The CIA’s Destabilization Program: Undermining and “Nazifying” Ukraine Since 1953. Covert Support of Neo-Nazi Entities

 

In-depth Report: UKRAINE REPORT
 
 

 
 

 

The CIA programs spanned some four decades. Starting as a paramilitary operation that provided funding and equipment for such anti-Soviet Ukrainian resistance groups as the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR); its affiliates, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), all Nazi Banderists. The CIA also provided support to a relatively anti-Bandera faction of the UHVR, the ZP-UHVR, a foreign-based virtual branch of the CIA and British MI-6 intelligence services. The early CIA operation to destabilize Ukraine, using exile Ukrainian agents in the West who were infiltrated into Soviet Ukraine, was codenamed Project AERODYNAMIC.A formerly TOP SECRET CIA document dated July 13, 1953, provides a description of AERODYNAMIC:

«The purpose of Project AERODYNAMIC is to provide for the exploitation and expansion of the anti-Soviet Ukrainian resistance for cold war and hot war purposes. Such groups as the Ukrainian Supreme Council of Liberation (UHVR) and its Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN), the Foreign Representation of the Ukrainian Supreme Council of Liberation (ZPUHVR) in Western Europe and the United States, and other organizations such as the OUN/B will be utilized».

The CIA admitted in a 1970 formerly SECRET document that it had been in contact with the ZPUHVR since 1950.

The OUN-B was the Bandera faction of the OUN and its neo-Nazi sympathizers are today found embedded in the Ukrainian national government in Kiev and in regional and municipal governments throughout the country.

AERODYNAMIC placed field agents inside Soviet Ukraine who, in turn, established contact with Ukrainian Resistance Movement, particularly SB (intelligence service) agents of the OUN who were already operating inside Ukraine. The CIA arranged for airdrops of communications equipment and other supplies, presumably including arms and ammunition, to the «secret» CIA army in Ukraine. Most of the CIA’s Ukrainian agents received training in West Germany from the US Army’s Foreign Intelligence Political and Psychological (FI-PP) branch. Communications between the CIA agents in Ukraine and their Western handlers were conducted by two-way walkie-talkie (WT), shortwave via international postal channels, and clandestine airborne and overland couriers.

Agents airdropped into Ukraine carried a kit that contained, among other items, a pen gun with tear gas, an arctic sleeping bag, a camp axe, a trenching tool, a pocket knife, a chocolate wafer, a Minox camera and a 35 mm Leica camera, film, a Soviet toiletry kit, a Soviet cap and jacket, a .22 caliber pistol and bullets, and rubber «contraceptives» for ‘waterproofing film’. Other agents were issued radio sets, hand generators, nickel-cadmium batteries, and homing beacons.

An affiliated project under AERODYNAMIC was codenamed CAPACHO.

CIA documents show that AERODYNAMIC continued in operation through the Richard Nixon administration into 1970.

The program took on more of a psychological warfare operation veneer than a real-life facsimile of a John Le Carré «behind the Iron Curtain» spy novel. The CIA set up a propaganda company in Manhattan that catered to printing and publishing anti-Soviet ZPUHVR literature that would be smuggled into Ukraine. The new battleground would not be swampy retreats near Odessa and cold deserted warehouses in Kiev but at the center of the world of publishing and the broadcast media.

The CIA front company was Prolog Research and Publishing Associates, Inc., which later became known simply as Prolog. The CIA codename for Prolog was AETENURE. The group published the Ukrainian language «Prolog» magazine. The CIA referred to Prolog as a «non-profit, tax exempt cover company for the ZP/UHVR’s activities». The «legal entity» used by the CIA to fund Prolog remains classified information. However, the SECRET CIA document does state that the funds for Prolog were passed to the New York office «via Denver and Los Angeles and receipts are furnished Prolog showing fund origin to backstop questioning by New York fiscal authorities».

As for the Munich office of Prolog, the CIA document states that funding for it comes from an account separate from that of Prolog in New York from a cooperating bank, which also remains classified. In 1967, the CIA merged the activities of Prolog Munich and the Munich office of the Ukrainian exiled nationalist «Suchasnist» journal. The Munich office also supported the «Ukrainische Gesellschaft fur Auslandstudien». The CIA documents also indicate that US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents may have interfered with AERODYNAMIC agents in New York. A 1967 CIA directive advised all ZPUHVR agents in the United States to either report their contacts with United Nations mission diplomats and UN employees from the USSR and the Ukrainian SSR to the FBI or their own CIA project case officer. CIA agents in charge of AERODYNAMIC in New York and Munich were codenamed AECASSOWARY agents. Apparently not all that taken with the brevity of MI-6’s famed agent «007», one CIA agent in Munich was codenamed AECASSOWARY/6 and the senior agent in New York was AECASSOWARY/2.

AECASSOWARY agents took part in and ran other AERODYNAMIC teams that infiltrated the Vienna World Youth Conference in 1959. The Vienna infiltration operation, where contact with made with young Ukrainians, was codenamed LCOUTBOUND by the CIA.

