Ukraine: Outpost of American Empire

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Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt

As Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s newly formed People’s Party ended up taking the largest number of votes at last month’s parliamentary elections – 22.2% to the Poroshenko Bloc’s 21.8% – we should also take a moment to recognise those responsible for Yatsenyuk’s appointed leadership, particularly The US Department of State’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland.

Nuland is a career neocon, who has worked for both Republican and Democrat administrations. Stephen Lendman has noted her previous roles:

Early in her career, she covered Russian internal politics at Washington’s Moscow embassy. She served on Washington’s Soviet Desk. She worked in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. She served in Guangzou, China. She was Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union. She directed a task force on Russia, its neighbors and an expanding NATO. She was Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott’s chief of staff. She was Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO. She was a National War College faculty member. She was Obama’s Special Envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. On September 18, 2013, she was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Her husband is Project for the New American Century (PNAC) co-founder Robert Kanan. He’s a neocon foreign policy theorist/hardliner. He advised John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. He served on Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) is PNAC’s current incarnation. He’s a board of directors member. He represents the worst of America’s dark side.*

Additionally, Nuland’s brother-in-law Frederick Kagan is a ‘resident scholar’ at neocon think tank The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, who along with Robert and their father Donald, are all signatories to PNAC’s manifesto Rebiulding America’s Defences. Frederick’s wife Kimberley founded the Institute for the Study of War, a foreign policy think tank funded through donations by defense giants such as General Dynamics and Raytheon. What a family! This is truly a shining example of the military-industrial-complex in action.

Handing out cookies at Independence Square
Handing out cookies at Independence Square

Nuland gained attention due to her prolific appearances at Kiev’s Independence Square earlier this year, where she and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt handed out cookies to protesters. However the full extent of her involvement in the Ukraine crisis only came about following the interception and leaking of the following phone conversation between herself and Pyatt:

Nuland: What do you think?

Pyatt: I think we’re in play. The Klitschko piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you’ve seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we’re trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to him, which you’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call you want to set up, is exactly the one you made to Yats. And I’m glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I’m very glad that he said what he said in response.

Nuland: Good. I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Pyatt: Yeah. I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.

Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that’s right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?

Nuland: My understanding from that call – but you tell me – was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was going to offer in that context a… three-plus-one conversation or three-plus-two with you. Is that not how you understood it?

Pyatt: No. I think… I mean that’s what he proposed but I think, just knowing the dynamic that’s been with them where Klitschko has been the top dog, he’s going to take a while to show up for whatever meeting they’ve got and he’s probably talking to his guys at this point, so I think you reaching out directly to him helps with the personality management among the three and it gives you also a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it before they all sit down and he explains why he doesn’t like it.

Nuland: OK, good. I’m happy. Why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.

Pyatt: OK, will do. Thanks.

Nuland: OK… one more wrinkle for you Geoff. I can’t remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?

Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.

Nuland: OK. He’s now gotten both Serry and Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.

Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I’m still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych (garbled) that. In the meantime there’s a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I’m sure there’s a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep… we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

Nuland: So on that piece Geoff, when I wrote the note [US vice-president’s national security adviser Jake] Sullivan’s come back to me VFR [direct to me], saying you need Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an ‘atta-boy’ and to get the deets [details] to stick. So Biden’s willing.

Pyatt: OK. Great. Thanks.

Unsurprisingly, Washington’s response to this conversation was to criticise Russia, with State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki calling it “a new low in Russian tradecraft.” White House Spokesman Jay Carney noted that “it says something about Russia,” that they would tap the phone call (obviously the CIA are above such ploys). Similarly, BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus commented that “The clear purpose in leaking this conversation is to embarrass Washington and for audiences susceptible to Moscow’s message to portray the US as interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs.” The media also chose to focus on Nuland’s “fuck the EU,” rather than the blatant brokering of a post-coup government that made up the rest of the conversation. The utter failure of the corporate media to conduct any analysis of the exchange’s substance once again proves its disinterest in questioning our governments and holding them to account.

It should be noted that the call took place more than two weeks prior to the ousting of President Yanukovych, showing that the 22 February coup was planned well in advance. It is also another example of the increasingly questionable role that embassies and ambassadors play in America’s quest for global hegemony.

US embassy in Baghdad
US embassy in Baghdad

Referring to embassies as ‘imperialist outposts’, Norman Pollack states:

Lines are becoming blurred in the table of organization—the State Department, CIA, Pentagon, White House—all, with some rubbing of elbows, have been pressed in the service of imperialism, less cohesive than POTUS would like, but sufficiently unified as to make US embassies active weapons, stalking horses, outposts (whichever you prefer) in establishing, solidifying, and focusing the power of America’s presence in a global geopolitical strategy of military-economic-ideological dominance, loathe, on Obama’s watch, to be relinquished as the world structure itself is in process of decentralizing.

