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Frauds: The Election, Media, Congressional Dems, and the FBI

By Clarice Feldman | American Thinker | December 13, 2020

The first of this week’s two biggest stories was Friday evening’s action by the Supreme Court refusing to hear the lawsuit brought by Texas and other states respecting the evident fraud in the balloting in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan. I expressed my views on this yesterday here: ‘A Republic, If You Can Keep It’ | The Pipeline

In short, I believe if the Court had decided to take it, it would not have decided who won these states. Instead, had it decided that the electors from those states were chosen illegally, it would have remanded the complaints to the legislatures of these states, which have the responsibility to fashion a remedy. In any event, had they decided to throw out the electoral votes of those states, Biden would still have one more electoral vote than President Trump, as the majority is determined by the number of electoral votes actually cast. It’s now up to the state legislatures and Congress to decide what to do with the votes from the states in question and the Texas filing provides an excellent template for deciding the votes from those and other states where fraud was rampant — either pick a different slate of electors or provide no slate from those states. If the state legislatures fail in their responsibilities, at the demand of one congressman and one senator, any electoral slate can be challenged and the outcome of the challenge is determined by the House of Representatives voting by delegation, a system in which the Republicans have the most delegations and, therefore, the most votes.

The second most significant matter, in my view, was the clear gaslighting the media and former intelligence officials carried out on the Hunter Biden story, hiding the fact that he’s been under criminal investigation since 2018 for bribery, tax evasion, and money laundering from, among other sources, China. Drew Holden and Arthur Schwartz rounded up the evidence of this gaslighting. That it was effective in its bad faith effort at keeping relevant information about Chinese bribery of the Biden family and their consummate corruption in time to affect the election is clear. One survey reports that nearly 10% of those who voted for Biden in key states would not have, had they known about this scandal which the major media deeply hid from them.

Knowing about the scandals involving Biden’s son Hunter’s dealings with officials and firms in China, Ukraine and Russia would have prompted 9.4 percent of those surveyed to change their vote, according to the survey of 1,750 Biden voters in Nevada, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Michigan.

All the fact-free media claims that the Biden corruption was “Russian disinformation” served only to bury the truth that these and other government figures were captives of the Chinese government, a government of ruthless ambitions against both us and their own people. Interestingly, the press that swatted away the report in the NYPost about Hunter as “Russian Disinformation” were the very same people who on zero evidence accused President Trump of Russian collusion for 3 1/2 years.

Just as interesting were the 50 former intelligence officers, including John Brennan and James Clapper, who had not been briefed about Hunter Biden, but all the same claimed that the story about his corruption had all the characteristics of “Russian disinformation.”

Hunter and Joe Biden were not the only people unmasked as Chinese stooges this week. Congressman Eric Swalwell was as well when the story broke that he had been too close — how close he hasn’t denied — to a Chinese honeypot spy while he sat on the House Intelligence Committee, recipients of the most secret of our intelligence gathering. Even more damning is that Speaker Nancy Pelosi put Swalwell in that position after the FBI notified her that he had been compromised. Congressman Adam Schiff, chair of that committee, was also informed and it didn’t bother him. Instead he peddled lies about Trump and Russia for years and bottled up evidence that the claims were baseless. Just as the agency stoked and never rebutted the claims of Russian collusion against Trump, which it knew at the very outset were false, they did nothing to deal with Swalwell’s having been compromised.

Tammy Bruce nailed it:

Now clear: FBI *knew* Rep. Swalwell was compromised via a Chinese spy, yet spent the last 4 years pushing an accusation against @realDonaldTrump they KNEW was false & helped perpetuate. But don’t worry, our system would totally not compromise the election.

— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) December 8, 2020

Indeed, the FBI has a great deal to answer for and in a better world would be stripped of its counterintelligence functions and more.

Don Surber has dubbed the agency “The KGB for Democrats,” and he has a solid point. It has, as he notes, been in recent years covering up for Democrats and besetting those that the Democrats don’t like. It’s hard to take issue with his examples:

The FBI actually aids and abets crime. Its investigation of Hillary’s sale of state secrets through 33,000 private emails focused not on prosecuting her, but on destroying all evidence of her crimes, including the computer she used. [snip]

Then there is Seth Rich, the man who blew the whistle on the DNC and sent to Wikileaks a thumb drive of incriminating emails. Everyone in DC knows he was murdered. No one is investigating.

Ty Clevenger represents Brian Huddleston in a lawsuit against the FBI. He cannot get the bureau to turn over records. His FOIA lawsuit did get an admission from the bureau.

Clevenger wrote:

“After three years of claiming that it could not find any records about murdered Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich, the FBI admitted today that it has thousands of pages of information about him, further admitting that it has custody of his laptop.” [snip]

The FBI does not work for the American people. If it did, it would have told Obama to pound salt when he demanded the FBI spy on Donald John Trump. Instead it lied to federal judges and spied.

Four years later, only one poor soul has been prosecuted. No other prosecution is expected.

Then there is Hunter Biden’s laptop filled with details of corruption, bribes, and sex with underage women in Red China.

It sat on that laptop for a year. The good citizen who turned it in lost his business and is now in hiding.

The corrupt agency is now involved in a wide-ranging investigation of sexual misconduct, conducted by the Office of the Inspector General.

At week’s end Senator Ted Cruz wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General William Barr, noting that under oath former director James Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe‘s testimony about their knowledge and approval of the 2016 Clinton media leak is at odds, that one of them lied under oath, a federal crime. He wants an investigation to determine which one is the liar.

Lying partisans from top to bottom.

With all this going on, it’s no surprise that disinfectants are in such demand and they are hard to find in the market.

December 13, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hunter Biden Criminal Probe Bolsters a Chinese Scholar’s Claim About Beijing’s Influence With the Bidens

Professor Di Dongsheng says China’s close ties to Wall Street and its dealings with Hunter could enable it to exert more power than under Trump

By Glenn Greenwald | December 9, 2020

Hunter Biden acknowledged today that he has been notified of an active criminal investigation into his tax affairs by the U.S. Attorney for Delaware. Among the numerous prongs of the inquiry, CNN reports, investigators are examining “whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries, principally China.”

Documents relating to Hunter Biden’s exploitation of his father’s name to enrich himself and other relatives through deals with China were among the cache published in the week before the election by The New York Post — revelations censored by Twitter and Facebook and steadfastly ignored by most mainstream news outlets. That concerted repression effort by media outlets and Silicon Valley left it to right-wing outlets such as Fox News and The Daily Caller to report, which in turn meant that millions of Americans were kept in the dark before voting.

But the just-revealed federal criminal investigation in Delaware is focused on exactly the questions which corporate media outlets refused to examine for fear that doing so would help Trump: namely, whether Hunter Biden engaged in illicit behavior in China and what impact that might have on his father’s presidency.

