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TBR News November 20, 2018

Nov 20 2018

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

Washington, D.C. November 20, 2018:” “Neo-Confederates believe that with the Civil War, Lincoln was able to expand the power of the federal government beyond constitutional limits, and that with the defeat of the Confederacy the ideals of states’ rights were defeated.  They believe that the 14th Amendment was illegally adopted.  To them this has resulted in the growth of federal government into a Leviathan, a very large monstrous beast in the bible….In this historical view big government, integration and Brown vs. Brown, gay rights, civil rights, feminism, minorities, taxes, FDR, and other issues can be viewed as the result of the American Republic jumping the tracks during the Civil War and being out of control.

The neo-Confederate doctrine that Congressman Ron Paul is associated with believes in the re-establishment of the Confederacy as a Bible-based republic opposed to all laws, rights, or behaviors that cannot be justified according to the Bible.  Its leading theologians have written justifications of slavery as Biblically-based and have described it as a benign social institution.

On theological grounds, neo-Confederates believe the Civil War was a struggle between orthodox Christianity and a heretical Union.  In the mid-twentieth century, many Christian nationalists became politically involved because they opposed the desegregation of white schools and attempts by the federal government to remove their tax exempt status from white private school created to escape the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision to desegregate white-only schools.

The subsequent development of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and the moral pressure this movement exerted on federal, state and local governments, as well as the reign of terror unleashed by the Ku Klux Klan with the implicit support of Southern governors, legislatures, congressmen, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, juries, white clergy, and public opinion all played a role in the development of the neo-Confederate movement.”

 

The Table of Contents 

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 86
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • In Mississippi Senate race, a ‘hanging’ remark spurs Democrats
  • ‘He may not rewrite immigration laws’: Trump’s asylum ban blocked by federal judge
  • It’s Time for America to Reckon With the Staggering Death Toll of the Post-9/11 Wars
  • US-Funded Neo-Nazis in Ukraine Mentor US White Supremacists

 

 

Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 86

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

  • Jun 28, 2018

 

“In fact, Apple — as you know, Terry makes a lot of the product — laptops, iPhones — makes a lot of them for Apple. And Apple is spending $350 billion. Billion. There’s another case. I would have been happy with $350 million, right? But they’re spending $350 billion on plants, on building an incredible campus.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: As the New York Times noted in March: “In fact, Apple has no plans to build a plant in the United States.” The company’s January announcement of a $30 billion capital investment over five years specifically mentioned a new campus and new data centres, not new manufacturing operations. (In addition, the announcement was not of a new $350 billion total investment. The company announced, rather, that its combination of new investments and regular spending it had previously planned would total $350 billion over five years — and it specified that it had previously planned $55 billion in spending for 2018. In other words, Apple was already on pace to spend approximately $275 billion of the $350 billion it described in the announcement.)

Trump has repeated this claim 20 times

 

“And we did repeal and replace Obamacare. Unfortunately, one senator decided to put the thumb down, late in the morning. And that was not a good thing when he put that thumb down. But we’ve made up for it and, in many ways, more than made up for it. But that was a sad day, to me. But we repealed and replaced, but now we have something that ultimately, I think, is going to be better, and that’s what we do.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: Trump has not repealed and replaced Obamacare. He discussed the failure of his repeal-and-replace effort in the very sentence after he made this claim, when he criticized Sen. John McCain’s decisive late-night vote to kill the repeal-and-replace effort.

Trump has repeated this claim 33 times

 

“We’ve actually made a deal with South Korea. We took the deal. I expired it. It was a terrible deal. It was supposed to give us 250,000 jobs, done by Hillary Clinton. And she was right. It did give 250,000 jobs. So she was right. It gave it to South Korea; not to us.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: Clinton did not claim that the trade deal with South Korea would “give us 250,000 jobs.” Neither did anyone else in the Obama administration. Obama said that deal would “support at least 70,000 American jobs.” (It is also probably a stretch to say the deal was “done by Hillary Clinton.” George W. Bush’s administration negotiated the original version of the deal. When Congress refused to ratify it, it was revised by the Obama administration when Clinton was secretary of state.)

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

 

“European Union, last year, trade imbalance. We had a deficit of $151 billion.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: The $151 billion figure counts only trade in goods and ignores trade in services, in which the U.S. has a significant surplus. Including all kinds of trade, the overall U.S. trade balance with the European Union in 2017 was a deficit of $102 billion, according to U.S. government statistics.

Trump has repeated this claim 29 times

 

“China. I have a lot of respect for China. I think it’s great. And President Xi, I think he’s great. He’s a friend of mine. But we lost $500 billion over the last number of years — $500 billion a year.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: The U.S. has never once had a $500 billion trade deficit with China, according to U.S. government data. The deficit was $337 billion in 2017.

Trump has repeated this claim 51 times

 

“Mexico, last year, made $100 billion.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: Trump is off by at least $31 billion, or at least $29 billion if you give him the benefit of the doubt. The U.S. trade deficit with Mexico was $71 billion in 2017 when counting goods alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Including trade in services, the net deficit was $69 billion, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report released the same month Trump spoke. (The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses a different method of calculating deficits and surpluses than the Census Bureau.)

Trump has repeated this claim 34 times

 

“Georgetown Steel, in South Carolina, closed four years ago. Closed and shuttered. They’re open for business. Six-hundred people.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: The company reopening the steel mill in Georgetown, South Carolina is Liberty Steel, a division of Britain’s GFG Alliance. The mill shut down less than three years ago, in August 2015. The mill is now employing 125 people, with plans to eventually go up to 320, not 600 people.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

 

“U.S. Steel called me up. They’re expanding or opening six plants.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: At the time Trump spoke, U.S. Steel had only announced a major development at one facility since Trump introduced his steel tariffs: it said it was restarting two shuttered blast furnaces at its plant in Granite City, Illinois. Chuck Bradford, an industry analyst who follows U.S. Steel, said he was “not aware” of the company opening any other facilities. U.S. Steel told the Washington Post: “To answer your question, we post all of our major operational announcements to our website and report them on earnings calls. Our most recent one pertained to our Granite City ‘A’ blast furnace restart.” The company refused to say if this alleged phone call happened at all.

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

 

“And watch those GDP numbers. We started off at a very low number, and right now we hit a 3.2.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: The U.S. did not hit 3.2 per cent growth “right now.” Growth in the first quarter of 2018 was 2.2 per cent. It was 2.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017. It was last 3.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2017.

 

“For the workers, after 20 years, wages are rising. ”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: Wages have been rising since 2014. In May, the month before Trump spoke, average hourly earnings rose by 2.7 per cent, the same as in Obama’s last month in office, December 2016. Wage growth for production and non-supervisory employees was slightly higher in May, at 2.8 per cent, than it was in Obama’s last month in office, 2.5 per cent, but, again, the growth did not begin under Trump.

