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Ukrainian regime in bid to kick Orthodox clergy out of their churches

Religious freedom in Ukraine has gone from tenuous to dangerously imperilled.

Eric Zuesse

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The Ukrainian Government is trying to pass a law which will allow Russian Orthodox churches to be taken over by other faiths, but legislative approval has long remained in doubt; and, so, the government is instead just standing aside, while it lets non Russian-Orthodox believers, and especially Catholic believers, take possession of Russian-Orthodox churches. But this Ukrainian Government is simultaneously propagandizing for the legalization of those church-seizures, the passing of this bill into law; they are anything but neutral about it.

This is happening in a Ukrainian context which is extremely polarized politically, and almost as polarized religiously; so, the political division is even stronger than is the sheerly religious one, and this Ukrainian Government is thus increasing Ukraine’s polarization, as a simultaneously political-and-religious divide, in which the political and religious hatreds feed off of one-another. The public don’t want it; even the clergy don’t want it; but, the Government does, and it continues trying to pass this measure into law.

The development and present status of this matter will be summarized here, with links to the sources.

First, however, here is the political background:

The election map of the final democratic Ukrainian election — the one in 2010 — showed a political chasm in Ukraine, between the east and the west. This was the last election before the nation split-up in 2014 as a result of the U.S. coup (called by the U.S. a ‘revolution’) that took place in February 2014. This 2010 election-map (like all the ones before it) showed Ukraine to be an extremely polarized country, with the Catholic far-west having voted overwhelmingly for the U.S.-NATO-backed candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, and the Russian Orthodox far-east having voted overwhelmingly for the Russia-backed Viktor Yanukovych. Ukraine’s mid-section, except in the south, is Ukrainian Orthodox, which is “on the fence” regarding the Russia-versus-America divide — or, during WW II, it was the Stalin-versus-Hitler divide. America’s coup was perpetrated mainly by Catholics against Orthodox believers; and, so, it was a major victory for The West, in the ancient East-West Schism. The main domestic support for the “Maidan ‘revolution’,” and for the actual coup, were the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the formerly strongly pro-Hitler area surrounding the far-western city of Lviv. This victory in Ukraine, of the U.S.-led fascist west, against the pro-Russia east, is starting to be felt in the explicitly religious sphere, by the post-coup Ukrainian Government’s allowing Catholic clergy to begin taking over Orthodox (especially Russian Orthodox) congregations.

So:

On 1 March 2016 was headlined in Ukraine, “A BILL ON TRANSFER OF RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES TO ANOTHER JURISDICTION PRESENTED IN PARLIAMENT”.  It said:

According to the authors, the bill is designed “to enforce the rights of members of religious communities to informed choice and free and unimpeded change of affiliation with religious centers for satisfying their religious needs and dignified expression of religious feelings.” The proposed changes are intended to “regulate the procedure of changing affiliation of the religious communities and religious centers (leadership) operating in Ukraine and abroad.”

This initiative has provoked criticism of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), whose representative expressed concern about using these changes to simplify the transfer of churches in the course of transitions of Orthodox communities from the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate to that of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate.

“In practice, it will look as follows – the general meeting of faithful (parish meeting) will be attended by other persons who do not belong to the religious community, but nevertheless will have the right to vote and will be entitled to adopt or amend the statute of the religious community,” said Rev Alexander Bakhov, head of the UOC Synodal Legal Department. …

Then, on March 31st, was bannered “Religious confrontation in Ukraine”, and that report opened, “A new bill [bill #4128], registered in the parliament, can not only legalize church raiding, but also provoke sectarian conflicts.” Furthermore:

As was emphasized by the head of the legal department of the UOC [Ukrainian Orthodox Church — Moscow Patriarchate (Ukraine’s branch of the Russian Orthodox Church)] Archpriest Alexander Bach, representatives of the “Kiev Patriarchate” and authorities have since 2014 taken permanent actions to seize churches belonging to the UOC.

“During this period, 31 seizures of the UOC churches are recorded, 12 are under threat of seizure, 8 changed their affiliation in accordance with the Law of Ukraine ‘On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations’. Moreover, these seizures are passed off as a voluntary transition of believers,” says the priest.

