PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL
(“Fires burn in Maidan,” image by Alexander Koerner via Getty, via Gawker’s “16 Gripping Images from Kiev’s Day of Fire and Blood” by Max Read. Photo title is by Read as well.)
These were not men familiar with the day. Darkness was their element, and it will cling to what they did forever.
– “Heroic Darkness” by Garry Wills
THE KILLING OF GEORGIY GONGADZE / ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY
What was the impetus for this very long series, what pushed me into writing something about Roger Stone, was not anything that took place in his home country, but far away, and it’s only at this essay’s very end that we have reached it. The impetus lay in the following unexamined detail of Matt Labash’s profile, “Roger Stone, Political Animal”:
I arrange to see Stone in Manhattan, where he spends roughly one day each week, and Miami, where he lives. But beforehand, he threatens to take me to Ukraine, where the local press has outed him as being involved in the parliamentary campaign of Volodymyr Lytvyn, an Orange Revolutionary alum who’s been mentioned as a future president. Like many American political consultants, Stone does the odd election overseas, though he likes to keep it quiet, since it often causes a local furor because “Americans are now hated everywhere in the world–thank you, George W. Bush.”
“I don’t particularly want to go,” he says. “Our lives will be in danger. We will have bodyguards. Plus, the food sucks.” On the upside, he says, we’ll have a buxom translator named Svetlana, and “We can stop over in Amsterdam on the way home, for all the obvious reasons.” But, it turns out we don’t need to go; his guys on the ground have it covered. But it’s a constant struggle, he says: “The Russians love intrigue.” As though he doesn’t.
He is in perpetual dispute with Lytvyn’s local advisers, who he calls the Politburo. They deliberately mistranslate his ads to reflect their own clunky slogans, and he resents their interference, since what could they know about winning free and fair elections, being recently converted Commies and all. The atmosphere is charged enough that he has now taken to sending secret messages directly to the candidate, nicknamed “Mister.” Since his team assumes all their communications are monitored, they use code names such as “Buckwheat” and “Beetle.” Stone’s is “Mr. Pajamas,” the same one used by ur-Nixon Dirty Trickster Murray Chotiner, one of his personal heroes and mentors. (Lytvyn’s party was successful in the elections.)
We have this same campaign mentioned in Jeffrey Toobin’s “The Dirty Trickster”:
He ran one of the quixotic independent bids for New York governor of the billionaire Tom Golisano; helped defeat a pro-environment voter initiative in Florida, in 1996; and ran a political campaign in Ukraine. (“I’m the father of the yard sign in Ukraine,” Stone told me. “They say, ‘Comrade is genius.’”)
The fragment from Labash’s piece illustrates his skills as a writer, why reporters are drawn to Stone as a subject, as well as the limitations of taking Stone mostly on his terms – you get colorful noise, and not much else. We have the buxom translator, the impolitic putdown of George W. Bush, the machinations of the Americans and the locals pitted against each other, all interesting, all excitedly buzzing around the most crucial point, barely noticed and which Labash gets wrong, “the parliamentary campaign of Volodymyr Lytvyn, an Orange Revolutionary alum“. The Orange Revolution, as is generally known, was a revolt against a venal government that was seen as a supplicant and puppet of the Russian state. Ukraine was led by the very corrupt Leonid Kuchma, who then handed over the reins to Viktor Yanukovych, who won in an election that was widely seen as rigged, and this is what triggered the Orange Revolution. After squabbling between the Orange Revolution leaders, Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-Russian Yanukovych would return to power, and after the first massive protests since the Orange Revolution, was overthrown this weekend. This is a very quick and very dirty overview of Ukraine’s political history, and I give it only to place Volodymyr Lytvyn, Roger Stone’s candidate, in context. The phrase “Orange Revolutionary alum” suggests a man from outside the regime. Lytvyn was not only in the Kuchma administration, he ended up one of its highest ranking members. Under Kuchma, he was Head of the Presidential Administration, then became Chairman of the Parliament. Lytvyn’s leaving the Party of Regions, the party of Kuchma and Yanukovych, suggests less a sudden rush of idealism, than opportunism. The eponymous party set up by Lytvyn after leaving Party of Regions, the Lytvyn Bloc, would run in the post-Orange Revolution elections, and eventually end up supporting Yanukovych and the Party of Regions303. This, again, is a rough description of what took place, but my intent is not to give a full detailing of Lytvyn and party politics, but to make clear how misleading “Orange Revolutionary alum” is as a descriptor. All this, however, is momentary exposition for the matter I really want to get to, one of the many events that incited the Orange Revolution, which was heavily reported on in Ukraine, and that Roger Stone, a man who prides himself on his savvy and knowledge of political trickeries must have known of when he took on this client. This man who was so impassioned by the lawless killings which he accuses Lyndon Johnson of, must have known of the allegations made, with far greater support than anything in Stone’s The Man Who Killed Kennedy book, that Volodymyr Lytvyn and Leonid Kuchma had been behind the killing of a journalist who was very critical of the Kuchma regime, a man named Georgiy Gongadze.
Easily the best source for information on this murder that I’ve found is “The Gongadze Inquiry: An investigation into the failure of legal and judicial processes in the case of Georgy Gongadze”, drafted by David Crouch and Simon Pirani. This compilation of reports did not have as its objective the solution of the killing or the indictment of specific assassins, only the assessment of the on-going failure of a proper inquiry into the death, the failure to conduct a thorough investigation. It is a model of a straightforward, diligent inquiry – we may perhaps debate what it is to be “unbiased”, but I think every reader knows what it is to have a sense of trust or distrust in a piece of reporting, and never do we distrust what is presented in “The Gongadze Inquiry”.
This investigative failure began immediately with the discovery of the Gongadze’s headless body, found near Kiev (Kyiv), in Tarshcha. Rather than give any weight to the details which identified the corpse as that of the missing Gongadze, investigators insisted that the journalist was still alive, then neglected to put the body into the cold storage that would have helped preserve it for a later autopsy. When journalists came to the Tarshcha morgue to claim the body, it was seized by the authorities and taken to Kiev. The Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs told parliament that the body was too short to be Gongadze’s, and anyway, this body had been buried in the ground for the past two years304.
The Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs would later report that Gongadze had been seen in a café the day after he’d gone missing. The Minister of Internal Affairs would state the same thing. The day after the body was found in Tarshcha, the Prosecutor Geenral would claim that Gongadze had been seen on a train. Later, another Prosecutor General would say he’d received information that Gongadze was still alive. No attempts appear to have been made to investigate any of these claims. DNA tests of the body indicated that a 99.6 probability that it was Gongadze’s. The prosecutor general would announce to parliament that there weren’t sufficient grounds for believing the body to be Gongadze’s. When further tests raised the probability to 99.9%, the Proseuctor General finally confirmed the body to be Gongadze’s and launched a murder investigation305.
After London’s The Independent revealed that leaked government documents showed senior government officials obstructing the Gongadze investigation, the Prosecutor General’s Office announced the detention of a “Citizen K” who had not only been prosecuted for other beheading crimes, he had also confessed to the killing of Georgiy Gongadze. “We are almost certain he did it,” announced the Prosecutor General’s Office. A month later, on July 2004, a coalition of groups – the Institute of Mass Information, the Ukrainian Law Organization, the International Federation of Journalists and the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland – wrote to the Prosecutor General requesting information on the suspect Citizen K, which the office was obliged to give under the Ukrainian Law on Information. Approximately a month later, the coalition would receive a reply from the Proseuctor General’s Office, signed by the Department of the Investigation of Very Important Cases. The reply stated that, contrary to reports, “Citizen K” had not been arrested in connection to the Gongadze killing and that the investigation was on-going. A month later, the Prosecutor General’s Office would make a similar public statement: “Citizen K” had no connection to the Gongadze case, an investigation which was on-going. The lawyer of Georgiy Gongadze was also sent a letter: at the present time, there are no suspects in the killing of Georgiy Gongadze. No arrests have been made306.
“Citizen K” was not the first suspect to be put forward, and then abandonned. There was also “Citizen D” and “Citizen G”, also known respectively as Cyclops and Sailor, also known as Igor Dubrovsky and Pavlo Gulyuvaty, members of a criminal gang who’d disappeared in late 2000. The Prosecutor General would announce with certainty in 2001 that D and G were the killers of Georgiy Gongadze, and the case had been solved. A Kiev newspaper would soon publish that both D and G had been filmed at a wedding the day Gongadze disappeared. It would also soon be discovered that both Citizens D and G had not disappeared, but were alive, well, and outside jail. The claim of the Prosecutor General would be retracted307.
Despite the appearance of these alternate suspects, there was already evidence which pointed a finger to a very specific point, within and at the very apex of the government of Ukraine. These were tapes made by Mykola Melnichenko, a former bodyguard of Leonid Kuchma, of a meeting in which journalist Georgiy Gongadze was discussed. I excerpt the paragraph from “The Gongadze Inquiry” which gives it first mention. I bold two relevant parts:
In November 2000, one of ex-president Kuchma’s guards, Nikolai Melnichenko, released recordings which he claimed he had made in the president’s office. On at least five occasions from 12 June to 3 July 2000, ex-president Kuchma and his ministers — head of the president’s administration Volodymyr Lytvyn, minister for internal affairs Yuriy Kravchenko, chief of the security service Leonid Derkach — discussed following Gongadze closely, “crushing” him, “taking care of” him and “throwing him to the Chechens”. Mr Lytvyn, now speaker of parliament, is apparently heard suggesting to Mr Kuchma that he should “let loose Kravchenko to use alternative methods”.