Trump has repeated this claim 25 times

 

“And Ronald Reagan — remember, Wisconsin was the state that Ronald Reagan did not win.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: Minnesota, the home state of Democratic candidate Walter Mondale, was the one state Reagan did not win in 1984.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

 

“You know, I just realized the other day, they told me — when we won the state of Wisconsin, it hadn’t been won by a Republican since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. Did you know that? And I won Wisconsin.”

Source: Speech at Foxconn site in Wisconsin

in fact: The last Republican presidential candidate to win Wisconsin was Ronald Reagan in 1984, not Eisenhower in 1952. Republicans also won Wisconsin in 1956 (Eisenhower), 1960, 1968 and 1972 (Richard Nixon), and 1980 (Reagan).

Trump has repeated this claim 4 times

 

“Mueller/Comey best friends!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no evidence that the two former FBI directors are “best friends.” Though they do know and like each other, and though it is fair for Trump to argue that it is inappropriate for Mueller to conduct an investigation involving Comey, nobody has produced any kind of proof that they were more than professional associates when both were at the FBI. Comey’s lawyer has said: “Jim and Bob are friends in the sense that co-workers are friends. They don’t really have a personal relationship. Jim has never been to Bob’s house and Bob has never been to Jim’s house.”

Trump has repeated this claim 2 times

 

 

  • Jun 29, 2018

 

“Solar panels, 32 plants — it’s a new industry, so they weren’t old. Thirty-two plants all over the country; two were open, the rest had gone out of business. Now those two — and those two were in bad shape — now they’re doing great and they’re looking at 10, 11, and even 12 re-openings of solar plants all over the country. And these are really great panels, so the level of quality.”

Source: Speech on six-month anniversary of tax law

in fact: In referring to “those two,” Trump appears to mean the two solar companies that brought a trade complaint to the U.S. International Trade Commission, Suniva and SolarWorld Americas. It is not true that they were the only two solar manufacturers remaining in the U.S. at the time. Also, Trump’s claim that these companies are “doing great’ and “looking at 10, 11 and even 12 re-openings” is false. Suniva announced in June that it is emerging from bankruptcy and will restart operations, but there is no indication it will open multiple plants. SolarWorld, meanwhile, sold its Oregon plant, but that plant continues to operate at only 50 per cent capacity, the Oregonian reported in June. When Trump claimed in April, two months prior to this remark, that “seven or eight” solar plants would reopen, Factcheck.org asked the White House for details; it did not receive a response.

Trump has repeated this claim 7 times

 

“But what’s happening with steel, aluminum — what’s happening with other industries where we’re working to revive them — believe it or not, washing machines — they were dumping washing machines, and they weren’t good machines, all over the country. And we put a big tariff on a certain country for doing it. And now we have these washing machine plants that were closed; they’re open and they’re thriving.”

Source: Speech on six-month anniversary of tax law

in fact: There is no evidence of even one additional plant being built as a result of Trump’s tariff on washing machines. Whirlpool Corp. has announced it is adding 200 jobs at an Ohio factory in part because of the tariff, but it is not building new plants, and there is no evidence of a widespread industry expansion. Further, there were washing machine plants built during the Obama era. Whirlpool’s South Korean competitor Samsung opened a plant in South Carolina in January, ten days before Trump announced the tariff, and fellow South Korean competitor LG already had a plant under construction in Tennessee.

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

 

“We were in South Carolina the other night, and Georgetown Steel — Georgetown is a wonderful company — couldn’t make it. They closed four years ago. They announced — as I literally was getting off the plane, they announced that they were opening up their steel mill; 600 people are employed.”

Source: Speech on six-month anniversary of tax law

in fact: Almost everything about this claim is inaccurate. The company reopening the steel mill in Georgetown, South Carolina is Liberty Steel, a division of Britain’s GFG Alliance. The mill shut down less than three years ago, in August 2015. The mill is now employing 125 people, with plans to eventually go up to 320, not 600 people. And the opening was originally announced in Dec. 2017, more than two months before Trump announced his steel tariffs. Charleston’s Post and Courier newspaper reported: “James Sanderson, the local steelworkers’ union president, said he was sure the purchase was spurred by Donald Trump’s move to impose tariffs on a bevy of foreign goods, but Gordon Spelich, the manager of the mill, said the plan was in place long before Trump announced the tariffs.”

Trump has repeated this claim 3 times

 

“United States Steel, the head called me up two days ago. He said, it’s the most incredible thing that we’ve ever seen. We haven’t expanded in 30 years, we haven’t done anything remotely like expansion, and we’re now expanding and renovating areas of plants that haven’t been used in forever.”

Source: Speech on six-month anniversary of tax law

in fact: U.S. Steel has refused to confirm that its CEO had any recent phone call with Trump. At very least, we can safely say that the call did not happen “two days” before this Trump remark. Trump was speaking here on June 29. He first began discussing this alleged phone call on June 20, when he said it had occurred “the other day.”

 

“Obamacare is just about over.”

Source: Speech on six-month anniversary of tax law

in fact: Trump has weakened Obamacare in several ways, most notably by eliminating the “individual mandate” that required people to obtain health insurance, but the law is far from dead. Trump did not eliminate Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, the federal and state Obamacare marketplaces that allow other uninsured people to buy insurance, or the subsidies that help many of them make the purchases. Nor did he touch various Obamacare rules for the insurance market, like its prohibition on insurers

Trump has repeated this claim 33 times

 

“We greatly reduced the burden of the unfair estate tax, commonly known as the ‘death tax.’ You know, that’s such a big thing. And most farms and most small business will not pay any estate tax or death tax anymore.”

Source: Speech on six-month anniversary of tax law

in fact: Most farms and most small businesses were not paying the estate tax even before Trump’s tax law was passed; his “anymore” is, at best, grossly misleading. According to the Tax Policy Center, a mere 80 farms and small businesses were among the 5,460 estates likely to pay the estate tax in 2017, before Trump’s tax law. The Center wrote on its website: “The Tax Policy Center estimates that small farms and businesses will pay $30 million in estate tax in 2017, fifteen hundredths of 1 percent of the total estate tax revenue.”

Trump has repeated this claim 13 times

 

 

 

The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

November 20, 2018

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 publications.

 

Conversation No. 18

Date: Wednesday, June 26, 1996

Commenced: 11:15 AM CST

Concluded: 11:40 AM CST

 

RTC: I did some digging in the archives, through the kindness of a friend, and dug up the story about your Vancouver caper. The Vancouver Sun had a running account of it. My God, what an uproar you caused! Mounties here and there, mass arrests, utter Christmas chaos in the shops. Wherever did you come up with such an idea, Gregory?

GD: From the German Operation Bernhard, Robert. They counterfeited the British pound note, destroyed its value, made millions in the process and did a good deal to bankrupt Britain after the war. The confidence in the almighty pound was gone. I figured that if the Canadians could gleefully steal all my money, I could teach them all a lesson in manners.

RTC: You surely did that. How much did you get out of it?

GD: Nothing. No, I take that back. They stole four dollars and ten cents from me and I got four dollars and ten cents back. I didn’t do it to make money, Robert. I did it to teach them a lesson and I think I succeeded. Besides, I got my money back.