Also on March 31st, the U.S.-imposed regime’s Religious Information Service of Ukraine bannered, “HOW DO WE ‘GET OUT’ FROM MOSCOW” and presented the argument from the Government’s side:

The right to change religious beliefs and religious affiliation is a fundamental human right. As follows from Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, they can be changed either alone or collectively with others. Meanwhile, the problems that Ukrainians had faced for a long time in the implementation of this law, became more severe and obvious with the beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine. Orthodox believers, being indignant of the Moscow Patriarchate’s support of aggression, blatant anti-Ukrainian actions of its hierarchy, showed their desire to leave the Russian Church and join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate.

This is not just a problem of jurisdiction, this is an issue that pertains to the depth of the human conscience.

This article ignored the fact that these “raidings” or “seizures” of church buildings were being carried out by members of other denominations (nominally to favor the “Ukraine Patriarchate” of Orthodox Christianity, over the “Moscow Patriarchate” of Orthodox Christianity; but, actually, to weaken the Russian Orthodox Church against all denominations and especially against the two Catholic denominations. It was not being carried out by co-believers of any denomination, but only against them.

On 7 June 2016 was reported that, “The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine bill #4128 is not acceptable to the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, which represents the religious community of Ukraine.” So: this maneuver was being pushed upon Ukraine’s clergies by the U.S.-installed regime; not being pushed upon that regime by the clergies.

The U.S.-installed regime thus continued its religious assault unimpeded, even despite the resistance to it from both the Ukrainian public, and the Ukrainian clergies; and, so, on the day before the bill was to be voted upon in the Rada for the first time, was headlined on 5 October 2016, “Ukrainian believers protest against the laws of religious discrimination”, and the article reported that, “thousands of people have gathered near the building of Ukrainian Parliament. The clergy have ministered the solemn prayer for peace in Ukraine.” On that same day appeared also a headline, “Despite a barrage of criticism from experts and the religious community, highly controversial Draft Law No. 4128 will still be considered in Verkhovna Rada”. The latter noted:

It has been reported earlier that this bill received a negative reaction from the representatives of World Church Councilmembers of Secretariat of All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious organizationsScientific and Expert department of Verkhovna RadaReligious Freedom Institutethe lawyers of International human rights protection Institute of Eastern Europe, and religion scientists.

Both of those news-reports came from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church — its clergy, too, weren’t supporting the U.S.-imposed regime’s objective of one denomination “raiding” the churches of another.

So: the regime tried also another legal assault against the Orthodox churches. On 26 October 2016 was introduced in the Rada bill # 5309. Here is what Andrei Vlasov of the Union of Orthodox Journalists said on 14 July 2017 under the headline “Bill No. 5309: the Church is swung but not yet struck”:

The essence of the bill is reduced to two points:

  • legally bind one single religious organization in Ukraine to change its name: from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church into the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine;
  • prohibit the clergy of the UOC to provide spiritual guidance for servicemen. …

This seems most likely – endeavors to pass bills No.№ 4128 and 4511 have failed. Both ordinary believers and international organizations rebelled against them, as well as all the Local Orthodox Churches and even the Vatican. In these circumstances, the adoption of bill No. 5309 is still unlikely. But the threat of its adoption can become a bargaining chip in the political game. After all, the authorities must adopt very ambiguous laws on Donbass, on medical and pension reforms, etc.

And now the pace of illegal church-seizures has sped up. Here are a few of the recent reports (some of them autotranslated into English):

——

http://ivano-frankivsk.church.ua/2017/10/18/rozyasnennya-shhodo-sprobi-nezakonnogo-perevedennya-pravoslavnoji-gromadi-s-starij-gvizdec-u-kijivskij-patriarxat/

Clarification on the attempt to illegally transfer the Orthodox community from. Old Gvizdets in the Kyiv Patriarchate

in the ministry of the bishop. Main Events / Legal Department. Protection of Faith – by osadmin -10/18/2017

The press service of the Ivano-Frankivsk diocese reports that on October 15, 2017, in the village council building with. The old Guys of the Kolomyia district hosted a meeting of the village residents headed by the village head Dyakiv MP and with the participation of the priests of the Kyivan Patriarchate.

