In late November 2013, the ‘Euromaidan’ in Kiev began as a popular protest against a generalized state of corruption and cronyism in Ukraine. The spark that ostensibly ignited the protests was the inability of then President Yanukovych to sign an EU Association Agreement that would cut Ukraine’s economic and military ties to Russia in favor of a closer relationship with the EU and NATO.
The EU had made the release of former Ukrainian prime minister and “gas princess” Tymoshenko a precondition for signing the agreement. But the fact that Tymoshenko was/is a convicted embezzler of state funds, combined with the rather severe economic impact the EU Association Agreement would have had on the Ukrainian economy, made it impossible for a consensus in the Ukrainian government to be reached, despite the fact that Yanukovych urged Parliament to put aside their differences and ratify the agreement. In fact, the EU’s insistence that Tymoshenko be released appears now to have been designed to ensure the EU-Ukraine Association agreement failed and Yanukovych blamed for that failure and removed from office. Whatever the case, when the agreement was not signed, Ukrainians took to the streets in protest, right on cue.
The reason I say ‘right on cue’ is that there is abundant evidence to suggest that public opinion had been primed well in advance of November 21st, 2013 – years in advance, in fact, by Western (particularly American) ‘NGOs’.
The term ‘Non Governmental Organisation’ is a flagrant misnomer. Most NGOs require funding, which often comes from wealthy patrons with direct ties to government, or from governments themselves. Indeed, several well-known US ‘NGO’s are equally well-known fronts for CIA and other ‘intelligence’ agency activity in foreign countries.
American billionaire ‘philanthropist’ and business magnate George Soros is the founder and financier of several NGOs. Soros has been ‘opening up’ societies (particularly in Eastern Europe) for his own benefit and the benefit of Western corporate interests for many years. In 1989, his foundations were instrumental in making sure that former Soviet republics and satellite states chose Western ‘liberalism’ after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In May 2014 Soros told CNN:
“Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now.”
Soros’s aptly named ‘Open Society Foundations’ work closely with and receive money from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED was set up in the early 1980s in response to the extremely negative press the CIA had been receiving in the late 1970s. The CIA needed a cover, so the NED was created. According to a 1991 interview in the Washington Post with one of the creators of the NED, Allen Weinstein, “a lot of what we (NED) do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA“.
Part of the CIA’s mission since its creation has been to make the world free for US corporations. This means infiltrating, destabilizing and ‘opening up’ sovereign nations. For example, one of the goals of a 1997-98 NED program in the former Yugoslavia was: “To identify barriers to private sector development at the local and federal levels in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and to push for legislative change…[and] to develop strategies for private sector growth.” NED and Soros’s Open Society are therefore thinly veiled tools of US imperialism, and they have been at work around the world for decades. NED continues to throw $millions at Ukrainian ‘CSOs’ or Civil Society Organisations. But what exactly is “civil society”?
‘Civil society’ (CS) is an over-used term that supposedly describes the “aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens.” Or more simply, it is “individuals and organizations in a society which are independent of the government“. In reality, however, for the most part, ‘civil society’ is Western government double-speak for ‘interfering in the political and social affairs of other nations’. While there are many genuine grassroots organisations around the world, only the ones that align themselves with US government ‘strategic interests’ get significant funding. In the US, these are precisely the types of groups the US government repeatedly suppresses – those that would ‘manifest the interests and will’ of its citizens, and not the 1%. In Ukraine, most ‘civil society’ groups are 100% funded and controlled by the US government via its network of phony ‘NGOs’.
USAID – the US government’s overt organization tasked with co-opting (and overthrowing) foreign governments – is a big fan of ‘civil society’, providing $1.8billion in “critical development assistance in support of the Ukrainian people” over the past 20 years. However, in its 2012-2016 ‘Ukraine Country Development Co-operation Strategy’, USAID states that it “provides the largest amount of donor support to the Verkhovna Rada” (Ukraine’s Parliament) and is “also the largest donor in providing support to [Ukrainian] political parties.” 1 So, far from being “independent of government”, USAID’s definition of ‘civil society’ is apparently one government bribing another, and the ‘will of the citizens’ be damned.
To differentiate between genuine CS groups and US government cover groups, you need only look at the language they use. While genuine groups will speak and write in plain terms about actual definable issues, US-government-funded groups say things like:
UNITER will ensure sustainability of advocacy and monitoring through the identification and cultivation of organization(s)/mechanisms that have: 1) the credibility and standing to coordinate, facilitate and convene other organizations around issue-based initiatives, and 2) the capacity to administer advocacy and monitoring sub-grants to organizations that collaborate on issue-based initiatives
“Administer advocacy […] for issue-based initiatives”? I’m wondering, is that initiatives that deal with issues, or issues that require initiatives to deal with them? Can you administer advocacy for an initiative, or can you only advocate for an issue that you administer? I currently have an issue that needs some advocacy and would like some sustainability of initiative to administer it. I wonder if I should contact USAID?