While Pollack’s essay makes reference to the Benghazi embassy incident – where diplomacy functioned as cover for a covert CIA gun-running operation to Syria – his words can easily be applied to the situation in Ukraine, and no doubt in many other countries. In 2009 the US opened its largest embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, which is currently said to employ around 5,500 staff – down from 11,500 in January 2013; it contains a six lane swimming pool, indoor basketball court, and outdoor football pitch. The Green Zone in which this so-called ‘mega-bunker of Baghdad’ is located, is off-limits to most Iraqis. With the US having now “officially” left Iraq, the size of its embassy and its huge number of staff, working inside the sprawling Green Zone, has led Iraqis to question who is actually running their country, the Iraqi government, or America?

Facing an increasingly multipolar world, it is likely that embassies will continue to serve as outposts for espionage and subterfuge, with many new countries seemingly now appearing in line for a dose of Washington’s regime change. These include Russia, Venezuela and Hungary. While America is currently pursuing the opening of diplomatic ties with Cuba, and is hoping to open an embassy in Havana fairly soon, the State Department has said that their policy to overthrow the Castros has not changed, and they will continue to fund covert “democracy promotion” operations in the country.

While Republicans and Democrats come and go, the neocons in the State Department stay the same.

*Stephen Lendman, Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War III

Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26079957

Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ Deceptions
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/february/09/victoria-nulands-ukraine-gate-deceptions/

Chronology of the Ukrainian Coup
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/05/chronology-of-the-ukrainian-coup/

Benghazi: Imperialist Outpost
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/24/benghazi-imperialist-outpost/

U.S. Embassy In Baghdad To Evacuate Some Workers
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/15/us-embassy-baghdad-iraq_n_5497118.html

The US Embassy In Baghdad Cost A Staggering $750 Million [PHOTOS]
http://www.businessinsider.com/750-million-united-states-embassy-iraq-baghdad-2013-3?op=1&IR=T

Co-conspirators in the Propaganda War on Syria: Liz O’Bagy and the Syrian Emergency Task Force

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The Syrian war has raged on for years now, and I doubt that anyone observing from the outside would have expected the country’s leader -Bashar al-Assad – and his Syrian Arab Army to still be fighting on today. Isn’t he meant to terrorise his people? That’s what Obama and the western media would like us to think – that he’s an evil dictator, the ‘new Hitler’ (before Putin was again), who slaughters peaceful protesters and gasses babies just for the hell of it. Sure there are some extremist elements in the opposition…Assad clearly took advantage of the chaos by stamping out the “moderate” rebels and allowing ISIS to flourish, thus sending the grateful Syrian citizenry running back into his open arms. However some quick research reveals a different narrative: one in which the UK media is guilty of not just providing a biased account, but has been actively collaborating in the fabrication of ‘evidence’, used to frame the Syrian government for abhorrent crimes against humanity. Here is the first in a long list of some of the dubious people involved in selling this story to the West:

Elizabeth O’Bagy

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Elizabeth O’Bagy is a former senior analyst at American think tank the Institute for the Study of War, who was fired from this role for committing job fraud. In August 2013 the Wall Street Journal published an impassioned editorial by O’Bagy, that described her numerous trips to Syria, and hours spent with the “moderate” rebels battling Assad’s army. An extracts read:

Moderate opposition groups make up the majority of actual fighting forces, and they have recently been empowered by the influx of arms and money from Saudi Arabia and other allied countries, such as Jordan and France. This is especially true in the south, where weapons provided by the Saudis have made a significant difference on the battlefield, and have helped fuel a number of recent rebel advances in Damascus.

Thanks to geographic separation from extremist strongholds and reliable support networks in the south, even outdated arms sent by the Saudis, like Croatian rocket-launchers and recoilless rifles, have allowed moderate rebel groups to make significant inroads into areas that had previously been easily defended by the regime, and to withstand the pressure of government forces in the capital. In recent months, the opposition has achieved major victories in Aleppo, Idlib, Deraa and Damascus—nearly reaching the heart of the capital—despite the regime’s consolidation in Homs province.

At this stage in the conflict, barring a major bombing campaign by the U.S., sophisticated weaponry, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapon systems, may be the opposition’s best chance at sustaining its fight against Assad. This is something only foreign governments, not jihadists, can offer. Right now, Saudi sources that are providing the rebels critical support tell me that they haven’t sent more effective weaponry because the U.S. has explicitly asked them not to.

There is no denying that groups like Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham have gained a foothold in the north of Syria, and that they have come to dominate local authorities there, including by imposing Shariah law. Such developments are more the result of al Qaeda affiliates having better resources than an indicator of local support. Where they have won over the local population, they have done so through the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Yet Syrians have pushed back against the hard-line measures imposed on them by some of these extremists groups. While I was last in northern Syria in early August, I witnessed nearly daily protests by thousands of citizens against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in areas of Aleppo.

Clearly we can see that O’Bagy was calling for the US government to – if not intervene directly – send advanced weaponry to these moderate groups in order to raise their chances against both the Assad regime and jihadist forces. Her knowledge of the political landscape inside Syria was then used as evidence by John Kerry and John McCain during a Senate hearing that discussed the possibility of US military intervention in the war-torn country. Not long after this, O’Bagy was dismissed from her position at the nonpartisan Institute for the Study of War – due to having lied about possessing a PhD, and for her undisclosed affiliation with the Syrian Emergency Task Force – a State Department funded lobbying group that’s sole purpose is to advocate for regime change in Syria.

