TBR News April 6, 2019

Apr 06 2019

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8

Washington, D.C. April  6, 2019: “We will be out of the office until April 7, 2019, ed”


The Table of Contents

  • Mitch McConnell is destroying the Senate – and American government
  • Is America losing its grip on world economy? 5 big defeats for US financial interests abroad
  • Mind the Gap: The Foreign Policy Disconnect between Washington and America
  • Ukraine Elections, Putin, and Trump
  • Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem
  • Officials forced way in to Stephen Moore home after failure to pay ex-wife debts
  • Encyclopedia of American Loons
  • John Robbins
  • Allen Quist
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

Mitch McConnell is destroying the Senate – and American government

The majority leader cares only for winning, not rules or democracy itself. He is doing more damage than Trump

April 6, 2019

by Robert Reich

The Guardian

No person has done more in living memory to undermine the functioning of the US government than Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Yes, Donald Trump has debased and defiled the presidency. He has launched blistering attacks on Democrats, on judges he disagrees with, journalists who criticize him and the intelligence community.

But McConnell is actively and willfully destroying the Senate.

Last Wednesday he used his Republican majority to cut the time for debating Trump’s court appointees from 30 hours to two – thereby enabling Republicans to ram through even more Trump judges.

McConnell doesn’t give a fig about the Senate, or about democracy. He cares only about winning. On the eve of the 2010 midterm elections he famously declared that his top priority was for Barack Obama “to be a one-term president”.

Between 2009 and 2013, McConnell’s Senate Republicans blocked 79 Obama nominees. In the entire history of the United States until that point, only 68 presidential nominees had been blocked.

This unprecedented use of the filibuster finally led Senate Democrats in 2013 to change the rules on some presidential nominees (but not the supreme court), to require simple majorities.

In response, McConnell fumed that “breaking the rules to change the rules is un-American”. If so, McConnell is about as un-American as they come. Once back in control of the Senate he buried Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the supreme court by refusing even to hold hearings.

Then, in 2017, McConnell and his Republicans changed the rules again, ending the use of the filibuster even for supreme court nominees and clearing the way for Senate confirmation of Trump’s Neil Gorsuch.

Step by step, McConnell has sacrificed the Senate as an institution to partisan political victories.

There is a vast difference between winning at politics by playing according to the norms of our democracy, and winning by subverting those norms.

To Abraham Lincoln, democracy was a covenant linking past and future. Political institutions, in his view, were “the legacy bequeathed to us”.

On the eve of the Senate’s final vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act in July 2017, the late John McCain returned to Washington from his home in Arizona, where he was being treated for brain cancer, to cast the deciding vote against repeal.

Knowing he would be criticized by other Republicans, McCain noted that over his career he had known senators who seriously disagreed with each other but nonetheless knew “they had an obligation to work collaboratively to ensure the Senate discharged its constitutional responsibilities effectively”.

In words that have even greater relevance today, McCain added that “it is our responsibility to preserve that, even when it requires us to do something less satisfying than ‘winning’.”

Political success should never be measured solely by partisan victories. It must also be judged by the institutional legacy passed onward. The purpose of political leadership is not merely to win. It is to serve.

In any social or political system it’s always possible to extract benefits by being among the first to break widely accepted norms. In a small town where people don’t lock their doors or windows, the first thief can effortlessly get into anyone’s house. But once broken, the system is never the same. Everyone has to buy locks. Trust deteriorates.

Those, like Mitch McConnell, who break institutional norms for selfish or partisan gains are bequeathing future generations a weakened democracy.

The difference between winning at politics by playing according to the norms and rules of our democracy, and winning by subverting them, could not be greater. Political victories that undermine the integrity of our system are net losses for society.

Great athletes play by the rules because the rules make the game. Unprincipled athletes cheat or change the rules in order to win. Their victories ultimately destroy the game.

In terms of shaping the federal courts, McConnell has played “the long game”, which, incidentally, is the title of his 2016 memoir. Decades from now, McConnell will still be shaping the nation through judges he rammed through the Senate.

But McConnell’s long game is destroying what was once known as the world’s greatest deliberative body.

He is longest-serving leader of Senate Republicans in history but Mitch McConnell is no leader. He is the epitome of unprincipled power. History will not treat him kindly.


Is America losing its grip on world economy? 5 big defeats for US financial interests abroad

April 6, 2019


Donald Trump made it a banner promise of his presidency to stop the US being abused as the world’s “piggybank” – but not all foreign powers seem to be cowed into submission by his assertive style of foreign economic policy.

The United States remains the world’s second-biggest exporter after China, but these five cases show that it can’t always get its own way – even among its allies. Is this a consequence of Trump’s personal abrasiveness, a period of painful adjustment before as the giant rouses, or perhaps a harbinger that the rest of the world no longer needs America as much as it used to?

No US alternative to Huawei

Washington tried to scare other Western countries into dropping a Chinese telecoms giant from supplying 5G network equipment, claiming Beijing could capture any data transferred through Huawei devices “at will.” But both Germany and the UK refused to bar Huawei from participating in tenders, with Berlin publicly rebuking Washington by saying that it has its “own security standards.”

The impact will be massive: the super-fast network will power not just telephones and computers, but likely any piece of sophisticated electronic equipment in your home for years to come.

Did Washington fail because the case made by its officials appeared to be based entirely on evidence-free hypotheses, to follow other red scares of various hues? Or was it because the US has no 5G provider of its own to match up with the might of Huawei, on which countries around the world have become increasingly reliant?

Brussels sets trap for tech giants

The EU led a futile crusade to dismember Microsoft in the 1990s, but the assault on American tech giants by European lawmakers both in Brussels and through national governments is on an entirely different scale.

From trying to regulate Facebook and Twitter’s content monitoring to Amazon’s tax practices to harrying Google for abusing its dominant position and levying a record $5 billion fine, the European Union has set itself up for years in the courtrooms against the American giants’ legal teams.

Ironically, with its hunt for Russian trolls and fake news, the US has done more than any other country to tarnish the image of its own companies, meaning that almost any measure against them, however punitive or unrealizable, will be met with no resistance from the public.If the battle against the EU is a grand strategic campaign, the difficulties faced by US peer-sharing companies like Uber and Airbnb are more akin to a street-by-street city battle, and for every new market they have cracked, a lucrative one wipes out their business at the stroke of a single vote or edict.

Uber not (always) welcome

Uber is currently locked out from markets as diverse as China, Turkey, and much of the European Union, while new labor regulations elsewhere could lessen its advantage versus traditional cab providers. Meanwhile, Airbnb struggles with pushback in many of the world’s most popular destinations, including Paris, Barcelona, Los Angeles and Japan.

Worst of all, rather than being regarded as innovations that make life easier – which they often do for the end consumer – these unicorn disruptors are increasingly being treated as law-skirting, employee-abusing parasites.

Nord Stream 2 goes ahead

The US is betting on liquefied natural gas (LNG) becoming the world’s top fuel by the end of the next decade. But to propel itself to the top of the new export industry, which requires heavy investment in infrastructure for a product that is not always competitively priced, the US has had to use all of its economic and lobbying prowess.

So every one of the dozens of times Donald Trump – with backing from draconian Senate legislation – has insisted that Germany must abandon its Nord Stream 2 project with Russia, he has not just been fearing the Kremlin’s hold over Berlin, but propping up American LNG exporters. Germany has held firm, preferring to divorce house heating from politics and US interest.

And now a 10 percent tariff imposed by China – which is something of a running theme here – has also resulted in the postponement of the construction of at least one major facility in the US. Washington will argue that this is a hitch on its way to unstoppable domination of a boom industry, but the road ahead for American interests will be full of unexpected obstacles, many of them self-inflicted, others inevitable.

The US, the top global weapons exporter, has long been able to rely on its supplies to military allies as a reliable income stream. Which is why the American suspension of its F-35 supplies to Turkey – in protest against its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system – provokes concerns that go beyond the monetary.

If more allies – particularly non-NATO states such as Saudi Arabia – drop their cast-iron loyalty to American weapons and look for options that are better value for money, this could force the US government to spend even more money propping up its successful but complacent giants like Lockheed Martin and Boeing (which has other problems of its own recently).

More concerning still is that while NATO countries continue to lag in their defensive spending, the countries where defense budgets are ballooning fastest, China, India and Russia, are either not dependent on American supplies, or actively opposed to them. Whereas 25 years ago it looked like all of the major economies would eventually join America’s world order, it now looks like the other hemisphere is forging its own path.


Mind the Gap: The Foreign Policy Disconnect between Washington and America

March 18, 2019

by A. Trevor Thrall

Cato Institute

During the Cold War, Washington’s foreign policy establishment operated comfortable in the knowledge that sizeable majorities supported vigorous American global leadership in the struggle with the Soviet Union. More recently, however, many observers have started worrying about the growing disconnect between the Washington’s elites and the public. The scholar Walter Russell Mead argued in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece that the most important question in world politics today is “Will U.S. public opinion continue to support an active and strategically focused foreign policy?

The answer is a qualified yes. Americans on balance remain committed to international engagement but advocates of the status quo are right to worry because Americans increasingly disagree with Washington about how to engage the world.

Americans are not isolationists. As the 2018 Chicago Council on Global Affairs revealed, 70% of Americans want the United States to take an “active part” in world affairs. But the more important question is what does an “active part” really mean? A recent study by the Eurasia Group Foundation, for example, found that 47% of elites subscribe to the “indispensable nation” vision for foreign policy, which calls on the United States to maintain overwhelming military superiority and continue intensive efforts to manage world order, while just 9% supported a more restrained vision of foreign policy. The same study, however, found public preferences to be the reverse of elites: 44% supported a more restrained approach to foreign policy and just 10% supported the indispensable nation approach.

Looking deeper, despite all the nostalgia for the Cold War consensus, there have always been important differences between the public and elites when it comes to foreign affairs. Academic analysis of decades of survey data has identified a stable set of attitude gaps between the public and their leaders. Moreover, while many of the gaps are quite large – often in the range of 30 percentage points or more – the gaps between Republican and Democratic leaders on the key issues are quite small – typically just a few percentage points.

Elites are far more likely to view globalization and international trade positively, for example, while the public is are more likely to express support for focusing on domestic affairs over foreign affairs. A 2017 Chicago Council on Global Affairs study found that 90% of Republican leaders and 94% of Democratic leaders believe globalization and trade are “mostly good” for the United States, while the figures hover around 60% for the public.

The same study shows that the public, on the other hand, is more sensitive than elites to perceived threats to the economy and to the homeland. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans and 74% of Democrats think protecting American jobs should be a “very important” foreign policy goal, compared to just 25% of Republican leaders and 37% of Democratic leaders. Meanwhile 27% of Democrats, 40% of Independents, and 67% of Republicans view “large numbers of immigrants and refugees coming into the U.S.” as a critical threat in the next 10 years, compared to just 5% of Democratic leaders and 19% of Republican leaders.

