Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 15, 2014

Ukraine: French Photographer Confirms U.S. Mercenary Presence

The U.S. military newspaper Stars & Stripes laments about Rumors of American mercenaries in Ukraine spread to Germany:

The chancellor’s office and the German intelligence service have declined to either confirm or deny, a development that leaves an atmosphere of doubt in a country where tensions are rife about just how angry Germany should be at Russia’s actions in Ukraine

The report is about the second German government leak to the tabloid Bild we identified as an attempt to distance Germany from U.S. policies in Ukraine:

These "leaks" must have come from the chancellery and, them being true or not, confirm that there is some antagonism in the central political and security branches in Berlin towards the U.S. plans.

The leaks may have more truth in them than I had assumed. Paris Match, a well regarded weekly French magazine, investigated the recent incidents in Krasnoarmeysk in east Ukraine where some para-military gang disrupted the vote on more autonomy for the region by killing two supporters of the federalists. It finds photographic evidence that the gang was led by functionary from the fascists paramilitary Right Sektor:

These images show Andrey Denisenko, one of the Pravy Sektor chiefs, among a group of mysterious gunmen that attacked a voting station Sunday in the small town of Krasnoarmeysk, some 60 kilometres from the separatist « capital », Donetsk. After occupying the local town hall for several hours, the militiamen shot down point blank one local civilian, and killed two other unarmed protesters.

These Pravy Sektor thugs were hired for the "special battalion Denjpr" of the newly created "National Guard" and are paid by oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi.

But there is an even bigger scoop in this story.

Jerome Sessini, an experienced war photographer for Magnum who has worked in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, was in Krasnoarmeysk and made some very interesting observations:

Several witness also said they heard some of the gunmen speaking with strong western Ukraine accents. They also noticed that some of the gunmen appeared to come from the Caucasus area, possibly mercenaries from Chechnya. Other gunmen never spoke a word and seemed foreign to the region. French war photographer Jerome Sessini spent about an hour face to face with the gunmen before they opened fire. « I found that their general attitude and their very precise techniques gave off the impression that they were American mercenaries, or people trained by American mercenaries » said Sessini.

« I can’t guarantee this for sure, but I’d give it a 95 per cent, » added the photographer, who frequently interacted with various U.S. security contractors during his years covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A long time ago, when I took part in martial arts competitions, I could tell which dojo my opponents had learned at just by watching their warming up rituals. Someone who's longtime profession is to observe, identify and document people at war should surely be able to categorize special forces he interacted with along the "schooling" and attitude those have.

As U.S. interest, especially in gas fields in Ukraine, become more apparent it is certainly not inconceivable that U.S. mercenaries were hired by this or that interested oligarch or three-letter-organization to transform the local Ukrainian rag-tag fascist gangs into some usable militia for the suppression of civilian opposition protests.

Now Sessini's observations move the validity of the German government leaks to Bild from the "not inconceivable" realm into the "likely happening" one.

Update: Some of Jerome Sessini's photos from Krasnoarmeysk, including those showing the killings, are now up at Time magazine.

Posted by b on May 15, 2014 at 06:04 AM | Permalink

Comments

no reason to think not and every reason to think so. the creation of BlackWater and its subsequent funding via BILLIONS of Iraq war largesse seemed to be a goal of the US government during the Bush years - the creation of a completely unaccountable military force to be used, both at home and abroad, by the deep state with no worries about oversight. This was a major goal of the privatisations during Runsfeld's tenure. The final end run around the War Powers act.

Posted by: guest77 | May 15, 2014 8:07:59 AM | 1

When I watch video clips or pictures of the Kiev regime force, I carefully observe how they comport themselves. You can guess if they are soldiers from the regular army or kids with guns from the Maidan.

Soldiers have certain tired look in their face and their comportment reveal their training. On the other hand, the Maidan kids are like, what else, kids on a picnic.

Another dead giveaway is their shoes. If their shoes are sneakers, they are Maidan kids. Even when they are wearing army boots, if the boots are new and barely broken in, they may be the Maidan kids.

Of course, as time goes on, those kids will become real soldiers.

Posted by: PuppetMaster | May 15, 2014 8:33:13 AM | 2

It has been apparent for some time that the Kiev junta lacks sufficient manpower to enforce its will on the country. First the special police units refused to obey orders to attack demonstartors and the the special Army units leaving only the Pravy Sektor thugs and allied groups.