In 1968, the CIA ordered Prolog Research and Publishing Associates, Inc. terminated and replaced by Prolog Research Corporation, «a profit-making, commercial enterprise ostensibly serving contracts for unspecified users as private individuals and institutions».

The shakeup of Prolog was reported by the CIA to have arisen from operation MHDOWEL. There is not much known about MHDOWEL other than it involved the blowing of the CIA cover of a non-profit foundation. The following is from a memo to file, dated January 31, 1969, from CIA assistant general counsel John Greany, «Concerns a meeting of Greaney, counsel Lawrence Houston and Rocca about a ‘confrontation’ with NY FBI office on January 17, 1969. They discussed two individuals whose names were redacted. One was said to be a staff agent of the CIA since 8/28/61 who had been assigned in 1964 to write a monograph, which had been funded by a grant from a foundation whose cover was blown in MHDOWEL (I suspect that is code for US Press). One of the individuals [name redacted] had been requested for use with Project DTPILLAR in November 1953 to Feb. 1955 and later in March 1964 for WUBRINY. When the Domestic Operations Division advised Security that this person would not be used in WUBRINY, Rocca commented that ‘there are some rather ominous allegations against members of the firm of [redacted],’ indicating one member of that firm was a ‘card-carrying member of the Communist Party.’ The memo went on to say that Rocca was investigating the use of the individual in Project DTPILLAR concerning whether that person had mentioned activities in Geneva in March 1966 in connection with Herbert Itkin». Raymond Rocca was the deputy chief of the CIA’s Counterintelligence Division. Itkin was an undercover agent for the FBI and CIA who allegedly infiltrated the Mafia and was given a new identity in California as «Herbert Atkin» in 1972.

In 1969, AERODYNAMIC began advancing the cause of the Crimean Tatars. In 1959, owing to Canada’s large Ukrainian population, Canada’s intelligence service began a program similar to AERODYNAMIC codenamed «REDSKIN».

As international air travel increased, so did the number of visitors to the West from Soviet Ukraine. These travelers were of primary interest to AERODYNAMIC. Travelers were asked by CIA agents to clandestinely carry Prolog materials, all censored by the Soviet government, back to Ukraine for distribution. Later, AERODYNAMIC agents began approaching Ukrainian visitors to eastern European countries, particularly Soviet Ukrainian visitors to Czechoslovakia during the «Prague Spring» of 1968. The Ukrainian CIA agents had the same request to carry back subversive literature to Ukraine.

AERODYNAMIC continued into the 1980s as operation QRDYNAMIC, which was assigned to the CIA’s Political and Psychological Staff’s Soviet East Europe Covert Action Program. Prolog saw its operations expanded from New York and Munich to London, Paris, and Tokyo. QRDYNAMIC began linking up with operations financed by hedge fund tycoon George Soros, particularly the Helsinki Watch Group’s operatives in Kiev and Moscow. Distribution of underground material expanded from journals and pamphlets to audio cassette tapes, self-inking stamps with anti-Soviet messages, stickers, and T-shirts.

QRDYNAMIC expanded its operations into China, obviously from the Tokyo office, and Czechoslovakia, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Soviet Central Asia, the Soviet Pacific Maritime region, and among Ukrainian-Canadians. QRDYNAMIC also paid journalist agents-of-influence for their articles. These journalists were located in Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, and Austria.

But at the outset of glasnost and perestroika in the mid-1980s, things began to look bleak for QRDYNAMIC. The high cost of rent in Manhattan had it looking for cheaper quarters in New Jersey.

Assistant Secretary of State for European/Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, the baked goods-bearing «Maiden of Maidan,» told the US Congress that the United States spent $5 billion to wrest control of Ukraine from the Russian sphere since the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the recent disclosures from the CIA it appears that the price tag to the American tax payers of such foreign shenanigans was much higher.

Ukrainian history of farce

Derek Monroe is a writer/reporter and consultant based in Illinois, USA. He has reported on international and US foreign policy issues from Latin America, Poland, Japan, Iraq, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and India. His work appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus, Alternet, Truthout and Ohmynews, and has been published in over 20 countries.

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Injured police officers scream in pain as they fall, shortly after an explosion outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Stringer Injured police officers scream in pain as they fall, shortly after an explosion outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Stringer / Reuters

 

This week’s events in the ongoing saga of the EuroMaidan “revolution” has cooked up another old cliché coined in Karl Marx’s 1851 letter that: “first time history enacted presents itself as grand tragedy, and the second time as rotten farce.”

Any observer can make assumption of the kind looking at the turn of events, for instance, in Syria which is on the way to an even more hardcore apocalypse than ever thought possible. But in the case of Ukraine and its national statehood, the self-inflicted wounds of the 2004 Orange Revolution, 2014 EuroMaidan and the current 2015 Maidan (EuroMaidan 2.0) are a farce of needlessly spilled blood of almost 7000 Ukrainians with no end in sight to the chaos.

While President Poroshenko denounced the riot at the Verkhovna Rada, calling out yesterday’s “freedom fighters” as today’s out of control “terrorists”, it is amazing to see the sudden change of colors and political labeling du jour in the US and its friendly international media. AP, AFP, ThomsonReuters, Bloomberg and others are now selling the message of “courageous and law enforcing” Poroshenko administration standing up to terrorists appearing out of nowhere, ultra-nationalists and even anarchists hell bent on bringing destruction to Ukraine as a state.