The Prosecutor General’s office would dismiss the possibility that the recordings were authentic, and open up slander proceedings against Melnichenko. It would be alleged that the Ukrainian opposition had fabricated the recordings in order to frame Kuchma308.
In 2004, the same document leak which unveiled the obstruction of the Gongadze investigation would also reveal that undercover police teams had conducted surveillance of Gongadze up to his abduction and disappearance. These police teams fell under the command of General Oleksiy Pukach, of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or the MIA. Before his disappearance, Gongadze himself sent an open letter to the Prosecutor General complaining that he was being followed. In the Independent‘s published document leak, on the day after Gongadze disappeared, Pukach would tell his officers to forget that they’d ever followed Gongadze. After this document leak, one investigative possiiblity that was begun was that Gongadze had been murdered by the “werewolves” a group of current and former police officers who kidnapped citizens for random, and sometimes later killed them. The MIA would conduct an internal investigation. They would declare that they had been unable to discover whether or not they’d followed Gongadze because relevant documents had been destroyed and MIA employees had declined to co-operate309. A year before, in August 2003, an MIA police officer named Ihor Honcharov died while in custody. Letters from Honcharov made public would reveal that he had told the Prosecutor General the names of the police officers involved in the surveillance of Gongadze. He would also allege that Gongadze had been killed on the orders of the then head of the MIA, Yuriy Kravchenko, the same Kravchenko who’d been at the recorded meetings as Lytvyn and Kuchma: “On at least five occasions from 12 June to 3 July 2000, ex-president Kuchma and his ministers — head of the president’s administration Volodymyr Lytvyn, minister for internal affairs Yuriy Kravchenko, chief of the security service Leonid Derkach — discussed following Gongadze closely, “crushing” him, “taking care of” him and “throwing him to the Chechens”.” Honcharov was a former member of the werewolves, and he warned the Kiev directorate in charge of organized crime of their existence, after which he received a savage beating. Two months later, he died in police custody. The leaked results of a secret autopsy concluded that Honcharov’s death was the result of a series of injections of Thiopental which had halted his breathing. There was no legitimate reason for injecting Honcharov with Thiopental, said doctors. Following this break, the Prosecutor General’s Office would declare that they had come close to solving the case. In October 2003, General Pukach would be arrested and charged with destroying evidence. At the end of October, President Kuchma fired the Prosecutor General who’d ordered the arrest. A week later, Pukach was released from prison, and in 2004, before the document leak revealing the MIA surveillance and the “Citizen K” incident, he was cleared of the charges 310
All this was recounted in the first report put out by the coalition of journalist groups looking into the lack of a proper investigation of the death of Gongadze. The second, issued in September 2005, after the Orange Revolution, was titled “The Instigators Are Getting Away”. Mykola Tomenko, who had resigned as deputy prime minister following the start of the rupture between Orange Revolution factions of Yulia Timoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko, would accuse Volodymyr Lytvyn, along with others, of trying to hinder the investigation and doing everything possible to restrict discussion of the Gongadze murder in parliament and the press311.
Since the publication of the first report, Viktor Shokin, deputy Prosecutor General, would allege that Gongadze was kidnapped by a group of serving MIA officers, led by Pukach, who had been beaten him, and then strangled Gongadze with Pukach’s belt. Pukach and a second group of people then moved Gongadze’s body to Tarashcha, where it was found. Valeriy Kostenko, Mykola Protasov and Oleksandr Popovych, three of the MIA officers led by Pukach in the kidnapping, would be indicted. All three would implicate Pukach in the killing. All three would eventually confess to committing the murder, with Protasov getting thirteen years, while Kostenko and Popovych would get twelve312. Pukach had fled the country. In 2005, various press would report that Pukach was in Israel. On the Melnichenko tapes, Volodomyr Lytvyn is “apparently heard suggesting to Mr Kuchma that he should “let loose Kravchenko to use alternative methods””. This Kravchenko was Pukach’s superior, Yuriy Kravchenko. On March 3, 2005, President Yushchenko would announce the case solved and the Prosecutor General would make a public statement saying they were inviting Kravchenko to give evidence. The next day, Kravchenko’s body was found at his country villa with a note declaring himself innocent of wrong doing, and blaming everything on the intrigue of President Kuchma and his entourage. Both the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General’s Office considered the death a suicide, but there was one unusual detail to this suicide – Kuchma was a man of considerable military experience, with the usual weapons training, and this suicide involved being shot twice in the head, with a gunshot wound to the chin, and a gunshot wound to the temple. Melnichenko, the man who’d recorded the tapes incriminating Kuchma and Lytvyn, would travel to the U.S., where he was granted asylum. Though the Prosecutor General would go to the United States in an attempt to interview Melnichenko, they failed in this task. A friend and frequent collaborator of Melnichenko’s, Aleksandr Litvinenko, would state that Melnichenko had not made the recordings on his own – but had worked with others. Litvinenko, as is well known, would die in 2006, from radiation poisoing which was believed to be a successful assassination attempt313. In addition to Kravchenko and Pukach, two other senior MIA officers, Eduard Fere and Yuri Dagayev, may have been involved in the Gongadze killing. Aleksandr Popovych, one of the three men found guilty of direct involvement in the murder, would tell investigators that Pukach, Fere and Dagayev had met after the killing to discuss the need to rebury Gongandze’s body. One possibility put forth was that Dagayev, who was also Kuchma’s chief of staff, had conspired with Fere and Pukach to organize the killing, without the knowledge of Kuchma or Kravchenko. “We regard this as a credible hypothesis that should be further tested,” concluded “The Gongadze Inquiry”. In 2003, Fere would suffer a stroke which would put him in a vegetative state. He had fallen into a coma, and lost all muscle movement and power of speech. Three weeks after Fere’s stroke, Dagayev would also suffer from a stroke, which would lead to his death. “Not surprisingly,” wrote the “Inquiry”, “the fates of Dagayev and Fere have been the subject of a considerable amount of media speculation.” Fere would eventually die as well. The “Inquiry” concluded: “Suggestions that they may have been poisoned have been published in the Ukrainian media, and we believe that this issue should be considered by the PGO [Prosecutor's General Office].”314
“The Instigators Are Getting Away” was not idle in its choice of who had escaped justice – those who had ordered the killing, rather than those who had committed the murder. It described the nature of resistance to a thorough investigation, and the way this resistance had changed from before and after the revolution:
In the period since the “Orange Revolution”, the character of political resistance to the investigation of the Gongadze case has changed. Before then, the pressure was directed to obstructing the investigation at all levels. This year, the pressure appears to us to have been directed towards concentrating attention on some of the immediate perpetrators of the crime in order all the better to prevent those who ordered it being brought to justice.
As we stated in our previous report, it is widely assumed that during the “Orange Revolution” an understanding was reached between former President Kuchma and current President Yushchenko, providing immunity from prosecution for Kuchma and some of his associates, with reference to the Gongadze case and other high-profile cases. This is considered by analysts both within and outside Ukraine as a convincing interpretation of events. President Yushchenko has denied the existence of such a deal. We make no assumptions on this issue.
They give a lengthy quote from Mykola Tomenko, the deputy prime minister who’d resigned after the collapse of the Orange Revolution government, about who the investigation must ultimately look at, and why the investigation was impeded: “For me, the ‘Gongadze affair’, which I wanted so much to speed up, is the case of Leonid Kuchma and, as experts think, Volodymyr Lytvyn. Possibly, there was no arrangement with Kuchma. But there was, to a large extent, a conscious decision not to enter into direct conflict with several political players. I have the feeling that a certain group of politicians have agreed on a collaboration that will guarantee that they won’t come in for any attention from the law-enforcement agencies. I say once again that, if I were the prosecutor, I would start with the case of Kuchma, since the ‘Gongadze affair’ is derivative and is directly connected with the case of Kuchma.”
The most astonishing sign of this resistance was a report on Gongadze killing which parliament refused to hear or make public – a report written by one of its own parliamentary commissions. The contents of this report are hinted at in “The Instigators Are Getting Away”:
Some indication of the contents of the parliamentary commission’s report, the suppression of which we referred to in our first report, were given by the commission’s chairman, Hryhoriy Omelchenko, in an interview on 18 March 2005. He said that the report names former President Kuchma and former Minister of Internal Affairs Kravchenko as the organisers of the murder; it names parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn and former defence minister Leonid Derkach as being responsible for “instigating the perpetration of violent acts” against Gongadze. Omelchenko said that the report had cited evidence from the Melnichenko tapes and “evidence from witnesses”. This all suggests that the motive for preventing publication of the report is precisely that it concentrates on the issue of those who ordered the murder, rather than the perpetrators.
Commission chairman Omelchenko had proposed delivering his report on numerous occasions in 2003-04, and been blocked from doing so. In March 2005, the issue came up again at a meeting of the conciliation commission of parliamentary fractions, which declined to approve the timetabling of a report by the Omelchenko commission. Socialist fraction leader Oleksandr Moroz, addressing a parliamentary session, said the decision was a “disgrace”, aggravated by “dubious excuses that allowing the commission to report would violate some political agreements”. In a subsequent interview, Omelchenko claimed that the pressure to block the commission’s report emanated from President Yushchenko and speaker Lytvyn. He said: “I have exhausted already all the possibilities provided by the law to force this question through. The only things I haven’t done is to smash up the rostrum, seize people by the lapels, tear my shirt or declare a hunger strike in protest. […] at the conciliation council Oleksandr Moroz, Anatoly Matviyenko [deputy from the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc] and your humble servant [i.e. himself] once again demanded from the speaker a hearing of the commission of inquiry’s report. But there was nothing doing. Volodymyr Lytvyn got nervous and looked irritated. And he replied that he had talked with President Yushchenko, and the latter had requested that the report not be heard, in order not to politicise the situation.”