The allegations at the heart of this investigation compel an examination of a fascinating and at-times disturbing speech at a major financial event held last week in Shanghai. In that speech, a Chinese scholar of political science and international finance, Di Donghseng, insisted that Beijing will have far more influence in Washington under a Biden administration than it did with the Trump administration.

The reason, Di said, is that China’s ability to get its way in Washington has long depended upon its numerous powerful Wall Street allies. But those allies, he said, had difficulty controlling Trump, but will exert virtually unfettered power over Biden. That China cultivated extensive financial ties to Hunter Biden, Di explained, will be crucial for bolstering Beijing’s influence even further.

Di, who in addition to his teaching positions is also Vice Dean of Beijing’s Renmin University’s School of International Relations, delivered his remarks alongside three other Chinese banking and development experts. Di’s speech at the event, entitled “Will China’s Opening up of its Financial Sector Attract Wall Street?,” was translated and posted by Jennifer Zeng, a Chinese Communist Party critic who left China years ago, citing religious persecution, and now lives in the U.S. A source fluent in Mandarin confirmed the accuracy of the translation.

The centerpiece of Di’s speech was the history he set forth of how Beijing has long successfully managed to protect its interests in the halls of American power: namely, by relying on “friends” in Wall Street and other U.S. ruling class sectors — which worked efficiently until the Trump presidency.

Referring to the Trump-era trade war between the two countries, Di posed this question: “Why did China and the U.S. use to be able to settle all kinds of issues between 1992 [when Clinton became President] and 2016 [when Obama’s left office]?” He then provided this answer:

No matter what kind of crises we encountered — be it the Yinhe incident [when the U.S. interdicted a Chinese ship in the mistaken belief it carried chemical weapons for Iran], the bombing of the embassy [the 1992 bombing by the U.S. of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade], or the crashing of the plane [the 2001 crashing of a U.S. military spy plane into a Chinese fighter jet] — things were all solved in no time, like a couple do with their quarrels starting at the bedhead but ending at the bed end. We fixed everything in two months. What is the reason? I’m going to throw out something maybe a little bit explosive here.

It’s just because we have people at the top. We have our old friends who are at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence.

Who are these “old friends” of China’s “who are at the top of America’s core inner circle of power and influence” and have ensured that, in his words, “for the past 30 years, 40 years, we have been utilizing the core power of the United States”? Di provided the answer: Wall Street, with whom the Chinese Community Party and Chinese industry maintain a close, multi-pronged and inter-dependent relationship.

“Since the 1970s, Wall Street had a very strong influence on the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States,” Di observed. Thus, “we had a channel to rely on.”

To illustrate the point of how helpful Wall Street has been to Chinese interests in the U.S., Di recounted a colorful story, albeit one fused with anti-Semitic tropes, of his unsuccessful efforts in 2015 to secure the preferred venue in Washington for the debut of President Xi Jinping’s book about China. No matter how much he cajoled the owner of the iconic D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose, or what he offered him, Di was told it was unavailable, already promised to a different author. So he conveyed his failure to Party leadership.

But at the last minute, Di recounts, he was told that venue had suddenly changed its mind and agreed to host Xi’s book event. This was the work, he said, of someone to whom Party leaders introduced him: “She is from a famous, leading global financial institution on Wall Street,” Di said, “the president of the Asia region of a top-level financial institution,” who speaks perfect Mandarin and has a sprawling home in Beijing.

The point — that China’s close relationship with Wall Street has given it very powerful friends in the U.S. — was so clear that it sufficed for him to coyly laugh with the audience: “Do you understand what I mean? If you do, put your hands together!” They knowingly applauded.

All of that provoked an obvious question: why did this close relationship with Wall Street not enable China to exert the same influence during the Trump years, including avoiding a costly trade war? Di explained that — aside from Wall Street’s reduced standing due to the 2008 financial crisis — everything changed when Trump ascended to the presidency; specifically, Wall Street could not control him the way it had previous presidents because of Trump’s prior conflicts with Wall Street:

But the problem is that after 2008, the status of Wall Street has declined, and more importantly, after 2016, Wall Street can’t fix Trump. It’s very awkward. Why? Trump had a previous soft default issue with Wall Street, so there was a conflict between them, but I won’t go into details, I may not have enough time.

So during the US-China trade war, [Wall Street] tried to help, and I know that my friends on the US side told me that they tried to help, but they couldn’t do much.

But as Di shifted to his discussion of the new incoming administration, his tone palpably changed, becoming far more animated, excited and optimistic. That’s because a Biden presidency means a restoration of the old order, where Wall Street exerts great influence with the White House and can thus do China’s bidding: “But now we’re seeing Biden was elected, the traditional elite, the political elite, the establishment, they’re very close to Wall Street, so you see that, right?”

And Di specifically referenced the work Beijing did to cultivate Hunter:

Trump has been saying that Biden’s son has some sort of global foundation. Have you noticed that?

Who helped [Biden’s son] build the foundations? Got it? There are a lot of deals inside all these.

Some excerpts of Di’s speech can be seen below, and the translated transcript of it here.

The claims in his speech can be seen in a new light given today’s revelations that the U.S. Attorney has resumed its active criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings in China and whether he accounted to the I.R.S. for the income (CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz says that “at least one of the matters investigators have examined is a 2017 gift of a 2.8-carat diamond that Hunter Biden received from CEFC [China Energy’]’s founder and former chairman Ye Jianming after a Miami business meeting.”


The pronouncements of this University Professor and administrator should not be taken as gospel, but there is substantial independent confirmation for much of what he claimed. That is even more true after today’s news about Hunter Biden.

That Hunter Biden received large sums of money from Chinese entities is not in dispute. A report from the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs earlier this year, while finding no wrongdoing by Joe Biden, documented millions in cash flow between Hunter and his relatives and Chinese interests.

Nor can it be reasonably disputed that Wall Street exerts significant influence in Democratic Party politics generally and in the world of Joe Biden specifically. Citing data from the Center for Responsive Politics, CNBC reported in the weeks before the election:

People in the securities and investment industry will finish the 2020 election cycle contributing over $74 million to back Joe Biden’s candidacy for president, a much larger sum than what President Donald Trump raised from Wall Street.

They added: “Biden also received a ton of financial support from leaders on Wall Street in the third quarter.” At the same time, said CNN, “professionals on Wall Street are shunning Trump and funneling staggering amounts of money to his opponent.” Wall Street executives, CNBC reported, specially celebrated Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate, noting that her own short-lived presidential campaign was deluged with “contributions from executives in a wide range of industries, including film, TV, real estate and finance.”

Moreover, Biden’s top appointees thus far overwhelmingly have massive ties to Wall Street and the industries which spend the most to control the U.S. government. As but one egregious example, Pine Island Investment Corp. — an investment firm in which key Biden appointees including Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief nominee Gen. Lloyd Austin have been centrally involved — “is seeing a surge in support from Wall Street players after pitching access to investors.”