Finally, though it depends on the scenario, the public has always been more hesitant about the use of military force abroad than elites. In the Eurasia Group Foundation study, for example, 95% of foreign policy experts would support using military force if Russia invaded Estonia, a NATO ally, compared to just 54.2% of the public. The 2017 Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey similarly found that 64% of Democratic leaders and 71% of Republican leaders think that defending allies’ security should be a very important foreign policy goal for the United States compared to 36% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats generally.

But despite the size and stability of the gaps between elites and the public, Washington has not budged. Defenders of the status quo tend to view the public as too inattentive and too ignorant to form meaningful opinions about foreign policy. From this view, public support might be important from a political perspective, but the content of people’s actual opinions is not. The task for Washington today, according to this camp, is to reframe existing foreign policy in a manner that shores up public support for the elite consensus.

This obstinance might be defensible were the United States not a democracy or if the American track record on foreign policy were more glorious. As it happens, the track record of American foreign policy is far from glorious and recent surveys thus reveal entirely sensible reactions to our failures. Instead of wringing its collective hands about the fragility of public support, Washington needs to wake up and start taking public opinion seriously. No one will confuse the average American with a foreign policy expert, but given America’s history and current situation, public preferences are stable, clear, and prudent. The American public wants a less ambitious and less aggressive foreign policy than the United States has pursued since the end of the Cold War, and especially over the past 18 years. The task for Washington today is to embrace these attitudes and create a new foreign policy worthy of public support.


Ukraine Elections, Putin, and Trump

April 6, 2019

by Reese Erlich


Ukrainians can chose a crook or a clown as their new president. So far the clown is winning.

Volodymyr Zelensky, a prominent comedian without political experience, received 30% of the vote in a multi-candidate election last Sunday. Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, a corrupt oligarch, came in second with 16%. They face a runoff election later this month.

Like Donald Trump and comedian Beppe Grillo in Italy, Zelensky capitalized on his entertainment fame to run as an outsider staunchly opposed to corruption. Zelensky campaigned as if he was the character in his hit TV series, according to Nicolai Petro, a political science professor at the University of Rhode Island.

“He’s just an average guy who runs into increased corruption,” Petro told me in a phone interview. “He maintains fundamental honesty, and that’s what he’s saying as a political candidate.”

The election comes at a crucial time. The dispute over Crimea continues, and Russian troops back armed insurrection in eastern Ukraine. The conflict has killed 13,000 people and displaced millions.

Conflict between Russia and the US is also heating up as both sides compete for profits and spheres of influence in the region. And, interestingly enough, the conflict is connected to the Russiagate scandal. More on that in a bit.

During a reporting trip to Kiev on a blustery winter day I saw over 5000 young people waving huge yellow and blue Ukrainian flags as they converged on the city’s central square. They had just forced the prime minister to resign.

“It’s a great victory,” one student told me. “It’s a day I will remember all of my life.”

The year was 1990 when Ukraine was still part of the USSR. Ukrainian nationalists were convinced that forming a separate nation would lead to democracy and economic prosperity. It didn’t work out that way.

Ordinary people in the USSR were legitimately angry at the government and Soviet-style socialism because of a lack of housing, food and quality medical care. But opportunist leaders, backed by various western countries, manipulated that anger for their own power and profit.

Ukraine had the second largest economy among the Soviet republics with abundant natural resources, industry and a rich agricultural base. A Soviet pipeline carried natural gas through Ukraine to western Europe. Nowadays, both the US and Russia seek to dominate Ukraine for geo-political reasons, according to Lev Golinkin, a journalist and memoirist born in Ukraine.

“The US considers Ukraine to be part of Russia’s backyard,” he told me in a phone interview. “The US believes that if you can turn Ukraine into a western democracy, then Russians will want the same.”

Russian officials have the same concerns, only in mirror image. Russia doesn’t want Ukraine to join NATO and have hostile troops posted along its border. Vladimir Putin often talks about combating discrimination against Russian speakers living in Ukraine.

“Putin has positioned himself as a protector of the Russian world,” said Golinkin.

Over the past 20 years Ukraine has seen a series of mass demonstrations, elections and coups that have brought pro-western or pro-Russian governments to power. In 2004 the so-called Orange revolution replaced a corrupt, pro-Russian government with one backed by the US.

In 2013 elected President Viktor Yanukovych angered western powers by blocking plans for Ukraine to associate with the European Union. Ukrainians returned to Kiev’s central Maidan Square to protest against Yanukovych.

These demonstrations, dubbed the Maidan Revolution, included strong participation by Svoboda (Freedom), an anti-Semitic, pro-fascist political movement, as well as oligarchs bent on installing themselves in power.

The Obama administration played an active behind the scenes role in choosing Ukraine’s new leaders, as revealed in a tapped phone conversation between two high level US diplomats.

“Talk about meddling,” said Golinkin. “They are talking like corporate managers and the country is theirs.”

Petro Poroshenko, a pro-US billionaire chocolate manufacturer, won hastily called elections in 2014, campaigning as an outsider. Three members of Svoboda joined the cabinet, and one became deputy prime minister.

Russia retaliated by instigating an independence movement in Crimea, a key region of Ukraine populated mostly by ethnic Russians.

In Russia’s view, “the Crimean parliament had the right to self determination,” said Professor Petro. Crimea voted 95% to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

Meanwhile, according to the government in Kiev, out of uniform Russian troops invaded eastern Ukraine, an industrialized area with a large majority of Russian speakers. Allied with local militias, Russian troops still occupy parts of eastern Ukraine.

The US denounced Russian aggression and imposed harsh sanctions. Russia has weathered the storm, however, and Ukraine continues to face a low intensity war.

Enter Trump – stage right

During the 2016 US presidential campaign, Donald Trump opposed pretty much anything Barack Obama supported. Obama had made Putin into a major US enemy. Trump promoted a right wing isolationism that included sympathy for strongman Putin. The Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia over the issue of Ukraine. Within days of taking office, Trump explored lifting those sanctions.

The possibility of warming relations with Russia freaked out the Washington establishment. FBI Director James Comey initiated a secret investigation of the Trump presidential campaign. I think officials such as Comey and CIA Director James Clapper used the claims of Russian manipulation of the US election as a cover to prevent warming of US-Russian relations.

Mainstream Democrats jumped on the anti-Russia bandwagon and attacked Trump from the right. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said, “It seems that Putin is Trump’s puppeteer, and that House Republicans have decided to join the charade.”

That’s very dangerous indeed.

Imagine if a progressive Democrat wins the 2020 presidential election and adopts policies opposed by the Washington establishment, say withdrawing US troops from South Korea. Would the FBI investigate Bernie Sanders for colluding with North Korea?

The FBI and CIA actions are completely unconstitutional, notes Professor Petro.

“Senior political appointees can really undermine the president’s policies,” he said. “I’ll give you three words: The Deep State.”

Ukraine’s future

Presidential candidates Zelensky faces Poroshenko in a runoff election April 21. Zelensky has expressed willingness to negotiate with Russia while Poroshenko has publicly refused. Right wingers in Ukraine oppose any reconciliation with Russia and will seek to prevent talks no matter who wins.

As the world has seen, independent outsiders have a much harder time governing than campaigning. Nevertheless, a peaceful resolution of the Russia/Ukraine conflict is essential. Let’s hope that either side can make some headway.


Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem

February 15, 2019

by Oleksiy Kuzmenko


Translations: Русский

Newly uncovered evidence going back to 2015 suggests that the Ukrainian white nationalist Azov movement has been systematically co-opting American right-wing extremists to advance the former’s own international agenda. In audio statements uncovered by Bellingcat, this agenda was summarized by the International Secretary of the political wing of Azov, the National Corps, as “world conservative revolution,” aimed to “defend the white race.” These new findings are separate from the recently reported ties between Azov and American violent neo-Nazi group the Rise Above Movement, and members of the American alt-right.

Summary of Findings

Bellingcat has confirmed that in January 2016, Azov, via its online podcast, was in contact with the late Andrew Oneschuk, an imminent member of the violent American neo-Nazi organization Atomwaffen Division. On Azov’s podcast, Oneschuk discussed issues facing Americans that wanted to join Azov, and expressed interest in learning methods of attracting youth to nationalism in America. He was encouraged to try to join Azov.

In another previously unreported case from the autumn of 2018, the political wing of Azov, the National Corps, supported an effort by Joachim Furholm, a Norwegian citizen and self-described “national socialist revolutionary,” to bring American right-wingers to Ukraine to fight against Russian aggression. The effort specifically framed participation in Ukraine’s war against Russian aggression as an opportunity for American right-wingers to acquire combat and other practical experience to be deployed later within the United States after returning home. Furholm also spoke at a political rally held by the National Corps in front of Ukraine’s Parliament in September 2018.

Evidence uncovered by Bellingcat points to recent contacts between the National Corps and alleged former U.S. armed services members who are currently in Ukraine. In one instance, an alleged U.S. Army veteran named “Alex” made an appearance on an American white nationalist podcast to comment on the ease of joining the war in Ukraine. Also, an alleged U.S. Navy veteran, “Shawn Irwood,” is currently enlisted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and maintains contact with the National Corps. Shawn had stated his intention to join the Azov Regiment online, and was linked to the aforementioned Joachim Furholm prior to arrival in Ukraine in early 2018.

The International Secretary of the National Corps, responsible for Azov’s global strategy, told Bellingcat that the movement sought “all potential sympathizers” and “potential lobbyists” in the U.S., and hoped to “establish contacts with the American military.”

In late 2017, the U.S.-based American ally of the Azov movement, Counter-Currents Publishing — described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “epicenter of ‘academic’ white nationalism” — published statements from an Azov figure, Denis Nikitin, that urged Westerners to counter “violent immigrants who team up to beat defenseless whites, especially in Western Europe.” Nikitin reportedly urged his audience “to carry weapons of self-defense and not be too law-abiding.”

Newly uncovered statements by a senior law-enforcement official in Ukraine, former Azov fighter and deputy head of Kyiv region police Serhiy Bondarenko, suggest that incorporation of the Azov Regiment into the National Guard of Ukraine didn’t affect the far-right ideology espoused by the former’s members — and instead allowed Azov to obtain sophisticated weaponry and build their own political party. In 2015, Bondarenko admitted he was a veteran far-right operative, and stated his confidence that “all members of Azov have permanent ideological views that won’t change.” He also listed current deputy-minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Azov veteran Vadym Troyan, as an example of a Ukrainian law enforcement official loyal to Azov.