The third, and final, section of the inquiry is titled “Official Obstruction Is Rewarded”. The explanation for the title was given in the following paragraphs:
The title of this third report – Official Obstruction Is Rewarded – refers, in particular, to the award to former Prosecutor General Mikhail Potebenko in February 2007 by President Yushchenko of the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise. It was Potebenko to whom Georgiy Gongadze appealed for help in July 2000, when he realised he was being followed; it was Potebenko who ignored that appeal. It was Potebenko who repeated to the public fanciful and illogical hypotheses about Gongadze’s disappearance, which he probably knew had no foundation. It was Potebenko who continued to obstruct the investigation of the murder by refusing to consider the “Melnichenko tapes” and other crucial evidence. It was Potebenko who was ultimately responsible for carrying out an effective investigation of Gongadze’s murder, which, the European Court later found, the authorities failed to do.
That the Ukrainian president has presented Potebenko with a state honour – while the investigation of those who ordered the murder has moved far too slowly during the two-and-a-half years since the Orange Revolution – epitomises the official indifference, and even opposition, to dealing with many of the issues raised by the case.
It was in this final section that there was a synopsis for Volodymyr Lytvyn, including a transcript of that moment when Georgiy Gongadze’s name came up, and the suggestion was perhaps made to destroy him.
3.5.3 Volodymyr Lytvyn
The involvement in the Gongadze case of Volodymyr Lytvyn, one of Ukraine’s most senior parliamentarians, stems from his alleged participation in conversations with President Kuchma about harming Gongadze that were recorded by Melnichenko. Lytvyn was an aide to President Kuchma from 1994 to 1999, and was then appointed head of the president’s office, a position he held throughout 2000. From 2002 to 2006, i.e. both before and after the Orange Revolution, Lytvyn was the parliamentary speaker. The “Melnichenko tapes” record four conversations where doing harm to Gongadze is discussed, the participants in which are Kuchma, Kravchenko, Leonid Derkach and Lytvyn. The conversation in which Lytvyn allegedly participated reads as follows. This version is based on the copy of the tapes stored at the International Press Institute in Vienna, translated into English by J.V. Koshiw, author of a book on the Gongadze case:
[Kuchma] Give me the same about Ukrayinska Pravda and … And we will decide what to do with him. He has gone too far.
[Lytvyn] I need to begin a [court] case.
[Lytvyn] Start a case? [undecipherable]
[Lytvyn] The case – we will make in duplicates.
[Kuchma] No, I don’t need a case.
[Kuchma] Ukrayinska Pravda [the news website founded and run by Gongadze] well is simply too much – the scum, fucker, Georgian, Georgian.
[Kuchma] Gongadze. Well, who is financing him?
[Lytvyn] Well, he actively works with […] Moroz [Aleksandr Moroz, speaker of the Ukrainian parliament and leader of the Socialist Party], with Grani [a newspaper sponsored by the Socialist party]. On Saturday I saw … with [Socialist MP Volodymyr] Makeyenko.
[Kuchma] Maybe take the MP to court, let the lawyers take it to court. This goes to the prosecutor, right?
[Lytvyn] No, let loose Kravchenko, in my opinion, decide how, and also [Horbanyeyev, or Komanyeyev?] and Kholondovych [who was head of the main directorate for logistic control of the MIA].
[Kuchma] Simply shit – is there any limit, after all, son-of-a-bitch – he needs to be deported – the scum – to Georgia and thrown there on his ass!
[Lytvyn] Take him to Georgia and drop him there.
[Kuchma] The Chechens should kidnap him and ask for a ransom!
(Source: IPI, GO3007p2.dmr, 0:07:38-0:10:45, July 3, 2000).
We have found no record of any comment by Lytvyn on the Gongadze case prior to the Orange Revolution. During the revolution, Lytvyn, who had formerly been a strong Kuchma supporter, switched sides and declared his support for the re-running of the elections that the revolution’s supporters had demanded. Having retained his position as parliamentary speaker, he began to comment publicly on the Gongadze case.
In October 2005, Lytvyn addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Ukrainian integration into European institutions and other issues. The following question was asked by Matyas Eorsi, a Hungarian deputy:
Mr Eorsi (Hungary). We were very pleased to hear President Yushchenko say that the Gongadze case would be investigated, but we also heard that you personally were one of those who were heard on the Melnichenko recording discussing how to get rid of the critical journalist, Gongadze, with former President Kuchma. I should very much like to hear your comments.
The official transcript of the session in English, which is not a literal translation, records the answer as follows:
Mr Lytvyn said the situation was not as clear as had been suggested. Certain phrases had been added to the report [of the Ukrainian parliamentary commission on the Gongadze case], there was no conclusion, and he rejected any suggestion of politicisation.
A reporter from Ukrayinska Pravda was present, and, having heard Lytvyn speaking in Ukrainian, recorded that Lytvyn had also said that “international analysis” had found that the Melnichenko tapes had been doctored. Lytvyn also said that the report of the Ukrainian parliament’s commission on the Gongadze case, which had suggested that Lytvyn was implicated in the murder, was “not objective”. If such “international analysis” exists, it has never been published. On the other hand, the most substantial international analysis of the tapes, by former FBI agent Bruce Koenig – who, unlike the specialists mentioned by Lytvyn, made his conclusions public – showed, on the contrary, that the sections of the “Melnichenko tapes” recording conversations about Gongadze had not been doctored.
In our opinion Lytvyn, who has elsewhere stated that he hopes that the Gongadze case is resolved, could help the investigation by explaining: which “international analysis” showed that the Melnichenko tapes had been doctored and why has it not been published? How does he account for the contradiction between this and the analysis by Koenig and other specialists? Why has he not done more in the years that have passed to resolve these issues? Does he have any record of his conversation with President Kuchma on 3 July 2000, and it what way was it falsified? We have written to Lytvyn to ask for comment on these issues, and received no reply.
In July 2009, General Oleksiy Pukach would be arrested. The deputy Prosecutor General would declare that they had been following Pukach for two years, and had always known where he was. “Why then,” the Gongadze Inquiry report asked the obvious question, “was Pukach arrested in July 2009, and not earlier?” And the second obvious question: “Was he previously under the protection of elements in the law enforcement agencies?” Pukach would direct investigators to Belotserkovsky district where fragments of a human skull were found. Forensic investigators would confirm that the remains were the skull fragments of Georgiy Gongadze. Pukach’s lawyer would tell the press that enough evidence existed to indict Kuchma, Lytvyn, and other top officials. In late January, 2013, Pukach was found guilty of the Gongadze murder, and sentenced to life in prison. One of the presiding judges asked if he accepted this sentence. “I will accept it,” he replied, “when Kuchma and Lytvyn join me in this cage.”315
The preceding, which appears to have been a lengthy tour through the Gongadze report is ultimately a simplification. I have spoken of a single Prosecutor General, as if this was an immutable force out of Kafka, unyielding to appeal, when the Prosecutor General changed several times over the course of time, most notably with the removal of Svyatoslav Piskun, who was dismissed when Pukach was arrested for destroying evidence of Gongadze’s surveillance, only to be reinstated after the Orange Revolution. This simplification also does not fully go into the extent of the intimidation against those simply trying to conduct a proper inquiry into the murder. The preceding synopsis is not intended as a substitute for the actual report, and I would encourage readers to look at the actual “Inquiry” and its thorough examination of a murder case little known in the west, and an investigation seemingly stymied for its inconvenience to the highest powers of the state.
Within this narrative, we might see the death of Georgiy Gongadze as a second pole in the life of Roger Stone, a reprise of an opening melody. Stone began in the Nixon Administration as part of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), and it was another associate of CREEP, G. Gordon Liddy, who was tasked with killing Jack Anderson, a reporter who, like Giorgy Gongadze, was making things difficult for the government through his critical reporting. There is some description of this given in Liddy’s memoir, Will, but a more succinct account of the methodology of the planned killing was made when Liddy was a guest on “The Howard Stern Show” (this interview is in four parts on youtube, one, two, three, four, and the following is taken from part one, 13:35 to the end of the clip):
If you had killed Jack Anderson, like you proposed to the Nixon Administration, what would you have used? Because you did advocate an assasination.
Yeah. Well, what we decided to do was…we knew the route he came into the office…and it included a traffic circle.
You’re going to shoot him in the circle?
No, you’re not gonna shoot him in the circle. There’s a way you hit the car in a certain way, and it would flip and kill him.
The bullet, when they-
There’s no bullet, there’s a car accident.
You’re hitting the car with a bullet, right?
No. No. You are hitting the car with another car.
You know, you had the most imprecise plans. There’s no way you’re gonna guarantee you’re gonna kill a guy in a car.
