Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Ukraine Corruption Backgrounder

Yesterday Gateway Pundit ran a blog that provided an overview of Ukraine's corruption problem, while pointing out that, so far, with the Biden and Kerry cases, we've still only seen the tip of the Ukraine corruption iceberg--and, in all probability, the US connection. As I've said before, the likelihood is that there are Republicans involved as well as Democrats--Manafort certainly comes to mind, but we're also learning about Romney and his Deep State adviser. Nevertheless, to this point the Democrat involvement seems overwhelmingly dominant, if party affiliation can be construed as a real factor:

Ukraine Burisma Story is Massive – Involves BILLIONS of IMF and US Funds Looted and Lost by Bank Connected to Burisma Holdings!

Here's GP's capsule version of the issues that the Ukraine Hoax has brought to public view:

The Biden (and now Kerry) scandal in the Ukraine is much more than about the money paid to Hunter Biden for being a Board member at the largest gas producer in the Ukraine, Burisma Holdings.  The real scandal involves billions in funds from the IMF and US in aid that has gone missing. 
Burisma (Ukraine’s largest oil and gas provider) has been the subject of many recent news articles because of its scandalous close-knit ties with President Obama’s Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Kerry.  (Yes, Kerry is involved here too) 
Where are the billions of dollars that went missing in the Ukraine?  What do Obama, Biden and Kerry and their children know about where the money is and are they connected?

There's lots more. However, fascinatingly, GP links to a 2015 article by old line Lefty Alexander Cockburn--Undelivered Goods: How $1.8 billion in aid to Ukraine was funneled to the outposts of the international finance galaxy. I'll quote the final paragraph first, in which Cockburn warns against the Washington Establishment consensus on Ukraine--Ukraine good and and vital to US national interests, Putin bad. End of story--but, says Cockburn, we make that the end of the story at great risk:

Complex realities such as those related here do not intrude on official Washington pronouncements, where all is black and white, and the party line shifts inexorably closer to endorsing U.S. military engagement in the Ukrainian quagmire. At least we should know who is taking us there.

You'll recognize that narrative from the Russia Hoax which, interestingly, was probably just forming when Cockburn wrote those words in August, 2015.

In his article you'll come across names that you're probably familiar with. Names like Dmitry Firtash--who was virtually, if not actually, the first figure whom Andrew Weissmann reached out to--with Team Mueller still in its infancy--in hopes of framing Donald Trump.

Another familiar name that figures prominently both in Russia Hoax reporting and in Cockburn's Ukraine article is that of Victoria Nuland. Cockburn's introduction to Nuland tells us much about the bipartisan nature of the Washington Establishment and Deep State that is attempting to reject the foreign body that is Donald Trump. Cockburn notes Nuland's deep ties to GOPe bogeyman (for leftists) Dick Cheney, yet the important role she played in the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton DoS. Think about that a bit, and then consider what Cockburn writes here, including the last bit, in which Nuland expresses on behalf of the Obama administration an attitude more often attributed to Trump himself:

[Tom] Daschle’s trip [to Ukraine] was sponsored by the National Democratic Institute, an affiliate of the congressionally funded National Endowment for Democracy, headed by ur-neoconservative Carl Gershman, who some time ago identified Ukraine as “the biggest prize” for Russia and deployed considerable amounts of the taxpayer dollars at his disposal to securing it for the West. However, it has been Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland who has played the most active role in pursuit of the prize. Therefore, her interventions in Ukrainian politics and the realities of politics and business in that country deserve closer attention than they have so far received. 
“Toria” Nuland, as I reported in the January 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine, has enjoyed a remarkable career, occupying a succession of powerful positions through changing administrations, despite her close neocon associations over the years both marital—her husband being leading neocon ideologue Robert Kagan—and political, notably as a national-security adviser to former vice president Dick Cheney. In the buildup to the 2008 Russo-Georgia war, for example, Nuland, at the time ambassador to NATO, urged George Bush to accept both Georgia and Ukraine as NATO members. Since Georgia’s then president and neocon favorite, Mikheil Saakashvili, had high hopes of drawing the United States in on his side in the coming conflict, this was a dangerous initiative. Fortunately, Bush, by that time leery of neocon advice, stood firm against her pleas. 
Despite her ongoing proximity to power, Nuland attracted little public attention until the leak of an intercepted phone call gave the rest of us a taste of how she operates. Incautiously chatting on her cell on January 28, 2014, with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, as the Kiev street protests against elected Ukrainian Viktor Yanukovych gathered momentum, Nuland and the diplomat mulled over who should now rule the country. Their candidate was “Yats,” the opposition politician Aseniy Yatsenyuk, as opposed to another opposition candidate, former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, favored by various European powers. Nuland was determined to keep Klitschko out and, as she infamously remarked on that call, “fuck the E.U.”

Just in case you're under the illusion that there are any good guys in the power structure of Ukraine--including Zelenskyy--read both GP and Cockburn. 


  1. The plot thickens.

    Add to the reports you've cited, Mark, J.E. Dyer's lengthy expose published Monday of Schiff's relationship with Igor Pasternak, and Pasternak's dealings in Ukraine since 2014. Dyer has no bombshell revelations but she carefully makes the case for Trump's legitimate concerns over the basis for our aid to Ukraine.

    There is undoubtedly much much more to the story.