RTC: It cost the Canucks millions.

GD: So what? I never counterfeited the money and I never took a penny from the money. All I did was to walk around Vancouver at the height of the Christmas season, scattering money here and there. So much in the Sally Ann pots, so much for the Hare Krishna people, so much in public lavatories, telephone booths, retail stores and finally, in a wild orgy of joy, scattering the money out of the back of a friend’s van all over the town. And on a windy night at that. Twenties all over like leaves in early autumn. Oh my and the next day, small children, finding the money, rushed to candy or comic book stores and were promptly arrested. Hysteria reigned. And what was left over from my charitable scatterings was tossed by myself off the roof of my downtown hotel, late at night and in a good wind coming up Granville Street from the water. Oh yes, I did have my fun. I got to visit all my Canadian friends, treat them all to wonderful dinners in return for all the dinners they gave me and give them the pure Christmas tide joy of tossing tens of thousands of dollars worth of fake Canadian money all over town. Yes, it was entertaining and instructive.

RTC: Instructive?

GD: To see the growing hysteria on the television and to hear the constant hooting of police sirens as another 90 year old grandmother was dragged off to the cooler because she found a stack of my little children in a phone booth and was using them to buy Christmas presents. Lawyers were frantic, families hysterical, the police completely beyond their depth and Ottawa in a frenzy. They said it was the biggest counterfeiting ring in Canadian history and the press was split between deciding whether Chinese drug dealers or the Mafia were responsible.  But there was even more fun later on.

RTC: You were caught.

GD: For a time, but I got out from under it. But the thing I do remember the best and savor on cold winter nights when I have no money, and naturally, no friends, is the thought of my dear friends in the Secret Service.

RTC: Now, given what you did, I can’t imagine you could call them that. They certainly couldn’t say that about you.

GD: No, I suppose not. You see, I was working on a new book down at the same print shop that had turned out the Canadian money in the first place. The owner, as I found out, was a convicted child molester named Temple. He did call himself Church from time to time but that is neither here nor there. Poor Temple had a loose mouth and bragged to some black fellow he was trying to impress and that one ran to the Feds. So one day, when I came in to work on the light table, I was introduced to two creatures known as Bob and Joe. They were introduced to me as members of the Mafia. How entertaining, Robert. I know Mafiosa and they are all Sicilians, not strange people that looked like they escaped from Arkansas. Mafia my ass. Anyway, one had a wire that a blind man would have seen, a box under his shirt. And as subtle as a fart in a bathtub. I remember one of them getting me off to one side and asking me about the joys of counterfeiting. Of course I made both of them in about thirty seconds but did enjoy myself. I told Bobby, off the record, that I had a friend working at Treasury who stole bearer bonds and flogged them to me at pennies apiece.

RTC: Jesus…

GD: Ah, yes, and his eyes bugged and his tongue hung out. What did I do with them? Bobby asked me. Did I keep them at home? Oh no, I told him with a wink. I sold them. To whom he wanted to know. To the KGB people who used them to finance their North American spy rings.

RTC: Merciful Christ, Gregory. You did that? You aren’t pulling my leg?

GD: No, I was pulling his. I also told him I was selling the bonds to a major criminal family in London, the Minge family.

RTC: Never heard of them.

GD: Oh they do exist, or the name is well known to the London people. So later, I learned from my lawyer, the Secret Service got ahold of their representative at the London Embassy and had him ask Scotland Yard about this. As I understand it, that one told some official that his people were interested in London Minges. The official responded by saying ‘What do think I am? A bloody pimp?’ You see, a ‘minge’ is Cockney for a woman’s delicate parts. Also used to denote streetwalkers.

RTC: (Loud and prolonged laughter) You’ll be the death of me with your chronicles, Gregory.

GD: Well, it took a while to find out about this but when the Federal courthouse people heard about it, it made for many days of merriment. The Secret Service was not entertained. I often wondered what would have happened if the Brits rounded up some old hookers and sent them to the Embassy? Little boys would have been more effective. You know about the State Department people. They weren’t happy but later, after I dissed the charges, the Canadians tried to lure me back to Canada to put me away for centuries. You see, Robert, I told my lawyer that if I was extradited to Canada, I would tell my friends on the Sun that I was actually working for the CIA who were the sponsors of the Quebec Libreé movement and gave them plastique explosive. Of course your Canada Desk actually did support the terrorists and I had chapter and verse on this. So I was not deported and let go.

RTC: Gregory, that was very nasty of you. Of course it was true. Where did you find out about that one?

GD: A former girlfriend told me. She was pissed off at the Agency and I am a very good listener. It saved my ass, Robert. But to get back to the story. They tried to lure me back so I told them they could meet with me at the San Francisco airport and that I could give them the plates for the money which, I might tell you, they never found. So I read in the paper that Nixon was expected in ‘Frisco and I told my new friends from Vancouver that they could just fly down and meet me. I picked the day Richard was flying in and by God, sir, they did come down. In a private plane with, as I was told, restraints on board. My, my what were they going to use these for? Anyway, I called up the airport Hilton and made reservations in the name of Harry Brunser. Just for accuracy, Robert, a Brunser is San Francisco street slang for an anus.

RTC: (Laughter)

GD: Yes, and I got the desk clerk to assign me a room number. I passed this to the Canadians and in due time, they came down in a private plane, drove up to the hotel in a rented car and all went inside. Of course before this happened, I called up the Secret Service and told them French Canadian terrorists were going to fly into San Francisco and shoot Nixon. I said they would be staying at the Hilton under the name of Brunser. I hate to miss good entertainment so I was sitting in the hotel parking lot, wearing a rabat…

RTC: A what?

GD: A rabat. Catholic priests wear them. A priest’s collar and bib. I always wear it with a black suit and rimless glasses. Anyway, up drives the car and into the lobby go my new friends. About two minutes later, after they have mentioned the key word to the primed desk man, two vans full of men in flak vests rushed into the lobby.

RTC: Oh merciful Jesus, if I didn’t know you better….how terrible. But funny.

GD: Yes. The Canadians were all dragged out, yelling and shouting, except for one who put up a fight and pulled a gun. They had him by the arms and legs because he couldn’t walk anymore. And what, they were asked later, were they doing with automatic weapons? And handcuffs? They eventually were allowed to go back to Canada after their plane was put back together and I got a call from my lawyer, a few days later, who indicated that such pranks were not appreciated and a repetition of them might not be nice for me. He did laugh, however.  I understand the judge in my case laughed too. He called me the Professor Moriarty of Northern California

(Concluded at 11:40 AM CST)

 

In Mississippi Senate race, a ‘hanging’ remark spurs Democrats

November 20, 2018

by John Whitesides

Reuters

JACKSON, Miss. (Reuters) – A white Republican senator’s casual reference to a “public hanging” has invigorated a special election runoff in Mississippi, fueling Democratic hopes of an upset in a conservative state with an ugly history of racist violence.