Prior to the formal selection of Blinken and Austin for key Cabinet posts, The Daily Poster reported that “two former government officials who may now run President-elect Joe Biden’s national security team have been partners at a private equity firm now promising investors big profits off government business because of its ties to those officials.” The New York Times last week said “the Biden team’s links to these entities are presenting the incoming administration with its first test of transparency and ethics” and that Pine Island is an example “of how former officials leverage their expertise, connections and access on behalf of corporations and other interests, without in some cases disclosing details about their work, including the names of the clients or what they are paid.”

That China and Wall Street have an extremely close relationship has been documented for years. Financial Times — under the headline “Beijing and Wall Street deepen ties despite geopolitical rivalry” — last month reported that “Wall Street groups including BlackRock, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase have each been given approval to expand their businesses in China over recent months.”

A major Wall Street Journal story from last week, bearing the headline “China Has One Powerful Friend Left in the U.S.: Wall Street,” echoed Di’s speech by noting that “Chinese leaders have time and again turned to Wall Street for assistance in periods of trouble.” That WSJ article particularly emphasized the growing ties between China and the asset-manager giant BlackRock, a firm that already has outsized influence in the Biden administration. And Michael Bloomberg’s ties to China have been so crucial that he has regularly heaped praise on Beijing even when doing so was politically deleterious.

Even the smaller details of Di’s speech — including his anecdote about the book event he tried to arrange for Xi — check out. Contemporaneous news accounts show that exactly the book event he described was held at Politics and Prose in 2015, just as he recalled.

None of this means that Trump was some sort of stalwart enemy of Wall Street. From massive corporate tax cuts to rollbacks of regulations in numerous industries and many of their own in key positions, the financial sector benefited in all sorts of ways from the Trump presidency.

But all of their behavior indicates that they view a Biden/Harris administration as far more beneficial to their interests, and far more susceptible to their control. And that, in turn, makes Beijing far more confident that they will wield significantly more influence in Washington than they could over the last four years.

That confidence is due, says Professor Di, to Beijing’s close ties to a newly empowered Wall Street as well as their efforts to cultivate Hunter Biden, efforts we are likely to learn much more about now that Hunter’s activities in China are under active criminal investigation in Delaware. We should and could have learned about these transactions prior to the election had the bulk of the media not corruptly decided to ignore any incriminating reporting on Biden, but learning about them now is, one might say, a case of better late than never.

December 10, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook’s ban of New York Post’s Hunter Biden story had NOTHING to do with fact-checkers, report suggests

RT | October 30, 2020

Fact-checkers appear to have been invoked only as an excuse to shadowban the New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop, according to Facebook’s own statement and leaked internal moderation documents.

Earlier this month, the Post had obtained a hard drive belonging to the son of the current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and cited emails they found as indication of troubling business deals in Ukraine. Twitter responded by locking their account, but Facebook said it would “temporarily reduce distribution” of it.

According to Andy Stone, Facebook’s policy communications director, the story would have to be looked at by fact-checkers, which was part of a “standard process” to reduce the spread of “misinformation.”

On Friday, however, a Facebook statement seemed to confirm that no such review actually took place.

“As our CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress earlier this week, we have been on heightened alert because of FBI intelligence about the potential for hack and leak operations meant to spread misinformation,” a company spokesman said in a statement to the Guardian. “Based on that risk, and in line with our existing policies and procedures, we made the decision to temporarily limit the content’s distribution while our fact-checkers had a chance to review it.”

“When that didn’t happen, we lifted the demotion.”

The spokesman did not clarify whether the fact-checkers even attempted to verify the materials published by the Post, but no results of such a review have ever been published.

Moreover, the Guardian cited internal moderation documents that someone at Facebook leaked to them, indicating that the shadowban wasn’t part of a regular process. Instead, the documents purportedly showed the existence of a policy under which stories can be “manually enqueued” for suppression, citing the upcoming US elections as an “issue of importance” that justified such actions.

The documents also say that the standard practice is for Facebook AI to predict which content might contain misinformation, based on signals “including feedback from the community and disbelief comments,” in a sort of pre-crime enforcement straight out of dystopian science fiction.

There is also a de-facto “whitelist” of some 5,000 media outlets, called the “Alexa 5K,” whose content the AI ignores by default “under the assumption these are unlikely to be spreading misinformation.” The Post was apparently on that list, so the decision to suppress the story was made by actual Facebook employees, not an AI system flagging potential misinformation.

It worked, too. Data compiled by research firm NewsWhip and published in Newsweek last week showed that Facebook’s soft suppression was far more effective than Twitter’s outright censorship of the Post’s account, which was finally overturned on Friday.

On Facebook, the story reached only half as many readers as similar anti-Trump bombshells pushed by the mainstream media. Neither the claims by the New York Times about the president’s taxes nor the Atlantic’s repeatedly-refuted story about Trump calling US troops “suckers and losers” were flagged for fact-checking by either human moderators or Facebook’s AI.

Stone, Facebook’s policy director who announced the shadowban, is open about his history with the Democrats. His Twitter biography shows him working in the past for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Senator Barbara Boxer and Rep. Jerry McNerney, among others.

October 31, 2020 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

NBC accused of putting up ‘smokescreen’ for Biden by ‘debunking’ document nobody’s heard of

RT | October 30, 2020

NBC News had its reporters debunk a damaging document about the Bidens that few have heard of, yet it won’t investigate emails potentially implicating Joe Biden in foreign deals. Conservatives smelled a distraction campaign.

An “intelligence” document purportedly linking Biden and his son Hunter to the Chinese Communist Party was the work of a computer-generated fake researcher, NBC News reported on Thursday. According to the news outlet, the report’s author, ‘Martin Aspen,’ is a fabricated identity and his photograph is a ‘deepfake’ composite generated by artificial intelligence.

The document, published by blogger and professor Christopher Balding at the beginning of October, claims that Hunter Biden made deals in China beyond the alleged deals laid out in a recent New York Post expose. Hunter, according to the document, courted Chinese state money, and Chinese officials and businessmen were eager to hand over cash for the chance to court his father, who was then the vice president of the United States.

According to NBC, the document “went viral on the right-wing internet” and “laid the groundwork” for the right to “baselessly accuse candidate Joe Biden of being beholden to the Chinese government.”

The only problem with that assertion is that few on the right have ever heard of this document, and it was never the basis of the ongoing Hunter Biden scandal in the first place.

Instead, the right has been focused on a tranche of Hunter Biden’s emails and texts released by the New York Post in mid-October. Allegedly sourced from Hunter’s own laptop by Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the messages show Hunter attempting to trade access to his father with Ukranian energy tycoons and trying to set up business ventures in China to benefit his family, all while planning to kick a share of his foreign profits up to “the big guy” – which a former business partner of Hunter, Tony Bobulinski, has attested is the former vice president.

