until after the senators return from another recess and after Crimea votes on whether to leave Ukraine for Russia. The bill, supposedly paid for by cuts in Army and Air Force procurement, would pay $315 million to Russia and Russia’s gas company and lend Ukraine an additional $1 billion that the House has already approved.  

The basis of most conservatives’ attitudes in the United States is that Russia is a bad country and whatever it does is bad unless it’s persecuting LGBT people. There is, however, another perspective about Ukraine. In describing Ukraine’s revolution, Robert Parry wrote about the “neo-Nazis running four ministries running four ministries including the Ministry of Defense.” Although Parry is no fan of Russia, he wrote that, unlike Ukraine, it at least has “a functioning economy.”

In Ukraine, ten “oligarchs” (in the United States we call them billionaires) are buying up media outlets and politicians while almost everyone else in the country faces austerity through great reductions in pensions and already inadequate social services. Continuing political issues there will surely encourage the “rise of right-wing extremists who espouse not only the goal of expelling ethnic Russians from Ukraine but Jews and other peoples considered not pure Ukrainian.” None of this information appears in U.S. media, but a BBC Newsnight entitled “Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine” gives more information.

President Viktor Yanukovych signed an agreement on February 21 to relinquish much of his power, hold early elections, and order police to withdraw. European nations co-signed the agreement and then did nothing while neo-Nazi militias overran government buildings, forcing officials to flee the country. The U.S. didn’t complain when they violated Ukraine’s constitution, but the U.S. perceives Crimea’s vote to secede as criminal.

Crimea wants to stay with Russia because most of the people are Russian and many speak Russian, but the U.S. opposes that action. Yet the U.S. supported the separation of 15 nations from the Soviet Union in 1991 and the separation of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. That same decade, U.S. facilitated the ethnic divisions of Yugoslavia and bombed Serbia to give Kosovo independence. The U.S. helped oil-rich South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011. Strategists may say that Crimea and Ukraine are far different from all these, but all secessions are unique.

The question that the U.S. doesn’t address is whether the regions of Crimea and eastern Ukraine should be able to vote on a separation. Part of Ukraine goes with Russia, giving Russians more security from the neo-Nazis’ ethnic cleansing. The rest of Ukraine can vote whether to join the European Union.

Russia is threatening to cut off natural gas to Ukraine as it has done before. The European Union also gets 20 percent of its fuel source from Russia through pipelines that cross Ukraine, and that country gets 70 to 80 percent of its natural gas from Russia. This situation makes the U.S. fat-cats gleefully rub their hands together as they consider the potential of Russia going up against Ukraine. It’s 2003 all over again when the U.S. went into Iraq to take over its oil fields.

Ukraine pipeline

Politicians are demanding that the U.S. sell its “surplus” natural gas to Europe and Ukraine as well as remove any controls on fracking in the U.S. Rand Paul wants to drill ” in every possible conceivable place” and send all the U.S. energy resources overseas. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced a bill in the House requiring the Department of Energy to approve and expedite permits to ship U.S. natural gas to Ukraine and other countries, and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a similar measure in the Senate.

Expanding the exports of natural gas would largely benefit only the wealthy and the corporations because they are the ones who make a decision about where to send their product. Asia pays more than Europe, and there is no impetus to shift the direction of the shipping. The expansion of producing and exporting natural gas would only increase the rate at which resources in the U.S. are depleted and the destruction to the environment. Another problem is the lack of existing infrastructure to send natural gas to Europe. And the third is that the need for this product is seasonal, making the idea undesirable for corporations only interested in profit.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s accusation that Vladimir Putin is violating international law by sending Russian troops into Crimea flies in the face of reason. Ukraine’s president was democratically elected, and the neo-Nazis attacked the country. As for invasions, the United States is guilty of this multiple times, including Afghanistan and Iraq a little more than a decade ago. This invasion ended up killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and left their country a bitterly divided mess. Currently the Obama administration is blowing up people in other nations though the use of drones.

Since World War II, the list of countries where the United States have overthrown democratically-elected leaders includes Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Allende in Chile in 1973, Aristide in Haiti twice, Chavez in Venezuela briefly in 2002, Zelaya in Honduras in 2009, Morsi in Egypt in 2013, and now Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014. Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela is getting nervous in case the U.S. turns its effort for “democracy” on him. And now the right-wing in the U.S. wants this nation to toss out another democratically-elected leader. 

United States agents have indulged in murder and torture, and the government has a history of training and working with fascists, dictators, drug lords, and terrorists in places including Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, France, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Korea, Laos, Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Panama, The Philippines, Syria, Uruguay, Yugoslavia, and Zaire. And that’s just since 1944. It’s hard for the United States to take the high ground with Russia when one considers the country’s history.

The United States employs a foreign policy, including with Ukraine, is follow-the-money. The Congress is buying into the philosophy. It is willingly sending money to a foreign country while refusing  to help desperate people within its own borders, and it providing big energy companies with everything they want. This investment will be paid back many-fold in the future with corporate campaign donations.

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