No wonder Nixon thought you were nuts. You know I felt bad for Nixon, you nuts were running around, planning assassinations, I don’t think he had any clue-
This last statement eludes – and Liddy allows it to be eluded – that though Liddy brought up the possibility of killing Anderson, he was also told to go ahead and do so by the head of CREEP, Jeb Magruder. The following is the relevant excerpt from Will:
At lunch with [E. Howard Hunt] I brought up the matter of killing Jack Anderson. He told me to forget it, from which I concluded that the decision from Colson, I assumed, was negative. I inquired no further. A short while later Magruder called me into his office to deliver another whining complaint about Anderson. One of my first assignments from him had been to check out a rumor – which proved impossible to substantiate – that Anderson had been involved in a land fraud on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Another was that he had sent someone to break into our committee headquarters but was thwarted by our security. I checked that one with McCord and he knew nothing about it. I was in no mood for any more of Magruder’s petty carping about Anderson, so I tuned him out; but one sentence came through loud and clear: “Gordon, you’re just going to have to get rid of Jack Anderson.”
For serious reasons of state I had just offered to kill Anderson for the White House and been turned down. Now this pipsqueak wanted to put out a contract on him for no more reason than that he was a general pain in the ass.
This, of course, leaves hanging the unanswered question, whether Magruder had authority to sign off on his ownsome, the killing of a well-known journalist, or whether he had to get a head nod or implied assent from someone higher up for this order to be given. That there was no penalty or repercussion for the planning of this assassination is explained in another brief exchange on “The Howard Stern Show”. “Conspiring to murder someone, though, I think would put you in prison for life,” said Stern. “Only if you take, see…the conspiracy laws are very interesting,” replied Liddy. “You and I could sit here, and conspire to kill Bababooey all day long. But unless, and until, either one of us takes one affirmative action to advance that, there’s no crime.” Stern: “So, the planning is not a crime?” Liddy: “No.”316 We might see these two parallel cases of Stone working for politicians associated with the killing of reporters as either an ascent or a descent. He had started out in the employ of any administration where the murder of journalists was only planned, and he had ended up with a client where substantial evidence pointed to him having actually done the deed.
We might return now to the Labash piece where Lytvyn is brought up. “But beforehand, he threatens to take me to Ukraine, where the local press has outed him as being involved in the parliamentary campaign of Volodymyr Lytvyn, an Orange Revolutionary alum who’s been mentioned as a future president.” This is the campaign of 2007, seven years after Gongadze was killed. The Melnichenko recordings were well known throughout Ukraine, and known to many outside the country. The first two reports of “The Gongadze Inquiry”, “The Failure of Legal and Judicial Processes” and “The Instigators are Getting Away”, had already been published in 2005. “But,” writes Labash, “it turns out we don’t need to go; his guys on the ground have it covered.” Stone handled the campaign from a distance, and one of the people who must have handled it on the ground was Michael Caputo. It was Caputo who ran Carl Paladino’s campaign while Stone ran that of Kristin Davis in the 2010 New York governor’s race, with both denying collusion (the governor’s race is discussed in part seven). We know that Caputo was there because that’s where he met his wife. On his old blog, there is the post, “Great News: I’m getting married Sunday!”, followed by the detail: “I worked on the 2007 Ukrainian Parliament Elections and met my fiance as she worked for my local campaign colleague.”317
It must have been while working on this campaign that Caputo wrote “Ukraine elections” for the Washington Times on September 12, 2007, strangely without any disclosure of his involement in the election which would take place on September 30th. Caputo would give mention of the candidate he worked for near the end of the piece, and I bold it:
[In] late August, Yulia announced she had secretly surveyed 30,000 Ukrainians. Her conclusion: the elections will certainly exclude all parties except hers and those of her top two tormentors. She refused to provide the polling research — perhaps the largest pre-election survey in world history — expecting voters to take her claim as an article of faith. Some are balking, especially in western and northern regions where her failure to back banking reform is blocking cash wired from family expatriates working abroad.
With this, Yulia urged the electorate to choose among mega-blocks instead of wasting votes on smaller parties. But contrary to her mythical survey, reliable research shows other parties may pass the 3 percent minimum threshold and join the Rada. Among them are the communists and the party of democratic reformer Volodymyr Lytvyn, former speaker of the Rada who kept the rowdy legislature from devolving into anarchy during the Orange Revolution. Rested and ready after losing re-election in 2006, he is a fresh face in a tired crowd of self-interested politicians.
What purpose Caputo had for being in Latvia in 2005, when he wrote “Journey to Latvia”, again for the Washington Times, I’m uncertain. Both Lytvyn and the man and the coalition he ended up joining, the Party of Regions, moved towards the Russian axis and away from the EU; “Journey to Latvia” appears to favor such a tilt towards Russia. In both Latvia and Ukraine, a contentious issue is the teaching of the Russian as an official language to be taught alongside the native language. In 2012, there would be a high turnout as over 75% of Latvians rejected Russian as an official language. It was this very same issue that was so incisive as to finally pull Lytvyn away from his support of the pro-Russian Party of Regions – this, I believe, did not demonstrate anything like idealism on Lytvyn’s part anymore than his movement away from Kuchma expressed idealism, only a practical analysis of what positions are tenable and which aren’t. Caputo does not appear to see this in “Journey to Latvia”, portraying the language issue as an inconsequential football, tossed around by the chattering class: “Only politicians really care about this debate. Comments by a Latvian legislator or Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue, are ignored by most of the young professional class.” One has the sense that Caputo knows far better than native Latvians what is good for Latvia: “[President Vaira Vike-Freiberga] has moved in the right direction recently, mostly because her anti-Soviet administration now recognizes Russia-oriented investment fuels its economic growth. As the historical crossroads of Eastern Europe, Latvia better hope it stays that way: Their economic opportunity will remain anchored in Russia for decades.”318 I am reminded of the comment William Windorf makes regarding the environmental devastation which locals in the Bahamas fear will take place when you have a casino set up with a cruise ship supplying it with Miami tourists every day: “Some locals quite frankly don’t understand that there are natural growing pains whenever a major improvement is brought to an area.”319
Though Melnichenko recordings had already given proof that Lytvyn was involved in the orders to kill Georgiy Gongadze when Caputo worked for the candidate, and though Lytvyn would go on to support the Yanukovych government, which might be seen as either pro-Russian or making Ukraine into a vassal state of Russia, and all this might be seen as support for authoritarianism, do not think this meant that Caputo had anything like open mindedness about political beliefs back in the United States. “Commie Book Ban” by Rob Jordan would describe the briefly successful attempts by Frank Bolaños to have a Miami-Dade school board ban a comic book from the early 1960s, Vamos a Cuba, which gave no mention of the political persecutions of Castro. Bolaños would make an attempt at the Florida state Senate, Caputo was his press officer, and they made sure to emphasize the issue of Bolaños’s stand on the comic book. That you might be against communism and still think this all was obnoxious grandstanding, was a view Caputo had no tolerance for. “The last vestiges of Communism will live and breathe in America. It’s in the school system.” This comic book was brought in with the specific intention of roiling the Cuban community, Caputo alleged. These events took place in 2006, a year before Caputo would help Volodymyr Lytvyn get elected. “He needs to be deported – the scum – to Georgia and thrown there on his ass!,” said Leonid Kuchma on the Melnichenko recording. “Take him to Georgia and drop him there,” said Caputo’s candidate, about the reporter whose headless corpse would later be found. Frank Bolaños would lose the election. One teacher at the high school where Vamos a Cuba had been pulled, who was also a Cuban exile, had a blunt reaction to the scandal about the comic book, that might be taken as a reaction to other things as well: “These people make me vomit.”320
Though this post was originally written and posted on February 24th, I briefly move both forward and backward at once in time, making an addition on the 2nd of March, where I quote from a WBEN radio broadcast made by Michael Caputo where he speaks eloquently and movingly about what was taking place in the Ukraine on the day of that radiocast, February 20th, the events which would culminate in the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich, and, at this date, the takeover of parts of Crimea by a Russian sponsored private army, with the very real possibility of war between Ukraine and Russia. From that February 20th broadcast, perhaps unnecessarily, I bold the second to last sentence, which stands out for me (taken from the beginning of “2-20 Michael Caputo in for Sandy Hour 2″):
What a day. I know we talk a lot abou this…college diplomas for rapists idea, from our quizzical governor…I don’t know, really, if this is the most important thing going on today…I’ve been up for several hours, I’ve had trouble sleeping…I don’t know if you’re catching the news…it’s been on our news break on the hour. They are murdering people in the streets of Kiev today. My in-laws are in Ukraine, my brother-in-law lives in Kiev, he sides with the protesters, and luckily for our family, he has not been spending recently his time in the Maidan Square there. I woke up…of course, as some of you know, my wife and I have an eighteen month old…at fifty one years old that was not done on a dare. But she woke me up a little bit this morning, a little early this morning, I have not been able to get back to sleep because the images coming out of Kiev, they are frightening. Just frightening. And uh, a very important point was made on twitter today, by somebody who I follow, I forget who made it, but this violence, in Kiev, in just the last couple of days, is far worse than any of the violence when the wall was falling back in ’89-’90. Those time frames. If you remember the violence that was happening then, it was wall to wall on our news stations. In Kiev, they’re actually firing right into the crowd, with AK-47s. Firing straight into the crowd. The hotel that is right on Maidan Square, the Kiev Hotel, the Kiev Hotel is now an emergency room. It’s a triage. People are dying right and left. By the way, so are the police. The police are mostly being injured and kiled by firebombs, by Molotov cocktails. And what bothers me is- I have a direct connection with this, because my in-laws are there, my wife is from there, we spend time there, it’s a frightening thing. I have been trying to talk to my in-laws about coming over to the United States, maybe staying here, and now we may escalate that. It’s really frightening, I mean, we don’t know here in the United States, the kind of life that they lead in places like Ukraine, which was devastated, whole cities leveled during World War II. And now the…after that, they suffered under the yoke of communism for many, many years. And the last several years, they have suffered under the oligarchs and the relative fascists who run the country, and basically, do not respond to the people, we’ve seen democratic oriented leaders poisoned over there, we’ve seen people killed, journalists murdered. And now the people, in the Square, in Maidan Square, being shot down like dogs.