A media ‘smokescreen’

According to NBC, the Aspen document is “part of a wider effort to smear Hunter Biden and weaken Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.” To paraphrase its report, if the document was faked, the entire Biden scandal is brought into disrepute.

Except the New York Post’s reporting is vouched for by Bobulinski and others who appeared to confirm the authenticity of the emails and texts, including pollster Frank Luntz, who didn’t deny that he had taken part in one of the email conversations. While it is unclear if any of the deals laid out in Hunter’s messages ever materialized, the Biden campaign has not denied the authenticity of the laptop contents, or accused Bobulinski of lying.

The media hasn’t pressed Biden on the emails, however. NBC did not report on Bobulinski’s claims, except to describe them as an effort to wrap Biden up in a “Pizzagate”-style conspiracy. The Washington Post first suggested the laptop leaks were a “Russian intelligence operation,” then told readers in a prominent op-ed to “treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation – even if they probably aren’t.”

The New York Times also tried to tie the laptop to Russia, and only changed its tack when the Director of National Intelligence last week said there was “no concrete evidence” of Russian involvement, a statement seconded by the FBI shortly afterwards. NPR went one further, flat out refusing to “waste the listeners’ and readers’ time” on the story, which the publicly-funded network called “pure distraction.”

Some conservatives speculated that with the “Russian disinformation” explanation failing, NBC was trying to deliberately conflate Aspen’s dodgy report with the New York Post’s leaks, in an effort to discredit the latter and protect Biden.

Alexa… what does political desperation look like?

— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) October 30, 2020

NBC News is intentionally spreading disinformation to create a smokescreen around the verified information on Hunter Biden they want to ignore https://t.co/7SHxKihWu6

— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) October 30, 2020

Although NBC found out that the report’s supposed author was a fake – a discovery confirmed by Balding himself, who claims ‘Martin Aspen’ was invented to hide the true author from Chinese authorities, the network did not disprove any of its contents. They remain unconfirmed and unverified, with mainstream media seemingly uninterested in following them up.

Much of the research into Biden’s alleged corruption has been carried out by independent journalists, against the wishes of the media at large. Glenn Greenwald, who helped publicize Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks in 2013, resigned on Thursday from The Intercept after the outlet he co-founded refused to publish a story critical of Biden.

“Journalists are desperate not to know,” he said, accusing major news outlets of making “little secret of their eagerness to help Biden win.”

October 30, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

When Will the Truth About the Bidens’ Ukraine Deals & Financial Bonanza Come Out?

By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 10.10.2020

Despite the US mainstream media and the FBI appearing uninterested in the latest GOP study concerning Hunter Biden’s financial transactions and occupations during his father’s vice presidency, the investigation may go full throttle if Joe Biden is defeated in the 2020 campaign, suggests US investigative journalist George Eliason.

The FBI has refused to either confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing investigations concerning Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, The Federalist reported on 8 October, citing an exclusively obtained bureau letter written in response to a 24 September request by Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.

Why FBI Unlikely to React Before the Election

On 24 September, Jordan sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray asking what investigative steps – if any – the intelligence agency had taken in response to the GOP report detailing misconduct and suspicious financial transactions involving Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates.

Nevertheless, the FBI has yet to respond to Jordan’s questions concerning potential inquiries into:

·         Hunter Biden receiving millions of dollars from foreign nationals with questionable background and funding individuals “involved in human trafficking and organised prostitution”;

·         Hunter’s Chinese transactions “involv[ing] potential criminal activity”;

·         a bribe allegedly paid by Ukrainian gas firm Burisma’s owner to the country’s officials to stop investigations against him while Hunter served on the company’s board.

​Although Republican congressmen are urging the FBI to look into the Bidens’ potential misconduct, there is little if any chance of the Senate pressuring Wray into launching a formal investigation before the November election, believes George Eliason, a Donbass-based American investigative journalist.

“The last thing the Senate will do is make any move that looks partisan or trying to influence the election”, Eliason stresses. “After the election it is possible, if Biden loses. On the chance of a Biden win, the investigation will be mute”.GOP Report Sheds Light on Hunter Biden’s Gains

The GOP report indicates that Hunter Biden’s financial gains from foreign sources substantially increased during his father’s tenure as US vice president and after, citing a potential conflict of interest.

Referring to Treasury records, the document also alleges “potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals”.

Several days before the release of the committee’s findings, Just the News reported that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the US Treasury Department, had “flagged several foreign transactions to Hunter Biden-connected businesses as ‘suspicious’ during the end of the Obama administration and the beginning of the Trump administration”. These findings were highlighted in the agency’s Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) which, according to the media outlet, “is [per se] not evidence of wrongdoing, but it is usually a starting point for investigation”.

In addition to receiving $4 million in “questionable financial transactions” with foreign financiers, Hunter Biden was spotted sending funds to individuals “linked to what ‘appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring'”, the GOP report reads.

Republican investigators specifically turned the spotlight on Hunter Biden’s role in the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma when his father served as the Obama administration’s “public face” of its policy towards the Eastern European state. In May 2014, Hunter joined the firm’s board of directors, despite having no experience in energy, and was paid as much as $50,000 per month.

“The Bidens were in the front seat [of the Obama administration’s Ukraine politics] the entire time”, Eliason recollects. “Joe Biden’s support for the Ukrainian diaspora and fulfilling their wants in Ukraine has been unwavering. The fact that Ukraine became a cash cow for his family that early makes it very clear”.

Thus, in December 2014, the owner of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, reportedly gave a $7 million bribe to Ukrainian officials to have the case against him closed and his $23-million assets in the UK unfrozen while Hunter Biden was on Burisma’s board. According to the GOP document, the case was reported to the FBI by a DOJ official at the US Embassy in Kiev in 2015, but no action seemingly followed. While US State Department officials considered Zlochevsky “corrupt” at the time, then Vice President Biden avoided denouncing the Ukrainian oligarch, the document says.

More Facts May Emerge After 2020 Campaign

While the FBI keeps silent, the US left-leaning mainstream media have downplayed the study, saying that it does not show whether Hunter Biden’s actions influenced US government policy in any way.

CBS News, in particular, has drawn attention to the fact that “the report does not assert that the former vice president pushed for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to protect Burisma, a central claim made by President Trump and his allies”. For its part, the Biden campaign denounced the GOP research as a political attack amid the 2020 presidential campaign.

“The MSM has been firmly behind Biden and has to step back further than is now possible with credibility”, says Eliason referring to the mainstream media’s previous efforts to bury the anti-Biden sexual harassment allegations put forward by Tara Reade, a former staff assistant in Biden’s US Senate office. “As far as not affecting US policy, it’s a fogging ploy to relieve Biden from any culpability in crimes the evidence is very strong pointing to his involvement”.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian probe into the alleged Biden-Poroshenko tapes, concerning the ouster of then Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin – who was investigating Burisma Holdings – in exchange for a $1 billion loan, is still ongoing, the journalist emphasises.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova confirmed in mid-September that the tapes are being examined: “We are waiting for the results of the research. We will react only where it is prescribed by law … Ukraine does not interfere in the affairs of other states. We remain in the field of criminal justice”, she stated on Savik Shuster’s YouTube podcast on 12 September.