The U.S. Senate race between appointed Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy, a black former congressman and U.S. agriculture secretary, will test the power of the black vote and the viability of Democrats in a region where Republicans have dominated for decades.

The Nov. 27 runoff caps a congressional election cycle drawn out by recounts and too-close-to-call races. The Mississippi result will not affect the balance of power in Congress, where Republicans will hold a Senate majority even if Hyde-Smith loses, and Democrats will control the House of Representatives.

Espy, 64, is a heavy underdog in the deep South state, which has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1982. But his campaign got a jolt of adrenaline when a video surfaced a week ago showing Hyde-Smith, 59, praising a supporter by saying: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

The comment set off a furor in Mississippi, a state scarred by a history of racism and violence against blacks, including lynching. According to the NAACP civil rights group, Mississippi had 581 lynchings between 1882 and 1968, more than any other state.

Advocacy groups conducting a voter turnout drive aimed primarily at African-Americans, who make up 38 percent of the state’s residents, said their efforts had gained new urgency.

“If people recognize the importance of this moment, there is an opportunity for Secretary Espy to win this race,” said Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the black Democratic mayor of Jackson, the state’s largest city. “If we can show progress in a state with such historic suffering, then what does it say about the future?”

Hyde-Smith, a former state legislator who was appointed to replace retiring Senator Thad Cochran, put out a statement calling the comment at a Nov. 2 event “an exaggerated expression of regard” for a friend. She refused to apologize and has not addressed the remarks further.

Espy, who would be the first black senator from Mississippi since shortly after the Civil War, told reporters that Hyde-Smith’s “disappointing, hurtful” remarks perpetuated stereotypes Mississippi was striving to overcome.

“There was already a high level of engagement, but her comments took everything up to a whole new level,” said Cassandra Welchlin, co-director of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, one of at least two dozen advocacy groups involved in voter turnout efforts.

Welchlin’s group is partnering with childcare centers, churches and sororities to target infrequent black women voters. Other groups are focusing on registered black voters who did not participate in the Nov. 6 election, using phone banks, texting parties and ride-shares to get them to cast a ballot.

THE ALABAMA MODEL

MississippiDemocrats hope to recreate the coalition that propelled Democrat Doug Jones to a Senate victory in neighboring Alabama last year by energizing black voters, particularly women, and appealing to white swing voters.

Espy has used the Jones race as a template, focusing on issues like rural healthcare, equal pay and education. A political moderate, he portrays himself as a bridge-builder in a state where Republican President Donald Trump is popular.

At a weekend breakfast in Jackson, Espy told black women leaders that Jones was elected because women turned out to support him. “What that did for Doug Jones in Alabama, you have to do for me in Mississippi,” he said.

The runoff to serve the last two years of Cochran’s term was needed because no candidate gained more than 50 percent of the vote in a Nov. 6 special election. Hyde-Smith and Espy, who nearly deadlocked at about 41 percent, will meet in a debate on Tuesday night.

Both the Republican and Democratic national parties have sent help to Mississippi ahead of the runoff.

Trump will hold two get-out-the-vote rallies in the state next week, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it was spending at least $800,000 on ads. That will be augmented by $1 million from the Senate Leadership Fund, an outside group aligned with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell

National Democratic committees are sending staff to help get out the vote, and the Democratic-aligned Senate Majority PAC has started a $500,000 ad buy. Senators Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey, who are both African-American and potential 2020 presidential contenders, campaigned with Espy.

“This is a race of national importance,” Harris said at the Jackson breakfast, noting the outcome would “make a point about who we are as a country, symbolized by the state of Mississippi.”

‘CONSERVATIVE STATE’

Hyde-Smith has hammered Espy as too liberal for Mississippi. She touts her endorsement from Trump, who won Mississippi by 18 percentage points in 2016, and campaigns in a bus with a blown-up photo of her and Trump stretched across the side.

“This race is a conservative versus a liberal, and Mississippi is a conservative state,” said Melissa Scallan, a spokeswoman for Hyde-Smith. She declined to comment on the hanging remarks.

Hyde-Smith became embroiled in another controversy last week, when a video surfaced in which she seemed to endorse the voter suppression of liberal students as “a great idea.” In a statement, Hyde-Smith’s campaign said she was joking.

The wild card in the runoff will be the supporters of Republican Chris McDaniel, a hardline conservative who captured 16.5 percent of the vote on Nov. 6, and how many of them stay home or back Espy instead of Hyde-Smith.

McDaniel had criticized Hyde-Smith, a former Democrat who switched parties in 2010, as insufficiently conservative, but endorsed her.

Hal Marx, a McDaniel supporter and mayor of the small town of Petal, said he was not enthusiastic about Hyde-Smith but would vote for her.

“She isn’t the best choice possible, but of the two that are left we need a Republican in the seat,” said Marx, who is running for governor next year.

Reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney

 

‘He may not rewrite immigration laws’: Trump’s asylum ban blocked by federal judge

Court issues temporary policy ban and says US president may not circumvent congress

November 20, 2018

by Oliver Laughland in San Francisco and agencies

The Guardian

A federal judge has temporarily barred the Trump administration from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern US border illegally.

The president issued a proclamation on 9 November declaring that anyone who crossed the southern border between official ports of entry would be ineligible for asylum. As the first of several caravans of migrants arrived at the US-Mexico border, Donald Trump said a ban was necessary to stop a national security threat.

But in his ruling on Monday, the US district judge Jon Tigar said legislation was clear that any foreigner arriving in the US, whether or not at a designated port of arrival, could apply for asylum. He also said the administration misused its authority to issue emergency regulations and waive a 30-day waiting period to consider comments on the policy change.

“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” said Tigar, a nominee of the previous president, Barack Obama.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not immediately comment on the ruling, which will remain in effect for one month barring an appeal. In issuing the ban, Trump used the same powers he used last year to impose a travel ban that was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.

If enforced, the ban would potentially make it harder for thousands of people to avoid deportation. DHS estimates that 70,000 people a year claim asylum between official ports of entry.

Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which sued the government alongside the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said: “Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry. It couldn’t be clearer.”

About 3,000 people from the first of the caravans have arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, across the border from San Diego, California. US Customs and Border Protection said on Monday it closed off northbound traffic for several hours at the San Ysidro crossing. It has also installed movable wire-topped barriers, apparently to stop a potential rush of people.

As of Monday, 107 people detained between official crossings have sought asylum since Trump’s order came into effect, according to the DHS, which oversees Customs and Border Protection. Officials did not say whether those people’s cases were still progressing through the other, more difficult avenues available to them after the proclamation.

DHS wants asylum seekers at the southern border to appear at an official crossing. But many border crossings, such as in San Ysidro, have long waiting times. People are often forced to wait in shelters or outdoor camps on the Mexican side, sometimes for weeks.

Lee Gelernt, an ACLU lawyer, said some people were seeking asylum cross between official ports because they were in serious danger either in Mexico or their countries of origin. “We don’t condone people entering between ports of entry, but Congress has made the decision that if they do, they still need to be allowed to apply for asylum,” he said.