On March 1st, a moronic troublemaker would try to reconcile this lamentation with his past election work, by raising the issue of Volodymyr Lytvyn and Georgiy Gongadze on twitter. Caputo would soundly dismiss any implications of the tweet, whether it be his connections with Lytvyn, or links between Lytvyn and Gongadze’s murder, I have no certainty:
So glad Vladimir Putin waited to invade Ukraine until Pres. Obama gained "more flexibility" after his 2012 reelection.—
Michael Caputo (@MichaelRCaputo) February 28, 2014
I leave this brief shift forward to the future of this edit, and return to the original post.
Caputo was on the ground in Ukraine, and Stone was planning the campaign from afar, but they were not the only Americans involved in the country at that time. “How Lobbyists Help Ex-Soviets Woo Washington” by Glenn R. Simpson and Mary Jacoby would describe how various top tier americans went into the former Soviet colony to, as they say, help out. There was the notable example of William Sessions, the former head of the FBI, who’d become a lawyer for Semyon Mogilevich, who his former agency considered one of Russia’s most powerful organized crime figures and had the distinction of being on their “most wanted” list. Sessions would approach his former agency with a deal: Mogilevich would provide them with vital information related to Islamist terrorism, if they could work out his legal problems. The FBI turned down the offer321. The European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECFMU) was an advocacy group for Viktor Yanukovych and his political bloc, The Party of Regions, co-founded by Leonid Khazara, another Party of Regions member, and Tony Podesta, of the lobby shop the Podesta Group and brother of Clinton chief of staff Jon Podesta, and it was formed to lobby in favor of Yanukovych and the Party of Regions without registering under the Foreign Agent Act, all of which was described in “How Foreign Governments Make Sure You Don’t Know They’re Lobbying You” by Rosie Gray322. It would do so through various methods, and one of them was by paying bloggers to write stories in favor of Yanukovych, and being nasty with the opposition. On Breitbart News, the story on the current uprising in Ukraine which led to the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych, “Chaos in Kiev: Yanukovych flees, Tymoshenko free”, would receive the comment from the charmingly named “gun_nut”, “Ukraine is a reminder on how quickly freedom can be lost, but that it can be regained when good people stand together for freedom. I only wish my fellow Americans had such courage.”323 At the time of the Ukraine elections, Ben Shapiro of the same site would write, “Yanukovych is not the pro-Putin stooge many make him out to be, and Tymoshenko is not the pro-Western ally many make her out to be.” Later, Shapiro would write, “It’s no surprise to see the woman who once hugged Suha Arafat shilling for a Ukrainian opposition that makes governing deals with reported Nazi knockoffs,” when Hillary Clinton supported the opposition. The ECFMU would re-tweet two of the Breitbart pro-Yanukovych stories. “Exclusive: How Ukraine Wooed Conservative Websites”, again, by Rosie Gray, would go into great detail in the ways in which conservative bloggers were paid off to portray Yanykovych as a force for stability and those protesting his regime as jew hating monsters324. The founder of Breitbart had often raved about “the well-funded, well-oiled, John Podesta–led machinery” and the “Clinton/Podesta cabal”. Perhaps it would gladden his heart that after his death, the Podesta cabal and the Breitbart cabal had finally found a way to work together, for a greater purpose325.
Yanukovych was able to win his way back to power through the work of political consultant Paul Davis, and there was a strange contradiction here, because Davis was also a high level consultant to the McCain campaign, and John McCain was passionately against the pro-Russia shift that Yanukovych represented. This was not an outlier or an exception – this same Janus phenomenon would take place again in 2012, with Mitt Romney taking a hard line against Russia, while one of his top advisors, Vin Weber, worked for the ECFMU326. Davis was a partner in a lobbying firm, a firm that was a shifting chimera that somehow has managed to show up in many stages of this piece, constantly changing its name, and the other name in that firm, the man whom Davis had served as deputy when he’d managed the Republican convention in 1996, was in Ukraine as well, and he’d also played a very big part in the election of Viktor Yanukovych327. He’s right there in Marc Champion’s “In Ukraine, a Friend of Russia Stages Sweeping Political Makeover”:
As Mr. Yanukovich prepared for parliamentary elections due the following spring, one of his key backers — Rinat Akhmetov, a billionaire metals magnate from Donetsk — recommended he hire Paul Manafort, who had worked on then-Sen. Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. Mr. Manafort, now a prominent Washington lobbyist, had been advising Mr. Akhmetov as he explored taking his business, SCM Holdings, public on Western financial markets.
With another election fast approaching, Mr. Manafort declined in an interview to talk about the specifics of the campaign advice he gave Mr. Yanukovich. But according to people involved in the Party of the Regions’ campaign in spring 2006, Mr. Manafort advised on such basics as how to target and appeal to voters. He also produced a slick campaign film and coached Mr. Yanukovich on his presentation.
Yanukovych was also helped out by Bruce Jackson, who arranged the visit of Yanukovych to D.C., where the future head of Ukraine met with Vice President Dick Cheney. Rinat Akhmetov, the Ukrainian metals magnate billionaire, would give $300 000 to the human rights charity of Jackson’s wife328. “A lot of people are making a lot of money off Ukraine’s political competition,” Jackson would say in “With cash, Ukraine’s political foes bring fight to Washington” by Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel. “The Yulia-Yanukovich competition has definitely spilled out of the country. Both sides are heavily invested in representation in Washington,” Jackson also said. He and his group, the Project on Transitional Democracies, however “did not lobby”329. “How Democracy Fails: Ukraine is the case in point” was a piece by Jackson in the Weekly Standard, the same venue for Matt Labash’s profile “Roger Stone, Political Animal”, deeply critical of the leaders of the Orange Revolution. However, democracy made a surprising recovery under Yanukovych, according to an interview with Jackson, “A year of Yanukovych, seen from abroad” by Mykola Siruk, written in 2011: “If we look at the objective facts, President Viktor Yanukovych and the new government had a very good year in 2010.” How could you not get objective facts from Bruce Pitcairn Jackson? “Generally, we can consider Ukraine a ‘new Poland,’ not a new Belarus. This is all very good. But Yanukovych isn’t getting any credit for it. Everyone hates the government.” Why do you think that is, he’s asked, and there followed a moment of confusion in the answer. “The mentality of the SBU [Ukrainian Security Service] is not helpful. I met the head of the SBU. Maybe he is a little naive, a little young, and maybe not everything is under his control. But this is not a thug. He is trainable and we can fix it.”330 Who, you wonder, is this we that can fix this? The Ukrainians? Jackson, Manafort, and whatever hacks Rinat Akhmetov throws money at? “If you are a dictator, you know that the end of your ruling is near the moment you hear that a man named Bruce Pitcairn Jackson is taking a closer look at your case,” was the fulsome intro to another Jackson interview for the World Security Network, one that made you feel like an old cartoon where someone had switched the exit and entrance signs. “Berlin sees itself as the busines partner of Moscow and the explainer of Kremlin activities to the West…The positions which Germany has chosen for itself are quite controversial and have encountered significant criticism,” said Jackson in the interview331 Sometimes, Jackson sounded an awful lot like William Windorf, Karla Von Stetten, Philip Dodge, Richard Knox, Facebook persons who enthused unending belief in Genting, Scott Israel for Broward sheriff, and buying a copy of The Man Who Killed Kennedy, so much that you weren’t sure these people existed, they sounded so much like they were under the control of someone else332. As a reader, you were confused as to why Berlin being a business partner of Moscow was now a bad thing, because in “Ukraine Votes: The country faces enormous economic challenges as it heads to the polls”, Jackson tells us that Ukraine’s destiny was between the economies of both Russia and Europe: “The culture and history that Ukraine shares with Russia is a matter of historical fact, and history cannot be rewritten by election or referendum. Similarly, the intimacy of Ukraine’s relations with Europe is established by history, geography, and shared economic interest. Ukraine will always be close to and independent of both Russia and Europe, and there is nothing any of Ukraine’s parties can do about it.” It sometimes felt as if the only person with freedom of movement in this world was Bruce Jackson333
“Why We Need a Reset” was also by Bruce Jackson, about the U.S. taking a new approach after the election of Yanukovych: “Over the past two decades we have been consistently wrong about the political character of Ukraine, the values and aspirations of its people, and the profound weaknesses of its government and economy.” You wonder again about that we. By we, do you mean you, Mr. Jackson? “Washington has neither seen Ukraine clearly as it is nor understood its aspirations properly.” Among the many mistakes it had made, according to Jackson, was accusing “former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma of murdering journalist Georgiy Gongadze before having second thoughts.” Jackson had more to teach the reader. “Washington’s engagement should not be limited to the most prominent political personalities.”334 The next part was the most fascinating:
It must also normalize relations with the Ukrainian business community, particularly with the so-called “oligarchs.” The top ten business leaders in Ukraine control vast industrial conglomerates each of which employs as many as a quarter of a million workers directly and supports several million Ukrainians indirectly. For better or for worse, these oligarchs are the single most important political constituency in Ukrainian politics, the source of funding for all political parties, and the most pro-European voice in Ukrainian society. Their self-interest lies in closer relations with the European Union to gain market access, in political stability to improve the business environment, and in the reform of a government whose past dysfunction has only devalued their assets. Engaging Ukrainian politicians without engaging their constituency is a mistake.