Eliason believes that more facts concerning the Bidens may surface when the presidential campaign is over, as it will no longer be seen as an attempt to interfere in the elections. Furthermore, in case Biden loses and Trump retains office, the situation “would be cut and dry”, which would help US investigators to eventually sort things out.

October 10, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Impeachment Reminder of Our Toxic Foreign Aid

By James Bovard | Ron Paul Institute | Monday June 29, 2020

Foreign aid to Ukraine helped spur the Democrats’ effort to impeach and remove President Trump earlier this year. Ukraine was supposed to be on the verge of great progress until Trump pulled the rug out from under the heroic salvation effort by US government bureaucrats. Unfortunately, Congress has devoted a hundred times more attention to the timing of aid to Ukraine than to its effectiveness. And most of the media coverage pretended that US handouts abroad are as generous and uplifting as congressmen claim.

US foreign aid has long fueled the poxes it promised to eradicate — especially kleptocracy, or government by thieves. A 2002 American Economic Review analysis concluded that “increases in [foreign] aid are associated with contemporaneous increases in corruption” and that “corruption is positively correlated with aid received from the United States.” Windfalls of foreign aid can make politicians more rapacious, which economists have dubbed the “voracity effect.”

Early in his presidency, George W. Bush promised to reform foreign aid, declaring, “I think it makes no sense to give aid money to countries that are corrupt.” Regardless, the Bush administration continued delivering billions of dollars in handouts to many of the world’s most corrupt regimes.

Barack Obama proclaimed at the United Nations in 2010 that the US government was “leading a global effort to combat corruption.” The Los Angeles Times noted that Obama’s “aides said the United States in the past has often seemed to just throw money at problems,” while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that “a lot of these aid programs don’t work” and lamented their “heartbreaking” failures. But Obama promised during his 2008 campaign to double foreign-aid spending, which obliterated efforts to reform failed programs. In 2011, congressional Republicans sought to restrict foreign aid going to fraud-ridden foreign regimes. Secretary of State Clinton wailed that restricting handouts to nations that fail anti-corruption tests “has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients.”

Regardless, the Obama administration continued pouring tens of billions of US tax dollars into sinkholes such as Afghanistan, which even its president, Ashraf Ghani, admitted in 2016 was “one of the most corrupt countries on earth.” The governor of Kandahar denounced his own government officials and police officers as “looters and kidnappers.” John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), declared that “US policies and practices unintentionally aided and abetted corruption” in Afghanistan.

Since the end of the Soviet Union, the United States has provided more than $6 billion in aid to Ukraine. At the House impeachment hearings late last year, a key anti-Trump witness was acting US ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. The Washington Post hailed Taylor as someone who “spent much of the 1990s telling Ukrainian politicians that nothing was more critical to their long-term prosperity than rooting out corruption and bolstering the rule of law, in his role as the head of US development assistance for post-Soviet countries.” A New York Times editorial lauded Taylor and State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent as witnesses who “came across not as angry Democrats or Deep State conspirators, but as men who have devoted their lives to serving their country.”

Their testimony spurred Eric Rubin, president of the American Foreign Service Association, to bewail that “this is the most fraught time and the most difficult time for our members” since Sen. Joe McCarthy’s accusations of communism in the 1950s. A Washington Post headline echoed him: “The diplomatic corps has been wounded. The State Department needs to heal.” But not nearly as much as the foreigners supposedly rescued by US bureaucrats.

The Wall Street Journal reported on October 31 that the International Monetary Fund, which has provided more than $20 billion in loans to Ukraine, “remains skeptical after a history of broken promises [from the Ukrainian government]. Kiev hasn’t successfully completed any of a series of IMF bailout packages over the past two decades, with systemic corruption at the heart of much of that failure.” The IMF concluded that Ukraine continued to be vexed by “shortcomings in the legal framework, pervasive corruption, and large parts of the economy dominated by inefficient state-owned enterprises or by oligarchs.” That last item is damning for US benevolent pretensions. If a former Soviet republic cannot even terminate its government-owned boondoggles, then why was the US government bankrolling them? While many members of Congress could not find Ukraine on a map, far fewer could have offered any coherent explanation of what US aid bought in Ukraine.

Transparency International, which publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, shows that corruption surged in Ukraine in the late 1990s (after the United States decided to rescue that country) and remains at abysmal levels. Ukraine now ranks in the bottom tier on the list of most corrupt nations, with a worse rating than Egypt and Pakistan, two other major US aid recipients notorious for corruption.

Actually, the best gauge of Ukrainian corruption is the near-total collapse of its citizens’ trust in government or in their own future. Since 1991, the nation has lost almost 20 percent of its population as citizens flee abroad like passengers leaping off a sinking ship. But as long as Kiev was not completely depopulated, US bureaucrats could continue claiming to be on the verge of achieving great things.

The House impeachment hearings and much of the media gushed over those career US government officials despite their strikeouts. It was akin to a congressional committee’s resurrecting Col. George Custer in 1877 and fawning as he offered personal insights in dealing with uprisings by Sioux Indians (while carefully avoiding awkward questions about the previous year at the Little Bighorn).

Foreign aid is virtue-signaling with other people’s money. As long the aid spawns press releases and photo opportunities for presidents and members of Congress and campaign donations from corporate and other beneficiaries, little else matters. Congress almost never conducts thorough investigations into the failure of aid programs despite their legendary pratfalls. As the Christian Science Monitor noted in 2010, AID “created an atmosphere of frantic urgency about the ‘burn rate’ — a measure of how quickly money is spent. Emphasis gets put on spending fast to make room for the next batch from Congress.” Martine van Bijlert of the nonprofit Afghanistan Analysts Network commented, “As long as you spend money and you can provide a paper trail, that’s a job well done. It’s a perverse system, and there seems to be no intention to change it.” The “burn rate” fixation produced endless absurdities, including collapsing school buildings, impassable roads, failed electrification projects, and phantom health clinics. SIGAR’s John Sopko “found a USAID lessons-learned report from 1980s on Afghan reconstruction but nobody at AID had read it.”

Perverse incentives

“Fail and repeat” was also AID’s motto in Iraq. After the 2003 invasion, AID and the Pentagon paired up to spend $60 billion to rebuild Iraq. As long as projects looked vaguely impressive at ribbon-cutting ceremonies, AID declared victory. Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), listed some of the agency’s farcical Iraq success claims at a 2011 hearing: “262,482 individuals reportedly benefited from medical supplies that were purchased to treat only 100 victims of a specific attack; 22 individuals attended a five-day mental-health course, yet 1.5 million were reported as beneficiaries; … and 280,000 were reported as benefitting from $14,246 spent to rehabilitate a morgue.” Ali Ghalib Baban, Iraq’s minister of planning, denied in 2009 that US aid for relief and reconstruction had benefitted his country: “Maybe they spent it, but Iraq doesn’t feel it.” An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity noted that, according to top Iraqi officials, the biggest impact of US aid was “more corruption and widespread money-laundering.”