It is all served cold and calorie free in a historical version of Diet Coke sans any retrospect or context that could result in indigestion caused by memory. Never mind the political “night of the long knives” that is currently taking place at the highest echelons of the political elite in Kiev while many factions and personalities are now feeding themselves on the corpse of the country. The real and always available “culprit” in Ukrainian narrative bordering on delusion: Putin is now presented as instigator of fascist violence in Kiev in which three policemen lost their lives.

Unfortunately for the Ukrainians, they are now exposed, and are slowly waking up to the nightmare of government that came about as a result of the February coup and the historical truth of “chickens coming home to roost” is now visited upon them. Despite seeing the same old movie of the Orange Revolution that was supposed to bring the break with the past in 2004, they are seeing the re-run of the same production. This time around with the US and EU subtitles enforced by political sign language open for any interpretation and manipulation possible, thus yesterday’s friends and allies are today’s foes and vice versa .

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Demonstrators, who are against a constitutional amendment on decentralization, clash with police outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters

While the economy is being effectively decimated, the oligarch class is holding all the cards on and off the table in the same time while securing its own interests in the Rada and abroad. The failed state that is a de-facto new Ukraine has reported cases of children paralyzed in Ukraine in a polio outbreak while the Kiev government is going to European capitals hat in hand asking for a military and political support. In this spirit Poroshenko just announced his new military doctrine that will redeploy and invest money the country doesn’t have in the south and east as bulwarks against perceived “Russian imperialism”.

 

In other words the government will be defending itself against its own population in the east, its own ex-allies in Kiev while continuing its own propaganda war against Putin and the “evil” empire supported by the “good” empire in conjunction with austerity program imposed on whatever is left of the Ukrainian economy.

This will in turn create a fantastic investment landscape for the foreign vulture investor class coming in and getting everything for pennies on the dollar. If the “coupon” privatization was ever a rip-off, wait to see this scheme playing out in free money environment cooked up by Western central banks and the US “private” Federal Reserve. If this is the recipe for success then I would hate to see the recipe for failure as in the parallel universe of Ukrainian political reality, the chocolate cake prepared by the chocolate king can obviously eat itself and be intact in the same time. In the “real” reality the joke might actually be on the EU when looking at the current waves of refugees coming out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Ukraine is actually not that far behind and the resulting exodus will be the unpaid bill for the adventurism it chose to partake in.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Unruly Hearts.

BREAKING: Over 1,000 ISIS and Al Nusra Militants Surrender To Syrian Army In Last 24 Hours

 

 

The development came after President Bashar al-Assad in a televised address in July pardoned all soldiers who have fled the army, saying that his words served as a general decree to relevant officials.

Hundreds of gunmen have been laying down their weapons and turning themselves in to authorities in areas across the country.

This number seems to be on the rise as the army has been making steady gains in the battlefield against the terrorist groups, recapturing an increasing number of regions, including strategic sites, which helped cut off many of the militants’ supply routes and forced them to surrender or run away.

Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian air raids destroyed concentration centers of the ISIL, al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in Hama and Idlib.

The Syrian warplanes conducted airstrikes against positions of ISIL and the so-called Jeish al-Fath terrorists in the countryside of Hama and Idlib.

The airstrikes hit positions of the ISIL terrorists in al-Rahjan village, 50 km to the Northeast of Hama City, destroying a number of terrorists’ vehicles with all arms, ammunition and equipment on board.

The airstrikes also hit positions of al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in Aqrab village in the Southwestern countryside of Hama, killing scores of terrorists.

A number of vehicles belonging to Jeish al-Fath terrorists were also destroyed in airstrikes in Abdin village in the countryside of Ma’aret al-Nu’aman in Idlib countryside.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded hideouts of the Takfiri militants in the countryside of Homs.

The Syrian air raids destroyed Takfiri terrorists’ hideouts and vehicles in al-Qaryatain, al-Sa’an, and in the vicinity of al-Sha’er field in Homs countryside.

The Russian air group in Syria is using Kh-29L air-to-surface missiles to conduct airstrikes against the ISIL militants, the Russian military said Sunday.

“A Kh-29L surface-to-air missile is equipped with a semi-active laser guidance system. When the launch is conducted, a pilot illuminates a target with a laser sight. At the same time an aircraft can continue the flight,” Aerospace Forces Spokesman Colonel Igor Klimov said.

Also, the Syrian army conducted military operations against the foreign-backed Takfiri militants in Aleppo province, leaving hundreds of them killed and injured.

Hundreds of terrorists were killed or wounded in Aleppo City and its countryside in the past 24 hours, a military source said.

Elsewhere, at least 28 militant fighters of the ISIL terrorist group were killed during clashes with the Kurdish forces in the Northeastern Syrian province of Hasaka.

“The YPG forces besieged the ISIL militants near Mount Abdulaziz and killed dozens of terrorists and destroyed several vehicles,” a spokesman for the YPG Media Center told ARA News.