Background: The FBI on Azov’s Efforts to Train American Extremists

In October 2018, an FBI criminal complaint unsealed in connection with the arrest of members of the violent neo-Nazi group Rise Above Movement (RAM) pointed to said group’s contacts in Ukraine. Members of RAM who were charged in the U.S. in connection with violence at political rallies, including in Charlottesville, traveled to Ukraine in 2018 to meet key figures of the Azov movement.

Per the complaint, members of the Azov Regiment (the military branch of the larger Azov movement) “have participated in training and radicalizing United States-based white supremacy organizations.” The complaint did not provide any corroboration to this claim. In response to the allegation, Olena Semenyaka, the international secretary of the National Corps mentioned in the complaint, dared U.S. law enforcement to “provide real evidence.” At the same, Semenyaka acknowledged contacts with the American white supremacist group and said that RAM members came to Ukraine “to learn our ways” and that they “showed interest in learning how to create youth forces in the ways Azov has.”

Azov’s U.S. Contact Was Member of “Terroristic National Socialist Organization”

Bellingcat has established that RAM members were not the only American extremists who communicated with Azov in order to boost the far-right effort in the United States.

In January 2016, the Azov movement’s podcast introduced listeners to Andrew, a “national socialist” guest from the U.S. Dialing in via Skype, Andrew answered questions about nationalism in the U.S. from the host and listeners, and asked his own about Azov.

“I get a lot of questions from American nationalists asking if there’s going to be a future for more foreign volunteers in Azov, or just in the Ukrainian military in general”, Andrew said (00:27:20 into the interview).

The Azov podcast that hosted Andrew was apparently launched in May 2014 under the name Radio Azov FM, meant to be a niche medium catering to a target audience of nationalists both in Ukraine and abroad. Various statements made by prominent Azov figures to the podcast appear to contradict Azov’s public statements regarding the movement’s ideology, political goals, and so on.

Over the years, the podcast featured interviews with far-right figures from Ukraine, Russia, Greece, Slovakia, Sweden, Canada and the U.S. The podcast and its formal head, Mikhail Oreshnikov, who is reportedly a Russian neo-Nazi (he relocated to Ukraine from Russia in 2014), were mentioned on the official site of the Azov Regiment’s Press Service. Radio Azov FM  was rebranded into A-Radio in November 2015, apparently to work around blocking mechanisms on Russia’s VK.com social network. New shows are currently uploaded to VK.com and feature, for example, the National Corps’ official ideologue and spokesman Eduard Yurchenko.

We now know that the American interviewed on Azov’s podcast in early 2016 was Andrew Oneschuk, an imminent member of Atomwaffen Division. The Atomwaffen Division is a “terroristic national socialist organization” (per SPLC) linked to multiple murders in the United States. Andrew, who was 16 at the time of his appearance on Azov’s podcast, went on to join AWD several months later in 2016. He, along with another AWD member, was murdered in May 2017 in Tampa, Florida by Devon Arthurs, also a member of AWD. Law enforcement reportedly found explosive materials in the apartment the three  shared.

Oneschuk’s alleged murderer reportedly told detectives the men he killed planned to blow up power lines near a major highway.

This podcast recording has not been previously reported on, and Oneschuk’s family has confirmed to Bellingcat that this is his voice on the recording.

According to a Rolling Stone report, Oneschuk attempted to travel to Ukraine to join Azov in early 2015, but was thwarted when his family intervened. “I’ve been following Azov and Ukrainian nationalism since the beginning of Maidan [the revolution in Ukraine that ousted corrupt pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych],” he said at one point during the interview with Azov’s podcast.

Azov could count on support in the U.S., according to Oneschuk, “as long as there’s a larger media presence letting people know that Azov is friendly with all fraternal nations.” Oneschuk’s interest was apparently reciprocated. The podcast host  assured Oneschuk that Azov were “true nationalists.”

“The ideologies are quite clear. They’re against Zionism, against neo-Bolsheviks, and against the way everything works right now,” the host told Oneschuk.

During the interview, Oneschuk, and other Americans, were encouraged by the host to try to join Azov, when Oneschuk mentioned that some Americans had been snubbed online by members of the Azov whom they approached regarding joining the organization in Ukraine.

“On social media many people have tried to contact members of the Regiment, but most of them have been turned away for not living in a European country,” Oneschuk said.

“You can try again if you want,” the host responded, “It was just the beginning when they tried, and [Azov] weren’t very keen on accepting foreign volunteers, but the Ukrainian government passed a law that allows foreign volunteers to fight for the Ukrainian side. I think now it’s a bit easier”

American nationalists were also eager to learn from their European counterparts, according to Andrew, who told the host that a lot of Americans wanted to have “professional nationalist organizations like those coming up in Europe.”

“Finding ways to get young people into the movement would be helpful. Any examples from Europe would be welcome currently,” Andrew said at one point (00:31:00 into the interview).

Oneschuk and his host also attacked what they described as the “degeneracy” of the United States under then-president Barack Obama.

This interview provides a window into Azov’s early ties to the most extreme elements of the American far-right and the latter’s interest in Azov. These ties would continue to develop after the interview and into the present day.

“The ideologies are quite clear. They’re against Zionism, against neo-Bolsheviks, and against the way everything works right now,” the host told Oneschuk.

During the interview, Oneschuk, and other Americans, were encouraged by the host to try to join Azov, when Oneschuk mentioned that some Americans had been snubbed online by members of the Azov whom they approached regarding joining the organization in Ukraine.

“On social media many people have tried to contact members of the Regiment, but most of them have been turned away for not living in a European country,” Oneschuk said.

“You can try again if you want,” the host responded, “It was just the beginning when they tried, and [Azov] weren’t very keen on accepting foreign volunteers, but the Ukrainian government passed a law that allows foreign volunteers to fight for the Ukrainian side. I think now it’s a bit easier”

American nationalists were also eager to learn from their European counterparts, according to Andrew, who told the host that a lot of Americans wanted to have “professional nationalist organizations like those coming up in Europe.”

“Finding ways to get young people into the movement would be helpful. Any examples from Europe would be welcome currently,” Andrew said at one point (00:31:00 into the interview).

Oneschuk and his host also attacked what they described as the “degeneracy” of the United States under then-president Barack Obama.

This interview provides a window into Azov’s early ties to the most extreme elements of the American far-right and the latter’s interest in Azov. These ties would continue to develop after the interview and into the present day.

It’s like a Petri dish for fascism. It’s the perfect conditions,” Furholm stated (00:52:50 into the interview), “And they do have serious intentions of helping the rest of Europe in retaking our rightful lands.”

While on-air, Furholm also encouraged listeners to get in touch with him via his Instagram page, where, as Bellingcat learned, he engaged users in North America. For example, in September, Furholm encouraged a young man in New Mexico to join him in Ukraine.

“Get over here laddie, there’s a rifle and a beer waiting for you,” Furholm wrote to an Instagram user, whose profile revealed both his identity and apparent extremist views. Videos and photos posted by said young American man showed that he had access to an arsenal of firearms, including a photograph taken from inside of a vehicle showing a handgun pointed towards the road intersection with the caption “Minorities when???” Another photograph had the caption “The Jew fears the Hunter” and showed the account’s apparent operator with a hunting rifle.

An example of Azov’s pull with young American extremists can be observed with regard to the host of Radio Wehrwolf, the man who interviewed Furholm. The host uses the online persona of Blake Lucca online (real name is likely Blake Luccasson) and can be seen in videos with a banner of “Misanthropic Division” behind him. This group is a neo-Nazi organization reportedly linked to Azov.

Luccasson’s online presence demonstrates his ongoing fascination with Azov, and suggests he’s been in touch with elements of Azov for some time. For example, Luccasson’s now-deleted Facebook account was connected to the International Secretary of the National Corps, Olena Semenyaka.

In November 2017 Luccasson tweeted “Hail Azov hail Ukraine hail europeans” reacting to a news report related to the Azov Regiment. Also in November 2017, he mentioned he wrote that he had “talked to old Azov guys” in a tweet. In another tweet from the same period Luccasson referred to Azov as being on “our side” and suggested white nationalists trained with Azov. Luccasson also tagged Azov news page on Twitter when he posted interviews he did with Joachim Furholm in October 2018.

The Radio Wehrwolf interview was not Furholm’s first public appearance as an Azov supporter. The party’s International outreach wing did its own video interview with the Norwegian in late August 2018, in which his unspecified contribution to the “common cause” received praise.

The party also had Furholm speak at the National Corps’ September 20th political rally in front of Ukraine’s Parliament (the Rada), where protesters were pushing for changes in Ukrainian law to benefit foreign pro-Ukrainian fighters  facing possible extradition to their home countries. In the video report from the rally prepared by Azov’s street wing the National Militia, Furholm can be briefly seen addressing the crowd. Furholm was also interviewed at the event by the Ukrainian service of the U.S.-funded RFE/RL.

The Norwegian fit into this particular initiative from Azov because Furholm himself was able to pass mandatory vetting and join the Armed Forces of Ukraine — though he was discharged within weeks in the summer of 2018. This discharge reportedly occurred following direct action from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with no precise explanation given to the media, as reported by internet television station Hromadske. In Ukraine, it was speculated that Norwegian officials may have been behind the pressure to discharge Furholm.

At the same time that the National Corps paraded Furholm at their September rally, the story of his discharge made the rounds among Ukrainian media outlets, including a report in English that depicted him sympathetically. These reports failed to shed light on Furholm’s ideology of white supremacy or his ties to the Ukrainian far-right.

Furholm’s activities, in as far as they were aided by Azov’s political wing, were meant to go beyond just online outreach and public speeches. The National Corps apparently provided him with housing and training facilities for foreign volunteers he attempted to recruit to Ukraine. The facilities were filmed in a newly-released documentary, “Robin Hood Complex Ukraine — Europe’s Forgotten War,” created by British filmmaker Emile Ghessen, who spent months in Ukraine filming foreign volunteers, including Furholm.

The documentary features footage of an interview with the Norwegian filmed in, according to Ghessen, “an abandoned holiday park on the outskirts of Kyiv owned by the National Corps.” The exterior shots of the area showed a National Corps flag flying in front of what appears to be a wooden cottage. The name of the location is Smerekova Hunta, which is a facility located close to Kyiv, and, per online reports, used occasionally for far-right events.

In interviews with Ghessen, Furholm echoed his intention to recruit foreigners to Ukraine, and in one instance agreed that “terrorist facilitator” was an apt descriptor of his activities there. According to the documentary, Furholm had no prior military experience before coming to Ukraine.

“This is the grounds we have been borrowed by the people we’re working with. This is supposed to be a training facility, and a housing facility for the people who come here to fight for Ukraine,” Furholm told Ghessen, adding that once he’s done with what was expected of him by his hosts, he will proceed to direct action aimed at the West, including attacks on the government of Norway. “I’d target the government with anything necessary (…) any means necessary”.