After driving around the world, investment guru Jim Rogers declared, “Most foreign aid winds up with outside consultants, the local military, corrupt bureaucrats, the new NGO [nongovernmental organizations] administrators, and Mercedes dealers.” Mercedes-Benz automobiles became so popular among African government officials that a new Swahili word was coined: wabenzi — “men of the Mercedes-Benz.” After the Obama administration promised massive aid to Ukraine in 2014, Hunter Biden, the vice president’s son, jumped on the gravy train — as did legions of well-connected Washingtonians and other hustlers around the nation. Similar largesse ensures that there will never be a shortage of overpaid people and hired think tanks ready to write op-eds or letters to the editor of the Washington Post whooping up the moral greatness of foreign aid or some such hokum.

Bribing foreign politicians to encourage honest government makes as much sense as distributing free condoms to encourage abstinence. Rather than encouraging good governance practices, foreign aid is more likely to produce kleptocracies. As a Brookings Institution analysis observed, “The history of US assistance is littered with tales of corrupt foreign officials using aid to line their own pockets, support military buildups, and pursue vanity projects.” Both US politicians and US bureaucrats are prone to want to continue the aid gravy train regardless of how foreign regimes waste the money or use it to repress their own citizens.

US government leaders are far more concerned with buying influence than with safeguarding purity. Foreign aid is often little more than a bribe for a foreign regime to behave in ways that please the US government. One large bribe naturally spawns hundreds or thousands of smaller bribes, and thereby corrupts an entire country. The impeachment of Trump was driven by the specific favor that Democrats claimed he had requested from the Ukrainian president, not from seeking favors per se.

When it comes to the failure of US aid to Ukraine, almost all of Trump’s congressional critics are like the “dog that didn’t bark” in the Sherlock Holmes story. The real outrage is that Trump and prior presidents, with Congress cheering all the way, delivered so many US tax dollars to Kiev that any reasonable person knew would be wasted.

Foreign aid will continue to be toxic as long as politicians continue to be politicians. There is no bureaucratic cure for the perverse incentives created by flooding foreign nations with US tax dollars. If Washington truly wants to curtail foreign corruption, ending US government handouts aid is the best first step. Counting on foreign aid to reduce corruption is like expecting whiskey to cure alcoholism.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Reality Peeks Through in Ukraine

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | January 6, 2016

Nearly two years since U.S. officials helped foment a coup in Ukraine – partly justified by corruption allegations – the country continues to wallow in graft and cronyism as the living standards for average Ukrainians plummet, according to economic data and polls of public attitudes.

Even the neocon-oriented Wall Street Journal took note of the worsening corruption in a Jan. 1, 2016 article observing that “most Ukrainians say the revolution’s promise to replace rule by thieves with the rule of law has fallen short and the government acknowledges that there is still much to be done.”

Actually, the numbers suggest something even worse. More and more Ukrainians rate corruption as a major problem facing the nation, including a majority of 53 percent last September, up from 48 percent last June and 28 percent in September 2014, according to polls by International Foundation for Electoral Systems.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s GDP has fallen in every quarter since the Feb. 22, 2014 putsch that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Since then, the average Ukrainian also has faced economic “reforms” to slash pensions, energy subsidies and other social programs, as demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

In other words, the hard lives of most Ukrainians have gotten significantly harder while the elites continue to skim off whatever cream is left, including access to billions of dollars in the West’s foreign assistance that is keeping the economy afloat.

Part of the problem appears to be that people supposedly responsible for the corruption fight are themselves dogged by allegations of corruption. The Journal cited Ukrainian lawmaker Volodymyr Parasyuk who claimed to be so outraged by graft that he expressed his fury “by kicking in the face an official he says owns luxury properties worth much more than a state salary could provide.”

However, the Journal also noted that “parliament is the site of frequent mass brawls [and] it is hard to untangle all the overlapping corruption allegations and squabbling over who is to blame. Mr. Parasyuk himself was named this week as receiving money from an organized crime suspect, a claim he denies.”

Then, there is the case of Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, who is regarded by top American columnists as the face of Ukraine’s reform. Indeed, a Wall Street Journal op-ed last month by Stephen Sestanovich, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, hailed Jaresko as “a tough reformer” whose painful plans include imposing a 20 percent “flat tax” on Ukrainians (a favorite nostrum of the American Right which despises a progressive tax structure that charges the rich at a higher rate).

Sestanovich noted that hedge-fund billionaire George Soros, who has made a fortune by speculating in foreign currencies, has endorsed Jaresko’s plan but that it is opposed by some key parliamentarians who favor a “populist” alternative that Sestanovich says “will cut rates, explode the deficit, and kiss IMF money good-bye.”

Yet, Jaresko is hardly a paragon of reform. Prior to getting instant Ukrainian citizenship and becoming Finance Minister in December 2014, she was a former U.S. diplomat who had been entrusted to run a $150 million U.S.-taxpayer-funded program to help jump-start an investment economy in Ukraine and Moldova.

Jaresko’s compensation was capped at $150,000 a year, a salary that many Americans would envy, but it was not enough for her. So, she engaged in a variety of maneuvers to evade the cap and enrich herself by claiming millions of dollars in bonuses and fees.

Ultimately, Jaresko was collecting more than $2 million a year after she shifted management of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) to her own private company, Horizon Capital, and arranged to get lucrative bonuses when selling off investments, even as the overall WNISEF fund was losing money, according to official records.

For instance, Jaresko collected $1.77 million in bonuses in 2013, according to WNISEF’s latest available filing with the Internal Revenue Service. In her financial disclosure forms with the Ukrainian government, she reported earning $2.66 million in 2013 and $2.05 million in 2014, thus amassing a sizeable personal fortune while investing U.S. taxpayers’ money supposedly to benefit the Ukrainian people.

It didn’t matter that WNISEF continued to hemorrhage money, shrinking from its original $150 million to $89.8 million in the 2013 tax year, according to the IRS filing. WNISEF reported that the bonuses to Jaresko and other corporate officers were based on “successful” exits from some investments even if the overall fund was losing money. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How Ukraine’s Finance Minister Got Rich.”]

Though Jaresko’s enrichment schemes are documented by IRS and other official filings, the mainstream U.S. media has turned a blind eye to this history, all the better to pretend that Ukraine’s “reform” process is in good hands. (It also turns out that Jaresko did not comply with Ukrainian law that permits only single citizenship; she has kept her U.S. passport exploiting a loophole that gives her two years to show that she has renounced her U.S. citizenship.)

