Tag Archives: Ukraine

Mueller Investigating Podesta Group In Connection With Russia Probe, by ZeroPointNow

Imagine that, Democratic heavyweight Podesta Group is under investigation for its dealings with a pro-Russia group. From ZeroPointNow at ibankcoin.com:

Tony Podesta and his firm, the Podesta Group, are now under federal investigation by FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller in connection with the Russia investigation, three sources told NBC News.

The Podesta Group was subpoenaed in late August along with four other public relations firms who worked with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort during a 2012-2014 lobbying effort for a pro-Ukraine think tank – the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECMU) – tied to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych fled from Ukraine to Russia after he was unseated in a 2014 coup.

Two of the subpoenaed firms include Paul Manafort’s Mercury, LLC and the Podesta Group, founded by John and Tony Podesta and operated by the latter.

Manafort’s firm earned $17 million between 2012 – 2014 consulting for Yanukovych’s centrist, pro-Russia ‘Party of Regions.’ During the same period, Manafort oversaw a lobbying campaign for the pro-Russia “Centre for a Modern Ukraine,” a Brussels based think tank linked to Yanukovych which was pushing for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union.

The Podesta group, operating under Manafort, earned over $1.2 million as part of that effort.

In a statement to NBC, a spokesman for the Podesta Group said the firm “is cooperating fully with the Special Counsel’s office and has taken every possible step to provide documentation that confirms timely compliance. In all of our client engagements, the Podesta Group conducts due diligence and consults with appropriate legal experts to ensure compliance with disclosure regulations at all times — and we did so in this case.”

White House Special Access

Visitor logs reveal that Tony Podesta visited the White House at least 114 times during the Obama administration according to White House visitor logs, and was said to have had ‘special access‘ to the administration through his brother, John Podesta, while lobbying for various pro-Kremlin interests.

To continue reading: Mueller Investigating Podesta Group In Connection With Russia Probe

 

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Pentagon Denounces American Nazis While Arming Ukrainian Nazis, by Finian Cunningham

Why are American Nazis bad, according to the US military and government, but Ukrainian Nazis are good? SLL doesn’t have any brief for either, but the US is providing aid and comfort to Nazis within and allied with Ukraine’s government. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

In the wake of violent protests involving white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in the US, the Pentagon’s top military brass issued unprecedented condemnations of «racists and extremists». One veterans spokesman said: «Anyone waving a Nazi flag must be rooted out of our society».

What makes the Pentagon’s response to Swastika-flag-waving American Nazis rather bizarre is that this week the US Defense Secretary, General James Mattis, is reportedly traveling to Ukraine where he is to sign over shipments of lethal weapons to the armed forces of the Kiev regime. That regime openly glorifies Ukrainian regiments that collaborated with the Nazi Third Reich during the World War Two.

Mattis, the top Pentagon official, is due to authorize the transfer of $50 million-worth of military gear to the Kiev regime. This will mark the first official delivery of lethal equipment from the US. Previous military aid to Ukraine was reportedly «non-lethal». Among the inventory Mattis is signing over are Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Modern-day regiments under the control of the Kiev regime, such as the Azov Battalion, publicly self-identify with Nazi-collaborating descendants and former pro-Nazi Ukrainian leaders like Stefan Bandera. This Neo-Nazi ideology of the Kiev-run military is a central impetus in why these forces have waged a three-year war on the ethnic Russian population of the breakaway Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine. The latter refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the Kiev regime which seized power in February 2014 in a coup d’état against an elected government. The American CIA backed that violent coup.

Political and financial support from Washington and the European Union has underpinned the Kiev regime led by the dubiously elected President Petro Poroshenko. This is in spite of the fact that the Kiev regime continues to wage a war on the people of Donbas in violation of a peace deal – the Minsk Accord – brokered by Russia and the EU in 2015. Western governments and media accuse Russia of sponsoring the breakaway Donbas republics and their militia, and of infiltrating its troops into the region. Russia denies direct military involvement, but is believed to be supporting the self-declared Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

To continue reading: Pentagon Denounces American Nazis While Arming Ukrainian Nazis

Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void, by Robert Parry

Can the mainstream media stoop any lower? Now the New York Times is relying on unsupported assertions from Ukraine’s notoriously unreliable government, which regards Russia as an enemy, concerning the alleged Russian “hacks” of the election. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

The New York Times’ unrelenting anti-Russia bias would be almost comical if the possible outcome were not a nuclear conflagration and maybe the end of life on planet Earth.