Trump issued the proclamation shortly after the midterm elections, during which he ratcheted up anti-immigrant rhetoric on the campaign trail and invoked conspiracy theories about migrant caravans thousands of miles from the US.

The radical restrictions were part of a drive to curtail immigration to the US, which led to the family separation crisis this year and a policy banning migrants from several Muslim-majority countries.

 

It’s Time for America to Reckon With the Staggering Death Toll of the Post-9/11 Wars

November 19, 2018,

by Murtaza Hussain

The Intercept

How many people have been killed in the post-9/11 war on terror? The question is a contentious one, as there has been no formal accounting for the deadly cost of the initial U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the secondary conflicts that continue to wreak havoc across the Middle East and the opaque, covert war still expanding across Asia and Africa.

But even as the U.S. government evades responsibility for the human cost of its overseas endeavors, some researchers are determined to keep count.

Brown University’s Costs of War Project this month released a new estimate of the total death toll from the U.S. wars in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The numbers, while conservatively estimated, are staggering. Brown’s researchers estimate that at least 480,000 people have been directly killed by violence over the course of these conflicts, more than 244,000 of them civilians. In addition to those killed by direct acts violence, the number of indirect deaths — those resulting from disease, displacement, and the loss of critical infrastructure — is believed to be several times higher, running into the millions.

The report, which uses data spanning from October 2001 to October 2018, compiles previous analysis from nongovernmental organizations, U.S. and foreign government data, and media reports. In a statement, the report authors said the figures still just “scratches the surface of the human consequences of 17 years of war.” Due to challenges in data collection, their total estimate is an undercount, they added. The study also focuses on only the three countries where the United States launched its so-called war on terror. If the conflicts in Libya, Yemen, Somalia, or Syria — where the U.S. has conducted major military operations in recent years — had been included, the death toll would likely be significantly higher.

Some American politicians have lately evinced a refreshing willingness to make call for public accountability for the war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is the party that is doing the immediate harm to civilians, albeit with logistical support and weapons from the U.S. But there has been far less appetite to similarly criticize, or even account for, the many conflicts in which the United States is directly responsible for the violence — despite monumental death tolls, refugee crises, and other sobering evidence of human suffering.

“The major challenge in tracking the full costs of these wars is that the U.S. military doesn’t even meaningfully investigate civilian death tolls. Generally, they know it’s not good to have civilian casualties, but their focus is mainly on fighting, and there is little pressure to make protecting civilians a key priority,” said Daphne Eviatar, director of the Security With Human Rights program at Amnesty International USA. “Meanwhile, the U.S. public simply doesn’t see deaths in other countries. They don’t see civilians being killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. With everything going on in the United States at the moment, the fact that we’re even at war has largely fallen off the radar.”

The post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have raged on for well over a decade now. In that time, both the nature of the warfare and the enemies the U.S. is at war with have evolved. In addition, the initial invasions have generated violent new conflicts across the region between local governments and non-state actors, some of which the U.S. is also involved in.

Although public attention has almost completely drifted from Afghanistan — the war there was not even mentioned during the last two 2016 presidential debates — the United States actually dropped more bombs in that country this year than in any year since the war began. American casualties have been minimized in recent years by a greater reliance on airstrikes over ground forces, something that has also helped take American minds off the war. But U.S.-allied Afghans fighting on the ground continue to pay a horrendous toll, with thousands killed this year in the face of advances by a resurgent Taliban.

Despite all these deaths, it remains highly questionable what exactly the United States has gained from these wars. The initial confrontation with Al Qaeda, a clandestine organization numbering perhaps a few hundred people at the time of the 9/11 attacks, has somehow metamorphosed into an endless war against an expanding universe of even more extreme terrorist groups, many of which did not even exist on September 11, 2001. Entire cities have been left in ruins, with the United States offering no coherent strategy for a return to stability, or even normalcy, in the places it has been at war.

“It matters how you fight and what you do afterwards,” said Eviatar. “Hundreds of thousands of people have now been killed in the name of fighting terrorism. We need to ask who has benefitted from this, who has suffered, and what the cumulative effects are.”

Studies like the one published by Brown University add to a steadily growing body of scholarship showing the horrifying human costs of the wars. The media has also made some significant contributions to improving public awareness. Journalists Anand Gopal and Azmat Khan, for example, published a groundbreaking New York Times report last year on civilian casualties in Iraq. Their reporting showed the actual death rate to be a stunning 31 times higher than the one officially reported by the U.S. military. It can hardly be said now that the truth isn’t out there. But some experts say that it isn’t surprising that this information has failed to translate into public action.

John Tirman, author of “The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars,” a study of the impact on foreign civilians of American military operations, argues that psychological factors might help explain why Americans don’t seem to care about the human cost of their wars. Faced with a terrible situation requiring complex solutions and sustained attention, people are likely to just ignore it if they have the option to do so.

“People tend to turn away from disasters such as a war gone bad very quickly. They turn away because it bothers them morally, but also because the carnage challenges their strongly held self-perception that their country is a force for good in the world,” said Tirman. “In the face of something horrible, people are much more likely to become indifferent than they are to protest. Oftentimes it’s even easier to just blame the victims for causing their own suffering.”

The Brown University researchers also reported the number of U.S. military deaths, which, unlike civilian deaths, the government generally keeps track of. Around 7,000 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since 9/11. Roughly double that number of private contractors, who performed supporting tasks that in previous conflicts were handled directly by the military, have also been killed. Improved battlefield medical procedures have lowered the overall number of American deaths, but tens of thousands of Americans have also been wounded in battle, with many suffering grievous lifelong injuries.

During the Vietnam War, the institution of the draft forced the public to maintain at least some basic level of awareness about the war. But the creation of an all-volunteer military has made the conflicts much easier to ignore. As public attention has waned, it has become easier for the U.S. government to obscure its own role in helping foment violent crises that have sent waves of desperate refugees streaming across the world. It has also helped deflect attention from wartime expenditures that are now estimated to have sucked up over $6 trillion in public funds — money that could have done much good in a country that is starving for infrastructure and public health spending.

While Americans continue to search for explanations for their own eroding domestic national stability, the wars that continue to rage outside of public notice may help explain some of the ugly direction of U.S. politics in recent years.

“There is a perverse dynamic at play, in which we’re killing more people, creating adverse consequences like mass displacement and refugees, and then banning those very people from our shores,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “We really need to question both the fairness and necessity of these policies, which are inflicting devastating human costs abroad while harming our own civil rights at home.”

 

US-Funded Neo-Nazis in Ukraine Mentor US White Supremacists

  • Short-sighted U.S. foreign policy that backs jihadists in the Middle East and neo-Nazis in Ukraine is once again blowing back on the United States, as Max Blumenthal explains.
  • FBI: Azov Battalion Trained Rise Above Movement

November 17, 2018

by Max Blumenthal

Consortium News

Last month, an unsealed FBI indictment of four American white supremacists from the Rise Above Movement (RAM) declared that the defendants had trained with Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi militia officially incorporated into the country’s national guard. The training took place after the white supremacist gang participated in violent riots in Huntington Beach and Berkeley, California and Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

The indictment stated that the Azov Battalion “is believed to have participated in training and radicalizing United States-based white supremacy organizations.”