A complex web of phony Ukrainian NGOs
UNITER stands for ‘Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms‘ and is also known as USAID/Ukraine’s Strengthening Civil Society in Ukraine (SCSU). It is administered by Pact Inc. Pact Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that is directly funded by USAID:
USAID/Ukraine awarded Pact a 5-year cooperative agreement to implement the project, effective October 1, 2008. The agreement was extended in September 2013 for an additional year. Including modifications and the 1-year extension, the total amount awarded comes to $14.3 million. As of September 30, 2013, $13.7 million had been obligated and $12.7 million had been spent.1
UNITER also funds the Center UA, which was set up in 2009 by Pierre Omidyar as “a coalition of more than 50 civil society organizations that mobilizes civic participation in Ukraine and serves as the country’s primary forum for government transparency and accountability.” Omidyar is a French-born Iranian American entrepreneur and philanthropist, and the founder and chairman of the eBay auction site.
Oleh Rybachuk is named as the founder and chairman of Centre UA. In 2004, Rybachuk headed the staff and political campaign of the US-backed presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko in the ‘Orange Revolution’. Speaking at a 2006 NATO forum, he said:
“The task of political forces [in Ukraine] is to compromise on when Ukraine will sign a NATO Membership Plan […] Ukraine’s leaders must now join their efforts to launch an information campaign promoting the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration, so that Ukrainians freely and consciously choose their future.”
Rybachuk went on to serve under Yushchenko and Tymoshenko as deputy prime minister in charge of integrating Ukraine into NATO and the European Union. With the creation of Centre UA in 2009, Rybachuk transformed himself into a “civil society activist” and began working covertly for the US government to prepare the ground for the overthrow of the established order in Ukraine through “civil unrest”, which eventually included the violent overthrow of President Yanukovych.
After the election of President Yanukovych in February 2010, UNITER described how Centre UA was used to put pressure on the Yanukovych government:
The New Citizen Platform was a key player in ensuring the success of the legislation. Pact, through the USAID-funded Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms (UNITER) project assists the NGO Center UA [New Citizen] since 2009. It was UNITER’s contribution to create the network of prominent local and national level Ukrainian NGOs, to bring together leaders of public opinion and civil society activist.
Henceforth, Pact helped Center UA to emerge as the main convener of the need for access to public information for journalist work. This gave important boost to the success of the New Citizen platform. It included the facilitation and creation in summer 2010 of the Stop Censorship movement that unites media professionals in defending their rights for freedom of speech and access to information. The intensive collaboration New Citizen platform and Stop Censorship movement resulted in the reinforced media attention to the legislative struggle.2
On investigating these ‘NGO networks’ in Ukraine it quickly becomes clear that when Victoria Nuland said that Washington has spent $5 billion on “democracy promotion” in Ukraine over the past 20 years, she wasn’t lying, at least not on the numbers. But that $5billion of US taxpayers’ money has not gone towards “democracy promotion” but towards the infiltration and co-opting of Ukraine’s political and social life for the purpose of thwarting Russia’s natural influence on, and co-operation with, its neighbor. Between 2009 and 2014, through its complex web of fake NGOs, the US government engaged in a concerted effort to radically and definitively change the course of Ukraine’s political and social life for the sole purpose of attacking Russia. In hindsight, a violent coup d’etat and the imposition of US-government-selected political leaders was a part of that plan.
US Snipers on EuroMaidan?
When he took up the post of US Ambassador to Ukraine on July 30th, 2013, Geoffrey Pyatt inherited this complex and well-established network of US-financed social activists and agitators. One of Pyatt’s first tasks was to oversee the funding (about $50,000 in total) of a new television station in Ukraine, Hromadske TV. Unsurprisingly, Hromadske’s first broadcast was on Nov. 22nd, 2013, the very first day of the Maidan protests. Indeed, the rallying cry for those protests was given by Mustafa Nayem, a Ukrainian journalist who founded Hromadske TV (with US taxpayers’ money). Hromadske provided blanket coverage of the Maidan protest and since then has continued to receive generous funding from the US State Department and EU governments. To get an idea of the editorial line of the US State Dept. Hromadske, last year they hosted a journalist who called for the genocide of 1.5 million residents in the Donbass.
From the beginning of the protests until Yanukovych was forced to flee the country, the Euromaidan was the place to be if you wanted to press the flesh with US politicians. Pyatt and Nuland regularly handed out cookies and ‘attaboys’ to the protestors and police alike, while the US government’s revolutionary envoy John McCain rallied the protestors in December 2013, telling them that “America stands with you” and “Ukraine will make Europe better”. As the protests became increasingly violent through January 2014, the Ukrainian Prime Minister resigned on January 28th in a failed attempt to appease the protestors. By February 18th, President Yanukovych was in negotiations to draft a ‘peace deal’ with three members of the opposition – Yatzenyuk, the fascist Tyahnybok, and Klitschko, along with French, German and Polish foreign ministers. These were the same three people mentioned by Nuland and Pyatt in their infamous leaked phone call where they discussed the future make-up of the post-Yanukovych government.The agreement called for a drastic reduction in Yanukovych’s presidential powers, a return to the 2004 constitution, the release of Tymoshenko from prison, early elections for later in 2014, the appointment of Yatzenyuk as prime minister and Klitschko as deputy prime minister, and the dismissal of the current government.