As said, Rinat Akhmetov, one of those oligarchs, gave over a quarter of million dollars to a charity of Bruce Jackson’s wife. If you wanted to find some background on Jackson, there was “Minister Without Portfolio” by John Judis from 2003. It described a free floating shadow, who worked for Lockheed Martin while also promoting the expansion of NATO, fundraising for the Republicans, and was finance co-chairman of Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign. A “prominent neoconservative” is quoted as saying that Jackson is the “nexus between the defense industry and the neoconservatives. He translates us to them, and them to us.”335 You had to wonder at all that “translate” contained. One paragraph of “Portfolio” gave a very clear idea of the nexus:
Jackson maintains that Lockheed actually disapproved of his work on the committee and even tried to fire him, but that seems difficult to believe. In the mid-1990s, Lockheed, like other defense firms, was suffering from the post-Cold War stagnation in the U.S. defense budget. The company knew that once countries from Eastern Europe were admitted into NATO, these nations would have to make their equipment, much of which was manufactured in Russia, “interoperable” with U.S. and Western European military hardware. That might well have meant that they’d have to buy new planes from Lockheed. If the countries didn’t have the money, Congress could supply the loan guarantees.
Jackson would then be brought in by the Bush adminstration to rally support for the Iraq war, and it was Jackson who was behind the idea of the Vilnius 10, a group of european nations who would join the coalition of the willing. The article emphasized that this may have been a coalition sometimes more willed than willing. “When the war began,” wrote Judis, “Slovenian Prime Minister Anton Rop finally said it had been a mistake to sign the declaration. The Slovenian press blamed pressure from Jackson, acting on behalf of the United States, for the initial decision to sign.” A Slovenian columnist would refer to the “Bruce Jackson threat” as the force which moved Slovenia to war336. This was written in 2003, before the consequences of the war became an obvious disaster, and before his involvement in the Ukraine, yet something about Jackson deeply alarmed Judis then, the idea that a man unknown, unaccountable, unvoted on by any man or woman, had such power.
Whatever one thinks of NATO expansion and the war in Iraq, it should be clear that something is very wrong here. NATO expansion is not necessarily a bad thing. And some countries may have wanted to endorse the American invasion of Iraq. But the Bush administration shouldn’t be holding entry into NATO hostage to support for its war in Iraq, or trying to gull the public about the size of its “Coalition of the Willing.” Even worse, it shouldn’t be getting a private citizen — with no accountability to the public, the Congress or even the administration itself — to do its dirty work.
The Iraq war would end up a fiasco of poor to no planning, one which cost the lives of too many for the creation of a corrupt and dysfunctional state, where ten, twenty, or more, now sometimes die in a single day from the bombs of Al-Qaeda. Viktor Yanukovych, the man who Jackson cheerleadered on, is, at the time of my writing this post, on the run and wanted for murder. Those are what I think Bruce Jackson might refer to as objective facts.
We have here the mess of points that might usually be called conspiracy, with a hidden order unveiled through a conspiracy theory. We have near invisible powers exerting great influence at a distance, and distorting how the world is seen according to their convenience. Paul Manafort helps get Viktor Yanukovych elected, Roger Stone and Michael Caputo work to get Volodymyr Lytvyn into parliament, and Lytvyn will support Yanukovych in exchange for getting to be speaker of the parliament again. Jackson will arrange a meeting between Yanukovych and Dick Cheney, a meeting that is possible through Jackson’s work in Iraq, where he was able to strongarm various countries into joining up as a condition for belonging to NATO, after which they would have to buy equipment from his former employer, Lockheed Martin. Caputo will chastise the opposition to Lytvyn all while presenting himself as a fair-minded man without a stake in the fire. Caputo and Jackson, another fair-minded source, will dismiss the issue of what the official languages of countries like Ukraine and Latvia are as things of no consequence. We have the eerie quality of the octopus somehow playing all parts; though Breitbart was founded by a man who despised John Podesta, they write supportive pieces of Yanukovych out of service to his brother. Unlike a conspiracy theory where some mystic order is hidden, here the arrangement is obvious and in plain sight. This was only a hidden order if you were surprised that practical financial considerations would be overwhelmed by ideology or moral virtue.
It all reminded me of an old piece from 1988 I’d just come across, “Panamania” by Joe Klein, which involved the complicated case of the former ruler of Panama, Manuel Noriega. Though the explicit line of the U.S. government was that it wished Noriega to step down, apparently he’d also been visited by a political consultant, Daniel Murphy, who was former deupty director of the CIA and George H. W. Bush’s former chief of staff, and Murphy had given Noriega an entirely different message, that he did not have to step down right away, but could wait until the next year. Noriega supposedly placed greater weight on the counsel of the private consultant than the public statements of the government337. “Why,” asked this article, “would Noriega give more credence to a private businessman than to ‘official’ representatives of the U.S. government?” Answer: “Ever since the CIA overthrew the government of Guatemala in 1954, the notion that there are two U.S. governments has been quite popular in Latin America,” says Frank McNeil, a former ambassador to Costa Rica. “There is the official government, which says one thing; and then there is the CIA and Pentagon, which pursue our real interests. A lot of this is myth and nonsense, of course, but some of it is based on experience.” We might speak of a first state, those who hold public office, a second secret state, that of national security, and a third invisible state, belonging to no nation, whose interests are entirely its own, occasionally allied with representatives of the first and second states, or employing them as a convenient enemy, though this opposition reflect nothing of their actual political identity, which was somewhat apolitical, part of the third state. So you have the phenomenon of Ben Shapiro attacking Hillary Clinton over her support of the opposition in Ukraine, which he does at the bidding of Tony Podesta’s ECFMU, while Rick Davis advises John McCain, who also supports the Ukrainian opposition, while Davis and his partner, Paul Manafort, support Yanukovych. Viktor Yanukovych may well have seen this mix of voices in a similar manner as Noriega did, that the true state, the important state, is the third shadow state of political consultants and secret money, not the first state, which ultimately derives its power from the third, rather than the other way around. This is the most cynical and sinister reading of this mess of relationships, and I don’t know if I believe in it, but I consider it a possibility.
Within this same third state was Roger Stone, who’d later try to raise a few bucks by peddling a conspiracy story involving Lyndon Johnson, which based on his unpublished memoir, Stone didn’t even believe. It was a tale with Lyndon Johnson committing eight murders out of rancid political ambition, while Stone himself had worked for Volodymyr Lytvyn, who appeared to have been involved in a plot of far more substantial basis, which started with the killing of a reporter, and then result in Yuriy Kravchenko committing suicide by shooting himself twice in the head, while two other members of his ministry, also believed complicit in the plot, would suffer from devastating strokes within the same year, strokes which would kill both off338. Why invent a story, you might want to ask Roger Stone, when you could just write what you know? The story of Volodymyr Lytvyn and Georgiy Gongadze, or Paul Manafort getting mixed up with a front group for Pakistani intelligence, or who exactly gave $150 000 to set up Take Back Our Judiciary, that Florida group in the 2000 election, or whether there’s any link between a war continued in Angola and a war begun in Iraq over chemical weapons where the evidence turns out to be bunk and with the same woman from Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly involved in both cases, or whether the Libertarian Party in 2012 was taken over for the purpose of a vote split? There was no hidden order, no masons, no lizard kings to any of this. People did things for money. You won elections so a certain select group could collect prizes, while the only thing that majority got was having their seething rage briefly fed. Those who had wealth to spare to sink into Super PACs, those who Bruce Jackson refers to as a politician’s “constituency”, would get whatever they wanted, while the rest of us would have to beg for clean food, unpoisoned water, and the possibility of children not shot dead by random lunatics, and all you’d get instead was virulent anger, pitting all against all, and you could always count on some large part of opinionmakers to give a hard, smug sneer at how powerless and impoverished we were, how we were always losing politically because we were too amoral, or too angry, or too stupid, or too inconsistent, never because we simply lacked the money to buy the politicians so we might actually get the sparest conditions of a decent life.
You just needed a certain gift to do that kind of work, a kind of sociopathy which reduced the human beings you dealt with to nothingness, a nothingness where nothing human was hurt or destroyed as a result of your gambits, and I will not grant Roger Stone much, but I will grant him that: I think he has that gift. That Roger Stone is both part of various conspiracies, and publishes a conspiracy theory might be viewed by some as ironic, two sensibilities in contradiction, when I see them as two sides of the same coin, people as mere marionettes, who you place in your plots accoring to your convenience. Stone ends The Man Who Killed Kennedy with the often cited fact that of the fourteen hundred witnesses to the Kennedy assassination, seventy had died unnaturally – their deaths are torn from whatever circumstances might have caused them, so they might be given sense in the conspiracy superstructure339. We might move away from abstractions to one of the actual lives lost, briefly but very well-sketched in Lawrence Wright’s memoir, In the New World, when Wright goes to find an exotic dancer for his fraternity’s party:
I took a seat. In a moment Delilah came out and shimmied through her big number. She had a shiny appendectomy scar that I hadn’t noticed before, but in the stage lights it seemed phosphorescent. Then, to the admiring astonishment of the Iowans, Delilah came to my table and ordered a Dr Pepper. She was in her mid-thirties, I calculated, or a little older—twice my age, in any case. She had black hair and olive-toned skin, which was probably the inspiration for casting herself as an Egyptian. However, she affected a Zsa Zsa Gabor accent along the lines of “Vere are you from, dahlink?” She was a walking cultural malaprop.