Now the Guardian has an article showing just how low the bar to recruitment has become:


Volunteers are recruited from western Ukraine and Kiev, and more quietly, within the east itself. A self-published newspaper in Donetsk gives the phone number where "Ukrainian patriots" can sign up for the volunteer battalions; its editor has gone into hiding to avoid being kidnapped by the separatist fighters. Volunteers undergo training in neighbouring Dnepropetrovsk region, and their battalions can be brought under the command of the interior ministry, allowing them to operate legally. Nevertheless, the training period can be as little as 50 hours, before the volunteers are put into real combat situations.

Arming troops with almost no real training and sending them into extremely sensitive situations where they may be shot at with weapons from within crowds, largely made up of angry but unarmed civilians, sounds like a recipe for disaster.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/15/ukraine-civil-war-fears-mount-volunteer-units-kiev-russia#start-of-comments

For the Kiev junta to sink this low, losses amongst their g=fighting forces must much higher than officially stated.

Considering their manpower issues it isn't really farfetched to believe that they would recruit/hire foreign mercenaries.

Posted by: lacilir | May 15, 2014 8:39:20 AM | 3

On the subject of gas fields mentioned in the article here's a piece about Cargill and Monsanto in Ukraine: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/16/corporate-interests-behind-ukraine-putsch/

Posted by: BrevigBay | May 15, 2014 9:06:54 AM | 4

Also this on oil and gas interests in Ukraine:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/04/10-7

A pattern seems to be forming, eh?

Posted by: ben | May 15, 2014 9:32:56 AM | 5

merkel trying to steal russia now? :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2pO6PFYnL4

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2014 9:42:29 AM | 6

East Ukrainians Capture US Mercenary in Kharkov wearing Ukraine's special police uniform "Sokol"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFBU4GwBa1s

Posted by: Sun Tzu | May 15, 2014 10:00:11 AM | 7

Also on the wsj site, nothing makes money like servicing debt.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-14/ukraine-just-issued-1-billion-bonds-backed-us-taxpayer

Posted by: jo6pac | May 15, 2014 10:11:22 AM | 8

7) That video could be anything. Spreading stuff like that damages credible sources.

Angela Merkel comes out for continuing partnership in the middle and long term

She does not intend to return to the structures of the 19th and 20th centuries...The crisis could not be solved militarily therefore she will not raise defense spending or reintroduce conscription.

She does not say what she plans to do short term ... :-))

Posted by: somebody | May 15, 2014 10:34:41 AM | 9

I am surprised that americans havent been caught or in fact any ukrainian soldiers/personnel.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2014 10:36:59 AM | 10

Perhaps those sources of the leaks can dig a little further and reveal that those "American" mercenaries are doing Putin's bidding. Cui bono? From a public relations standpoint, it goes beyond being a flop, it's just too good to be true for Putin to the point it's tailor-made. The actions of Pravyi Sektor haven't played into Putin's hands, they've been played by his hands as in one hand washes the other.

If only the conventional narrative about an East/West divide were true. Except it's not. Behind the scenes, it's Business As Usual. But if it were true, I would prefer seeing Germany and Russia rekindle their historical ties and unique relationship…but this time, when you two Leviathans, hypothetically speaking, ultimately were at each others throats with death grips again, there would be no outside intervention. A fight to the death once and for all. And then the rest of the world can go ahead and evolve rather than having to be repeatedly dragged back down into unresolved millennial conflicts.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | May 15, 2014 10:49:18 AM | 11

doing putins bidding.. just like blackwater in iraq was doing putins bidding.. any other laughs for this morning while innocent people are periodically murdered?

Posted by: james | May 15, 2014 11:24:02 AM | 12

Just wait until these extras curricular monsters acquire nukes,and hold the world hostage ala Dr.No.Anyone who doubts the Obombas administrations calumny,lack of intelligence and lack of honor need their license to spew their idiocy revoked.
Hey,the NY Lying Times has fired their Zio editor for a non Jewish black man.Can we expect a change in attitude?I highly doubt it,as it seems most black people revere their Obomba counterfeit Zionist confederate money.

Posted by: dahoit | May 15, 2014 11:41:06 AM | 13

Actually,I don't think a lot black people not immersed in ivory tower America like him,just the toads reaping monetary benefits from this disaster of a POTUS.But they won't enunciate that anger,maybe holding out some hope for his hopeless cypher.