Ghessen told Bellingcat that he felt that Furholm was exploited by the National Corps “for the fact he was Norwegian and the fact there are many national socialists among the National Corps.” He also noted that the “National Corps know what he’s up to and many within the organization support his radical views.”

As of December 2018, Furholm was no longer in Ukraine and apparently split with the National Corps prior to leaving the country.

Are U.S. Military Veterans Being Targeted By Azov?

Although it is not clear how successful he was in putting American right-wingers in touch with Azov’s political wing, two Americans linked to Furholm have recently made contact with the National Corps in Ukraine.

One of these two Americans was enlisted in the Ukrainian Armed Forces as of December 2018. Known by his first name Shawn and his call-sign, “Texas,” this individual was profiled by Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operations (current title of Ukraine’s military operation against Russian aggression that was previously known as the Anti-Terrorist Operation) in November 2018, as an American volunteer fighting on Ukraine’s frontlines. Per the JFO, Shawn is an American citizen and spent years in the U.S. Navy where he served in the Persian Gulf and on the Korean peninsula, and was interested in acquiring Ukrainian citizenship.

Bellingcat discovered several public social media exchanges between “Shawn” and National Corps figures in which he expressed interest in joining the Azov regiment, and revealed he knew Furholm personally.

Shawn may have crossed paths with Furholm in Ukraine in the spring of 2018 prior to joining the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He told Bellingcat that he had known Furholm prior to coming to Ukraine from “Facebook, gaming, and pagan groups,” and “had no issue” with Furholm’s ideology. He did not specify to what extent, if any, his communication with Furholm factored into his decision to come to Ukraine.

Shawn’s social media presence and his connections in Ukraine suggest he is interested in the local ultra-nationalist scene, as well as far-right ideology. His Facebook profile features images with a symbol associated with Nazism that references the Wehrwolf plan (the namesake of Radio Wehrwolf) to resist Allied forces in Europe.

Shawn told Bellingcat that he liked “SS aesthetics,” considered himself “more right wing than left wing,” and used multiple names “to protect his family.”

Another American close to Furholm, a self-described former U.S. Army soldier named “Alex”, was present during Furholm’s appearances on Radio Wehrwolf. During a broadcast with Furholm, Alex described how he allegedly joined a far-right militia in Ukraine:

“I was in the U.S. Army getting deployed. I was bored afterward. A guy hit me up on an anonymous account, a guy I’ve never met before and was like ‘Hey welcome to join my sketchy ultra-nationalist militia in a foreign country’. I said ‘Sign me the fuck up’. Three weeks later I was in trading shots with separatists in the fucking Shyrokyne.”

Shyrokyne is a village on the frontline of the war in eastern Ukraine, and notably a location where far-right Ukrainian militias have been especially active.

Alex can be seen in multiple pictures with Furholm in Ukraine, including some taken during Furholm’s participation in the National Corps rally. Alex, who asked to be identified only by his first name, told Bellingcat that he was a former U.S. service member and had fought with the far-right Right Sector militia in Ukraine. These claims could not be fully corroborated, although various sources claimed that Alex arrived in Ukraine in 2017 and was known in some nationalist circles in Kyiv.

“I won’t pretend to be perfectly egalitarian,” Alex said of what he addressed as “race politics.”

Alex said both himself and the Norwegian expected that the National Corps would help them return to Ukraine’s frontlines, but left when it became clear the organization could not deliver.

According to Alex, some in the National Corps leadership were keen to use Furholm in their domestic outreach as “a local media presence,” and were aware of the interviews with Radio Wehrwolf, but “did not facilitate [the interviews] nor provide any input.”

Reflecting Furholm’s ties to the National Corps, he answered our requests only after a specific request from Olena Semenyaka, the International Secretary of the National Corps.

In comments to Bellingcat, Furholm downplayed his ties to the National Corps, and sought to cast his extremist statements for Radio Wehrwolf as “locker room talk.”

“There has never been any direct work in regards to recruiting people or anything like that, or anything indirect either,” Furholm told Bellingcat, contradicting his on-air claims.

Azov Figure Admits Norwegian National Socialist Helped With International Outreach

Furholm’s efforts were praised by the National Corps’ International Secretary Olena Semenyaka, who confirmed to Bellingcat that the party housed him, and invited to speak at their rally. Semenyaka said she planned on recommending Furholm for membership in the Azov regiment, but abandoned the effort due to the “uncertainty of his legal status.”

In a series of exchanges with Bellingcat via Facebook, Semenyaka gave seemingly conflicting characterizations regarding the nature of her organization’s contacts with Furholm, and where they fit with Azov’s international outreach, specifically their courting of Americans to join their movement.

In some of her statements Semenyaka claimed that the National Corps’ contacts with Furholm were limited, while in others suggested that Furholm’s activities were seen as potentially beneficial for the Azov movement as a whole, including for the Azov regiment specifically. She told Bellingcat that Furholm has “attracted considerable foreign attention” to the National Corps’ geopolitical projects. Furthermore, her other statements to Bellingcat positioned the Norwegian’s efforts with Azov’s interests in building a large pool of foreign sympathizers abroad, along with the more difficult issue of convincing potential volunteers to assist Azov in its various projects.

“I think it’s clear that the majority of foreign volunteers with right-wing views would like to join Azov or at least to transfer to it from other units if such an opportunity emerges,” Semenyaka said, and went on to specify she wanted quality from Furholm, “For, again, there are different nationalist volunteers. Some of them are just far-right ‘anarchists,’ whereas we accept only professional, disciplined and responsible people. In other words, I appreciate his efforts, but I have some requests and recommendations to him regarding necessary measures he needs to take in order to make his endeavour fruitful and really helpful.”

Semenyaka went on to lay out a list of requirements she had for Furholm.

“I appreciate Jarl’s sincere enthusiastic support, but my experience tells me that the idealistic wish to help is not enough, and it depends on the kind of U.S. volunteers he’s going to bring to Ukrainian frontlines. Americans with army experience who understand the nature of the conflict with Russia, sympathize with our project of Intermarium (strengthening of Eastern and Central Europe) and can help us establish contacts with American military are welcome here”, Semenyaka further specified.

Semenyaka also told Bellingcat she was open to coming on Radio Wehrwolf herself to address Azov’s standards for potential recruits: “If I ever do [talk to them], I will simply describe the standards which the volunteer candidates must embody in order to be counted in our ranks”.

She was also open about how Azov had use for sympathizers inside the United States, and hoped they could help counter what she described as “pro-Kremlin” voices in America.

“I mean all potential sympathizers who could help us counter the influence of pro-Kremlin politicians like Senator Ro Khanna, who not so long ago sent a letter to the U.S. State Department referring to the Azov regiment as a neo-Nazi militia and, in fact, expressing the need to disband it.”

American Contacts and Geopolitics A Priority for Azov

The aforementioned links to apparent extremists in America and the West, their recruitment of American volunteers to Ukraine, and the pursuit of a network of “lobbyists” in the United States fit neatly into the global far-right agenda of the Azov movement hidden behind the facade of the advancement of an “alternative” geopolitical organization in the West.

Azov’s public, political agenda puts geopolitical issues front and center. The National Corps political program puts “Ukraine first foreign policy” second on its list of fifteen priorities for Ukraine — right behind national security and war matters, and ahead of Rule of Law (third on the list), Economic Development (fifth), or Improving the population’s health (ninth).

In their own words, Azov leaders have described Russian aggression against Ukraine as an opportunity to further their own global vision. During the Paneuropa Conference held by the National Corps in Kyiv in October 2018, Mykola Kravchenko, deputy leader of National Corps under Andriy Biletsky, reportedly emphasized that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is not so much a tragedy as a window of opportunity for Ukraine and the whole of Europe, and that this unique historical chance should not be wasted by the far-right. These same comments were echoed online by Olena Semenyaka on various occasions.

Central to the National Corps’ “Ukraine First” foreign policy vision are the concepts of Reconquista and Intermarium. The former concept is Azov’s own white supremacist geopolitical initiative, while the latter is an early 20th century European integration project repurposed by Azov to fit their far-right ideology and goals.

Intermarium (meaning “in between seas” in Latin) is a project of alternative (as in, alternative to the EU) integration of European states stretching from the Black to Baltic Seas. As per the National Corps’ program, this anti-EU integration is to be based on the “harmonious combination of traditional values and innovative ideas” and will serve as springboard towards development of eventual “new European unity.”

The advance of the Intermarium is seen by Azov as an integral part of the long-term strategy of Reconquista, which is meant to bring together nations of European origin globally under the banner of reclaiming land and culture.

As researchers have noted, the Azov’s National Corps’ has virtually hijacked the concept of Intermarium which was originally created by the Polish interwar statesman Józef Piłsudski and later embraced in regional geopolitical projects such as Visegrad and the Three Seas Initiatives as common security for Central and Eastern Europe.

Azov’s take on Intermarium is something different altogether.

Matthew Kott, a historian and researcher with Uppsala University, wrote about the Azov’s take on Intermarium in May 2017: “The appeal of Intermarium on the far right lies in how it can be portrayed as a political third way. This interpretation takes the ideas of the national conservatives further by positing Intermarium as the remaining heartland of the ‘true Europe’, a bulwark not only against Putinist ‘neo-Bolshevism’ encroaching from Moscow, but also against the neoliberal, multicultural, secular and feminist ‘neo-Bolshevism’ emanating from Brussels.”

By the time that Kott wrote these words, the importance of international expansion for Azov was already on full display. Notably,the founder of the Azov movement, Andriy Biletsky, christened the creation of the Intermarium Support group in July 2016, when the group’s founding conference was held in Kyiv. Biletsky’s deputy in the National Corps, Mykola Kravchenko, is a major proponent of Intermarium and has given multiple presentations of the concept to the party’s members.

Overall in recent years, the National Corps has held — and delegated the party’s leaders to — a multitude of events in a bid to advance its international vision. As the lead driver of Azov’s international outreach, Olena Semenyaka has criss-crossed Europe joining events various countries that have inevitably put her in contact with movements, organizations and individuals from the far-right all across Europe. Europe’s extreme far-right players are also welcome in Ukraine, where they have attended a growing number of events held by the National Corps.

Azov’s allies in Europe include Italy’s neo-fascist Casa Pound, alleged neo-Nazi groups Dritte Weg and JN-NPD from Germany, and others of the same ilk.

Azov’s promotion of the white supremacist Intermarium and Reconquista projects internationally has also connected the Ukrainian group to their American counterparts on multiple occasions, Bellingcat has learned.

In late February 2014, mere days after the Maidan uprising in Ukraine ousted pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych, the white nationalist American Renaissance site run by the New Century Foundation posted a video reel announcing Ukraine’s far-right global ambitions.

New Century Foundation has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites.”