At the meeting of the territorial community, the villages, which were not actually parishioners, raised the question of the confessional subordination of the temple in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Just like in the village of Ostrivets, villagers who are not parishioners of the temple have taken responsibility for changing the confessional belongings of the religious community. The rector and church faithful at the meeting were not invited, and the opinion of those present was not taken into account. Moreover, they were forced to leave the assembly room. …

——

http://www.uoj.org.ua/en/novosti/sobytiya/radicals-announce-the-date-of-orthodox-church-seizure-in-the-village-of-ostrovets

Radicals announce the date of Orthodox church seizure in the village of Ostrovets

19/10/2017 30

Author:  UOJ editorial

On October 18, the rector of the St. George the Victorious Church in the village of Ostrovets, Fr. Nikolai Bogachenko, was called to the village council to demand that the priest give the keys to the church. As reported by a UOJ source, Fr. Nikolai said that “otherwise bloodshed is possible”.

In the Gorodenka district of the Ivano-Frankivsk region, remained the only temple of the UOC not seized by schismatics – St. George’s Church in the village of Ostrovets.

Local authorities decided that there should not be a canonical church in the village. On October 14, a community meeting was held, and, allegedly, the majority demanded a transfer to the Kyiv Patriarchate.

According to the UOJ source, representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate took their people to the polls by buses. Such a “meeting” took into account even the voices of minors.

Rector of the church Fr. Nikolai Bogachenko said that he did not recognize the legality of such a meeting. Only the church community has the right to decide the fate of the church.

The priest refused to give the keys to the church. He was threatened that on Sunday, October 22, the temple would be taken by force.

——

http://www.uoj.org.ua/en/novosti/sobytiya/a-uoc-temple-taken-over-in-ivano-frankivsk-region?sphrase_id=39111

A UOC temple taken over in Ivano-Frankivsk region

20/10/2017 98

Author:  UOJ editorial

In the village of Stary Gvozdets, Kolomyia district, there was a meeting of the territorial community at the village council. Reрresentatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate agitated the villagers to transfer the UOC rural temple to schismatics. Parishioners of the temple and members of the religious community of the UOC were not invited to the meeting. It is reported by the press-service of Ivano-Frankivsk eparchy.

The fate of the temple of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in the village of Stary Gvozdets was decided by people who attend the church only several times a year.

Supporters of the Kyiv Patriarchate took the keys from the church from the believers and already hung new locks.

Rector of the church, Protopriest Nikolai Kushnir and the Orthodox community of the village are forced to perform divine services on the street.

The Ivano-Frankovsk eparchy has already applied to law enforcement agencies, government officials and international organizations with a request to protect the rights of the UOC community in the village of Stary Gvozdets.

——

http://www.uoj.org.ua/en/publikatsii/tochka-zrenija/five-months-of-confrontation-why-uniates-take-over-a-temple-in-kolomyia

Five months of confrontation: why Uniates take over a temple in Kolomyia

25/10/2017 41

Author:  Kirill Alexandrov

A stand-off around the temple of the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin in Kolomyia has continued for nearly five months now. With five months gone there are even more questions, the main of which being if the Uniate raiders actually need so badly a small church in the inner area, or their real goal is to sparkle an international conflict?

Question one: why do Greek-Catholics need the Annunciation Church?

Absolutely definitely, they need it not for praying and spiritual guidance of people. Not at all. The purpose was directly pointed to by Uniate priest Nikolay Medinsky on his Facebook page: “Say no to the ROTTEN STUFF of the Russian world in my DECORATED Kolomyia.”

The fight against the “Russian world” in Ukraine now justifies anything: pogroms of banks and TV channels, attacks on business structures, absurd bills. So why not use this fight as an excuse for church raiding as well? But what is quite clear: motives for the illegal seizure of temples are not religious, but exclusively political.

Question two: how come it is Uniates?

Why did Greek Catholics suddenly take over the Orthodox temple? For all post-Maidan years, church raiding has been associated namely with the UOC-KP. On its account there are more than 40 captured temples. UGCC had never seized temples before that and constantly stressed it at an official level. What an exceptionally peace-loving confession! And then, out of the blue – Kolomiya! In fact, the Uniates have clung to this temple like grim death. Why did it happen? …

——

http://www.uoj.org.ua/en/novosti/sobytiya/ugcc-chaplain-targets-another-uoc-temple-in-kolomyia

UGCC chaplain targets another UOC temple in Kolomyia

31/10/2017 23

Author:  UOJ editorial

Uniate chaplain Nikolai Medinsky, organizer of the raider attack of the Annunciation temple, feels outraged by another UOC temple in Kolomyia. This time Greek-Catholics are not happy about the fact the church is located too close to the aerodrome. This is written by Medinsky on his Facebook page.