Posted by: dahoit | May 15, 2014 11:45:14 AM | 14

Bloodbath in Odessa guided by interim rulers of Ukraine | Insider Intelligence


The Atlanticist media stubbornly presents the crimes committed in Odessa on May 2 as the result of an accidental blaze, while the photos and video footage available leave no doubt that the victims were tortured and murdered before being burned. We bring you first-hand information on how the operation was organized and executed under the direct and personal authority of coup-appointed acting President Alexander Turchinov.

The information provided below was obtained from an insider in one of Ukraine’s law-enforcement agencies, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. It is clear that there are people even within the interim administration in Kiev who are against of what happened in Odessa on May 2 and throughout the whole country

Posted by: ProPeace | May 15, 2014 12:40:05 PM | 15

Some interesting facts about Baquet: "Baquet is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). A group of Usaian foreign correspondents [who?] founded the organization in 1981 in response to harassment from authoritarian governments. Corporate media donors include AP, CNBC, CNN and Fox News. The organization is a founding member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a global network of more than 70 NGOs that monitors free-expression violations around the world and defends journalists, writers, and others persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression. IFEX's mandate is to raise awareness by sharing information online and mobilising action on issues such as press freedom, Internet censorship, freedom of information legislation, criminal defamation and insult laws, media concentration and attacks on the free expression rights of all people, including journalists, writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, academics, scientists, human rights defenders and Internet users." That's all strung together from Wikipedia. My thought is that this is a very selective, establishment-driven tool for targeting the famous 'authoritarian regimes' at will. Like the other R2P brainwaves we regular hear from Sam Power, Susan Rice, et al. But given that he is a liberal interventionist, which pretty well follows from what I've just cited, why this particular one? Is there a good reason for wanting a Black man at the helm? Perhaps they expect a major campaign in Africa, something officially spiralling out of the Boko situation in northern Nigeria and crossing multiple borders, legally or illegally, to join up the various Usaian clients under a Usaian troop umbrella. If so, then having a Black man with the requisite gung-ho liberal interventionist R2P and human rights angle would be a big plus for the NYT.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 15, 2014 12:40:52 PM | 16

As a commenter at Saker's asked, I also wonder how come Russia did not prevent the Odessa massacre? Russians must have known the plans beforehand...

Posted by: ProPeace | May 15, 2014 12:45:36 PM | 17

We bring you first-hand information on how the operation was organized and executed under the direct and personal authority of coup-appointed acting President Alexander Turchinov.

This sounds as silly as…

We bring you first-hand information on how 9/11 was organized and executed under the direct and personal authority of coup-appointed acting President George W. Bush.

The Odessa immolatory massacre appears to be a planned event to include enabling of maximum coverage in order to broadcast and amplify its effects in the court of public opinion. Cui bono? Who benefits from that? Certainly not the West or the transitional government in Kyiv.

In this charade, the West is being made to look bad, and I believe that's the plan. The WWON (World Wide Oligarch Network) is perhaps finally switching its pivot point. If so, fine by me. It means the U.S. and its military will no longer be the muscle and blame for the actions of those behind the curtain. Maybe those honors will eventually be bestowed to Russia. If there's any truth in this, maybe Americans will finally see the bloated military budget reduced 80% and the Russians can have a go at playing global cop.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | May 15, 2014 1:10:39 PM | 18

The Right Section members at the polling station are brown shirts thugs. The only veteran I saw stood with his back to the wall by the door. None had the muscled well fed body and watchful look of a paid mercenary. They all are inbred losers.

It is unconscionable that the American Government supports these goons.

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 15, 2014 1:13:54 PM | 19

ProP, as usual, you have pulled up a sensationalist but dodgy source. The first thing that struck me was this is a gimmick by Tymoshenko's people to get her out of the responsibility for planning the op, because we have an actual recording of Tymoshenko authorising and delegating the job. If you can sprecha the lingo, check this out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h78H-pjebpY

In this meeting Yulia Tymoshenko gives directions on what is to be accomplished: “First the veterans need to be attacked. There needs to be bloodshed. Odessa needs to be brought to its knees at the time of the championship (Soccer). We have to coordinate everything now.” question to her- “On the 3rd through the 5th?” – This is the gist of the translation.

Where did I get it? here.