Propaganda over Reality

Yet, as good as propaganda can be – especially when the U.S. government and mainstream media are moving in lockstep – reality is not always easily managed. Ukraine’s continuing – and some say worsening – corruption prompted last month’s trip to Ukraine by Vice President Joe Biden who gave a combination lecture and pep talk to Ukraine’s parliament.

Of course, Biden has his own Ukraine cronyism problem because – three months after the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Yanukovych government – Ukraine’s largest private gas firm, Burisma Holdings, appointed his son, Hunter Biden, to its board of directors.

Burisma – a shadowy Cyprus-based company – also lined up well-connected lobbyists, some with ties to Secretary of State John Kerry, including Kerry’s former Senate chief of staff David Leiter, according to lobbying disclosures.

As Time magazine reported, “Leiter’s involvement in the firm rounds out a power-packed team of politically-connected Americans that also includes a second new board member, Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler and former adviser to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Both Archer and Hunter Biden have worked as business partners with Kerry’s son-in-law, Christopher Heinz, the founding partner of Rosemont Capital, a private-equity company.”

According to investigative journalism inside Ukraine, the ownership of Burisma has been traced to Privat Bank, which is controlled by the thuggish billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, who was appointed by the U.S.-backed “reform” regime to be governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a south-central province of Ukraine (though Kolomoisky was eventually ousted from that post in a power struggle over control of UkrTransNafta, Ukraine’s state-owned oil pipeline operator).

In his December speech, Biden lauded the sacrifice of the 100 or so protesters who died during the Maidan clashes in February 2014, referring to them by their laudatory name “The Heavenly Hundred.” But Biden made no heavenly references to the estimated 10,000 people, mostly ethnic Russians, who have been slaughtered in the U.S.-encouraged “Anti-Terror Operation” waged by the coup regime against eastern Ukrainians who objected to the violent ouster of President Yanukovych, who had won large majorities in those areas.

Apparently, heaven is not as eager to welcome ethnic Russian victims of U.S.-inspired political violence. Nor did Biden take note that some of the Heavenly Hundred were street fighters for neo-Nazi and other far-right nationalist organizations.

But – after making his sugary references to The Heavenly Hundred – Biden delivered his bitter medicine, an appeal for the parliament to continue implementing IMF “reforms,” including demands that old people work longer into their old age.

Biden said, “For Ukraine to continue to make progress and to keep the support of the international community you have to do more, as well. The big part of moving forward with your IMF program — it requires difficult reforms. And they are difficult.

“Let me say parenthetically here, all the experts from our State Department and all the think tanks, and they come and tell you, that you know what you should do is you should deal with pensions. You should deal with — as if it’s easy to do. Hell, we’re having trouble in America dealing with it. We’re having trouble. To vote to raise the pension age is to write your political obituary in many places.

“Don’t misunderstand that those of us who serve in other democratic institutions don’t understand how hard the conditions are, how difficult it is to cast some of the votes to meet the obligations committed to under the IMF. It requires sacrifices that might not be politically expedient or popular. But they’re critical to putting Ukraine on the path to a future that is economically secure. And I urge you to stay the course as hard as it is. Ukraine needs a budget that’s consistent with your IMF commitments.”

Eroding Support

But more and more Ukrainians appear to see through the charade in Kiev, as the poll numbers on the corruption crisis soar. Meanwhile, European officials seem to be growing impatient with the Ukraine crisis which has added to the drag on the Continent’s economies because the Obama administration strong-armed the E.U. into painful economic sanctions against Russia, which had come to the defense of the embattled ethnic Russians in the east.

“Many E.U. officials are fed up with Ukraine,” said one Western official quoted by the Journal, which added that “accusations of graft by anticorruption activists, journalists and diplomats have followed to the new government.”

The Journal said those implicated include some early U.S. favorites, such as Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, “whose ratings have plummeted to single digits amid allegations in the media and among anticorruption activists of his associates’ corrupt dealings. Mr. Yatsenyuk has denied any involvement in corruption and his associates, one of whom resigned from parliament over the controversy this month, deny wrongdoing.”

The controversy over Yatsenyuk’s alleged cronyism led to an embarrassing moment in December 2015 when an anti-Yatsenyuk lawmaker approached the podium with a bouquet of roses, which the slightly built Yatsenyuk accepted only to have the lawmaker lift him up and try to carry him from the podium.

In many ways, the Ukraine crisis represents just another failure of neocon-driven “regime change,” which has also spread chaos across the Middle East and northern Africa. But the neocons appear to have even a bigger target in their sites, another “regime change” in Moscow, with Ukraine just a preliminary move. Of course, that scheme could put in play nuclear war.

Taking Aim

The Ukraine “regime change” took shape in 2013 after Russian President Putin and President Barack Obama collaborated to tamp down crises in Syria and Iran, two other prime targets for neocon “regime changes.” American neocons were furious that those hopes were dashed. Ukraine became Putin’s payback.

In fall 2013, the neocons took aim at Ukraine, recognizing its extreme sensitivity to Russia which had seen previous invasions, including by the Nazis in World War II, pass through the plains of Ukraine and into Russia. Carl Gershman, neocon president of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, cited Ukraine as the “biggest prize” and a key step toward unseating Putin in Moscow. [See Consortiumnews.com’sWhat the Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]

Initially, the hope was that Yanukovych would lead Ukraine into an economic collaboration with Europe while cutting ties to Russia. But Yanukovych received a warming from top Ukrainian economists that a hasty split with neighboring Russia would cost the country a staggering $160 billion in lost income.

So, Yanukovych sought to slow down the process, prompting angry protests especially from western Ukrainians who descended on Maidan square. Though initially peaceful, neo-Nazi and other nationalist militias soon infiltrated the protests and began ratcheting up the violence, including burning police with Molotov cocktails.

Meanwhile, U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations, such as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (which receives money from USAID and hedge-fund billionaire George Soros’s Open Society), hammered away at alleged corruption in the Yanukovych government.

In December 2013, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations,” and – in an intercepted phone call in early February 2014 – she discussed with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who Ukraine’s new leaders would be.

“Yats is the guy,” Nuland said of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, as she also disparaged a less aggressive approach by the European Union with the pithy phrase: “Fuck the E.U.” (Nuland, a former aide to ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, is the wife of arch-neoconservative ideologue Robert Kagan.)

Sen. John McCain also urged on the protests, telling one group of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists that they had America’s backing. And, the West’s mainstream media fell in love with the Maidan protesters as innocent white hats and thus blamed the worsening violence on Yanukovych. [See Consortiumnews.com’sNYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine.”]

Urging Restraint

In Biden’s December 2015 speech to the parliament, he confirmed that he personally pressed on President Yanukovych the need to avoid violence. “I was literally on the phone with your former President urging restraint,” Biden said.