“Within 500 meters from the strategic site, another wasp nest of the Moscow Church is located (actually a division of the FSB),” writes Medinsky.

The chaplain appeals to the patriots to somehow react to this “outrageous fact.”

Raiding proponents, who committed an illegal seizure of the Annunciation temple of the UOC, threatened the believers ”to cut their throats”.

——

http://uoj.org.ua/en/novosti/sobytiya/police-help-schismatics-take-over-the-uoc-temple-in-vlg-stary-gvozdets-video

Police help schismatics take over the UOC temple in vlg. Stary Gvozdets (VIDEO)

07/11/2017 12

Author:  UOJ editorial

On November 4 there was a forced seizure of the Holy Annunciation temple in Stary Gvozdets village and, despite the court decision, the police took the side of raiders from the Kyiv Patriarchate, reports the press-service of Ivano-Frankovsk eparchy of the UOC.

At 9 o’clock in the morning supporters of the Kyiv Patriarchate opened the church and held their divine service there. About 30 policemen pushed aside the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and did not allow them to enter the worship building. It is noted that on the eve of November 3, the Kolomyia District Court issued a decision that satisfied the complaint of the religious community of Stary Gvozdets village about the inaction of the Kolomyia police department and ordered the law enforcers to bring information to the Single Register of Pre-trial Investigations concerning the events that occurred in Stary Gvozdets in October 2017.

Ostap Bileychuk, head of the Kolomyia department of the police of the State Unitary Enterprise in Ivano-Frankivsk region, personally banned Orthodox believers from entering the church, which was transferred to them for use in 1991, and noted that if believers are dissatisfied with something, they can go to court. The UOC eparchy specifies that namely this official in June facilitated raiding of the Holy Annunciation church of the UOC of Kolomyia by the so called “chaplains” from the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. Bileychuk was also present during the bashing of the Orthodox priest in the court session hall n 29 June 2017, after the court hearing on the inaction of law enforcement and illegal seizure of the temple in Kolomyia. …

——

http://forpost.lviv.ua/replika/7864-suchasna-stratehiia-polshchi-mozhe-pryvesty-do-viiny-proshu-hospoda-pro-prosvichennia-ta-%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B7%D1%83%D0%BC

Modern Polish strategy can lead to war. I ask the Lord for enlightenment and intelligence

  1. Justin Boyko, Replica, Monday, November 06, 2017, 23:03

The modern strategy of Poland – the return of the eastern christs [churches]? If so, then this is the road to the war between Ukraine and Poland!

If I had someone else 10 or 15 years ago saying that Poland would again begin to disrespect and [be] hostile to Ukrainians, I would never believe it. Now the current Polish political elite, which is in power, frankly propagandizes hatred for Ukraine and Ukrainians by the example of Sinkevich “Fire and sword”. The method that justifies everything is “ku pokrzepieniu serc”.

Obviously, the goal of the ruling political elite is to stay in power. But they woke a long [time] ago buried hatred between Ukrainians and Poles, which at one time grew into the notorious events before the Second World War, which I do not want to mention. In the light of everything, it seems that Churchill was right when he said that “the main lesson of history is that mankind does not learn anything.” It is a pity to admit, but it is a reality in which we live.

Why am I writing this? Because I am terribly sorry about this, because I spent 6 beautiful years in Poland, learned wonderful people, got a lot of friends. And now, the impression is that everything is falling, because the mood in Poland between Ukrainians and Poles really changes to the worst when to take propaganda. Local leaders and some intellectuals are trying to resist this, but unsuccessfully.

It’s scary that these moods are supported by a large part of the Catholic clergy in Poland. I ask the Lord for enlightenment and intelligence, and I myself hope that common sense and sense of duty will rise to the future generations.