Also, gunmen from the Jeish al-Fath coalition of extremist groups are pulling out their forces from Idlib and other towns in Northwestern Syria.

The radical group started moving towards the Turkish border on Saturday after having experienced “the efficiency of the Russian aerospace forces’ strikes,” the As-Safir Arabic-language daily reported.

The coalition is led by al-Nusra terrorist group, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, which is sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. The group seized the Idlib province this spring.

The report said field commanders fear at any moment the attack of Syrian forces supported by Russian warplanes on the key town of Jisr al-Shugour, on the Lattakia-Aleppo highway.

The U.S. Is Destroying Europe

 

europe-usa-eu-flags-400x199In Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and other countries at the periphery or edges of Europe, U.S. President Barack Obama has been pursuing a policy of destabilization, and even of bombings and other military assistance, that drives millions of refugees out of those peripheral areas and into Europe, thereby adding fuel to the far-rightwing fires of anti-immigrant rejectionism, and of resultant political destabilization, throughout Europe, not only on its peripheries, but even as far away as in northern Europe.

Shamus Cooke at Off-Guardian headlines on 3 August 2015, “Obama’s ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria Intended to Turn It into New Libya,” and he reports that Obama has approved U.S. air support for Turkey’s previously unenfoceable no-fly zone over Syria. The U.S. will now shoot down all of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s planes that are targeting the extremist-Muslim groups, including ISIS, that have taken over huge swaths of Syrian territory.

Cooke reports:

Turkey has been demanding this no-fly zone from Obama since the Syrian war started. It’s been discussed throughout the conflict and even in recent months, though the intended goal was always the Syrian government. And suddenly the no-fly zone is happening — right where Turkey always wanted it — but it’s being labeled an ‘anti-ISIS’ safe zone, instead of its proper name: ‘Anti Kurdish and anti-Syrian government’ safe zone.

The New York Times reported on July 27th, that,

“the plan calls for relatively moderate Syrian insurgents to take the territory, with the help of American and possibly Turkish air support.”

However, the Times, stenographically reporting (as usual) from and for their U.S. Government sources (and so propagandizing for the U.S. Government), fails to define “relatively moderate,” but all of the “relatively moderate insurgent” groups in Syria cooperate with ISIS and help them to find and decapitate, or sometimes hold for ransoms, any non-Muslims there. Under Assad, Syria has been a non-clerical state, and has enjoyed freedom of religion, but all of the Syrian opposition to Assad’s rule is alien to that. The U.S. is now, even more clearly than before, anti-Assad, pro-Islamist.

Seymour Hersh reported in the London Review of Books on 17 April 2014, that the Obama Administration’s Libyan bombing campaign in 2011 was part of a broader program to bring sarin gas from Libya to the al-Nusra Front in Syria, in order to help produce a gas-attack upon civilians, which the U.S. Administration could then blame upon Assad, as being an excuse to bomb there just as Obama had already so successfully done in Libya. Both dictators, Gaddafi and Assad, were allied with Russia, and Assad especially has been important to Russia, as a transit-route for Russia’s gas supplies, and not for Qatar’s gas supplies — Qatar being the major potential threat to Russia’s status as the top supplier of gas into Europe.

Obama’s top goal in international relations, and throughout his military policies, has been to defeat Russia, to force a regime-change there that will make Russia part of the American empire, no longer the major nation that resists control from Washington.

Prior to the U.S. bombings of Libya in 2011, Libya was at peace and thriving. Per-capita GDP (income) in 2010 according to the IMF was $12,357.80, but it plunged to only $5,839.70 in 2011 — the year we bombed and destroyed the country. (Hillary Clinton famously bragged, “We came, we saw, he [Gaddafi] died!”) (And, unlike in U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, that per-capita GDP was remarkably evenly distributed, and both education and health care were socialized and available to everyone, even to the poor.)

More recently, on 15 February 2015, reporter Leila Fadel of NPR bannered “With Oil Fields Under Attack, Libya’s Economic Future Looks Bleak.” She announced: “The man in charge looks at production and knows the future is bleak. ‘We cannot produce. We are losing 80 percent of our production,’ says Mustapha Sanallah, the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation.”

Under instructions from Washington, the IMF hasn’t been reliably reporting Libya’s GDP figures after 2011, but instead shows that things there were immediately restored to normal (even to better than normal: $13,580.55 per-capita GDP) in 2012, but everybody knows that it’s false; even NPR is, in effect, reporting that it’s not true. The CIA estimates that Libya’s per-capita GDP was a ridiculous $23,900 in 2012 (they give no figures for the years before that), and says Libya’s per-capita GDP has declined only slightly thereafter. None of the official estimates are at all trustworthy, though the Atlantic Council at least made an effort to explain things honestly, headlining in their latest systematic report about Libya’s economy, on 23 January 2014, “Libya: Facing Economic Collapse in 2014.”

Libya has become Europe’s big problem. Millions of Libyans are fleeing the chaos there. Some of them are fleeing across the Mediterranean and ending up in refugee camps in southern Italy; and some are escaping to elsewhere in Europe.