A classic ample of the Times’ one-sidecoverage was a front-page article on Thursday expressing the wistful hope that a Ukrainian hacker whose malware was linked to the release of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails in 2016 could somehow “blow the whistle on Russian hacking.”

Though full of airy suspicions and often reading like a conspiracy theory, the article by Andrew E. Kramer and Andrew Higgins contained one important admission (buried deep inside the “jump” on page A8 in my print edition), a startling revelation especially for those Americans who have accepted the Russia-did-it groupthink as an established fact.

The article quoted Jeffrey Carr, the author of a book on cyber-warfare, referring to a different reality: that the Russia-gate “certainties” blaming the DNC “hack” on Russia’s GRU military intelligence service or Russia’s FSB security agency lack a solid evidentiary foundation.

“There is not now and never has been a single piece of technical evidence produced that connects the malware used in the DNC attack to the GRU, FSB or any agency of the Russian government,” Carr said.

Yet, before that remarkable admission had a chance to sink into the brains of Times’ readers whose thinking has been fattened up on a steady diet of treating the “Russian hack” as flat fact, Times’ editors quickly added that “United States intelligence agencies, however, have been unequivocal in pointing a finger at Russia.”

The Times’ rebuke toward any doubts about Russia-gate was inserted after Carr’s remark although the Times had already declared several times on page 1 that there was really no doubt about Russia’s guilt.

To continue reading: Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void

 

 

NYT Shocking Report: US “Ally” Ukraine Is Source Of North Korean Missile Engines, by Tyler Durden

Who would have thought that Ukraine’s corrupt and incompetent regimes might be the source of North Korea’s missile engines? How many times has John McCain praised that government and advocated giving it arms. That would probably be as successful as John McCains idea to give Syrian “rebels” arms, most of which ended up in the hands of ISIS and affiliated groups. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

When the US State Department supported Ukraine domestic forces and nationalist elements to stage a successful and deadly coup against then pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, the outcome was supposed to be a nation that is a undisputed US ally and persistent threat, distraction and non-NATO opponent to bordering Russia. Instead, it now appears that it has been Ukraine which was, as the NYT writes, the secret behind the success of North Korea’s ballistic missile program.

Specifically, in a blockbuster report this morning, the NYT alleges that North Korea has been making black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines from a Ukrainian factory citing “expert analysis being published Monday and classified assessments by American intelligence agencies.”

 The studies may solve the mystery of how North Korea began succeeding so suddenly after a string of fiery missile failures, some of which may have been caused by American sabotage of its supply chains and cyberattacks on its launches. After those failures, the North changed designs and suppliers in the past two years, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

According to the report, analysts who studied photographs of Kim Jong-un, inspecting the new rocket motors concluded that they derive from designs that once powered the Soviet Union’s missile fleet. “The engines were so powerful that a single missile could hurl 10 thermonuclear warheads between continents.”

Since the alleged engines have been linked to only a few former Soviet sites, government investigators and experts have focused their inquiries on a missile factory in Dnipro, Ukraine, on the edge of the territory where Russia is fighting a low-level war to break off part of Ukraine. During the Cold War, the factory made the deadliest missiles in the Soviet arsenal, including the giant SS-18. It remained one of Russia’s primary producers of missiles even after Ukraine gained independence.

To continue reading: NYT Shocking Report: US “Ally” Ukraine Is Source Of North Korean Missile Engines

Neocons Leverage Trump-Hate for More Wars, by Robert Parry

If you’ve been looking for a catalogue of recent neoconservative depredations, here it is. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: The enactment of new sanctions against Russia and Iran – with the support of nearly all Democrats and Republicans in Congress – shows how the warmongering neocons again have come out on top, reports Robert Parry.

A savvy Washington observer once told me that the political reality about the neoconservatives is that they alone couldn’t win you a single precinct in the United States. But both Republicans and Democrats still line up to gain neocon support or at least neocon acceptance.

A scene from “Dr. Strangelove,” in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

Part of the reason for this paradox is the degree of dominance that the neoconservatives have established in the national news media – as op-ed writers and TV commentators – and the neocon ties to the Israel Lobby that is famous for showering contributions on favored politicians and on the opponents of those not favored.

Since the neocons’ emergence as big-time foreign policy players in the Reagan administration, they also have demonstrated extraordinary resilience, receiving a steady flow of money often through U.S. government-funded grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy and through donations from military contractors to hawkish neocon think tanks.

But neocons’ most astonishing success over the past year may have been how they have pulled liberals and even some progressives into the neocon strategies for war and more war, largely by exploiting the Left’s disgust with President Trump.