The second thing that strikes me is this, which is just stupid: "the main part of the operation, code-named “Ha’ola” – from the phrase “Mizbeach Ha’ola”, which in Hebrew means “the altar of burnt offering”.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 15, 2014 1:14:18 PM | 20

Hole N. Head@18

Russia does not wanna be global cop, so if that's what the Oligarchs want, they're gonna be disappointed. Russian armed forces are declining in size, though modernizing. Russia wants to trade & not have Galicians and their incandescent hatred of Russia running Ukraine.

That's about it, really.

Posted by: rkka | May 15, 2014 1:35:19 PM | 21

@ RB One does not exclude the other - Goulia Tymoshamco surely was involved to some degree.

Ihor Kolomoisky must be neutralized and rounded up asap

Ukrainian oligarch puts $1 million bounty on opponent's head - audio recording

Posted by: ProPeace | May 15, 2014 1:44:35 PM | 22

There seem to be three different sources saying they know who authorised the Odessa massacre, but two of them are compatible. The one that is running on Voice of Russia says Kolomoisky did it:

An audio recording of a phone conversation between oligarch and governor of the Dnepropetrovsk Region Igor Kolomoisky and Oleg Tsarov made by unknown persons has appeared in the Internet. As the caption to the posted recording says, the conversation took place late at night on May 10 2014 and was recorded by former officers of the Security Service of Ukraine who now call themselves the Joint Cyber-Militia of the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov Regions. In addition, another audio record was posted online that proves that Kolomoisky personally ordered the Odessa massacre.

Then we have ProP's one, which says "Kolomoiskiy was consulted in regard to the operation." Finally we have my one, which doesn't mention Kolomoiski at all, but says Tymoshenko did it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 15, 2014 1:51:32 PM | 23

VoltaireNet is important in that it points out the Biden-Kolomoiski connection. Remeber the photo and reports of Biden sitting at the table as the head of the Banderastan regime? Not to mention that recently created ungly monstrosity of "Jewish Club" at the European Parliament. Kolomoisky is a key to dismantling the nazi-zio-neocon criminal enterprise in Europe.

Posted by: ProPeace | May 15, 2014 2:00:31 PM | 25

Cold N Holefield

Silly.
What will you racists say next? Who benefit from the holocaust, not the germans but the jews?
Get out of here little troll.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 15, 2014 2:09:30 PM | 26

So much for pitting China and Russia against each other:

China's Xi and Russia's Putin to make Substantial Statement


A Chinese top-diplomat announced on Thursday, that President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will make a substantial statement during Putin’s visit to China later this month.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is scheduled for an official state visit to China on invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi invited Putin to pay a visit to China and to attend the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) from May 20 in Shanghai.

During a press briefing, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping announced that the two top-leaders will exchange views on cooperation, coordination in international affairs as well as on major issues of common concern. The meeting is the second meeting between the Chinese and the Russian Presidents in 2014, and Putin’s first visit to the Chinese People’s Republic since Xi took office.

Vice Foreign Minister Cheng stressed that Xi and Putin will be showing the two countries willingness to firmly support each other with regard to their country’s path with regard to national development, as well as with regard to the strengthening of the two countries strategic cooperation on major international affairs. Cheng added, that the two presidents also would witness the signing of a series of important bilateral cooperation agreements.

Posted by: ProPeace | May 15, 2014 2:22:04 PM | 27

A bit of historical background in last decade concerning NGOs involved with setting US policy for Eastern Europe (and the Middle East) ○ Neocons Covert Action and Ukraine Watch

PS I tried to post parts here, but due to number of links the post got stuck in moderation.

Posted by: Oui | May 15, 2014 3:36:10 PM | 28

Indeed that legitimate cause of federalist rebellion seems "taboo" in the MSM, almost never mentioned:

The Russians Are Coming … Again … and They’re Still Ten Feet Tall!!


An exception, albeit rather unemphasized, was the April 17 Washington Post which reported from Donetsk that many of the eastern Ukrainians whom the author interviewed said the unrest in their region was driven by fear of “economic hardship” and the IMF austerity plan that will make their lives even harder: “At a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund.”


Also interesting The White House's NazisP

Posted by: ProPeace | May 15, 2014 3:50:04 PM | 29

NYT is reporting that

In what could represent a decisive turning point in the Ukrainian conflict and a setback for Russia, thousands of steelworkers fanned out Thursday over the city of Mariupol, establishing control over the streets and routing the pro-Kremlin militants who seized control several weeks ago.