And Syria is now yet another nation that’s being destroyed in order to conquer Russia. Even the reliably propagandistic New York Times is acknowledging, in its ‘news’ reporting, that, “both the Turks and the Syrian insurgents see defeating President Bashar al-Assad of Syria as their first priority.” So: U.S. bombers will be enforcing a no-fly-zone over parts of Syria in order to bring down Russia’s ally Bashar al-Assad and replace his secular government by an Islamic government — and the ‘anti-ISIS’ thing is just for show; it’s PR, propaganda. The public cares far more about defeating ISIS than about defeating Russia; but that’s not the way America’s aristocracy views things. Their objective is extending America’s empire — extending their own empire.

Similarly, Obama overthrew the neutralist government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in February 2014, but that was under the fake cover of ‘democracy’ demonstrations, instead of under the fake cover of ‘opposing Islamic terrorism’ or whatever other phrases that the U.S. Government uses to fool suckers about America’s installation of, and support to, a rabidly anti-Russia, racist-fascist, or nazi, government next door to Russia, in Ukraine. Just as Libya had been at peace before the U.S. invaded and destroyed it, and just as Syria had been at peace before the U.S and Turkey invaded and destroyed it, Ukraine too was at peace before the U.S. perpetrated its coup there and installed nazis and an ethnic cleansing campaign there, and destroyed Ukraine too.

Like with Libya before the overthrow of Gaddafi there, or Syria before the current effort to overthrow Assad there, or the more recent successful overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, it’s all aimed to defeat Russia.

The fact that all of Europe is sharing in the devastation that Obama and other American conservatives — imperialists, even — impose, is of little if any concern to the powers-that-be in Washington DC, but, if it matters at all to them, then perhaps it’s another appealing aspect of this broader operation: By weakening European nations, and not only nations in the Middle East, Obama’s war against Russia is yet further establishing America to be “the last man standing,” at the end of the chaos and destruction that America causes.

Consequently, for example, in terms of U.S. international strategy, the fact that the economic sanctions against Russia are enormously harming the economies of European nations is good, not bad.

There are two ways to win, at any game: One is by improving one’s own performance. The other is by weakening the performances by all of one’s competitors. The United States is now relying almost entirely upon the latter type of strategy.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

US leads ‘largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine’ – Follows Pentagon’s Advice to Conquer the World?

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Ukrainian soldiers and servicemen of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team take part in a joint military exercise called “Fearless Guardian 2015” at the military training area in Yavoriv, outside Lviv, Ukraine, May 12, 2015.Oleksandr Klymenko/Reuters

Troops from the US, UK, Germany and 14 other countries are set to conduct what officials are calling the “largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine” in the west of the country over the coming weeks.

The exercises will be conducted in Lviv region, in western Ukraine, far from the conflict zone in the east, with as many as 1,800 servicemen from 18 countries taking part from today until the end of the month.

The Saber Guardian and Rapid Trident exercises are conducted annually between the US army in Europe and European states which agree to participate. Last year they included 1,300 defence staff from 15 militaries, including Ukraine. However last year, only Rapid Trident took place on Ukrainian soil, with Saber Guardian being organised in Bulgaria.

Beside the US military and their Ukrainian hosts, personnel from other Nato allied nations joining the exercise include the UK, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Canada, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, while non-members Serbia, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan are also set to participate.

“Multinational exercises have been conducted in Ukraine since 1995, however it is safe to say that this is the largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine to date,” Don Wrenn public affairs public affairs specialist for US Army Europe, who is at the site of the exercises says.

Despite the heightening tension in eastern Ukraine where Russian-backed rebels have intensified fire towards Kiev-held positions since May, Wrenn says the exercise has no relation to the specific conflict.

“It is not anything to do with the political situation,” Wrenn says “This exercise was planned ahead of time. Countries were notified that it would occur and we can’t directly connect with the situation going on. Rapid Trident has been going for years in Ukraine.”

“Part of why this is larger this year is that there are two exercises going ahead at the same time in the same place,” Wrenn explains. The Saber Guardian exercise rotates between host nations, it just so happens that this year it was Ukraine’s turn to host it, coinciding with Rapid Trident

“The two were held together and integrated with each other,” Wrenn says. Training will begin tomorrow, after the end of today’s opening ceremony.

“We will be looking at practicing skills such as casualty evacuation and first aid, reacting to being ambushed in both an offensive posture or in defensive mode, we are conducting training in how to identify and react to improvised explosives and devices and there will be some simulated outpost operations.”

“These are all skills that are to be used either in combat or peacekeeping. Some Ukrainian armored vehicles will be included but most of the vehicles being used are just US humvees and wheeled vehicles,” he adds. Contrary to some media reports, no air operations are scheduled as part of the exercise.

Although a period of relative calm followed in the east after a ceasefire agreement was signed by the rebel leaders, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in February, clashes increase along the contact lines in May and by June the rebels launched the largest offensive since the battle for the strategic town of Debaltseve on the eve of the ceasefire deal.

Rebel leader Alexander Zaharchenko once again publically set target towns which the rebels plan to “take” in May and Reuters, Nato and the Ukrainian government have all reported an increasing military build up on the Russian side of the border.