 

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VIPS Fault Mueller Probe, Criticize Refusal to Interview Assange

The bug in Mueller’s report released on Thursday is that he accepts that the Russian government interfered in the election. Trump should challenge that, says VIPS.

Consortium News

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Via ConsortiumNews.com:


MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: The Fly in the Mueller Ointment

April 16, 2019

Mr. President:

The song has ended but the melody lingers on. The release Thursday of the redacted text of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” nudged the American people a tad closer to the truth on so-called “Russiagate.”

But the Mueller report left unscathed the central-but-unproven allegation that the Russian government hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails, gave them to WikiLeaks to publish, and helped you win the election. The thrust will be the same; namely, even if there is a lack of evidence that you colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you have him to thank for becoming president. And that melody will linger on for the rest of your presidency, unless you seize the moment.

Mueller has accepted that central-but-unproven allegation as gospel truth, apparently in the lack of any disinterested, independent forensic work. Following the odd example of his erstwhile colleague, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller apparently has relied for forensics on a discredited, DNC-hired firm named CrowdStrike, whose credibility is on a par with “pee-tape dossier” compiler Christopher Steele. Like Steele, CrowdStrike was hired and paid by the DNC (through a cutout).

We brought the lack of independent forensics to the attention of Attorney General William Barr on March 13 in a Memorandum entitled “Mueller’s Forensic-Free Findings”, but received no reply or acknowledgement. In that Memorandum we described the results of our own independent, agenda-free forensic investigation led by two former Technical Directors of the NSA, who avoid squishy “assessments,” preferring to base their findings on fundamental principles of science and the scientific method. Our findings remain unchallenged; they reveal gaping holes in CrowdStrike’s conclusions.

We do not know if Barr shared our March 13 Memorandum with you. As for taking a public position on the forensics issue, we suspect he is being circumspect in choosing his battles carefully, perhaps deferring until later a rigorous examination of the dubious technical work upon which Mueller seems to have relied.

Barr’s Notification to Congress

As you know, the big attention-getter came on March 24 when Attorney General William Barr included in his four-page summary a quote from Mueller’s report: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Understandably, that grabbed headlines — the more so, since most Americans had been convinced earlier by the media that the opposite was true.

There remains, however, a huge fly in the ointment. The Mueller report makes it clear that Mueller accepts as a given — an evidence-impoverished given — that the Russian government interfered in the election on two tracks:

Track 1 involves what Barr, echoing Mueller, claims “a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA)” did in using social media “to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election.” A careful look at this allegation shows it to be without merit, despite Herculean efforts by The New York Times, for example, to put lipstick on this particular pig.  After some rudimentary research, award winning investigative reporter Gareth Porter promptly put that pig out of its misery and brought home the bacon. We do not believe “Track 1” merits further commentary.

Track 2 does need informed commentary, since it is more technical and — to most Americans — arcane. In Barr’s words: “The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election.”

We are eager to see if Mueller’s report contains more persuasive forensic evidence than that which VIPS has already debunked. In Barr’s summary, the only mention of forensics refers to “forensic accountants” — a far cry from the kind of forensic investigators needed to provide convincing proof of “hacking” by the Russian government.

But They Were Indicted!

Circular reasoning is not likely to work for very long, even with a U.S. populace used to being brainwashed by the media. Many Americans had mistakenly assumed that Mueller’s indictment of Russians — whether they be posting on FaceBook or acting like intelligence officers — was proof of guilt. But, as lawyers regularly point out, “one can easily indict a ham sandwich” — easier still these days, if it comes with Russian dressing.

Chances have now increased that the gullible folks who had been assured that Mueller would find collusion between you and Putin may now be a bit more circumspect — skeptical even — regarding the rest of the story-line of the “Russian hack,” and that will be even more likely among those with some technical background. Such specialists will have a field day, IF — and it is a capital “IF” — by some miracle, word of VIPS’ forensic findings gets into the media this time around.

The evidence-impoverished, misleadingly labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 6, 2017 had one saving grace. The authors noted: “The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation — malicious or not — leaves a trail.” Forensic investigators can follow a trail of metadata and other technical properties. VIPS has done that.

A “High-Class Entity?”