By late Thursday, miners and steelworkers had deployed in at least five cities, including the regional capital, Donetsk, though they had not yet become the dominant force there that they are in Mariupol, the region’s second largest city and the site just last week of bloody confrontations between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian militants.

The steelworkers are employees of "Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man and a recent convert to the side of Ukrainian unity, who on Wednesday issued a statement rejecting the separatist cause of the Donetsk People’s Republic but endorsing greater local autonomy."

This is a standard CIA coup tactic (see Iran under Mossadegh; Chile under Allende; also U.S. under Nixon -- the hard hat riot during Kent State student strike): use blue-collar workers to crush resistance. We should have seen it coming.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 15, 2014 3:52:19 PM | 30

While the Hunter Biden story is definitely important, we mustn't let its sensationalist appearances override a much more important story.

One of Hunter and Joe Biden's buddies is Devon Archer -- who also was a chairman on John Kerry's presidential bid, a rich bundler with ties to the Heinz family. Devon Archer was just appointed to the board of Burisma along with Biden.

Archer's importance? He sits on the board of DiamondBack Tactics, which is a part of the military-industrial complex of corporations funded by Torch Hill -- a ready made security, weaponry, and mercenary outfit ready to roll.

And who is the Chairman of DiamondBack? None other than former CIA Deputy Chief Stephen Kappes. Kappes was the man who ran the extraordinary (and illegal) rendition program in the early-mid 2000's. He was convicted in Italy of the kidnapping of an Egyptian Muslim cleric in 2009. Kappes has had his hands in all the goings on in the middle east and eurasia for decades, running and setting up many CIA stations, including Moscow, Frankfurt, Pakistan and Pakistan.

Want to know what's going on? Follow the money -> Burisma ownership eventually leads to Privat Holdings and Ihor Kolomoyskyi. And the team of Kappes, Biden and Archer, via Burisma, ensures that U.S. oligarchical goals are being furthered. Burisma is just a shell for the CIA to operate out of.

Posted by: JC | May 15, 2014 3:57:19 PM | 31

Mike Maloney @30
I think that we did see it coming. In order to thrive and protect itself the "People's Republic" has to start campaigning on a popular economic platform.
As to employing "loyal employees" the 1842 Plug Riots in Halifax failed in the end because the factory owners swore in employees as special constables, armed them and drove off the Chartist strikers.
It is what is to be expected.
What is harder to understand is the apparent absence of a programme aimed at expropriating the expropriators in Ukraine. That would cur the oligarchs off at the knees.

Posted by: bevin | May 15, 2014 4:06:31 PM | 32

@JC Very interesting, what are your sources? And why this news isn't on the first pages in the lame-scream media who should rub it in our faces by now?

BTW "Hunter" is one of the most fucking pretentious super-macho first names I have ever heard. Jerk with a name like this just asks for a punch in his face.

On Russian rocket engines: "even 20 years later those new rocket engines were better than anything ever existed in the United States"
The Engines That Came In From The Cold! (The Soviet Moon Program)

Posted by: ProPeace | May 15, 2014 4:32:17 PM | 33

#3 @ lacilir

"For the Kiev junta to sink this low, losses amongst their fighting forces must be much higher than officially stated."

A report from Igor Strelkov of the Donbass Self Defense Force said that losses near Kramatorsk on the night of the 13th - when a group from Slavyansk counterattacked against a position from which they were being attacked with mortars - were more than 100, reserves from Zhitomir. He further elaborated that because the Kiev junta could not admit such heavy losses, they had instead reported that the men deserted.

Hard to say if this is accurate, but as the original source suggested, it would be to Strelkov's advantage to agree they deserted, since it would be just as big a blow to morale as it would have been to report they were killed; mass desertions is never much good for bucking up the troops. But he insisted they died honourably in battle.

http://inagist.com/all/466502842619273216/

I checked around and there are a few mentions of 102 soldiers deserting from 2 bases in Zhitomir, but the reports are not sourced. While looking, though, I came across this site

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?action=profile;u=82996;sa=showPosts

which had such a treasure trove of links that I decided to keep it and go back for another look. Standouts are the huge map which purports to show areas that are no longer under Kiev's control and to what extent (although I cannot vouch for its accuracy) and a screen cap of another great blooper from CNN, in which - after confusing Ukraine and Pakistan - they now put Luhansk in western Ukraine somewhere around where Lviv would be. I'm going to share that link at my blog now.

Posted by: Mark | May 15, 2014 4:49:13 PM | 34

Vietnam Vet @19.