However, on Feb. 20, 2014, mysterious snipers – apparently from buildings controlled by the far right – fired on and killed policemen as well as some protesters. The bloodshed sparked other violent clashes as armed rioters battled with retreating police.

Although the dead included some dozen police officers, the violence was blamed on Yanukovych, who insisted that he had ordered the police not to use lethal force in line with Biden’s appeal. But the State Department and the West’s mainstream media made Yanukovych the black-hatted villain.

The next day, Feb. 21, Yanukovych signed an accord – negotiated and guaranteed by three European nations – to accept reduced powers and early elections so he could be voted out of office if that was the public’s will. However, as police withdrew from the Maidan, the rioters, led by neo-Nazi militias called sotins, stormed government buildings on Feb. 22, forcing Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives.

In the West’s mainstream media, these developments were widely hailed as a noble “revolution” and – with lumps in their throats – many journalists averted their misty eyes from the key role played by unsavory neo-Nazis, so as not to dampen the happy narrative (although BBC was among the few MSM outlets that touched on this inconvenient reality).

Ever since, the major U.S. news media has stayed fully on board, ignoring evidence that what happened was a U.S.-sponsored coup. The MSM simply explains all the trouble as a case of naked “Russian aggression.

There were kudos, too, when “reformer” Natalie Jaresko was made Finance Minister along with other foreign “technocrats.” There was no attention paid to evidence about the dark underside of the Ukrainian “revolution of dignity,” as Biden called it.

Though the neo-Nazis – sometimes even teamed up with Islamic jihadists – were the tip of the spear slashing through eastern Ukraine, their existence was either buried deep inside stories or dismissed as “Russian propaganda.”

That was, in effect, American propaganda and, as clever as it was, it could only control reality for so long.

Even though the fuller truth about Ukraine has never reached the American people, there comes a point when even the best propagandists have to start modifying their rosy depictions. Ukraine appears to have reached that moment.


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).

January 7, 2016 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s Oligarchs Turn on Each Other

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | March 24, 2015

In the never-never land of how the mainstream U.S. press covers the Ukraine crisis, the appointment last year of thuggish oligarch Igor Kolomoisky to govern one of the country’s eastern provinces was pitched as a democratic “reform” because he was supposedly too rich to bribe, without noting that his wealth had come from plundering the country’s economy.

In other words, the new U.S.-backed “democratic” regime, after overthrowing democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych because he was “corrupt,” was rewarding one of Ukraine’s top thieves by letting him lord over his own province, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, with the help of his personal army.

Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky confronting journalists after he led an armed team in a raid at the government-owned energy company on March 19, 2015. (Screen shot from YouTube)

Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky confronting journalists after he led an armed team in a raid at the government-owned energy company in Kiev on March 19, 2015.

(Screen shot from YouTube)

Last year, Kolomoisky’s brutal militias, which include neo-Nazi brigades, were praised for their fierce fighting against ethnic Russians from the east who were resisting the removal of their president. But now Kolomoisky, whose financial empire is crumbling as Ukraine’s economy founders, has turned his hired guns against the Ukrainian government led by another oligarch, President Petro Poroshenko.

On Thursday night, Kolomoisky and his armed men went to Kiev after the government tried to wrest control of the state-owned energy company UkrTransNafta from one of his associates. Kolomoisky and his men raided the company offices to seize and apparently destroy records. As he left the building, he cursed out journalists who had arrived to ask what was going on. He ranted about “Russian saboteurs.”

It was a revealing display of how the corrupt Ukrainian political-economic system works and the nature of the “reformers” whom the U.S. State Department has pushed into positions of power. According to BusinessInsider, the Kiev government tried to smooth Kolomoisky’s ruffled feathers by announcing “that the new company chairman [at UkrTransNafta] would not be carrying out any investigations of its finances.”

Yet, it remained unclear whether Kolomoisky would be satisfied with what amounts to an offer to let any past thievery go unpunished. But if this promised amnesty wasn’t enough, Kolomoisky appeared ready to use his private army to discourage any accountability.

On Monday, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, chief of the State Security Service, accused Dnipropetrovsk officials of financing armed gangs and threatening investigators, Bloomberg News reported, while noting that Ukraine has sunk to 142nd place out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s Corruptions Perception Index, the worst in Europe.

The see-no-evil approach to how the current Ukrainian authorities do business relates as well to Ukraine’s new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, who appears to have enriched herself at the expense of a $150 million U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund for Ukraine.

Jaresko, a former U.S. diplomat who received overnight Ukrainian citizenship in December to become Finance Minister, had been in charge of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which became the center of insider-dealing and conflicts of interest, although the U.S. Agency for International Development showed little desire to examine the ethical problems – even after Jaresko’s ex-husband tried to blow the whistle. [See Consortiumnews.com’sUkraine Finance Minister’s American ‘Values.’”]

Passing Out the Billions

Jaresko will be in charge of dispensing the $17.5 billion that the International Monetary Fund is allocating to Ukraine, along with billions of dollar more expected from U.S. and European governments.

Regarding Kolomoisky’s claim about “Russian saboteurs,” the government said that was not the case, explaining that the clash resulted from the parliament’s vote last week to reduce Kolomoisky’s authority to run the company from his position as a minority owner. As part of the shakeup, Kolomoisky’s protégé Oleksandr Lazorko was fired as chairman, but he refused to leave and barricaded himself in his office, setting the stage for Kolomoisky’s arrival with armed men.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported on the dispute but also flashed back to its earlier propagandistic praise of the 52-year-old oligarch, recalling that “Mr. Kolomoisky was one of several oligarchs, considered too rich to bribe, who were appointed to leadership positions in a bid to stabilize Ukraine.”

Kolomoisky also is believed to have purchased influence inside the U.S. government through his behind-the-scenes manipulation of Ukraine’s largest private gas firm, Burisma Holdings. Last year, the shadowy Cyprus-based company appointed Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to its board of directors. Burisma also lined up well-connected lobbyists, some with ties to Secretary of State John Kerry, including Kerry’s former Senate chief of staff David Leiter, according to lobbying disclosures.

As Time magazine reported, “Leiter’s involvement in the firm rounds out a power-packed team of politically-connected Americans that also includes a second new board member, Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler and former adviser to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Both Archer and Hunter Biden have worked as business partners with Kerry’s son-in-law, Christopher Heinz, the founding partner of Rosemont Capital, a private-equity company.”

According to investigative journalism in Ukraine, the ownership of Burisma has been traced to Privat Bank, which is controlled by Kolomoisky.

So, it appears that Ukraine’s oligarchs who continue to wield enormous power inside the corrupt country are now circling each other over what’s left of the economic spoils and positioning themselves for a share of the international bailouts to come.

As for “democratic reform,” only in the upside-down world of the State Department’s Orwellian “information war” against Russia over Ukraine would imposing a corrupt and brutal oligarch like Kolomoisky as the unelected governor of a defenseless population be considered a positive.

~

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).

March 24, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 2 Comments