If, as we strongly suspect, Mueller is relying for forensics solely on CrowdStrike, the discredited firm hired by the DNC in the spring of 2016, he is acting more in the mold of Inspector Clouseau than the crackerjack investigator he is reputed to be. It simply does not suffice for Mueller’s former colleague James Comey to tell Congress that CrowdStrike is a “high-class entity.” It is nothing of the sort and, in addition to its documented incompetence, it is riddled with conflicts of interest. Comey needs to explain why he kept the FBI away from the DNC computers after they were said to have been “hacked.”

And former National Intelligence Director James Clapper needs to explain his claim last November that “the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done.” What forensic evidence? From CrowdStrike? We at VIPS, in contrast, are finding more and more forensic evidence that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked by the Russians or anyone else — and that “Guccifer 2.0” is an out-and-out fraud. Yes, we can prove that from forensics too.

But the Talking Heads Say …

Again, if Mueller’s incomplete investigation is allowed to assume the status of Holy Writ, most Americans will continue to believe that — whether you colluded the Russians or not — Putin came through for you big time. In short, absent President Putin’s help, you would not be president.

Far too many Americans will still believe this because of the mainstream-media fodder — half-cooked by intelligence leaks — that they have been fed for two and a half years. The media have been playingthe central role in the effort of the MICIMATT (the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank) complex to stymie any improvement in relations with Russia. We in VIPS have repeatedly demonstrated that the core charges of Russian interference in the 2016 election are built on a house of cards. But, despite our record of accuracy on this issue — not to mention our pre-Iraq-war warnings about the fraudulent intelligence served up by our former colleagues — we have gotten no play in mainstream media.

Most of us have chalked up decades in the intelligence business and many have extensive academic and government experience focusing on Russia. We consider the issue of “Russian interference” of overriding significance not only because the allegation is mischievously bogus and easily disproven. More important, it has brought tension with nuclear-armed Russia to the kind of dangerous fever pitch not seen since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the Russian provocation was real — authentic, not synthetic.

Sober minds resolved that crisis more than a half-century ago, and we all got to live another day. These days sober minds seem few and far between and a great deal is at stake. On the intelligence/forensics side, we have proved that the evidence adduced to “prove” that the Russians hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails and gave them to WikiLeaks is spurious. For example, we have examined metadata from one key document attributed to Russian hacking and shown that it was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

Who Left the Bread Crumbs?

So, if it wasn’t the Russians, who left the “Russian” bread-crumb “fingerprints?” We do not know for sure; on this question we cannot draw a conclusion based on the principles of science — at least not yet. We suspect, however, that cyber warriors closer to home were responsible for inserting the “tell-tale signs” necessary to attribute “hacks” to Russia. We tacked on our more speculative views regarding this intriguing issue onto the end of our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to you entitled “Intelligence Veterans Challenge Russia Hack Evidence.”

We recall that you were apprised of that Memorandum’s key findings because you ordered then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to talk to William Binney, one of our two former NSA Technical Directors and one of the principal authors of that Memorandum. On October 24, 2017, Pompeo began an hour-long meeting with Binney by explaining the genesis of the odd invitation to CIA Headquarters: “You are here because the president told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk to you.”

On the chance Pompeo has given you no report on his meeting with Binney, we can tell you that Binney, a plain-spoken, widely respected scientist, began by telling Pompeo that his (CIA) people were lying to him about Russian hacking and that he (Binney) could prove it. Pompeo reacted with disbelief, but then talked of following up with the FBI and NSA. We have no sign, though, that he followed through. And there is good reason to believe that Pompeo himself may have been reluctant to follow up with his subordinates in the Directorate of Digital Innovation created by CIA Director John Brennan in 2015. CIA malware and hacking tools are built by the Engineering Development Group, part of that relatively new Directorate.

Obfuscation’

A leak from within the CIA, published on March 31, 2017 by WikiLeaks as part of the so-called “Vault 7” disclosures, exposed a cyber tool called “Marble,” which was used during 2016 for “obfuscation” (CIA’s word). This tool can be used to conduct a forensic attribution double game (aka a false-flag operation); it included test samples in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, and Russian. Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima, to her credit, immediately penned an informative article on the Marble cyber-tool, under the catching (and accurate) headline “WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.” That was apparently before Nakashima “got the memo.” Mainstream media have otherwise avoided like the plague any mention of Marble.

Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Directorate of Digital Innovation have been with the White House — or with former Director Pompeo — on this touchy issue. Since it is still quite relevant, we will repeat below a paragraph included in our July 2017 Memorandum to you under the sub-heading “Putin and the Technology:”

“We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be “masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin” [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack. Hackers may be anywhere,” he said. “There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.”

As we told Attorney General Barr five weeks ago, we consider Mueller’s findings fundamentally flawed on the forensics side and ipso facto incomplete. We also criticized Mueller for failing to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.

Political Enemies & Mainstream Media (Forgive the Redundancy)

You may be unaware that in March 2017 lawyers for Assange and the Justice Department (acting on behalf of the CIA) reportedly were very close to an agreement under which Assange would agree to discuss “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” in the leak of the DNC emails and agree to redact some classified CIA information, in exchange for limited immunity. According to the investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill, Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA) vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, learned of the incipient deal and told then-FBI Director Comey, who ordered an abrupt“stand down” and an end to the discussions with Assange.

Why did Comey and Warner put the kibosh on receiving “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” [read Russia]? We won’t insult you with the obvious answer. Assange is now in prison, to the delight of so many — including Mrs. Clinton who has said Assange must now “answer for what he has done.”

But is it too late to follow up somehow on Assange’s offer? Might he or his associates be still willing to provide “technical evidence” showing, at least, who was not the culprit?

You, Mr. President, could cause that to happen. You would have to buck strong resistance at every turn, and there all manner of ways that those with vested interests and a lot of practice in sabotage can try to thwart you — with the full cooperation of most media pundits. By now, you know all too well how that works.

But you are the president. And there may be no better time than now to face them down, show the spurious nature of the concocted “evidence” attempting to put you in “Putin’s pocket,” and — not least — lift the cloud that has prevented you from pursuing a more decent relationship with Russia.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Clement J. Laniewski, LTC, U.S. Army (ret.)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)

Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Peter Van Buren,U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Robert Wing, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (former) (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

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Ukraine’s president-in-waiting Zelensky vows to end conflict in Donbass with ‘POWERFUL INFOWAR’

Zelensky vowed to “act within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass, saying that “we will continue the Minsk process, we will restart it.”

RT

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Via RT…


Comedian-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelensky, set for a landslide win in Ukraine’s presidential vote, stayed true to character at his first press conference, dropping some flashy promises but refusing to go into boring detail.

Shortly after claiming electoral victory, Zelensky held a Q&A session with reporters at his campaign HQ in a Kiev business center. While the official results of the elections have yet to be announced, multiple exit polls suggest he secured more than 72 percent of votes.

Zelensky addressed the media in an easy-going manner. He spoke in a mix of Ukrainian and Russian, switching between the two languages, sometimes in one sentence. He also talked English a bit. But if the press hoped to shed light on the policies of the incoming president and his team, the conference actually generated more questions than answers.

Bringing the civil war in eastern Ukraine to an end appears to be one of the top priorities for Zelensky.

Promising to announce some kind of a plan shortly, he asked the reporters for help in the upcoming “infowar” that he says would help end the conflict, which, since 2014, has been raging between Kiev’s troops and the rebel self-proclaimed republics.

We will launch a very powerful information war to end the war in Donbass.

He then vowed to “act within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass, saying that “we will continue the Minsk process, we will restart it.”

Next up, Zelensky did not rule out – even if half-jokingly – that the outvoted president Petro Poroshenko could gain a government post if the public “asks so.”

Do you want me to appoint him? Then I will ask society… If they tell me that they want to see Petro Poroshenko in one post or another – maybe, I don’t know.

Zelensky added, though, that he would like to try “new people” first. But the very team of the soon-to-be president still remains a mystery, as he’s refusing to provide any names, be it the new administration, the judiciary, or the country’s military.

“We have very serious acting generals who have authority in the army, you will definitely see them. I have no right to give the names of these people now, as there is an agreement with the generals,” Zelensky said cryptically, likewise not revealing his candidate for prosecutor general.

For now, Zelensky and his Servant of the People party – notably named after his own comedy show where he played a schoolteacher-turned-president – are promising to introduce the team “in the near future.”