Since the start of the conflict with pro-Russian rebels in the east, Ukraine has led a series of reforms to its military in a bid to strengthen its efficiency in the short and long term. Eastern regions have obtained physical reinforcement bases and Ukraine has also pursued stronger ties with western neighbours such as the joint battalion it formed last year with Poland and Lithuania,

President Petro Poroshenko pledged yesterday to increase Ukraine’s security spending power, adding a further 5 billion hryvna (over €200m) to the defence budget, according to a statement released on his official website. Independent Russian news site Slon reported that the last Ukrainian budget allotted 90 billion hryvna to defence spending, which, together with Poroshenko’s latest pledge equals around €4bn.

However,  Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s claim that the Ukraine will take over Donbass by the end of the year seems to be one more of his tricks. 

According to Forbes, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has offered Russian counterpart Vldimir Putin to ”include Donbass” in the territory of the federation. The announcement was released to Forbes magazine through an anonymous source.

It was stated that the proposal had been extended during the Normandy Four talks held in Minsk on February 11 and 12.

”Poroshenko directly told me, ”Take Donbass”, and I responded, ”Have you gone mad ? I don’t need Donbass. If you don’t need it, announce its independence”, was the statement Vladimir Putin made at his meeting with Russian industrialists and businessmen on March 19, as quoted by Forbes.

In the words of the Russian President, Poroshenko then stated that Ukrainian authorities are not able to take the step, ” Then, let Ukrainian authorities pay the pensions and social care to the population of Donbass and let them restore the banking system,” Putin allegedly insisted.

The ceasefire deal included 14 points connected to the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners, the providing of humanitarian aid for the severely affected regions of Ukraine, as well as establishing of special statute for the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Republics.

According to the source released information to Forbes, Putin himself is skeptical regarding the peace deal and believes that Ukrainian authorities are attempting to win the fight with rebel forces and to destroy Donbass in economic terms.

Allegedly, Putin said that EU leaders are well aware of the Ukrainian intentions, but the strengthening of the conflict is said to be in favor of US foreign polices. He also informed business leaders that the EU sanctions against Russia are unlikely to be removed in the upcoming years.

On the other hand, Poroshenko’s relations with Poland have deteriorated.

A scheduled meeting of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko with the winner of the Polish presidential elections Andrzej Duda in Warsaw will not now take place, Polish news agency PAP reported on Wednesday, with reference to its own sources close to the newly-elected head of state.

At home, Poroshenko is facing serious problems with the nationalist “Right Sector” paramilitary group.  The popular assembly is dubbed ‘Away With Traitors in Power!’

The popular assembly dubbed “Away With Traitors in Power!”organized by Ukraine’s far-right paramilitary group, Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) has started on Independence Square (Maidan).

Here’s the scene on ‘s Maidan right now. 1000+ now gathered for far-right nationalist rally:

WATCH LIVE STREAMING VIDEO  HERE

The rally follows a recent shootout involving members of ‘Right Sector’, security teams close to Ukrainian MP Mykhailo Lanyo and local police officers which took place in the town of Mukacheve in Ukraine’s western Zakarpattia region on July 11. Four people were killed and up to 14 were wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

‘Right Sector’ is one of a number of militarised groups that emerged during violent protests that toppled former Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych a year ago.

The militias went on to fight alongside Ukrainian troops in the east against Russian-backed militants, but concerns have risen over whether they could pose a challenge to President Poroshenko and the government or threaten public security.

‘Right Sector’ and police have accused each other of initiating the violence in Mukacheve, but on Tuesday a spokesman for the group said two of its members had surrendered to the SBU security service. 

 

KIEV’S JUNTA FORCES TERROR BOMB DONBASS

 

 

Kiev’s Junta Forces Terror Bomb Donbass

Posted by Stephen Lendman

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

 
Kiev war crimes include using banned chemical weapons, cluster bombs and white phosphorous in Donbass – including against civilian neighborhoods.
 
Reports indicate US experts are helping Ukraine produce chemical weapons for use against rebel forces. Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) intelligence learned they’re being secretly developed for escalated dirty war.
 
On Tuesday, reported fuel-air (thermobaric) explosives targeted a Donetsk chemical plant – fired from junta held Kurahhovo village 30 kilometers away.
 
These weapons suck oxygen from open areas and human lungs. They generate intense, high-temperature explosions. They’re much more destructive than conventional explosives of equal weight – especially when used against people in bunkers, shelters, caves and other enclosed places.
 
It’s virtually impossible for civilians to shelter against their destructive effects. A Russian military scientist once called their capability comparable to low-yield radiological munitions.
 
Used in large numbers, they’re enormously destructive – separate blast waves reinforcing each other increasing their overall power. They use fuel and explosive charges creating a massive blast wave. They were first used in Vietnam by US forces.
 
An earlier CIA study said their effect “within confined spaces is immense. Those near the ignition point are obliterated.”
 
“Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, rupture lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.”
 
With air sucked from lungs, victims suffocate to death besides other injuries sustained. Make no mistake. These are terror weapons – yet not banned under international law.
 