People who would normally favor international cooperation toward peaceful resolution of conflicts have joined the neocons in ratcheting up global tensions and making progress toward peace far more difficult.

The provocative “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” which imposes sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea while tying President Trump’s hands in removing those penalties, passed the Congress without a single Democrat voting no.

The only dissenting votes came from three Republican House members – Justin Amash of Michigan, Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky – and from Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Senate.

To continue reading: Neocons Leverage Trump-Hate for More Wars

 

Is Trump’s Russia Policy Being Hijacked? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Will Trump accede to sending arms shipments to Ukraine’s corrupt, incompetent government? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

In crafting the platform in Cleveland on which Donald Trump would run, America Firsters inflicted a major defeat on the War Party.

The platform committee rejected a plank to pull us deeper into Ukraine, by successfully opposing new U.S. arms transfers to Kiev.

Improved relations with Russia were what candidate Trump had promised, and what Americans would vote for in November.

Yet, this week, The Wall Street Journal reports:

“The U.S. Pentagon and State Department have devised plans to supply Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry and are seeking White House approval … as Kiev battles Russia-backed separatists … Defense Secretary Mattis has endorsed the plan.”

As pro-Russia rebels in East Ukraine have armored vehicles, Kiev wants U.S. tank-killing Javelin missiles, as well as antiaircraft weapons.

State and Defense want Trump to send the lethal weapons.

This is a formula for a renewed war, with far higher casualties in Ukraine than the 10,000 dead already suffered on both sides.

And it is a war Vladimir Putin will not likely allow Kiev to win.

If Ukraine’s army, bolstered by U.S. weaponry, re-engages in the east, it could face a Moscow-backed counterattack and be routed, and the Russian army could take permanent control of the Donbass.

Indeed, if Trump approves this State-Defense escalation plan, we could be looking at a rerun of the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008.

Then, to recapture its lost province of South Ossetia, which had seceded in 1992, after Georgia seceded from Russia, Georgia invaded.

Putin sent his army in, threw the Georgians out, and recognized South Ossetia, as John McCain impotently declaimed, “We are all Georgians now!”

To continue reading: Is Trump’s Russia Policy Being Hijacked?

What Trump Can Expect From Putin, by Ray McGovern

The deployment of US Anti-Ballistic Missile systems around Russia’s borders is a make or break issue for the Russians. From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:

In the style of a President’s Daily Brief for President Trump:

When you meet with President Putin next week, you can count on him asking you why the U.S. is encircling Russia with antiballistic missile systems.

Putin regarded the now-defunct Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty as the key to maintaining the nuclear-weapons balance between the United States and Russia and told filmmaker Oliver Stone that the US withdrawal from the treaty in 2001 and the follow-on US deployment of ABM batteries could “destroy this balance. And that’s a great mistake.”

For decades, the Russians have viewed an invulnerable nuclear-tipped strategic missile force as a deterrent to a US attack though they have never displayed an inclination to commit suicide by actually firing them.

From this perspective, Putin wonders why the US might seek to upset the nuclear balance by deploying ABM systems around Russia’s borders, making Russia’s ICBM force vulnerable.

Putin’s generals, like yours, are required to impute the most provocative intentions to military capabilities; that is what military intelligence is all about. Thus, they cannot avoid seeing the ABM deployments as giving the US the capability for a first strike to decapitate Russia’s ICBM force and, by doing so, protecting the US from Russian nuclear retaliation.

And, as Putin has made clear, the Kremlin sees US claims that the deployments are needed to thwart a strategic strike from Iran as insultingly disingenuous – all the more so in light of the 2015 multilateral agreement handcuffing Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb for the foreseeable future.

Yet, the U.S.-Russia strategic balance becomes more and more precarious with the deployment of each new ABM site or warship, together with rising concerns at the possibility of a US technological breakthrough. With the time window for Russian leaders to evaluate data indicating a possible US nuclear strike closing, launch-on-warning becomes more likely – and so does World War III.

Your visit to Warsaw en route to Hamburg for the G-20 summit will shine the spotlight on the threat Putin sees in the deployment of missile defense systems in Poland – as well as Romania and elsewhere on Russia’s periphery.

It is no secret that Russian leaders feel double-crossed by NATO’s steady creep eastward, but Russia’s strategic planners seemed to believe they could handle that – up to a point. That point was reached with the Feb. 22, 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine, which Moscow viewed as one U.S.-backed regime change too many and one that installed a virulently anti-Russian government along a route historically used by foreign invaders.

To continue reading: What Trump Can Expect From Putin