After a wave of racist violence across America that culminated in the massacre of twelve Jewish worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the revelation that violent white supremacists have been traveling abroad for training and ideological indoctrination with a well-armed neo-Nazi militia should cause extreme alarm.

Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly — chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home. But U.S. law enforcement has done nothing so far to restrict the flow of right-wing American extremists to Azov’s bases.

There is one likely explanation for the U.S. government’s hands-off approach to Azov recruitment: the extremist militia is fighting pro-Russian separatists as a front-line proxy of Washington. In fact, the United States has directly armed the Azov Battalion, forking over anti-tank rocket launchers and even sending a team of Army officers to meet in the field with Azov commanders in 2017.

Though Congress passed legislation this year forbidding military aid to Azov on the grounds of its white supremacist ideology, the Trump administration’s authorization of $200 million in offensive weaponry and aid to the Ukrainian military makes it likely new stores of weapons will wind up the extremist regiment’s hands. When queried by reporters about evidence of American military training of Azov personnel, multiple U.S. army spokespersons admitted there was no mechanism in place to prevent that from happening.

Today, Azov boasts combat experience, unlimited access to light weapons, and supporters honeycombed throughout the upper echelons of Ukraine’s military and government. No longer just a militia, the organization has developed into a political juggernaut that can overpower Ukraine’s government. Two years ago, the group flexed its muscle on the streets of Kiev, bringing out 10,000 supporters to demand that the government bend to their will or face a coup.

“With its military experience and weapons, Azov has the ability to blackmail the government and defend themselves politically against any opposition. They openly say that if the government will not advance an ideology similar to theirs, they will overthrow it,” Ivan Katchanovski, a professor of political science at the University of Ottawa and leading expert on Ukraine’s far-right, commented to me. He continued, explaining:

Currently the organizations that are fascist are stronger in Ukraine than in any other country in the world. But this fact is not reported by Western media because they see these organizations as supportive of the geopolitical agenda against Russia. So condemnations are limited to violence or human rights abuses.”

The revelations of collaboration between violent American white supremacists and a neo-Nazi militia armed by the Pentagon add another scandalous chapter to a long history of blowback that dates back to the 1950’s, when the CIA rehabilitated several Ukrainian Nazi collaborators as anti-communist assets in the Cold War.

The almost unbelievable story exposes an axis of fascism that stretches across the Atlantic, from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev to the sun-washed suburbs of Southern California, where some of the most rabid modern white supremacist gangs were born.

White Nationalist Fight Club

This October, four members of the RAM gang — Robert Rundo, Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Mirelis, and Aaron Eason — were arrested by FBI agents. They were accused of “using the internet to encourage, promote, participate in, and carry out riots” from Huntington Beach to Berkeley, California. Four other members had been arrested in connection with their participation in the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was killed in a vehicular homicide by a white supremacist.

RAM first appeared in the national limelight during a celebration of Donald Trump’s election victory in Huntington Beach in March 2017. As about one hundred far-right activists marched along the beach donned in red “Make America Great Again” caps and waving Trump flags, they were confronted by a small group of masked anti-racist counter-demonstrators. When a melee ensued, RAM members assaulted their outnumbered opponents, pummeling them into submission and even attacking a local reporter. Afterwards, Orange County police arrested several anti-racist demonstrators, but the RAM gang walked free.

RAM markets itself as a self-defense organization that protects the free speech of white Americans against an onslaught of “Cultural Marxism,”  a classic anti-Semitic trope. Its founders emphasize a vaguely anti-consumerist Fight Club mentality along with a rigorous dedication to mixed martial arts. Its co-founder, Rundo, operates an online clothing and apparel company, Right Brand Clothing, that hawks slickly designed t-shirts promoting “European Brotherhood,” stickers emphasizing a straight-edge “nationalist lifestyle,” and ethically sourced designer “Demagogue pants” (yes, white supremacists apparently care about sweatshops). RAM members can be seen at the site modeling their gear with a clean-cut “fashy” look that contrasts sharply with the stereotypical image of skinheads in jackboots.

RAM’s careful attention to its public image has not stopped its members from putting their crude neo-Nazi ideology on display at rallies, however. During the Huntington Beach riot, for example, RAM’s Robert Boman was seen waving a sign reading “Da Goyim Know.” This alt-right slogan refers to the white nationalist understanding of the supposed Jewish plot to dominate the world.

“I’m a big supporter of the Fourteen, I’ll say that,” RAM’s Rundo proclaimed into a camera in Huntington Beach. The gang leader was referring to the notorious 14-word slogan coined by convicted white supremacist terrorist David Lane, which has become a rallying cry for fascists across the globe: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Two months after the violence in Huntington Beach, two RAM members were photographed in the same spot dousing literature they dubbed as “Cultural Marxist” with lighter fluid and setting it ablaze. Among the volumes they torched were “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “The 9/11 Commission Report,” and “Schindler’s List.” Besides evoking memories of the early days of Nazi Germany, the spectacle cast the group’s purported devotion to free speech in an extremely ironic light.

Following RAM’s highly publicized street battles, the group became the subject of intense media scrutiny. In October 2017, the investigative outlet ProPublica produced a video that exposed the identities of RAM’s core membership and wondered why they had not been investigated by law enforcement for their violent actions in Huntington Beach and elsewhere.

But the media coverage of RAM glossed over the group’s attraction to a burgeoning trans-Atlantic conglomeration of white supremacists that centered on U.S.-allied Ukraine as the base for a fascist reconquest of Europe. By the Spring of 2018, RAM leadership was barnstorming through Germany and Italy and heading east to meet fascist cohorts from across the West at a conference in Kiev.

RAM’s Ukrainian Hate-cation

Buried in the FBI indictment of RAM members are details of their meetings with one of the key figures in Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion militia.

In August, according to the indictment, RAM members published photos on Instagram showing themselves meeting with Olena Semanyaka, the leader of the international department of the Ukrainian National Corps, which functions as a civilian arm of the Azov Battalion:

The indictment also referenced a video of RAM co-founder Benjamin Drake Daley performing a crossed-forearm salute to the Southern California-based white supremacist Hammerskin gang while in Ukraine:

RAM’s Gab account provides additional details of the group’s foray through Ukraine this May. The trip centered around the Paneuropa conference, an event that brings together fascists from across the West to encourage international collaboration. It is hosted at the Reconquista Club in Kiev, and included an a mixed martial arts competition.

“One of our guys has had the honor to be the first American to compete in the pan european organization Reconquista in Ukraine!” RAM declared on its Gab account. “This was a great experience meeting nationalist[s] that came [sic] as far as Portugal and Switzerland to take part.”