In a two-minute video showing dramatic shots of fighting during Maidan, the  leader of Ukraine’s far-right Right Sector group proclaimed: “We are fighting … For a great Ukrainian and European Reconquista… Everything is only beginning! From our Maidan, the rebirth of Kyivan-Rus/Ukraine commences, the rebirth of Europe commences.”

This mention of European Reconquista by the Ukrainian far-right leader fed straight into Azov’s namesake strategy, as the current international advocate of Reconquista in Azov, Olena Semenayka, was with the Right Sector as that group’s International Secretary until early 2015.

In a recent interview, Semenyaka explained that her ideas found a more welcoming environment in the Azov’s National Corps, where according to her “international cooperation was taken to new heights”.

In 2019, Semenyaka is scheduled to attend a number of events where she will speak along notable far-right figures, including the founder of the New Century Foundation Jared Taylor (a prominent advocate of segregation along racial lines, according to the ADL) and Kevin MacDonald, who was characterized by the Southern Poverty Law center as “the neo-Nazi movement’s favorite academic” and a proponent of anti-Semitism.

“All White Countries Should Be Doing It”

The National Corps appear to have a particularly strong connection to Greg Johnson, an alt-right ideologue who is currently the editor-in-chief of the white nationalist publishing house Counter-Currents. This publisher has been dubbed as the “epicenter of ‘academic’ white nationalism” by the SPLC. Johnson visited Ukraine in October 2018, and attended events organized by the National Corps, fawned over far-right achievements there, and solicited advice on replicating that perceived success in the United States. On one occasion, Johnson said that the Ukrainian far-right succeeded in putting forth an image of an alternative society.

“I see that you’re actually building an alternative social order here, an alternative society. And that’s what we all need to be doing, in all white countries. We have to have some kind of organizational nucleus that can demonstrate that it can do all the things necessary to secure a society’s future, because that will give us the ability to actually take power someday. (…) I think that process is most far along in this country,” Johnson said (00:02:00 into the interview).

Even more remarkable than that alt-right figure’s praise for the National Corps is the role that his site Counter-Currents Publishing has played in broadcasting messages from the Azov movement to readers in the U.S.

The site ran extensive reports from events organized by the National Corps in Kyiv in 2017 and 2018, and in the former case reported statements normalizing violence against immigrants in the West made by Denis Nikitin, an MMA organizer linked to Azov. During the Pact of Steel Conference that took place in Kyiv in 2017, Nikitin, per a Counter-Currents report, provided instruction on countering “violent immigrants who team up to beat defenseless whites, especially in Western Europe.” Said instructions reportedly included advice “to carry weapons of self-defense and not be too law-abiding.”

“Denis has rightly said that we are using the wrong mindset when dealing with our enemies. We think in terms of chivalry and honor, whereas the colored immigrants do not share such ideals. They have no problem with stabbing someone in the back, attacking in larger groups, or beating women. We need to abandon the limiting mindset and fight to win,” the Counter-Currents site reported.

In 2018, Counter-Current also ran a report from Asgardsrei, a “national socialist black metal” festival supported by the Azov as means of the movement’s soft power influence. The event reportedly drew thousands of attendees, including many from the West.

In November 2017, Semenyaka attended the Europe of the Future 2 conference. This event was  organized by a Polish white supremacist group and put Semenyaka alongside Aspir Befreier, an American alt-right figure and self-described anti-semite. Befreier spoke at the event in lieu of prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Although we are not aware of the details of contacts between Semenyaka and Befreier, his speech at the conference highlighted the reasons why American white nationalists look up to their allies in Eastern Europe: “There’s a mantra that the future is Slavic, but truly the present is Slavic. You’re envied for your traditionalism, for the love of your own people.”

He also urged Eastern European nationalists to “demonstrate this new strength.”

“Just as the alt-right was born in the last year or year and a half, Slavic nations are in the spot, so use it,” Befreier emphasized.

All of these instances of the National Corps making contact and cooperating with American extremists leads one to an obvious question: Why does a movement that spends a great deal of time and effort fending off accusations of neo-Nazism continue to publicly cooperate with reported neo-Nazis and white supremacists from the United States?

Conservative Revolution and Grand Plans for the White Race

Bellingcat has discovered statements going back to 2015 by the leading architect of Azov’s geopolitical movement, Olena Semenyaka, that indicate how Azov’s international contacts, including with American white extremists, were predicated on a deliberate embrace of white supremacy by Azov, an ambition to bring forth a “global conservative revolution,” and attempts to co-opt the radical Western far-right.

These statements were made on Azov’s online podcast during two interviews — one in English, and one in Russian — that both expanded on the same topic of Azov’s international strategy. At the time of the interviews, Semenyaka was the head of International Outreach in Azov’s Civic Corps, the direct predecessor to the National Corps political party.

During the Russian-language interview, Semenyaka elaborated on the meaning of Azov’s strategy of so-called International Reconquista, and stated that the movement she represented ultimately saw its mission as defense of the white race.

“We are not resigning ourselves to the boundaries of thinking in terms of a single region. We defend not only the Ukrainian nation, national identity, but also the Slavic element, the European element, and in the end — the white race,” Semenyaka proclaimed (00:05:00 into the interview).

During the interview, Semenyaka clearly established that while Azov’s strategic appetites were a long-term goal, concrete moves to further them were already being taken, and that Azov aimed “to create our own Right International.”

“Various conferences, round tables and joint events [with foreign allies] is the most natural cooperation format that can become a springboard for the International Reconquista,” Semenyaka said (00:42:30 into the interview).

Semenyaka went as far as to liken Azov’s aspirations to that of the Nazi party in interwar Germany: “Our movement is growing, but it’s still too small to compare it to a real movement of the kind the Germany had in between wars. But we’re moving towards this goal,” she said.

She also laid out Azov’s vision regarding foreign sympathizers, who were described as those who could be “carriers of these ideas, potential leaders of such cells in their home countries,” and could “spread ideas about creation of a new geopolitical union, and promote political ideas to the masses”.

Further elaboration on the goals Azov aimed to pursue internationally, and the role foreigners could play, came in an interview Semenyaka gave around the same time in English. Notably, for this particular interview, Semenyaka was hosted by the Azov Regiment’s chief legal counsel, Yevhen Komisar, an aide to Azov founder Andriy Biletsky. Komisar is part of Azov’s lobbying push to have the Rada vote on a law granting a path to citizenship for foreign fighters in Ukraine.

The Liberal West As Enemy

This time, Semenyaka elaborated that the strategy of Reconquista had to do with physical expansion as much as with an ideological challenge to the global status quo.

“It’s also a spatial concept,” Semenyaka said about Reconquista strategy, “It concerns expansion, even geographical. We say that we want to return something, reconquer it. We talk about Eastern Europe. Ukraine is now undergoing revolution and can become the vanguard of this Reconquista. From this space it will expand to the Western Europe, and then of course the whole world. We can also speak about the World Conservative Revolution” (00:06:50 into the interview).

The liberal West is as much an enemy of Azov’s vision as Putin’s Russia, according the Semenyaka’s 2015 statements.

“Before we tended to counterpose Russia and the West, and tried to find allies in the West. Now we understand that they work hand-in-hand. There are demands to turn Ukraine into an object of international relations and processes (as opposed to an active subject), they come from both the West and the East and we have to combat them”, Semenyaka said (00:13:00 into the interview).

This vision, Semenyaka claimed, was met positively by Western right-wingers: “Reconquista, revolt, conservative revolution are all homological concepts that are quite understandable for European right-wingers. I consider it quite successful.”

Attesting to alleged interest on part of Western right-wingers are statements made in another 2015 interview discovered by Bellingcat. A native English speaker who was introduced by Azov’s podcast host, the aforementioned Yevhen Komisar, as “Sashko from Canada,” laid out his vision regarding cooperation with Western sympathizers. During the interview, Sashko said that prior to joining the Maidan uprising in Ukraine in January 2014 and, eventually, Azov, he had been involved in European nationalist scene via ZENTROPA identitarian movement, and had been in contact with Ukrainian far-right groups since 2010.

Sashko praised right-wingers from “all types of nationalist movements in Europe” who joined Azov in Ukraine, but emphasized that Western sympathizers could help advance Azov’s agenda in their own countries.

“Online we have guys that translate stuff into different languages. At the moment we have translators for French, Italian, German, Croatian. We have lots of guys translating but we can always use more,” Sashko said (00:24:10 into the interview)

“It doesn’t mean that you must do one thing or another. You just must do something. It can be just talking to some guy in a pub. It can be a lot of things,” he said (00:26:45 into the interview).

Sashko also stated that he believed nationalists should strive for “the real Europe, one outside of the EU, outside the control of the West, and outside of the control of some Mongol Eurasianist block”

“[Reconquista] goes beyond the borders of Ukraine. We need Reconquista of the European soul (…)The European spirit is in a coma. We need to break out of it. We need to awaken the European Spirit. It’s easier said than done, but it begins here!” (00:14:10 into the interview)

Attesting to Azov’s self-identification as a radical movement are statements made at the time by Sergey Korotkih, a prominent leader in the National Corps political party, who was appointed by Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov to lead his ministry’s Department for the Protection of Strategic Objects in 2015. Prior to this, Korotkih, formerly citizen of Belarus with reported ties to neo-Nazi organizations in Russia, was granted Ukrainian citizenship by President Petro Poroshenko in 2014

In an interview published by Azov’s online podcast in May 2015, Korotkih fawned over the Islamic State, and compared the Azov Regiment to the group.

“I can’t accept ISIS ideology but they’re awesome in what they do. I enjoy their movies very much. I drool over what’s going on in the territories they control”, Korotkih proclaimed during the interview (00:32:45 into the interview), in which he also characterized ISIS as “heroes of that time.”

“Heroes assemble here in Azov too. For the European civilization, Azov fighters are an example of such heroism that harkens back to Crusades and Middle Ages. Men that come together and leave for the unknown, to a foreign land with only two options: to win something for themselves or to die. That’s same as ISIS.”

According to public records, Korotkih had already been appointed to a government position when he voiced his admiration for ISIS. In the same interview, Korotkih elaborated about bringing foreigners into Azov, and stressed that foreign sympathizers could contribute to the movement in non-combatant roles

“If a particular individual is uniquely skilled [and does not fulfill the criteria set for battlefield roles], he can try out for the Press Service. Azov has a multitude of projects where to fulfill one’s potential.”

These statements by Azov’s leaders and organizers, along with other findings in this report, are especially relevant because Azov has repeatedly dismissed reports tying the movement’s ideology and leaders to neo-Nazism and racism, with these reports labeled as anti-Ukrainian or “Russian propaganda” by many Ukrainian and Western media outlets and institutions.

However, instead of looking at public actions aimed at framing Azov’s work as patriotic, perhaps it is more productive to look at how the movement defines itself when speaking amongst themselves and to far-right and white supremacist groups. This report looks to assess the Azov movement by listening to the Azov movement’s leaders public statements, uncovering their attempts to reach out to American far-right extremists, and contextualizing their cooperation with far-right and white supremacist groups in the West.