What do you make of the two guys in the center of this photo - the man with the sun glasses and the man in a similar outfit immediately in front of him? The way they hold their weapons reminds me of photos of blackwater-type operatives.

Posted by: Yonatan | May 15, 2014 4:55:26 PM | 35

@30 mike maloney. thanks for the quote from the nyt link. as bevin mentions, i think anyone could see that coming. i believe it is the same with kolomosysky's goons.. at what point do ordinary citizens rebel against oligarch's? instead what we regularly see as witnessed in jc's post @31 is more consolidation of power in politics hiding under the facade of dumbocracy.. it is always a consolidation of power in the hands of a few with the usual ongoing public propaganda bs..

Posted by: james | May 15, 2014 5:38:30 PM | 36

@35 Yonatan.. your link doesn't go directly to any pictures.

@19 vietnam vet. thanks for the overview..

Posted by: james | May 15, 2014 5:41:04 PM | 37

All this madness needs to stop.
Free counters!

Posted by: Bobby Land | May 15, 2014 6:25:56 PM | 38

@30 The NYT article appears to be a propaganda hit piece without any relation to real world events. What actually happened in Mariupol, according to Voice of Russia, is that said workers, along with regular citizens, have started some kind of clean-up operation:

Voice of Russia article

RT even did not consider it newsworthy. Nothing has changed, in other words.

Posted by: another reader | May 15, 2014 6:29:36 PM | 39

@Mike maloney:

"This is a standard CIA coup tactic (see Iran under Mossadegh; Chile under Allende; also U.S. under Nixon -- the hard hat riot during Kent State student strike): use blue-collar workers to crush resistance. We should have seen it coming."

What nonsense to reduce this to CIA machinations or to simply compare this to Meany's hard hats, who had nothing economically at stake in actions that were pure reactionary neo-con politics (Meany). It is what it appears to be: A struggle for economic survival by what is, after all, given the high unemployment, a privileged sector of the Donbass industrial working class, who correctly understand that they have no economic future in an "independent Donetsk Republic", nor in Putins' Russia, who doesn't want them or Donbass anyway - why would a conservative like Putin want the headache of 100's of 1000's of pissed off industrial workers and their enterprises - or even if Putin did want Donbass, would likely lay many of them off in any case.

So it is an essentially conservative movement, led moreover by capitalists such as Akhmetov who are fighting for their own economic position as well, one with no future in "independence" or with Russia. It is not (yet) an independent, autonomously organized worker's movement, far less a revolutionary worker's movement, impossible without a worker's party.

But it is telling that the Donetsk Republic Russian revanchists have shrunk from any conflict with them. But this is the first political space where real indigenous socialists could intervene and stand alongside workers, without being blockaded out by fascists as with the Maidan.

But of course this is all irrelevant to those who deny all independent agency to the masses, including workers, reducing these to the machinations of some cabal based in Langley.

Posted by: Matt | May 15, 2014 6:29:50 PM | 40

Of course western lame-scream media are silent: HOT SEX IN UKRAINE

Posted by: ProPeace | May 15, 2014 6:37:01 PM | 41

@JC Sorry, that was meant for Mike #30: "why this news isn't on the first pages in the lame-scream media who should rub it in our faces by now?" Too much multi-tasking... ;-)

Posted by: ProPeace | May 15, 2014 6:41:57 PM | 42

Yonatan @35

After your post I looked again at the pictures at the Time’s web site in b’s update:

http://lightbox.time.com/2014/05/15/ukraine-referendum-deaths/#2

This is the saddest 21 pictures I’ve seen in a long time. You just want yell at that stupid aggressive ass dressed in blue “Stop. Get the hell out of here”.

In picture #2 the older guy on the far left holding their right flank I think is a veteran. Looking at the video at the way they all moved, the blue masked guy in black grey and white fatigues is the only other one who’s been around gun fire. The two guys in sunglasses one on the left is too fat and the one on the right looks like a clerk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nLwtCqJl8Kg

Picture #12 is the last shooting going down. The old guy’s got his back to the wall and is not jumping around like a scared rabbit holding an automatic weapon.

http://lightbox.time.com/2014/05/15/ukraine-referendum-deaths/#12

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 15, 2014 7:11:15 PM | 43

Matt @ 40. I apologize if I made it seem as if I was dismissing the action of the steelworkers in Donbass merely as CIA pawns. Such reductions are nonsense as you say. I would have a tidier comment except I was rushing coming back from lunch.