Syrian Emergency Task Force

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The SETF’s wikipedia page states:

The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) is a United States based organization that advocates for the armed overthrow of the government of Syria.

The group’s primary activity is advocating for U.S. military involvement in the Syrian Civil War through congressional office visits, media awareness campaigns, and organizing junkets for key U.S. foreign policy decisionmakers.

The group’s website states that it recently organised a trip to Syria for Senator McCain (who also hired O’Bagy as an assistant) to meet commanders of the “moderate” Free Syrian Army, and posted this incriminating photograph:

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The man standing in the doorway is Mohammad Nour, a spokesman for the Northern Storm Brigade – a faction of al-Nusra Front, ie. al-Qaeda in Syria. It has been claimed that standing behind McCain is ISIS Caliph al-Baghdadi (though I believe this to be false). To the right is Mouaz Moustafa, the SETF’s executive director. Another photo shows these same individuals holding a meeting with Brigadier General Idriss Salem, head of the Free Syrian Army:

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These images highlight the lack of credibility in O’Bagy’s WSJ lamentations that there are truly moderate rebel factions inside Syria. Instead, all these various groups – FSA, al-Nusra, ISIS – are one and the same: made up of the same individuals and going under different guises at any given moment, existing only to destroy an independent and secular society.

A look at Moustafa’s profile tells us all we need to know about his desire to “help” the Syrian people:

Mr. Moustafa was born and raised in Damascus, Syria before moving to the US as a teenager. He is the current Executive Director for SETF, Political Director for UFS (United For a Free Syria), as well as a board member of the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS). As former staffer for Congressman Vic Snyder and Senator Blanche Lincoln, Mr. Moustafa spent four and a half years working in Congress before leaving to work briefly with Egyptian opposition. Mr. Moustafa also worked with the Libyan Revolution. During this period, Mr. Moustafa was the Executive Director of the Libyan Council of North America (LCNA), Political Director of the Libyan Emergency Task Force (LETF), and worked closely with top officials within the Transitional National Council (TNC). Mr. Moustafa joined SETF in the fall of 2011 to help advocate on behalf of the pro-democracy movement in his native Syria. Moustafa boasts an extensive network of Syrian activists, opposition figures, and FSA commanders with whom he is in regular contact.

These connections highlight not only that Moustafa is a serial lobbyist for regime change, but that he is inextricably linked to jihadist causes such as the Muslim Brotherhood. We all know how western funded regime change worked out for Libya. Additionally, other staff members of SETF include Toby Cadman, a British-based lawyer who previously served as defense attorney to members of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, a Bangladesh militant group whose leaders were recently convicted of war crimes, including genocide and rape, by the country’s International Crimes Tribunal. Does not sound promising.

Assad

On a somewhat contradictory note however, the Syrian Emergency Task Force has also been accused of being a front for Israeli interests (reblogged below); sectarian chaos in Syria has certainly been good for the Jewish state, most recently diverting attention away from Israel’s actions in Gaza.

What all this extremely confusing and contradictory information seems to suggest is that DC/Wall Street interests and Islamic jihad are colluding in a scheme that is mutually beneficial…the ousting of the Assad regime would leave Syria free to be carved up by the west for financial exploitation, whilst al-Qaeda extremists implement their new society based on Sharia law. It will also provide America with their long-desired ‘path to Persia’; all the while disguised to the public as a humanitarian operation.

Sources:

Elizabeth O’Bagy: On the Front Lines of Syria’s Civil War:
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324463604579044642794711158

The Inside Story Of How A Fake PhD Hijacked The Syria Debate
http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/09/11/2601151/exclusive-mccain-kerry-cited-syria-analyst-false-credentials/

Syrian Emergency Task Force:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Emergency_Task_Force

SETF: Meet the Staff:
http://syriantaskforce.org/index.php/about-us/washington-dc-staff

Did an Israel lobby front group organize McCain’s trip to Syria?:
http://thepassionateattachment.com/2013/06/04/did-an-israel-lobby-front-group-organize-mccains-trip-to-syria/

John McCain, Conductor of the “Arab Spring” and the Caliph:
http://www.voltairenet.org/article185085.html

Meet the Syrian Islamist Organization Controlling Senator McCain’s Agenda:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/meet-the-syrian-islamist-organization-controlling-senator-mccains-agenda/

Syria: As the bombs fall, the people of Damascus rally round Bashar al-Assad:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10770311/Syria-As-the-bombs-fall-the-people-of-Damascus-rally-round-Bashar-al-Assad.html

Brookings’ “Which Path to Persia?”:
http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/brookings-which-path-to-persia.html

The Truth Behind Syria:
http://truthbehindsyria.tumblr.com/

Friends of Syria:
http://friendsofsyria.co/