Azov and the Ukrainian Government: Blurred Lines

The situation with Azov’s outreach to right-wing extremists in the United States is especially worrying considering how the movement has a foothold into some segments of the Ukrainian government, especially the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The Azov Regiment, the movement’s military arm, is a special operations unit of the National Guard of Ukraine (military unit 3057). In a recent interview, the Regiment’s founder and the National Corps leader Andriy Biletsky claimed that the regiment numbered 1150 fighters: “They’re all volunteers and paid professionals under contract.”

The regiment has its own tanks and other heavy weaponry, and routinely claims to be the most combat-capable unit in the Armed Forces in Ukraine. The regiment is stationed close to the city of Mariupol, on the Azov sea, and reportedly played a key role in the liberation of Mariupol from Russian and Russia-backed forces in 2014.

The Azov Regiment’s current umbrella government body, the National Guard, is a militarized branch of Ukrainian law enforcement within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, led by Arsen Avakov.

In May 2014, the ministry signed off on the integration of reported far-right figures and militants into Ukraine’s government under the banner of Azov, which was first the Azov Battalion governed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 2014 the Azov Regiment’s first commander Andriy Biletsky credited Avakov with supporting the launch of Azov, and minister Avakov admitted himself in a 2016 interview  that he was directly involved in creation of Azov in 2014.

On Avakov’s order, Azov, already a regiment, was integrated into the National Guard in October of 2014, a move that enabled the far-right group to gain access to sophisticated weaponry and training, including access to American-made rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Avakov has praised Azov as “one of Ukraine’s most combat-capable units.”

According to Anton Shekhovtsov, researcher of European far-right movements, Avakov, who hails from Ukraine’s highly politically competitive Kharkiv region, could have a history of dealings with reported neo-Nazis from Azov’s predecessor organization, Patriot of Ukraine, led by Biletsky before the Maidan. Shekhovtsov wrote in late 2014 that Biletsky’s involvement with the Ukrainian police seemed to be driven by Avakov’s “trust in the organisation that he worked with in the past.”

“Avakov also seems to believe in the personal loyalty of the Patriot of Ukraine-led Azov battalion and may use them as his ‘private army’ for business or political reasons,” Shekhovtsov wrote.

Azov’s leader Biletsky admitted in a recent interview, that he has regular meetings with Avakov (“2-3 meeting a year”), but claimed their relationship started in 2014. In another recent interview, Biletsky specified that his communication with Avakov is limited to matters related to the Azov Regiment, and expressed regret that Azov was part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Biletsky also dismissed allegations of Avakov’s current influence on Azov’s the National Corps political party as “a fiction pushed by the Presidential Administration of Ukraine,” and insisted that his party was an independent subject in Ukrainian politics.

Minister Avakov has condemned neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism on a number of occasions. In July 2018, in the wake of a lethal attack on Ukrainian Roma in Lviv, Avakov suggested to G-7 ambassadors and diplomats in Kyiv “to pressure young neo-Nazis by imposing additional limitations on entry to EU states.” Avakov also criticized Azov’s street branch, the National Militia.

It should also be noted that Arsen Avakov reportedly has a tense competitive relationship with Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko, and allegedly may be backing one of Poroshenko’s competitors in the upcoming Presidential election in Ukraine.

While there are claims that the Azov Regiment, as part of the National Guard, is not influenced by the National Corps, such claims do not hold water. Andriy Biletsky, head of the National Corps and a strong Poroshenko critic, regularly visits the National Guard’s Azov Regiment base near Mariupol to address the troops, and is unequivocally greeted there as their leader. This relationship can be seen clearly with Biletsky’s  New Year’s video address, where he was surrounded by apparent active duty members of the Azov Regiment, wearing their respective patches.

“I’m wishing Ukraine dedication and strength to get rid of the parasites that feed on it, regardless of what their names are,” Biletsky said, apparently equaling Ukraine’s elite to the Russia-led forces occupying the country’s east.

During Biletsky’s visit of the National Guard’s Azov Regiment base on New Year’s Eve, he also presented his vision for the future to Azov fighters: “2019 will be incredibly important for us. I’m hoping that it will become the year of Azov’s and thus Ukraine’s victories,” Biletsky said during the event.b

In a report about the event, as well as on numerous other occasions, the regiment’s own site unequivocally characterized Biletsky as “the leader of the Azov Movement.”

Recognition of Biletsky as the leader of the National Guard’s Azov Regiment was echoed in February 2019 by the Regiment’s chief of staff Svyatoslav Palamar in a video interview. “We have a leader in Andriy Biletsky, who’s currently an independent member of parliament of Ukraine,” he said.

According to Palamar, Biletsky takes care of raising financial support for the Regiment, and “finds sponsors that invest money” in Azov enabling the Regiment to have quality equipment, access to proving grounds etc.

Azov’s incorporation into the National Guard has raised eyebrows within that militarized branch of Ukraine’s law enforcement, as well as in the United States. A 2017 interview of current head of the National Guard of Ukraine, General Yuriy Allerov, pointed to both his concerns about the regiment, and its role in ensuring security in Ukraine’s strategically important Mariupol region.

“As much as it’s possible we attempt to get rid of their pagan gestures and rituals that stand out so much… But we don’t bend them across the knee, because unfortunately, there is no other comparable motivated resistance movement like that in the east of Ukraine,” Allerov said of Azov in a 2017 interview. Far from a new face in the newly strengthened Ukrainian Armed Forces, Allerov is a 54-year-old, career military official who reportedly started his career in the Soviet Union.

Allerov’s unease about Azov’s “gestures and rituals” and other specifics partially echoes concerns from U.S. Representative Ro Khanna, the congressman behind the 2018 Congressional ban (see Section 8129 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018) on the use of U.S. budget funds “to provide arms, training, or other assistance to the Azov Battalion.”

“Rather than disband Azov, the government incorporated it into the Ukrainian National Guard, overseen by the Ministry of the Interior,” Khanna said about this military organization in April 2018. A month later, he claimed that the “battalion has very much engaged in incidents of neo-Nazism.”

Khanna’s statement also reflected his apparent understanding that Azov’s rise has been aided by infighting within Ukraine’s elite, specifically centered around Minister of Internal Affairs Avakov, and is not necessarily centrally approved by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

“[Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko himself doesn’t have Nazi sentiments — his government has provided aid to the Azov Battalion,” Khanna’s May 2018 statement read.

The Azov movement’s special relationship with Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has allowed it to develop what is essentially a revolving door environment where the movement’s loyal members migrate between government bodies, the Azov political party, and its street movement, along with providing support to Azov’s projects while holding government positions.

Movement of Azov leaders between its different bodies, and the National Guard, can be seen with the Azov Regiment’s three military commanders. Biletsky, the leader of the National Corps (Azov’s political wing), was the Azov Regiment’s first military commander. The current head of Azov’s National Militia is Ihor “Cherkas” Mykhailenko, who previously succeeded Biletsky as the Azov Regiment’s second commander. The National Corps’ operations in eastern Ukraine are currently led by Maksym Zhorin, who was the Regiment’s third military commander after Cherkas.

A prominent current leader of the National Corps and Azov Regiment alumnus Sergey Korotkih (who made public statements about ISIS) was appointed by Avakov to lead the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Department for the Protection of Strategic Objects in May 2015, a position he apparently held until November 2017 when he was replaced by another Azov Regiment alumnus, Serhiy “Khorst” Korovin.

Korotkih is currently a key figure in the Azov movement, and a reported associate of Avakov. In a recent video interview Korotkih admitted he is a national socialist and supports a pan-European, white nationalist, anti-Muslim agenda. During the interview Korotkih confirmed he met Avakov, and stated he’s friends with son of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Oleksandr Avakov.

Azov and Ukraine’s Top Law Enforcement Officials

It is worth highlighting that Azov Regiment alumni with self-described extremist far-right backgrounds are currently found at the top of the Avakov-led Ministry of Internal Affairs.

One such individual is Serhiy Bondarenko, deputy head of the Kyiv region police. Bondarenko is a combat veteran of the Azov Regiment, and was was appointed to his senior-level position in Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2014. According to his electronic asset declaration (mandatory for Ukrainian public officials) submitted in early 2018, Bondarenko is still a law enforcement official in Ukraine.

In 2015 statements to Azov’s podcast, Bondarenko stated he was part of Ukraine’s far-right scene since 2009 (“I took part in some direct action,” he said about his past as a far-right activist pre-Azov), and noted that the incorporation of Azov’s members into the government has not altered their ideology, which he described as “permanent.”

“I’m confident that all members of the Azov movement have permanent ideological views that won’t change”

During the interview, Bondarenko stated that incorporation of Azov into Ukraine’s government contributed directly to that far-right movement’s ability to build its own political power, and granted the group access to heavy weaponry.

“The Regiment has grown stronger, and can now, because of its legitimization, influence civic processes via our Civic Corps branch [predecessor of the National Corps political party], as well as perform better on the frontlines,” Bondarenko said. “[With the incorporation] the regiment has received weapons that it would never get as an illegal formation” (00:02:30 into the interview).

In answering the host’s questions, Bondarenko also gave examples of members of the Azov movement in leadership positions inside the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“Those are fighters that graduated from the Azov Regiment and stayed in the ranks of the Ministry,” Bondarenko stated (00:04:10 into the interview), adding that there were Azov alumni employed as law enforcement officials in the Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Poltava regions.

Also listed as a member of the Azov movement by Bondarenko was his direct senior at the time, Vadym Troyan, who is currently a deputy minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine following a 2014 appointment from Avakov as head of the Kyiv regional police. Although Troyan’s appointment in 2014 caused a stir in Ukraine and was reported in international media, he has risen through the ranks of the Ministry of Internal Affairs without drawing attention internationally.

The designation of Troyan as loyal to Azov by Bondarenko lends credence to reports about the influential deputy minister’s ties to Azov. Troyan is both an alumnus of the Azov Regiment and a veteran far-right operative in Ukraine, whose personal involvement into the far-right scene can be seen as illustrative of the Ukrainian far-right’s generally rising influence.

According to Vyacheslav Likhachev,  Kyiv-based expert on right-wing groups in Ukraine and Russia, in the second half of the first decade of the 2000s Troyan held a leadership position in Patriot of Ukraine, a Biletskiy-led far-right organization that was a predecessor to the Azov regiment and movement. Likhachev characterized Patriot of Ukraine as neo-Nazi organization.