The visit, which followed on the heels of meetings with white supremacists in Germany and with Italy’s fascist CasaPound party, highlighted the centrality of Ukraine to international fascist organizing. Further, the Paneuropa conference, where fascists build connections across national borders, revealed the Azov Battalion as much more than a militia fighting for control of a sliver of contested territory in eastern Ukraine.

Semanyaka did not respond to an interview request delivered through Facebook messenger; however, she told Radio Free Europe’s Christopher Miller that RAM “came to learn our ways” and showed interest in learning how to create youth forces in the way Azov has.

Today, Azov leaders openly acknowledge that were it not for the U.S.-backed coup that unfolded in Kiev’s Maidan Square in 2014, their organization would never have developed into the powerhouse it is. As Semanyaka said this year, according to a summary:

The Ukrainian nationalist movement would have never reached such a level of development unless the war with Russia had begun. For the first time since the Second World War, nationalist formations have managed to create their own military wings, the brightest example being the Azov regime of the National Guard of Ukraine.”

Right-wing Maidan Revolution

The 2013-14 Maidan revolt was the cataclysmic event that Ukraine’s already potent ultra-nationalist camp had been waiting for. The protests erupted in Kiev’s Maidan Square after the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an economic association agreement with the EU. Celebrated in the West as a pro-Western movement guided by tech-savvy middle-class youth, EuroMaidan depended heavily for its success on phalanxes of black-masked hardmen from Right Sector (see appendix at bottom), an ultra-nationalist party that did battle with the government’s Berkut riot police.

Along with Right Sector, the leadership of the far-right Svoboda Party assumed a prominent role at the Maidan, dubbing the protests a “Revolution of Dignity.” Svoboda co-founder Oleh Tyahnybok — who had once demanded an investigation of the “Jewish-Muscovite mafia” that he saw controlling Ukraine — appeared on stage at the square beside U.S. Senators John McCain and Chris Murphy when they arrived to encourage the protesters.

Another key figure in Ukraine’s neo-Nazi scene was Andriy Biletsky. A university Ph.D. who stressed physical violence as a means to revolutionary change, Biletsky led the Patriot of Ukraine militia, an early forerunner of Azov that attacked migrant camps and menaced foreigners. In a manifesto published during the height of the Maidan clashes, Biletsky outlined his post-revolutionary agenda: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival,” he wrote. “A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

In May 2014, Right Sector and an assortment of far-right forces banded together to massacre their opponents in Odessa, attacking a pro-separatist protest camp with iron pipes then burning the fleeing protesters alive after they took shelter in a local trade union building. Over 40 pro-separatist Ukrainian citizens were consumed in the flames. The U.S. and EU studiously looked the other way, legitimizing the violence and setting the stage for more.

Behind the scenes, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt were carefully stage managing the opposition, positioning the pliable Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the future leader of a U.S. client-state. Meanwhile, billionaire-backed U.S. soft-power entities like the Omidyar Network and Open Society Foundation plowed money into the opposition, providing it with high-tech organizing capacity and establishing new media outlet Hromadske overnight.

Given the amount of U.S. investment in regime change in Ukraine, it was necessary for American pundits who cheered on the operation to downplay or simply deny the central role neo-Nazi forces played in making it all possible. In perhaps the most absurd attempt at whitewashing the fascist presence, the neoconservative pundit James Kirchick described Right Sector in an article for Foreign Affairs as “Putin’s imaginary Nazis.” Meanwhile, groups like the Anti-Defamation League — which supposedly exist to battle anti-Semitism — refused to support a congressional effort to ban arms to groups affiliated with Right Sector, because “the focus should be on Russia.”

With all the cover he needed from Washington, Biletsky organized the “imaginary Nazis” of Patriot of Ukraine, Right Sector, and assorted football ultras into a real militia called the Azov Battalion. Together, they fought under the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel symbol, which also happens to be incorporated into the logo of the U.S.-based Aryan Nations.

On the frontlines of eastern Ukrainian flashpoints, Azov did battle with Russian-speaking separatists and set up government-sponsored indoctrination camps for children and teens closer to the country’s interior, instructing ten year olds on marksmanship and the evils of foreigners. Azan was subsequently absorbed into Ukraine’s military as a national guard unit, and began appearing in the field with PSRL-1 rocket launchers supplied under the watch of the U.S. Department of Defense. In November 2017, Azov leadership received a team of U.S. Army officers for training and logistical discussions

By the time Congress approved a ban on arms to Azov this year, the Trump administration had already authorized a new shipment of offensive weapons to the Ukrainian military, including advanced Javelin anti-tank missiles. As in Syria — where the CIA-backed Free Syrian Army functioned as a de facto “weapons farm” for jihadist groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS — any new U.S. arms are likely to wind up in the possession of Azov, the congressional ban notwithstanding.

It’s very corrupt in Ukraine and money can be stolen — the same as in Syria where extremist fighters got guns from U.S.-backed units,” said Katchanovski. “Azov can just establish new political fronts so they can circumvent the U.S. prohibitions.”

Foreign Fighters for Fascism

The Azov Battalion has received not only U.S. weapons, but also volunteer American military veterans like Brian Boyenger. “It’s not illegal,” Boyenger told a Ukraine Today interviewer of his presence in an Azov camp. “From a U.S. perspective, as long as you’re not fighting with a terrorist group or committing war crimes or things like that. It is legal — mostly I’ve been serving as kind of like an advisor.”

Azov has also welcomed Islamist fighters from Chechnya to continue their long war against Russia in a new theater. A sniper from Sweden with “typical neo-Nazi views,” Mikael Skillt, has been assigned to oversee an entire Azov regiment. And neo-Nazis from as far away as Brazil have flocked to Ukraine to join the fascist crusade. One foreign fighter from France, a young anti-Semite named Gregoire Moutaux, returned from a Ukrainian militia camp in 2016 “armed to the teeth and ready to strike” synagogues, mosques and the 2016 soccer championships when he was arrested on the Ukrainian border by national police.

To consolidate its political influence over the country, the Azov Battalion established a National Druzhina, or street patrol unit. A slickly produced recruitment video released in 2017 featured drone footage of National Druzhina members marching in formation into Kiev as Biletsky, their ideological guide, impelled them to “restore Ukrainian order” to a corrupted society. The street patrol was openly backed by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, a powerful patron of Azov who belongs to the ruling party of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

This year, the National Druzhina and state-funded neo-Nazi militias like C14 (the “14” represents the notorious “fourteen words” mantra) staged a series of lethal pogroms against the local Roma population, vandalized the offices of insufficiently pliant politicians, stormed city council meetings, and even sued the Hromadske station that was established with U.S. funding for describing their members as neo-Nazis.