But I don't think it is wrong to surmise that Langley is playing a role here. To do otherwise wouldn't be prudent. (As for Meany, remember, he was foursquare behind the Agency, which, you're right, isn't to say that the hard-hart riot in the financial district wasn't spontaneous.)

Posted by: Mike Maloney | May 15, 2014 7:16:19 PM | 44

I can't imagine the Donbass steel workers are misinformed enough to imagine that any of the Donbas industries will do better under Kiev rule than otherwise. These are world-class plants, not by any means obselete, several of them specialised in advanced weaponry. Kiev (ie Usaia) will be determined to scrap them, and if Akhmetov says otherwise, he is bullshitting, like just about everyone else in this game right now, which the workers in these factories would be the first to realise. Therefore, it must be mere propaganda to claim that these workers would be physically attacking the self-defense groups, which are armed, and not only with sidearms, and will take no shit from Akhmetov, whatever the innumerable propaganda organs may say to the contrary.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 15, 2014 8:14:21 PM | 45

Matt @40 and Mike @44
It intrigues me that the "federalists" have called their government a People's Republic. And everyone seems to regard their choice as indicative of their irony, humour or nostalgia.
The truth is that it is clearly designed to suggest a programme of dealing with oligarchy by re-possessing the public wealth that the oligarchs-in Ukraine and elsewhere- have stolen.
This is the only practical programme: without re-appropriating the means of production and instituting popular self government, the best that the Donbass people can hope for is official status for their language and an end to the more egregious provocations from Kiev.
Otherwise they are doomed to become debt peons, governed by oligarchs who have stolen their wealth and lent enough of it back to them to hire cops to collect interest payments and smash any efforts at union organisation.

I have not read Piketty's recent book but it seems to make at least one important historical point which is that the present imperialist system is very much like that in Britain in the first half of the C19th, in which the resources and wealth of the poor were systematically diverted, in large part through taxation, into enriching and solidifying a new ruling class, while reducing the workers to subsistence -and sub subsistence- living standards.

This Michael Hudson article is good:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38495.htm

Posted by: bevin | May 15, 2014 8:19:53 PM | 46

@46 - bevin.. thanks for that article which is excellent..

Posted by: james | May 15, 2014 8:45:37 PM | 47

Bevin, Piketty does not say what you think (or have read) he says. The wealth of the elite in1910 owed virtually nothing to government other than its protection of private property and the absence of major war between 1815 and 1914. People got rich because they were already rich. I'm going to have a book salon on the book at FDL toward the end of June and we can talk it all out.

Posted by: Knut | May 15, 2014 9:07:38 PM | 48

I've been looking again at VoR's transcript of Kolomoisky's threatening phone call to Tsarov, and there's something very, very striking about it. At least to me it's very striking, because I specialise in this specific aspect of world affairs (hence my turbulent follower, of course). What I find striking is the way that Kolomoisky wraps himself in his tallit before enunciating his threat. Here is the transcript, which I have tidied up grammatically but not otherwise:

Kolomoisky: Howdy!
Tsarov: Hi!
Kolomoisky: Where are you? Same place?
Tsarov: Yeah.
Kolomoisky: How goes it?
Tsarov: Okay.
Kolomoisky: Listen, there was as bad mess here. A Jew from the Dnepropetrovsk community was killed.
Tsarov: What’s up?
Kolomoisky: A Jew was killed from the Dnepropetrovsk community. I’m in the synagogue now.
Tsarov: What did he do?
Kolomoisky: Never mind what he did! They say ****ing big bucks are promised for your head now!
Tsarov: My head?
Kolomoisky: Yeah! One million bucks! They say they will hunt you down, anywhere! I’ve let you know. Stay in Moscow! Don’t go anywhere!
Tsarov: I want to tell you something. In Africa there are some…
Kolomoisky: Your associates will be hunted down too!
Tsarov: In Africa there is such a … such a poison…
Kolomoisky: Listen! Bollocks to what is in Africa! Stop bullshitting me! I’m telling you, there was a prayer in the synagogue on erev shabos to pray for Bogdan Shlemkevitch, the Jew who was killed in Mariupol, by you, you ****!
Tsarov: So that’s it!
Kolomoisky: They say Tsarov is to blame! You, you ****! Tomorrow your people here will be shot down like dogs! You tell them to get the **** out of here, because we’re going to hang them right in the square! And tell Markov not to come back here to Ukraine, under any circumstances! Got it?
Tsarov: Don’t call me anymore, Igor.
Kolomoisky: You don’t want me to call? Okay. See ya.
Tsarov: Bye, see ya.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 15, 2014 9:09:54 PM | 49