While with Patriot of Ukraine, Troyan was reportedly personally involved in a high profile public incident of neo-Nazism. According to a contemporaneous report, in 2008 Troyan was arrested and appeared before court after an ultra-nationalist rally in Kyiv that quickly turned violent. According to a photographic report from the event, participants gave Nazi salutes, and clashed with the law enforcement. During the rally, Troyan reportedly led a group of men from Patriot of Ukraine. At the time, the rally was dismissed as a provocation against pro-Western President Yushchenko.

Fast forward to a post-Maidan Ukraine where, now as a deputy minister, Troyan has provided backing to Azov’s recent controversial projects.

In July 2017, it was deputy minister Troyan who, according to the National Corps site, christened the launch of the Azov movement’s “patriotic center” for youth and children that has made international headlines as “Ukraine’ far-right children’s camp.”

Previously, in 2015, Troyan vocally recommended an earlier iteration of Azov’s controversial camp for kids on his Facebook profile. Also in July 2015, Troyan apparently endorsed Azov’s Civic Corps leadership seminar “School of the Natiocracy” that included “ideological training” and “political education” on Facebook.

On his Facebook profile, Troyan also posted photos and videos of himself wearing the Azov Regiment patch on what appears to be official occasions, congratulated the Regiment on important anniversaries, tagged those he apparently served in Azov with, including individuals implicated in acts of violence that his Ministry of Internal Affairs is tasked with countering. On one occasion Troyan congratulated a veteran of Azov who was joining Ukrainian law enforcement.

Azov’s delegates to the Avakov-controlled ministry also allegedly enjoy Avakov’s protection.

In 2017, Troyan was implicated by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office in the alleged extortion of a Ukrainian businessman. This incident involved Troyan’s deputy and a leader of Azov’s Civic Corps.

According to a report in one of Ukraine’s largest and most respected investigative outlets, Ukrainska Pravda, Avakov immediately rushed to diffuse the situation and engaged top officials of the Ukrainian government in doing so. The case later reportedly collapsed.

Far-right extremists may enjoy a certain level of impunity in Ukraine. In June 2018, a joint address from human right organizations Human Right Watch, Amnesty International, Freedom House, and Frontline Defenders called on Avakov to end impunity for acts of radical violence in the country. Members of Azov’s National Corps, along with the National Militia, were reportedly involved in attacks on LGBT people, human rights activist, and minorities in Ukraine.

Azov’s relationship with Avakov’s Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, along with Azov’s antagonistic relationship with the government of Ukraine, provide a glimpse into its domestic influence in conjunction with  the movement’s international ambitions through its contacts with Western and American far-right individuals and groups.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) correspondent Christopher Miller contributed research to this report


Officials forced way in to Stephen Moore home after failure to pay ex-wife debts

  • Authorized 2013 break-in began process of selling property owned by Trump Fed pick to raise money owed after divorce
  • Stephen Moore held in contempt over failure to repay debts

April 5, 2019

by Jon Swaine in New York and David Smith in Washington

The Guardian

A court official accompanied by four police officers had to break into the home of Stephen Moore, Donald Trump’s pick for the Federal Reserve board, after he repeatedly failed to pay debts to his ex-wife.

The group used a locksmith to force their way into Moore’s house in Virginia in May 2013, according to court filings. They were there to prepare the property for a court-ordered sale in order to raise $330,000 that Moore owed his ex-wife after their divorce.

When the court official telephoned Moore on her way out to ask where she should leave the new key to his home, Moore “was very argumentative” and “denied that we were in his house”, the official, Kyle Skopic, said in a June 2013 motion.

The court records were reopened to the public by a judge on Friday, in response to legal action by the Guardian and other media. They had been temporarily sealed this week following the publication of reports about Moore’s past financial and legal problems.

Six days after the authorized break-in at his house, Moore made a long overdue payment of $150,000 to his ex-wife, Allison, the records show. She then asked the court to halt the action to sell Moore’s home.

Democratic senators wrote to Moore requesting detailed information on his finances following the earlier reports. He is also being pursued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for $75,000 in taxes he is said to owe from 2014.

Moore, 59, disputes the claim by the IRS and has described the reports on his legal issues as “vile and vicious and underhanded”.

Trump has said he intends to nominate Moore for a vacancy on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors. The president said this week he also plans to nominate Herman Cain, the former presidential candidate and pizza restaurant entrepreneur, to the board.

Both choices have been criticised by some economists, who point to their lack of academic publications and other perceived weaknesses. Moore and Cain would need to be confirmed by the US Senate, which is controlled by the Republican party.

The court file that was reopened on Friday detailed how Moore ignored contacts from Skopic after Fairfax county circuit court appointed her as a special commissioner to handle the forced sale of his house.

Moore had by then been found in contempt of court for failing to pay the debt, which included alimony, child support and money owed from the couple’s divorce settlement.

Skopic wrote to Moore and received no response, she said. Then, when she reached him by telephone, he “curtly advised that the house was not for sale and hung up”. Four days after the call, she arrived at the house in Falls Church with the police officers, who “cleared the property to make sure there were no dangers”.

The court records state that Moore, then an economics writer for the Wall Street Journal, was earning at least $420,000 a year at the time of his divorce in May 2011.

Moore has held positions at several conservative thinktanks in Washington, including the Heritage Foundation. He was a founder of the Club For Growth, the conservative advocacy group.

A document in the newly court file showed that Moore disputed an allegation in his ex-wife’s divorce complaint that she had been the “primary caretaker and role model” for the couple’s children, having quit her job to raise them.

In his response, Moore said through an attorney that he had “been the primary bread winner in the home and as such provided an extremely comfortable lifestyle for the wife and the children”.

Moore has attributed his dispute with the IRS to confusion over whether he was permitted to deduct child support payments from his income tax return. He claims that he and his second wife are actually owed money by the IRS due to separate overpayments.



Encyclopedia of American Loons

  • John Robbins

 John Robbins is a New Age and alternative health author, environmentalist & animal rights activist, nutritionist (the quack kind) and fringe anti-GMO conspiracy theorist. Robbins was originally heir to the Baskin-Robbins icecream empire, but decided to make a career as a woo guru instead. He has subsequently published several books promoting vegan diets and cancer quackery, characterized by little concern for factual accuracy but great affinity for conspiracy theories; they include Diet for a New America (successful enough to make it onto this list of non-recommended health books; some of the inaccuracies and straightforward lies of the TV version of the book are discussed here), Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples (the phrase “scientifically proven” at least shows rather nicely that the claims have little to do with science or scientific evidence), Reclaiming Our Health: Exploding the Medical Myth and Embracing the Source of True Healing (oh, yeah) and Voices of the Food Revolution: You Can Heal Your Body and Your World with Food! (hint: you cannot; food is not medicine). Robbins is known to write compellingly and convincingly, which is actually not that hard if you can use whatever falsehood and inaccuracy you could think of as premises for your conclusions (your readers, being non-experts, wouldn’t be able to tell anyways). Robbins is also on the advisory board of Naked Food Magazineand the founder of EarthSave, which was created as a response to the success of his book Diet for a New America. Not the least, Robbins participated in the conspiracy flick Thrive, though has later admittedly distanced himself from the core nonsense of that movie. Currently, Robbins is promoting his bullshit (such as “empowerment packages”) together with his son Ocean Robbins.

Robbins is a relatively significant figure on the anti-GMO activist scene. In 2013, for instance, Robbins (John and Ocean) organized, together with fringe lunatic and former yogic flying instructor Jeffery Smith , a “GMO Mini-Summit”, featuring an impressive line-up of GMO-related conspiracy theorists such as Thierry Vrain and Consumer Reports’s Michael Hansen, and an equally impressive range of PRATTs, denialist talking points and references to the spectacularly debunked and retracted Seralini study.

John and Ocean Robbins are currently running the “The Food Revolution Network,” a chemophobia-promoting, veganism-hyping organization well-known for its commitment to delusional pseudoscience, such as the 11-part video series “The Quest for Cures … Continues” (available at the thetruthaboutcancer website, a conspiracy page nicely illustrating Badger’s law), featuring Ty Bollinger as well as Ocean Robbins. The series is reviewed here, and there’s another good review here. “If you ignore the information I have to share with you, you are leaving yourself open to getting one of the diseases we all dread,” warns Ocean Robbins in a promotional video. “Alternative facts” does not even begin to describe the character and amount of misinformation that follows. Apparently the Robbinses at one point attempted to hoodwink Sanjay Gupta into service for one of their quack summits, but Gupta – otherwise no stranger to hype and shaky evidence foundations – wisely shied away from their rambling trainwreck of woo and conspiracy mongerin

Diagnosis: Another marketing-savvy quack, and a dangerous one: to those with little background in science or medicine, Robbins’s claims may perhaps come across as more reasonable-sounding than the wild-eyed, semi-coherent conspiracy theories of, say, Ty Bollinger or Mike Adams, but that’s a result of marketing savvy, not because any resemblance of a foundation in evidence, accountability or fact.


  • Allen Quist

Michele Bachmann is crazy, but compared to her mentor, Allen Quist, she can at least occasionally come across as deceptively reasonable (they’re close: Allen Quist’s wife Julie was for instance Bachmann’s district director while Bachmann was in Congress). Quist is a soybean farmer, former state representative, and twice gubernatorial candidate who served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1983 to 1989; he ran for Congess in 2013 and won the primaries, but lost the general election. Most notable for his anti-abortion line, Quist believes that abortion should be a first degree homicide and has even written a book, The Abortion Revolution and the Sanctity of Life, about the topic, which does not even try to engage with the moral philosophical literature on the issue.

During the 1990s, Quist and Bachmann worked together to demolish Minnesota’s state curriculum standards through the group Maple River Education Coalition (MREC) (later EdWatch), considering the curriculum standards to be a gateway to a totalitarian society built on moral relativism due to its reliance on science and truth. In particular, MREC opposed the Profile of Learning, an attempt to bring the state into compliance with federal curriculum standards, which according to Quist was a step toward a United Nations takeover of Minnesota. Moreover, “sustainability” is just a euphemism for a future dystopia in which humans would be confined to public-transit-oriented urban cores (yes, “mass transit” is a conspiracy against freedom) and if the standards were implemented, Minnesota schools would become breeding grounds for “homosexual indoctrination.” Aaron Miller is apparently another one of Quist’s acolytes, especially with regard to their shared views on science and education.

Indeed, Quist has been consistently paranoid about the UN, especially Agenda 21, for decades, and has emerged as one of the leading Agenda 21 conspiracy theorists on the prairie, making several tours of Minnesota’s Tea Party circuit to warn about the terrors of Agenda 21. Part of the agenda, according to Quist – an especially effective talking point among his audiences – is international gun control, which Obama apparently was continuously on the verge of signing during his whole tenure as president. One of the UN’s major strategies for compliance to the gun ban effort is, as Quist sees it, apparently spreading “the myth of global warming.