I admitted I was from Dallas.
“No kidding? Dallas?”
Her Hungarian accent fell aside and was replaced by the more familiar nasal tones of North Texas. I asked if she knew Dallas. “Yeah,” she said, “I know that goddamn town too well.” We sat quietly for a moment. Being from Dallas was an awkward bond to share.
“I used to work for Jack Ruby,” she volunteered.
She seemed to want to talk about him. He was a nice man, she remembered, but “a little crazy.” It was Ruby, the Jewish impresario, who put her together with “Hava Nagila.” Delilah gave me her telephone number, and I told her I would call next semester concerning her performance at Tulane. She said I could come to her apartment for “coffee.”
All summer long I thought about that invitation.
I was already alarmed at the direction my life was taking. When I fled Dallas for the university, I left behind a sweet Christian girlfriend. She had given me a Bible for my eighteenth birthday. “Cherish this book always, Larry, and diligently read it,” she admonished on the flyleaf, but I had fallen into the hands of the Sybarites and the existentialists, and when I returned to Dallas that summer I felt like a moral double agent. Half of me was sitting with my girlfriend in church, underlining Scripture with a yellow marker, and half (more than half) was scheming of ways to lead my little Christian exemplar into one of life’s dark passageways.
I was lying on her lap, with that thought in mind, watching the ten o’clock news, when a photograph of a black-haired woman in a belly dancing costume flashed on the screen.
“That’s Delilah!” I said, sitting up.
“Shh. I know her.”
Her name, it turned out, was Marilyn Magyar Walle. She had just been murdered in Omaha, shot eight times by a man she had been married to for a month. Her association with Jack Ruby was noted. My girlfriend looked at me with an expression of confounded decency.
“Do you have something you want to tell me, Larry?”
I wasn’t the only one who marked Delilah’s death. The conspiracists were keeping a list of “witnesses” who had died since the assassination, a list that grew and grew. By February 1967 seventeen others had died, including two more strippers who had worked for Ruby (one was shot to death, the other was found hanging by her toreador pants in a Dallas jail cell). Most of these deaths were from natural causes or explainable under other circumstances, but in the aggregate they had a weight they wouldn’t have had by themselves. Seven of the victims had given testimony to the Warren Commission, six others had been interviewed by the Dallas police or the FBI. What are the chances, one might wonder, that so many people connected with the assassination would be dead in three and a half years? An actuary in London said the odds against all of them being dead in that time were 100,000 trillion to one—a figure that throws mysterious shadows across the otherwise unmysterious fates of car wrecks, failing hearts, jealous husbands, and disappointed suicides.
This moment, succinct and without wasted space, affected me deeply, and it is without difficulty that one can imagine why this small portion of time and space persisted in Wright’s memory, while all other moments around it melted away. It shows us nothing extraordinary, only a woman doing her best under shabby circumstances, yet it suggests the vast unimagined expanse of those other seventy lives, for which their crisscross over the assassination was but a single incidental point. I do not think Roger Stone has the possibility of conceiving that expanse, only seeing people as points that might be co-ordinated in one pattern or another340. The most apt passage for a long essay on Roger Stone comes not from any book on politics, but an examination of sociopathy, A Criminal History of Mankind by Colin Wilson, which notes that crime is often an act of domination, an expression that the perpetrator is strong and the victim is weak, that the most violent and disturbing crimes often lack a material motive or practical reason, because their sole purpose is domination. This, I think, is the prime mover of Roger Stone, whether it be the Redlich mailer, or yelling at Eliot Spitzer’s father, or making up stories about Eliot Spitzer and black socks, or labeling Hesham El-Meligy the Al-Qaeda candidate, none of which have any political purpose, but are done solely to hurt the victims. Stone’s career is forever bound to a sex scandal and there is something connected to sex in the criminal act, and this act of humilation as well, which Wilson illustrates through a quote from De Sade’s Justine341:
That night, after a quick round of buggery with Saint-Fond, I withdrew to my apartment. But I couldn’t sleep: so stirred up was I by Clairwil’s violent words and actions, I had to commit a crime of my own.
My heart beating wildly at the evil thoughts racing through my brain, I leapt out of bed and dashed to the servants’ quarters. There I stole a butler’s clothes and a guard’s pistol. Then, looking very much like a gentleman of fashion [the narrator is a woman], I slipped into the night.
At the first street corner to which I came, I stationed myself inside a doorway and waited for someone to pass. The prospect of the crime which I was about to commit thrilled me like nothing I had ever experienced. My body glistened with sweat. My insides churned with the turmoil which precedes sexual congress – a fundamental excitement which honed all my senses to a fine cutting edge. I was aflame, ablaze now, for a victim.
Roger Stone begins work at the White House, and he is soon brought into the realm where he might exercise his will. The head of CREEP says “there would be some “after hours work” if I proved to be a young man who had the ability to keep his mouth shut,” Roger Stone writes in his unpublished memoir. “I had an immediate erection.”342 Roger Stone’s life is a pornography by a man who elected anti-pornography presidents, where victims have the desires of others imposed on them, the entire mass of their life reduced to an infinitely small point in space. This essay is an attempt at anti-pornography by an infinitessimally small point in space, resistant to all restriction, constraint, and limiting.
POSTSCRIPT (March 8th, 2014):
Bruce Jackson had cheerleadered the election of Viktor Yanukovych, and praised Yanukovych during his time in power, and he appeared, without shame or remorse, to offer more advice after this very man had slaughtered those who’d protested his regime. The important thing, now that the protesters were in power, was for Kiev to compromise. “Kiev has always been more of a compromise than a capital, and if it loses the ability to compromise, it loses its credibility as a capital,” said Jackson in Steven Erlanger’s “After Initial Triumph, Ukraine’s Leaders Face Battle for Credibility”:
What worries him, Mr. Jackson said, is that the new government is too beholden to the people’s movement on the Maidan. He is also concerned that it is not reaching out sufficiently to the east and needs the credibility of both presidential and parliamentary elections to answer Mr. Yanukovych’s charge, echoed in Moscow, that those politicians of western Ukraine, who have regularly lost elections, have seized power instead.
In essence, he suggested, the revolutionaries “have knocked out the foundations of modern Ukraine,” and they need to be restored in a way that recognizes the diversity of the country.
Sudden, unmediated political change in countries like Ukraine rarely goes smoothly, he said, pointing to the Rose Revolution in Georgia, whose main proponents are now out of office and many in exile after an administration that inevitably produced some achievements but considerable disappointments, aided by Russian efforts to keep Georgia unstable.
The Times story made no mention of Jackson’s past praise of Yanukovych, or the quarter million dollars that Rinat Akhmetov, the magnate who’d given heavy financial backing to Yanukovych, had contributed to the charity of Jackson’s wife.
Jackson still didn’t think much of Europe, offering a few dismissive comments over the concerns that their diplomats were spied on in “Scandale Prism : la NSA aurait aussi espionné l’Union européenne” by Laure Mandeville (my translation from the french). The emotion of the europeans over this is ridculous, said Jackson. “Any partnerships that work will require surveilling.” “The whole world spies on itself,” he would continue. Whatever could be learned from spying on a diplomatic european delegation would be of little interest anyway343.
On March 6th, Stone’s frequent associate would point out something already obvious to many, that RT.com (Russian Televsion) is a Kremlin controlled network, and as a result any coverage of the conflict in Ukraine would be slanted heavily in favor of Russia:
At last a real reporter tells the truth about @RT_com – It's a Kremlin controlled propaganda network. h/t @DailyBeast thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/…—
Michael Caputo (@MichaelRCaputo) March 06, 2014
These tweets warning away viewers from the Kremlin dominated programming were notable for the following reason. In November of last year, two weeks before the protests began, Roger Stone promoted his book, The Man Who Killed Kennedy, on this very network in an appearance on “Breaking the Set” (youtube link) with Abby Martin; it was Martin, along with Liz Wahl, who would publicly dissent over the network’s coverage of the Ukrainian crisis344. James Kirchick, in “Watch RT, Putin’s TV Network, Call the Cops on Me” as a happy outlet for the fringier elements of american dissent, “a willing disseminator for their angry and conspiratorial worldview,” and that was the ideal place for Stone to advertise his book on how an american vice president killed an american president.
On March 5th, Politico would publish a brief profile, “Mystery man: Ukraine’s U.S. political fixer” by Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, of Paul Manafort, whose whereabouts remained unknown after the exile of Yanukovych:
His friends once called him the Count of Monte Cristo.
Today, Paul Manafort is more like The Invisible Man — a worldly political pro whose latest adventure, whispering in the ear of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, has handed him a supporting role in a bona fide international crisis.
On Monday, as Russian gunships menaced the Ukrainian fleet in the Black Sea, Manafort’s former business partner Roger Stone sent out an email to a small group of friends asking wryly: “Where is Paul Manafort?”
A multiple-choice list of options followed, including: “Was seen chauffeuring Yanukovych around Moscow,” and “Was seen loading gold bullion on an Army Transport plane from a remote airstrip outside Kiev and taking off seconds before a mob arrived at the site.” The final option was: “Is playing Golf in Palm Beach.”
The answer to Stone’s query is currently unclear. Manafort’s current location and involvement in Ukraine, not surprisingly, are a mystery. He did not respond to messages sent to half a dozen email accounts or answer calls to nearly as many phone numbers at addresses in Virginia and South Florida.