“Their connection to power is why they can commit any crime and they will never be punished,” Katchanovski said of Azov and its various street-muscle brigades. “Because they have the police and senior police members like [Vadym] Troyan, they can intimidate people and intimidate politicians with impunity.” (Once a member of Azov, Troyan now serves as Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Interior

The U.S. has not only kept silent about the wave of ultra-nationalist violence sweeping across Ukraine, it has been complicit in legitimizing the perpetrators. This November, America House Kyiv — a U.S. government-funded cultural center — hosted a speech by a uniformed leader of the neo-Nazi C14 gang, Serhiy Bondar. Months earlier, Republican House Majority Leader Paul Ryan and the NATO-funded Atlantic Council hosted Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament and co-founder of the fascist Social-National party, for a friendly exchange on Capitol Hill.Given the free rein and open acceptance right-wing extremists enjoy in post-Maidan Ukraine, it is no wonder the country has become a haven for fascists from across the West.

Grand Reconquista Strategy

As the international secretary of Azov’s National Corps, Olena Semanyaka has emerged as one of the most prolific publicists of Eastern European fascism. With jet black hair and a faintly gothic look, she brands herself as a “traditionalist,” emulating her hero, Julius Evola, the late Italian occultist philosopher who espoused a “racism of the spirit.” Though she has been photographed bearing a Nazi flag and throwing up a sieg heil salute, Semanyaka has also been a welcome guest on Ukrainian nationalist TV to promote her campaign for the release of Ukrainian nationalist activists held by Russia.

In her role with Azov, Semanyaka organizes conferences aimed at popularizing the concept of “the great European Reconquista” — a pan-European fascist-nationalist takeover that begins in the former Soviet satellite states and ultimately sweeps through Western Europe on the strength of anti-foreigner resentment.

Semanyaka laid out the fascist grand strategy in Kiev at a December 2016 gathering of Black Metal fans from across Europe called the “Pact of Steel:”

For the first time [in] a long period, the success of the Right in Western Europe — the rise of the Right because of refugee influx and terror — gives the chance for the realization of our ‘pact of steel’ between East and West, between Western and Eastern European nationalists.”

She continued:

Our main task today is to show to Western nationalists, to inform them that Putin’s Russia is no alternative to the EU of the West and that the only ally for them is an alternative axis of European integration which is being formed now in Kiev, Central and Eastern Europe, as a springboard for the all-European reconquest, for the new Europe between the EU and neo-Soviet neo-Bolshevik Putin’s Russia.”

Semanyaka and other Ukrainian fascist ideologues refer to the regional springboard for the European reconquest as the “Intermarium.” This is a concept originally envisioned after World War One by Polish military leader Jozef Pilsudski, who imagined a confederation of countries from the Baltic to the Black Sea as a counter-weight to German and Russian aggression. Though his idea never materialized, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the failure of the EU and NATO to prevent it revived interest in the Intermarium. One of the biggest boosters of the alliance, the right-wing Polish President Andrzej Duda, saw it primarily through the prism of regional security. The extreme right in Ukraine, however, understood the Intermarium as an ethnically pure base for exporting their revolution to the rest of Europe.

The first Intermarium conference was held in Kiev in January 2016 under the banner of Azov’s National Corps. Semanyaka headlined the event alongside Biletsky, the Azov founder, welcoming far-right activists from Poland and the Baltic States. Within a year, the concept was promoted at an officially sanctioned event at the Latvian embassy in Kiev. There, the Latvian ambassador welcomed a who’s who of the Ukrainian fascist scene, from Svoboda to National Corps representatives like Semanyaka, for a ceremony honoring Peter Radzins, a Latvian general who advocated for the Intermarium.

Organized by Latvia’s far-right National Alliance party, a member of the country’s governing coalition, the spectacle provided Azov leaders with the sheen of international legitimacy. As Matthew Kott, an academic expert on the European far-right, argued, Latvia’s “membership in the EU and NATO allows it to act as a Trojan horse for increasing the clout of the far-right in the Euro-Atlantic community.”

While historical tensions between the Intermarium nations are still simmering, Semanyaka has pleaded with her international allies to heed the call of the late pro-Hitler British Blackshirt leader Oswald Mosley for a “great act of oblivion…of all our former struggles, conflicts, historical enmity. What we need,” she argued, “is the revival of a sense of the new European aristocracy, a new European unity as a real basis for the union I am talking about.”

There are no historical grievances between American white supremacists and their cohorts in Ukraine. After all, the U.S. government has made itself the main guarantor of Ukraine’s security, going as far as directly arming Azov in its bid to bleed Russia. And decades before the U.S. backed extremists in contemporary Ukraine, the CIA ran a program to rehabilitate former Nazi collaborators from the country as anti-communist intelligence assets. Backing Ukrainian fascists is a grand American tradition, indeed.

This November, during the latest Paneuropa conference organized by Semanyaka as a safe space for fascists from across the West, she played host to one of the most prominent self-styled intellectuals of America’s white nationalist movement, Greg Johnson.

“I think that what’s happening in Ukraine is a model and an inspiration for nationalists of all white nations and I wanted to learn as much as possible about what you’re doing here and see as much as possible,” Johnson told his rapt audience. “And I’m enormously impressed and I’m taking notes.”  Johnson is a highbrow racist who publishes a journal, Counter-Currents, that advances what he calls “white identity politics.” Like the Rise Above Movement leaders before him, he was clearly inspired by his visit to Kiev. “I’m already planning to come back,” Johnson exclaimed during a break-out session. “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen here. I want to come back and learn more.”

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Svoboda Party: Originally called the Social-National Party of Ukraine, a Ukrainian political party with long history of anti-Semitism. Led by Oleh Tyahnybok, Svoboda played a prominent role in the 2013-2014 Maidan uprising, where Tyahnybok shared the stage with U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Murphy (D-CT). Andriy Parubiy, who had co-founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine, is now Speaker of Parliament.

Azov Battalion: 3,000-member neo-Nazi formation in Ukraine’s National Guard. Azov began as a paramilitary, originally formed out of the Patriot of Ukraine neo-Nazi gang led by Andriy Biletsky, and is now a Ukrainian National Guard unit. The battalion’s logo incorporates the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel and black sun symbols. Biletsky is now a member of Ukrainian Parliament. Vadim Troyan, another  Azov veteran, is now Deputy Interior Minister.

Ukrainian National Corps: Azov’s civilian arm, responsible, among other things, for coordinating with and recruiting neo-Nazis and white supremacists from around the world. The international outreach is led by Olena Semanyka, who’s been photographed with a swastika flag.

National Druzhina: Azov’s street patrol organization, established in January 2018 with the aim of “restoring Ukrainian order” to the streets. The National Druzhina — whose members pledge personal loyalty to Biletsky — has been involved in pogroms against the Roma, LGBT, and other activists.

Right Sector: Loose formation of neo-Nazis and football ultras, which supplied street muscle to the 2013-2014 Maidan uprising. Later involved in lethal suppression of anti-Maidan movements in places like Odessa.

C14: Ukrainian neo-Nazi gang that receives government funding and has been responsible for some of the lethal Roma pogroms as well as anti-LGBT violence. The 14 is a reference to the Fourteen Word slogan of white supremacy. Led by Serhiy Bondar, who spoke at America House, a cultural center funded by the U.S. government.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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