To get a sense of EdWatch’s approach to eduction, it is worth looking at Quist’s current efforts as editor of CurriculumModules.org (CMod), a children’s “education” and “learning” website targeted at homeschoolers, which “challenges the worldwide views of established education” and instead offers religiously motivated pseudoscience, anti-science, denialism and myths. Since Quist is a hardline young-earth creationist, one of CMod’s lessons suggests for instance not only that dinosaurs lived alongside humans in the past but continued to do so well into medieval times. As CMod sees it, history books and science books have falsely determined that dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago. Their counterevidence? “[T]he only reasonable explanation for the Stegosaurus carved in the stone on the wall of the Cambodian temple is that the artist had either seen a stegosaurus or had seen other art works of a stegosaurus. Either way, people and stegosaurs were living at the same time.” There is little reason to think that the stegosaurus depiction in question, which in any case does not depict a stegosaurus (but rather a rhino or a boar) unless severe pareidolia is applied, is not a fabrication. Elsewhere, Quist provides what he takes to be scientific evidence for the existence of dragons, and suggests that the Book of Job should be taught as a science lesson: “Today we know beyond a reasonable doubt – Job 41 is a picture-perfect description of SuperCroc,” which is silly on amazingly many levels. Quist once also told a reporter that he believed women were “genetically predisposed” to be subservient to men. Not that Quist knows what genesare.

As a politician, Quist was notable also for his unhealthy obsession with sex (he spent a total of 30 hours during a single 1988 session talking about it), and in particular sex he ostensibly doesn’t like. He campaigned hard against legalizing same-sex marriage, led efforts to prevent extending human rights protections to gays and lesbians, and famously sponsored a (failed) bill that would require AIDS testing for all marriage license applicants. He managed to draw some criticism for suggesting that supporting a gay counseling center at Minnesota State University would be similar to supporting one for the Ku Klux Klan, saying that “its presence suggests university approval for the homosexual lifestyle and the practice of sodomy … You wouldn’t have a center for the Ku Klux Klan,” and that “both would be breeding grounds for evil –AIDS, in this case.”

No fan of the ACA, Quist called it “the most insidious, evil piece of legislation I have ever seen in my life … [that seems to happen rather often in Quist’s case]. Every one of us has to be totally committed to killing this travesty … I have to kill this bill,” and argued that “Obama, Pelosi, [Tim] Walz: They’re not liberals, they’re radicals. They are destroying our country

Diagnosis: Wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, denialist and bigot. His influence, however, is greater than you might initially think, as he seems to have been training a small army of deranged extremists for the better part of three decades.

 The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

April 6, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks. ”

Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.



Conversation No. 43

Date: Friday, October 25, 1996

Commenced: 3:45 PM CST

Concluded: 4:15 PM CST

GD: Good afternoon, Robert. Everything going well for you? How was your doctor’s appointment?

RTC: Well, no results but I am resigned to being old, Gregory. When you get to my age, you’ll count the day as wonderful if you can open your eyes in the morning. How is it with you?

GD: It goes. Moving to Illinois was not the best of ideas but my son left me little choice. It was move or else.

RTC: Or else what?

GD: He would leave and I would be stuck with a huge rent for a big house with a swimming pool that he insisted we have but he only used once. I used it all the time but I had to clean it and with all the trees and the occasional drowned squirrel, it was a wonderful addition that I would never want again unless I was rich enough to afford a weekly pool service. Of course the scumbag neighbors wanted their filthy kids to use it but I said that was not possible. I told them my insurance forbade it but actually, who wants an army of screaming little assholes using the pool as their private toilet?

RTC: Sounds like you put your Scrooge hat on this morning.

GD: Actually, I like kids. If you barbecue the small ones, they go well with a pitcher of Jack Daniels.

RTC: For God’s sake, don’t ever say that around a Jew or you’ll go stone deaf from the screaming.

GD: Oh, I know you’re right about that one. It’s a little like saying that you’re looking for a chink in someone’s armor and Asian-Americans start shouting. And never call a spade, a spade.

RTC: Yes. We live in an artificial society, Gregory. Our primitive selves still heft the vanished club with which to smite other cave-dwellers.

GD: In the Mueller book, I made reference to the fact that we now have nice-nice titles for people. I said we call janitors ‘sanitary engineers’ and that Mongoloids are now called ‘differently abled.’ And some reader wrote a nasty letter to my publisher about this which he forwarded for my comment. She said she was horrified and repulsed by the use of the Mongoloid idiot implication. Her little Timmy was the sweetest child on earth and I ought to be thrashed for calling him this terrible, forbidden name.

RTC: Did you reply?

GD: Oh yes. I wrote to her that having read her letter with sorrow because she was stuck with a retard, I suggested, very pointedly, that she ought to put some chlorine in her gene pool.

RTC: (Laughter) Gregory, you didn’t.

GD: Why not? Hell, the Greeks knew something about genes and they left their retards out on the mountainside to either die slowly or more quickly when the animals got them. Keeps the race clean if you follow me. Now, we let the innates breed and they are filling what passes for civilization with all kinds of lopsided mongrels. Malthus doesn’t mention eugenics but I feel that the herd should be thinned and the best breeding stock put in a separate pen to avoid two legged goats or chickens covered with fur.

RTC: You sound like a Nazi. As I recall, we had that Dr. Mengele on the payroll. Down in South America where we wanted him to do work on breeding superior people.

GD: Jesus H. Christ, Robert, talk about infuriating the Jews. If they ever found out about that delightful fact, all their newspapers, magazines and television stations would do terrible damage to the CIA. My grandfather was a Nazi but I am not.

RTC: Over there?

GD: No, here. A member of the AO in good standing.

RTC: Pardon?

GD: The Auslands Organization. Party members residing outside Germany. He was a banker with close connections to the Schreoder people in Cologne. Party member since 1923.

RTC: Well, the CIA is now full of Jews so if they find that out, they will do more than keep your books out of the bookstores.

GD: I suppose if I turned my back on them, I might have some trouble. They don’t like confrontation and love to work in the dark or through surrogates. They hate the Mueller books, not because Mueller was anti-Semitic but because he is presented as a human being. To professional Jews, all Germans are evil. Little children of eight were trained to visit the concentration camp in their neighborhood and toss screaming Jewish babies into the giant bonfires that burned day and night.

RTC: Now I know you’re joking.

GD: Of course but that sort of silly crap is very close to what they do.

RTC: Of course it’s to make money and gain moral superiority. ‘Oh Mr. Salesman, my whole family died in the gas chambers. Terrible. Can you give a poor survivor 50% off on that couch?’

GD: Robert, that’s very unkind. True but unkind.

RTC: I remember when they attacked the Liberty and were killing Americans. Deliberate of course and the Navy sent aircraft to wipe them out. Johnson found out about this and stopped the flight. Why? He didn’t want to offend Israel.

GD: What about dead Americans?

RTC: Pales into insignificance when balanced against the vital needs of precious Israel. At the time, they were murdering captured Etyptian soldiers and they didn’t want us listening in so the tried to sink the ship.

GD: And Pollard…

RTC: Oh my, yes and even now they want us to liberate him. They made him an honorary member of the Knesset and put big bucks away for him in a private account. And this for an American who was stealing important secrets and giving them to what was supposed to be an ally.

GD: Did you ever read the Bunche report?

RTC: Ralph Bunche. The UN man?

GD: Yes. After the Jews murdered Folke Bernadotte, head of the Swedish Red Cross and one of their royal family, solely because he refused to allow them to butcher Arab farmers, they killed him and Bunche, who was on Cypress dealing with refugees, was given his job. The UN prepared a chronology of violence in Palestine from ’44 until ’48…day by day. A wonderful chronicle of arson, murder, kidnapping, poisoning and God alone knows what atrocities. Blowing up hotels full of people and so on. I got a copy from an Army friend and if you like, I can send you a photo copy.

RTC: That I would like to see although there’s nothing I can do about it now.

GD: And when you were in the CIA?

RTC: I never liked dealing with those people. Jim Angleton loved them and kissed their asses but I never trusted any of them.

GD: Especially our allies?

RTC: Oh no, they are not our allies. If it weren’t for the fact that Jews have lots of money and own almost all the newspapers and TV stations, we wouldn’t be so eager to kiss their hairy asses, believe me.

GD: Well, the wheel turns, Robert, and one day there will be a reckoning of sorts. I don’t forsee enormous gas chambers being built in Detroit but the public can get very unpleasant when it gets angry.

RTC: But without the papers and TV and with political correctness in full swing, I can’t see mobs in the street burning down kosher meat stores.

GD: Who knows the way the wheel turns?

RTC: But don’t put any of this into future books, Gregory. Not a good idea. You will be accused of masterminding the assassination of Lincoln.

GD: Well, they may have the newspapers but there are other avenues. I remember once when I was giving a lecture, some old bitch came up to me afterwards and began telling me how her whole family had been turned into lampshades and soap at Auschwutz. She dared me to respond but I did.

RTC: And? God help us all, what did you say?

GD: Why, I said my uncle had died at Auischwitz during the war. She blinked and asked me if he were a Jew.

GD: I told her no, he was not. I said he got drunk on the Fuehrer’s birthday, fell out of a guard tower and broke his neck.

RTC: My God, you have balls, Gregory. What did she do?

GD: I think she swallowed her false teeth. However, everyone around us started laughing so not everyone was mad at me. She waddled off before I could tell her about the new German pizza oven that seated four.

RTC: Gregory, do let us change the subject. Suppose some Jewish FBI agents were listening to this?

GD: I would offer a special bargain on hand soap. I could set up a booth at a fair with hand soap in piles and a sign saying ‘Find a Relative!’ over it. Probably not a good idea. They would ask me for a 50% discount. Oh, by the way, to change the subject…

RTC: Thank God…

GD: Yes. Did you know that the British Prince Consort, Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, was a German, not a Greek. He also had been a uniformed member of several Nazi organizations before he joined the Royal Navy. His brother had been a member of the SS and his sister had been a German nurse so they never got invited to the royal wedding. His uncle was Prince Phillip of Hesse who lived in Italy where he married their Crown Princess. He was Hitler’s art dealer in Italy. Phillip is related to the last Empress of Russia, the German Kaiser  and others. His uncle was a general in the SA. I have a snapshot of him in his Hitler Youth uniform, dagger and all, with a friend of mine when both were at a Hitler Youth rally. I would imagine the IRA would love to buy that one.

RTC: I had heard something about this. Phil is a nasty piece of arrogant work. Anthony Blunt…

GD: I know all about his going to Germany and hiding references to Phillp’s Nazi past. That’s why he never got arrested when he was exposed as a Russian spy.

RTC: You do get around, Gregory.

GD: If we got together, I could tell you lots of interesting facts, Robert. Well, enough evil for the moment. My dog is making go outside noises so I had best leave you. I will call you later, OK?

RTC: Salud.


(Concluded at 4:15 Pm CST)


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