Ukrainian forces targeted Donetsk’s chemical plant storage facilities where mining explosives are held. They tried earlier using inaccurate Tochka-U missiles. They failed again this time. Crater evidence showed thermobaric weapons use.
 
Western media ignore these type incidents – including multiple daily attacks by junta forces on Donbass.
 
Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Defense Ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin said junta forces used artillery, mortars, grenade launchers and small arms in the last 24 hours alone. The pattern repeats daily – including willfully targeting civilian neighborhoods.
 
Russian upper house Federation Council International Affairs Committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev blames US-dominated NATO for exploiting nonexistent “Russian aggression” in Ukraine.
 
He expressed concern about belligerent NATO actions – calling deploying heavy weapons close to Russia’s borders “the height of irresponsibility to all peoples of Europe.”
 
Is “another large-scale military conflict planned,” he asked? “(W)hat is going on in Ukraine is a direct consequence of actions by the West, which upset the security and power balance in Europe by its (power grab in) Ukraine.”
 
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov said “(n)one of the Russia-NATO programs that used to (operate) are functioning at a working level.” Nothing is being done to repair ruptured relations.
 
Moscow justifiably is concerned about US-dominated NATO’s planned Eastern European buildup – creating more dangerous flashpoint conditions than already.
 
Russia intends responding appropriately to protect its security against hostile Western actions. Days earlier, a Foreign Ministry statement said:
 
“We will keep an eye on the United States’ and their allies’ steps towards building a global missile defence system and other factors impacting Russia’s security, such as the United States’ stockpiling non-nuclear strategic weapons within the Prompt Global Strike concept and its persistent unwillingness to undertake legally binding liabilities not to deploy weapons in outer space.”
 
“…Russia reserves the right to take (all) necessary steps to protect its security and defend its national interests.”
 
Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Washington of provocations “designed to aggravate bilateral relations.”
 
Moscow wants mutual cooperation with all nations. At the same time, it’ll defend itself responsibly against hostile US actions. Whether East/West confrontation can be avoided remains to be seen.

posted by Steve Lendman @ 2:51 AM

posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal @ 2:19 PM

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Ukraine’s Poison Pill for Peace Talks

 CONSORTIUM NEWS

Independent Investigative Journalism Since 1995

Exclusive: The Ukraine government’s latest maneuver – undermining the Minsk-2 agreement with a requirement for a rebel surrender – is likely to drive the country back into a full-scale civil war and push the U.S. and Russia closer to a nuclear showdown, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

By adding a poison pill to legislation implementing the latest Minsk agreement, the Ukrainian government has effectively guaranteed a resumption of the civil war, which U.S. hardliners and the mainstream U.S. media will no doubt blame on ethnic Russian rebels and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. media has focused on the so-called Minsk-2 agreement’s cease-fire component, first claiming it was being sabotaged by the rebels and Russia but now acknowledging that it is shaky but relatively successful. But the larger point of Minsk-2 was that it would provide for a political settlement of the civil war by arranging talks between Kiev and authorities in the east that would lead to giving those areas extensive self-rule by the end of 2015.

Ukraine's PM Arsenic Yatsenyuk aka The Rabbit

Ukraine’s PM Arsenic Yatsenyuk aka The Rabbit – Madame Merkel’s Protégé.

But the implementing law that emerged this week from the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev inserted a clause requiring the rebels to first surrender to the Ukrainian government and then letting Kiev organize elections before a federalized structure is determined.

The Minsk-2 agreement had called for dialogue with the representatives of these territories en route to elections and establishment of broad autonomy for the region, but Kiev’s curveball was to refuse any talks with rebel leaders and insist on establishing control over these territories before the process can move forward, in effect requiring a rebel capitulation.

Reflecting that view, Vadim Karasyov, director of the independent Institute of Global Strategies in Kiev, said: “Ukraine isn’t going to go along with any legalization of those so-called people’s republics. We need them to be dismantled,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.

The leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” have protested this bait-and-switch tactic, declaring in a statement that the change was unacceptable: “We agreed to a special status for the Donbass within a renewed Ukraine, although our people wanted total independence. We agreed to this to avoid the spilling of fraternal blood.”

Kiev’s maneuver – reflecting the bellicose position of neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and other U.S. hardliners – puts pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to either get Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to return to the original understanding of Minsk-2 or watch the fighting resume leading to a potential showdown between nuclear-armed Russia and the United States on Russia’s border.

The surrender-first-negotiate-later stipulation also raises questions about the strength of Merkel and President Barack Obama to overcome resistance from America’s powerful neoconservatives who have exploited the Ukraine crisis to isolate Russia and drive a wedge between Obama and Putin. The two leaders had cooperated to reduce tensions with Syria and Iran in 2013 when the neocons were hoping for more “regime change.”

Following those Obama-Putin collaborations, Nuland and other neocons both inside the Obama administration and in Congress took aim at Ukraine, egging on public disruptions in Kiev to destabilize the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych during the winter of 2013-14. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Neocons — Masters of Chaos.“]

To a great extent, the Ukraine crisis became Nuland’s baby as she rallied Ukraine’s business leaders and political activists to challenge Yanukovych and discussed with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in early February 2014 how, in his words, to “midwife this thing.”