@bevin #46:

Here is what I think is the crux of Hudson's article (thanks for the link):

Given the political alliances in which Ukrainian politics are controlled by an oligarchy, what can Vladimir Putin offer the country? What is needed is a full-blown alternative to neoliberal tax and financial policy. Yanukovich rejected the IMF-EU “aid” with its destructive “conditionalities” of fiscal austerity and financial deflation, but all that Russia can offer Ukraine are subsidies for its politically gerrymandered oligarchy. In Russia, Putin used “jawboning” to urge the oligarchs and them to invest their takings at home to rebuild Russian industry. But without formulating an alternative to the financial and tax system, and indeed an alternative economic model, Russia can’t offer a better economic system to its Near Abroad.

Putin has explicitly challenged the Empire's geopolitical intentions. But I think that Hudson is right, and that the Russian government must begin explicitly challenging neoliberalism itself (instead of just trying to keep it in check at home on an ad-hoc basis, as Putin has done).

Posted by: Demian | May 15, 2014 9:26:57 PM | 50

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 15, 2014 9:09:54 PM | 49
You are a liar and a crook.

Posted by: somebody | May 15, 2014 11:56:52 PM | 51

Saker is a bit all over the place nowadays (possibly because as he says he has had two nasty bouts of flu), but anyway, he has this, which sounds completely contrived to me, a fabricated pseudo-leak in fact) and here it is:

The second conversation, which is too long for me to transcribe here, took place between a guy called Oleg Noginskii and the Israeli Honorary Ambassador to the Ukraine, Ian Epstein (sp?). The Russian transcript can be found here. Two things are clear from that conversation: Kolomoiski is the guy who sent the neo-Nazis to Odessa, and the Israeli diplomat and the Jewish community in the Ukraine are horrified by Kolomoiski's actions and want to distance themselves from what they call "Nazi crimes". Noginski spells out their conclusion: "We declare that the world Jewish community, first: has nothing to do with Mr Kolomoisky, second: does not support (the actions) in Odessa, or Mariupol or any of those involved and expresses sincere sympathy. And third, says that if a Jew is involved in Nazi crimes, we will fight first him."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 16, 2014 12:01:05 AM | 52

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 16, 2014 12:01:05 AM | 52
yep, you are trying to backtrack now.

This here is the Christian burial of Boris Shlemkevich mentioned in the first leak

Posted by: somebody | May 16, 2014 12:26:13 AM | 53

#33 ProPeace -

Thank you for the link - remarkable video about the astounding capabilities of Russian rockets. When in the Russian joke, it is suggested that the US might have to send its astronauts to the International Space Station via trampoline because there will be retaliation for all the US sanctions - the joke or threat has even more bite.

Posted by: Night Owl | May 16, 2014 12:46:05 AM | 54

I am neither a liar nor a crook nor am I trying to backtrack, somebody. All I know about Bogdan Shlemkevich is that he was a soldier in the Ukrainian army who got killed during an attack on Mariupol. If Kolomoisky chooses to frighten Tsarov by claiming that Shlemkevitch was Jewish, or of Jewish descent, and that therefore the Jews of wherever he was calling from have declared war on Tsarov, then that's his business. It's certainly relevant, and it seems to be a genuine conversation (cellphone hacked by ex-Birkut and now pro-Republic of Donetsk "cyber-army").

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | May 16, 2014 1:15:06 AM | 55

@Night Owl #54:

That British documentary was too polite to mention that the man who got the US space program going, Werner von Braun, formerly worked for the Nazis.

BTW, with the current US belligerence, Russia has suspended shipment of rocket engines to the US.

Posted by: Demian | May 16, 2014 1:52:19 AM | 56

Vietnam Vet @43

Thanks for your thoughts. Appearances can be deceptive.

Posted by: Yonatan | May 16, 2014 5:49:31 AM | 57

So some guy looks at soldiers and has a "feeling" they are Americans and it means it is "confirmed".

This isn't even laughable.

Posted by: PeterP | May 16, 2014 7:39:15 AM | 58

troll alert..

Posted by: james | May 16, 2014 1:00:32 PM | 59

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