    1. Thanks, Cassander. I saw that but haven't had time to read it--there's so much going on and I need to get to the Flynn case next.

      The Dems are unleashing all these revelations.

  2. "The Biden (and now Kerry) scandal in the Ukraine is much more than about the money paid to Hunter Biden..."

    I guess we should call it the 'Biden/Kerry/Schiff Scandal' after the three leading Dem politicians now known to have taken Ukraine-related money. Atleast until another one is exposed.

    And, as Peter Schweizer said recently, Ukraine is perhaps the poorest country in Europe with a GDP per capita of ~$2500/year. Every penny extracted by a corrupt US politician can be viewed, when you cut through their BS, as theft from the people of Ukraine.

    1. It's shameful. Outside the US many people are aware of this aspect of US foreign policy. Foreign leaders certainly are. It's why they all try to buy off our ruling class.

  3. As we will be reading a lot about Ukraine, we will be reading many times the accusation that Vladimir Putin "annexed" Crimea.

    In fact, the Crimea conducted a referendum on March 16, 2014. The voter turn-out was 83%, and 97% of the votes were to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

    The population of Crimea is overwhelmingly Russian and had voted overwhelmingly for Victor Yanukovych in Ukraine's 2010 Presidential election. The European Union observed the election and found that Yanukovych had won fairly.

    Nevertheless, Ukrainian zealots in the capital, Kyiv, occupied the streets for months and made Yanukovych's governance impossible. These zealots were supported by the Obama Administration. Eventually, Yanokovych fled from Ukraine on February 21, 2014.

    The removal of Yanokovych from his elected Presidency caused Crimea to conduct its referendum on March 16, 2014. The Russian population there voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, because they recognized that their votes never would count in Ukraine.

    That is how Putin "annexed" Crimea.

    The removal of elected President Yanukovych Russian population likewise caused the Russian population of the Donbass region of Ukraine to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia. The Donbass Russians have not been allowed to secede peacefully by voting, and so they are seceding by an armed rebellion.

    That's a history that people should keep in mind.

    1. And, in fact, the historical connection of Crimea to Russia--rather than to Ukraine--goes back centuries. All ignored by the US ruling class, which has its own agenda, which involves snookering most other Americans with false narratives.

    2. Actually, it is Russian because Stalin removed the Tatars by force and brought in Russians.

  4. The urge for NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine is/was extremely provocative, given GHW Bush and Helmut Kohl's promise not to expand NATO eastward in return for the reunification of Germany.

    As a thought experiment: Would the US ever have accepted Warsaw Pact status for Mexico?

    1. It's crazy. We have many shared concerns with Russia. We may not always be on the same side with them, but pointless provocation followed by looting? Stupid.

  5. "As a thought experiment: Would the US ever have accepted Warsaw Pact status for Mexico?"

    Forbes -- Its hard for us to break the habit of thinking in terms of logical argument. But (and I honestly don't mean to be a broken record. Well, not much, anyway) I would respectfully argue that the answer to the above question no longer matters. This is not about logic anymore. Or morality. Or honesty. Or integrity.

    We are down to a battle for sheer power, as is being pointed out by Mark and others on this blog and elsewhere in the blogosphere.

    In this battle the Dems are resorting to a corrupted 'impeachment' procedure devoid of honesty. What happens if in this battle for power the Dems lose? What will they try next?

    Where do you go after you have abandoned logic, honesty, morality and integrity in your quest for power?

    History has some terrible answers.

    1. I don't disagree with your observations or your sentiment. I suggested the 'thought experiment' for my own sanity, in order, at least, to remain principled when thinking about some of these absurdities, e.g. Russia "stealing" Crimea, NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine.

      As much as the struggle is power politics, the prog-left still needs their absurdities repelled as many--though not here--are induced by the lying media and the propaganda spewed forth. Cheers.


    I'm trying to understand the Ukrainian situation as best I can...but its not easy. Many cross-currents.

    But I do have to wonder why it was not entirely appropriate in light of current conditions for Trump to delay (and even reconsider) $391 million in military aid to Ukraine. Can anyone describe in simple sentences what, exactly, our Ukraine policy is?

    1. There may be several. Trump's and competing Deep State policies.

    2. Exactly.

      That's why I have trouble accepting some criticisms of Trump's foreign policy. I'm not sure he has been free to conduct a foreign policy as he would have it.

      Aid to Ukraine as case in point. Iran as second case. Etc.

    3. Those are two of the most prominent examples.

    4. Someone pointed out on Tucker Carlson a couple of nights ago that the vast majority of that cash is going to military vendors in a wide, bi-partisan, array of U.S. Congressional Districts. Much of it supposedly to buy materials/equipment that the Ukrainian military neither asked for nor has much use for. So this is actually a Pork Barrel project, with the money being essentially laundered through local, Ukrainian, oligarch's bank accounts so that they can take their cut. This explains the sudden, and early, interest of so many congress critters about the "aid" delay. I think that flurry of concern, and attending outrage that Orange Man would interfere with "business as usual", gave them the idea of using this as the 'hook' for the 'Blower'. I'm sure they were combing all Trump's actions/conversations looking for a 'hook'. If not this it would have been something else equally asinine; but this is a danger to the status quo even a Congressman can understand.
      "Pork! The other grift."
      Tom S.