In that same conversation, Nuland expressed her disgust at the European Union’s less aggressive approach to the crisis with the pithy expression, “Fuck the EU.” She also handpicked new leaders, ruling out some politicians and declaring that “Yats is the guy,” a reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk who became the post-coup prime minister. (This past week, it was Yatsenyuk who oversaw the insertion of the poison pill into the legislation for implementing the Minsk-2 agreement.)

Cue in the Neo-Nazis

The uprising in Kiev reached its peak on Feb. 22, 2014, when a violent coup – spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias from western Ukraine – drove elected Yanukovych from office, with the U.S. State Department immediately declaring the new regime “legitimate.” The coup government then sought to impose its control over the ethnic Russian east and south, which had been Yanukovych’s base of support.

Protected by Russian troops who were already based in Crimea on a base-lease agreement, the people of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, an annexation that took place one year ago. Uprisings also occurred in the eastern Donbass region with hastily arranged referenda also seeking independence from Kiev.

The coup regime responded by declaring those resisting in the east to be “terrorists” and mounting a punitive “anti-terrorist operation” that relied on army artillery to bombard cities and neo-Nazi and other right-wing militias to go in for the brutal street-to-street fighting.

Thousands of ethnic Russians were killed in these offensives as the rebels were pushed back into their strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk. However, receiving supplies and other assistance from Russia, the rebels turned the tide of the conflict and began driving the Ukrainian military back, inflicting heavy losses.

To stop the rout of government forces last September, the first Minsk ceasefire established a tentative frontline around the rebel strongholds. But Kiev continued to squeeze the rebel-held cities by cutting off access to banking and other services while neo-Nazi and other militias undertook “death squad” operations to kill rebel sympathizers in government-controlled zones.

When that first cease-fire broke down, the rebels made new gains against the Ukrainian military, prompting Merkel and Hollande to broker a second ceasefire, which included a structure for resolving the crisis with a political settlement to grant eastern Ukraine substantial autonomy.

But Nuland and other U.S. hard-liners objected to the concessions and trade-offs arranged by Merkel and Holland and accepted by Poroshenko and Putin. The U.S. hard-liners began plotting how to reverse what they claimed was “appeasement” of “Russian aggression.”

The German press has reported on some of this U.S. strategy after the Bild newspaper obtained details of conversations that Nuland and other U.S. officials held behind closed doors last month at a security conference in Munich. Nuland was overheard disparaging the German chancellor’s initiative, calling it “Merkel’s Moscow thing,” according to Bild, citing unnamed sources.

Another U.S. official went even further, the report said, calling it the Europeans’ “Moscow bullshit.”

Talking Themselves into a Frenzy

The tough talk behind the closed doors at a conference room in the luxurious Bayerischer Hof hotel seemed to be contagious as the American officials, both diplomats and members of Congress, kept escalating their rhetoric, according to the Bild account.

Nuland suggested that Merkel and Hollande cared only about the practical impact of the Ukraine war on Europe: “They’re afraid of damage to their economy, counter-sanctions from Russia.”

Another U.S. politician was heard adding: “It’s painful to see that our NATO partners are getting cold feet” – with particular vitriol directed toward German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as “defeatist” because she supposedly no longer believed in a Kiev victory.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, got himself worked up into such a lather that he started making comparisons to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain going to Munich to “appease” Adolf Hitler, likening Merkel to Chamberlain and Putin to Hitler: “History shows us that dictators always take more, whenever you let them. They can’t be brought back from their brutal behavior when you fly to Moscow to them, just like someone once flew to this city.”

According to the Bild story, Nuland laid out a strategy for countering Merkel’s diplomacy by using strident language to frame the Ukraine crisis in a way that stops the Europeans from backing down. “We can fight against the Europeans, we can fight with rhetoric against them,” Nuland reportedly said.

NATO Commander Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove was quoted as saying that sending more weapons would “raise the battlefield cost for Putin.” Nuland interjected to the U.S. politicians present that “I’d strongly urge you to use the phrase ‘defensive systems’ that we would deliver to oppose Putin’s ‘offensive systems.’”

Yet, through all of the past year’s scheming and maneuvering by Nuland and other U.S. officials, the mainstream U.S. media has studiously ignored the coup side of the story, insisting that there was no coup and adopting an “I-see-nothing” response to the presence of neo-Nazi militias leading the fight against the ethnic Russian east.

For the New York Times, the Washington Post and the rest of major U.S. press, everything has been explained as “Russian aggression” with Putin supposedly having plotted the entire series of events as a way to conquer much of Europe as the new Hitler. Even though the evidence reveals that Putin was caught off-guard by the coup next door, the U.S. media has insisted on simply passing along Nuland’s propaganda themes.

Thus, it is a safe bet that when the current ceasefire breaks down and the killing resumes, all the American people will hear is that it was Putin’s fault, that he conspired to destroy the peace as part of his grand scheme of “aggression.” And, the Nuland-Yatsenyuk sabotage of Minsk-2 will be the next part of this troubling story to disappear into the memory hole.

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