These measures amounted to a radical change in the power structure in Ukraine and should have meant an end to the protests, since they fulfilled all of the opposition demands. After all, the leaders of the opposition who had signed the agreement were the representatives of the protestors on the streets of Kiev, right? However, as the negotiations were ongoing, someone began a shooting spree in the streets around Kiev square over the three days of February 18th-20th. At least 15 policemen and 80 protestors and civilian bystanders were shot dead by what appears to have been a team of snipers firing from the tops and windows of buildings. The agreement was signed on the 21st, but the large death toll appears to have contributed to the almost immediate scrapping of the agreement, and the announcement by what was left of the Ukrainian parliament that Yanukovych would be impeached.
The image below shows the Maidan square in the top left corner.
The yellow line shows the extent of the progress of the protestors on February 20th along Institutskaya Street as they tried to reach the central bank and the Ukrainian parliament (in red). All of the buildings surrounding Maidan square (off screen, top left), including the Ukraine hotel (in green), were occupied by protestors. The lobby of the Ukraine hotel had been turned into a makeshift triage center for the injured. The point being, everything behind and to the left and right of the protestors should have been safe territory. Ukrainian officials and protestors to this day claim that the police were responsible for the deaths. Yet the video segment below, taken from this video, shows a protestor (and the tree behind which he is hiding) being struck by a bullet from behind or from the side, most likely from the upper floors of the Ukraine hotel, as pointed out by this German news report.
Throughout the day, dozens of other protestors were shot from behind, from buildings occupied by protestors, as outlined in this detailed report by Professor Ivan Katchanovski of the University of Ottawa.
The question of who was responsible for the large death toll among both protestors and policemen was brought into sharp focus by an intercepted telephone call, released on March 4th, 2014, between EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Urmas Paet, who had just returned from Kiev. In the call, Paet tells Ashton:
There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition. […] all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides … and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.
If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard much, or anything, about this phone call in the Western media, the reason is that it has been ignored. And as Paet says, apparently the new US/EU-installed ‘interim’ government in Ukraine is not too keen on investigating the allegations.
Along with the video evidence and eyewitness testimony, Paet’s statement strongly suggests that within the ‘Maidan’ protestors, perhaps specifically the US-funded and Chechen Jihadi-linked ‘Right Sector’, there were individuals who were fighting on both sides of the barricades; their aim being to kill as many police and protestors as possible in an effort to turn the ‘people’s revolution’ into a revolution of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists bent on kick-starting a ‘civil war’ to cleanse Ukraine of Russian influence. That agenda dovetails nicely with the broad, decades-long goal of the Anglo-American empire to neutralize Russia as a potential global power broker able to stand against US global hegemony through destabilization and proxy wars.
The expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders that was begun by the Clinton administration in 1992 was advised against by many because it would obviously provoke conflict with Russia, yet the plan went ahead anyway. Why? There are two interwoven benefits from the US point of view. The first is that expanding NATO eastwards served to physically and economically expand the US empire. The second is that provoking conflict with Russia was predicted to scare European states, especially the expanded-upon new NATO Baltic states, into believing that Russia was a threat.
NATO was designed to increase security in Europe, but it has achieved precisely the opposite today. What ‘increase security in Europe’ really means in Washington is ‘increase of US control in Europe’. The US government has long-since understood that the best way to increase control is to increase fear, and to increase fear you need an enemy. In the case of Europe, Russia could be provoked into appearing as an enemy to Europe by threatening it through expansion of NATO, which was justified by the need to increase security in Europe. Basically, expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders was designed to threaten Russia and, as a result, threaten Europe and push it further into the arms of the Empire.
Ukraine today is not just a ‘failed state’. A ‘failed state’ is usually still in the hands of a national government. Ukraine today is fully in the hands of the US government and the IMF. That might not be such a bad thing (relatively) if it weren’t for the fact that the only reason those two institutions have any interest in Ukraine is to use it as leverage in their futile attempt to thwart the inexorable strengthening of the Russian Federation.
Just take Natalie Jaresko as an example. A Chicago-born investment banker who received her Ukrainian citizenship in December 2014, she now controls Ukrainian financial policy. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, she just so happened to hold several positions at the US State Department before taking the position of Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine. She also managed the USAID-financed Western NIS Enterprise Fund, which kindly provided funds for ‘pro-democracy’ movements in Belarus, Moldova and, predictably, Ukraine.
One year ago today, there was an option to end the Maidan protests peacefully while also meeting the protestors’ demands and reforming Ukrainian politics and society in a way that would have benefited the Ukrainian people. Instead, the US empire and their proxy agents chose to unleash bloody mayhem on Ukraine. In the process, Ukraine (and therefore NATO) lost Crimea and is so to lose the rich lands of Donetsk and Lugansk. Does the US government care? Of course not. The real goal of demonizing Russia as a threat to global stability has been achieved.
All other considerations, including the slaughter of tens of thousands of ragged Ukrainian troops and at least 5,000 eastern Ukrainian citizens, are a price the psychopaths in Washington were only too willing to pay.
By Joe Quinn
Thu, 19 Feb 2015