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The Triumph of Evil

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


Today (April 17) I heard a NPR “news” report that described the democratically elected president of Venezuela as “the Venezuelan dictator Maduro.” By repeating over and over that a democratically elected president is a dictator, the presstitutes create that image of Maduro in the minds of vast numbers of peoples who know nothing about Venezuela and had never heard of Maduro until he is dropped on them as “dictator.”

Nicolas Maduro Moros was elected president of Venezuela in 2013 and again in 2018. Previously he served as vice president and foreign minister, and he was elected to the National Assembly in 2000. Despite Washington’s propaganda campaign against him and Washington’s attempt to instigate violent street protests and Maduro’s overthrow by the Venezuelan military, whose leaders have been offered large sums of money, Maduro has the overwhelming support of the people, and the military has not moved against him.

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves. Under the Bolivarian Revolution of Chavez, continued by Maduro, the oil revenues instead of departing the country have been used to reduce poverty and raise literacy inside Venezuela.

The opposition to Maduro inside Venezuela comes from the elites who have been traditionally allied with Washington in the looting of the country. These corrupt elites, with the CIA’s help, temporarily overthrew Chavez, but the people and the Venezuelan military secured his release and return to the presidency.

Washington has a long record of refusing to accept any reformist governments in Latin America. Reformers get in the way of North America’s exploitation of Latin American countries and are overthrown.

With the exceptions of Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua, Latin America consists of Washington’s vassal states. In recent years Washington destroyed reform governments in Honduras, Argentina and Brazil and put gangsters in charge.

According to US national security adviser John Bolton, a neoconservative war monger, the governments in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua will soon be overthrown. New sanctions have now been placed on the three countries. Washington in the typical display of its pettiness targeted sanctions against the son of the Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega. https://www.rt.com/news/456841-bolton-russia-venezuela-threat/

Ortega has been the leader of Nicaragua since for 40 years. He was president 1985-1990 and has been elected and reelected as president since 2006.

Ortega was the opponent of Somoza, Washington’s dictator in Nicaragua. Consequently he and his movement were attacked by the neoconservative operation known as Iran-Contra during the Reagan years. Ortega was a reformer. His government focused on literacy, land reform, and nationalization, which was at the expense of the wealthy ruling class. He was labeled a “Marxist-Leninist,” and Washington attempted to discredit his reforms as controversial leftist policies.

Somehow Castro and Ortega survived Washington’s plots against them. By the skin of his teeth so did Chavez unless you believe it was the CIA that gave him cancer. Castro and Chavez are dead. Ortega is 74. Maduro is in trouble, because Washington has stolen Venezuela’s bank deposits and cut Venezuela off the international financial system, and the British have stolen Venezuela’s gold. This makes it hard for Venezuela to pay its debts.

The Trump regime has branded the democratically twice-elected Maduro an “illegitimate” president. Washington has found a willing puppet, Juan Guaido, to take Maduro’s place and has announced that the puppet is now the president of Venezuela. No one among the Western presstitutes or among the vassals of Washington’s empire finds it strange that an elected president is illegitimate but one picked by Washington is not.

Russia and China have given Maduro diplomatic support. Both have substantial investments in Venezuela that would be lost if Washington seizes the country. Russia’s support for Maduro was declared by Bolton today to be a provocation that is a threat to international peace and security. Bolton said his sanctions should be seen by Russia as a warning against providing any help for the Venezuelan government.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and vice president Pence have added their big mouths to the propaganda against the few independent governments in Latin America. Where is the shame when the highest American government officials stand up in front of the world and openly proclaim that it is official US government policy to overthrow democratically elected governments simply because those governments don’t let Americans plunder their countries?

How is it possible that Pompeo can announce that the “days are numbered” of the elected president of Nicaragua, who has been elected president 3 or 4 times, and the world not see the US as a rogue state that must be isolated and shunned? How can Pompeo describe Washington’s overthrow of an elected government as “setting the Nicaraguan people free?”

The top officials of the US government have announced that they intend to overthrow the governments of 3 countries and this is not seen as “a threat to international peace and security?”

How much peace and security did Washington’s overthrow of governments in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and the attempted overthrow of Syria bring?

Washington is once again openly violating international law and the rest of the world has nothing to say?

There is only one way to describe this: The Triumph of Evil.

“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” — William Butler Yeats

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