What’s already certain is this: Even among the many American strategists who test their fortunes abroad, Manafort’s journey from the front lines of the Reagan revolution to the right hand of a Moscow-backed Eastern bloc pol straight out of central casting ranks as one of the more unusual escapades of the Washington consulting class.
On March 5th and 6th, Stone would tweet the following:
POSTSCRIPT (March 9th, 2014):
On March 8th, Roger Stone and one of his associates found an interesting way to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Stone would retweet the following:
This would prompt the reply from the writer Rebecca Jaramillo (@RebeccazWriting), “Stay Klassy – and way to woo the womens, #GOP!”, which would lead to an interchange between Jaramillo and Stone, culminating in the following: “Ignorant Bitch!”345:
After this, Andrew Miller (@andrewmiller83) would also attack Jaramillo. Miller worked on the Johnson campaign, as well as the campaigns of Carl Paladino and Kristin Davis. He is the stepson of Dianne Thorne, a longtime associate of Stone’s who would end up working in the sheriff’s office of Scott Israel. The work of Miller and Thorne on the Johnson campaign is described in part eight, while Thorne’s association with Stone is written about in parts six and seven. Miller would tweet that “@RebeccazWriting is one mouthy, loud-mouthed ignorant cunt”346:
Miller would also tweet “@rebeccawriting. You should stop tweeting about politics- you only betray you stupidity.- YOU started the name calling- bitch.”:
There was something strange to this last tweet, reminiscent of the identities of William Windorf, Philip Dodge and others described in part nine. It was the exact same tweet, word for word, which was sent out by Roger Stone, even the mistake of it being sent out to @rebeccawriting instead of @rebeccazwriting, “@rebeccawriting. You should stop tweeting about politics- you only betray you stupidity.- YOU started the name calling- bitch.”:
This of course raises the question of whether Andrew Miller is especially slavish in his devotion to his master, or whether these last two tweets were made by Stone, taking over Miller’s handle as a convenient cut-out. Both outbursts led to obvious reactions from @rebeccawriting, Rebecca Wells347:
The allegations mentioned by Stone against Bill Clinton are refuted, I believe, in Jeffrey Toobin’s A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. Fred Dicker’s “Assault claim vs. Carl’s aide Stone” describes the assault allegations made against Roger Stone in the 2010 election for New York’s governor. Whether these allegations have ever been refuted in any place is unknown to me:
The key campaign adviser to Republican gubernato rial candidate Carl Paladino once attacked and injured an attorney who was working as his aide in what a police source described as a “domestic incident,” the upstate woman has claimed.
The alleged assault by Roger Stone against Lora Como, 40, a former employee of the state Senate, occurred inside his Chelsea apartment last Thanksgiving weekend and left her with bruised ribs, Como told The Post.
Como, who says she spent months working for Stone, 58, in Florida and New York, claims they had a confrontation at his studio apartment at Chelsea Landmark, 55 West 25th St., after he allegedly flew into a rage because she had smoked a cigarette and he didn’t like the smell.
“He threw me to the ground and bruised my ribs. He was hostile and menacing and I wanted him arrested for assault and I went to the police,” said Como, who state payroll records show worked as a Senate research analyst from September 2006 to April 2009.
Stone, who is married, acknowledged that he had a major disagreement with Como at his apartment, but denied her version of the events.
“When I asked [her] to leave she became irate. I completely reject her assertion that I ever hit her or abused her in any physical way,” Stone said.
This is how Roger Stone and his associate, the former leadership of the 2012 third party campaign that was portrayed as an idealistic alternative to the amoral duoply of the United States, celebrated International Women’s Day348.
(from “Pictures from the TPM Holiday Party”, photo of Roger Stone by Victor G Jeffreys II.)
(Some small edits to improve comprehension or make simpler, more effective sentences were made on February 25th, 2014. The section on the attempted killing of Jack Anderson was also added on that date. A few footnotes on this date were added as well, such as footnote #340, quoting from The Man Who Killed Kennedy on the statistically high number of unnatural deaths as well as the list of people who appear to have been killed in association with the Gongadze case. The paragraph about the third state, also added on the same 25th. Februayr 26th, 2014: the addition of footnote #341 with the excerpts from Colin Wilson’s Criminal History of Mankind. Footnote #325 was added on February 28th. The adding of the Wills epigraph was made on March 8th, 2014. On March 10th, some edits were made to the second postscript for reasons of better readability – nothing in meaning or implication was changed, and the screenshots of the page as it was with the twitter embeds extant were added.)
303 Two articles which provide a good illustration of the Orange Revolution’s collapase are “Ukraine’s Political Paralysis Gives Black Eyes to Orange Revolution Heroes” by Clifford J. Levy and “Former Ukraine Premier Is Jailed for 7 Years” by Ellen Barry. The death of Georgiy Gongadze is mentioned in “Soviet Shadows, Ukrainian Ghosts” by Nicholas Kristof.
A quick overview of Lytvyn’s career is “Volodymyr Lytvyn: The Cry-Baby Candidate” by Serhiy Kudelia:
The speaker of Ukrainian parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn rose to prominence as President Kuchma’s political protégé. He joined Kuchma’s presidential administration in mid-1990s and rose through the ranks to become its chief in 1999. Despite his academic background (he taught history in Kyiv University prior to joining government), Lytvyn proved to be a master of political intrigue.
During his years in the Presidential Administration, Lytvyn played the role of a grey cardinal supplying Kuchma with information about his critics and planning tactical moves to eliminate opposition. He first became the parliament’s chairman in 2002 with a heavy-handed pressure over MPs from Kuchma. Once in his new role, Lytvyn distanced himself from his boss and tried to establish himself as a politician in his own right. His constant maneuvering between Kuchma’s loyalists and opposition allowed Lytvyn to broker round-table talks in the heyday of the Orange Revolution resulting in the constitutional compromise.
Following a defeat in 2006 parliamentary election, his bloc gained enough votes from disillusioned Yushchenko’s supporters in the Central Ukraine to get into the parliament in 2007. Since then he played his cards as a leader of the faction, which can tip the balance in the parliament in favor of one of the two largest factions. This helped him to return in the speaker’s chair following a deal with Prime Minister Tymoshenko during a 2008 crisis, when the parliament was on the verge of a dissolution.
That Lytvyn would go on to support Yanukovych is well-known, and there in the BBC story “BBC News – Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych forms coalition”:
Ukraine president forms coalition
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has secured a coalition in parliament and one of his loyalists has been named as the new prime minister.
Parliament approved the nomination of ex-Finance Minister Mykola Azarov as prime minister shortly after the coalition agreement was announced.
Mr Azarov said his priority was to push through a “realistic” budget for 2010.
Mr Yanukovych had been trying to pull together a loyal coalition after winning presidential polls last month.
He has faced resistance from defeated presidential contender and outgoing Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was forced out in a vote of no confidence last week.
On Thursday Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said that the coalition had been formed on the basis of an agreement signed by the Party of the Regions, the Communist Party, and his Lytvyn bloc.
After a corpse had been found in Tarashcha, a town near Kyiv, on 2 November 2000, in the space of two weeks information was revealed which indicated that the headless torso was probably Gongadze: its physical dimensions, jewellery found with the corpse, the stomach contents, and shrapnel wounds to the hand. However, rather than allowing for this probability, which soon became a certainty, investigators tried to convince the public that the corpse was not Gongadze’s and that he was still alive.
It is reported that Ukraine’s chief coroner, Yuriy Shupyk, removed the stomach contents but gave no instructions for the rest of the body to be moved to cold storage in Kyiv. The corpse therefore continued to decompose in the local morgue. On 15 November journalists arrived at the Tarashcha morgue to claim the corpse, which was suddenly and inexplicably seized by the police and taken to Kyiv. The next day, deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Mykola Dzhyha told parliament the corpse was too short to be Gongadze and had been in the ground for two years.
In the meantime, officials emphasised that there were sound reasons to believe Gongadze might still be alive. On 25 September, Mr Dzhyha said Gongadze had been seen in a Kyiv café the day after he disappeared; the Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Kravchenko repeated this information on 6 October. On the day after the corpse was found, [first] deputy Prosecutor General Serhiy Vynokurov announced that Gongadze had been seen on a train in Donetsk Region. On 10 January 2001, Prosecutor General Mykhaylo Potebenko told the media he had received new information which “suggests that the journalist is still alive”.
In January 2001, Russian forensic experts issued the results of DNA tests on the corpse, which indicated a 99.6 per cent probability that it was Gongadze’s. Despite this, the Prosecutor General announced in parliament: “There are no sufficient grounds to say that the body is that of journalist Gongadze unless additional forensic examination is made.” He said Gongadze could have been kidnapped by Ukrainian politicians in order to discredit their political opponents.
Six weeks later (22 February 2001), however, the Russians forensic experts raised their estimate of the probability to 99.9 per cent. On 26 February, the Prosecutor General confirmed that the corpse found in Tarashcha was Gongadze’s, based on these results. Only then did he launch a murder investigation. In other words, at least another six weeks had been lost in the investigation just because of a 0.3 per cent probability that the corpse was not Gongadze’s.
On 21 June 2004, the press department of the Prosecutor General’s Office declared that a suspect, “Citizen K”, had said he killed Gongadze. A spokesperson announced: “The man’s testimony is corroborated by the circumstances of the crime, such the time [of the crime] and some other key facts established by the investigation, including the beheading [of Gongadze].” 30 Citizen K had previously been prosecuted for several other murders that involved beheading, the spokesperson said.
In July 2004, the Institute of Mass Information, the Ukrainian Law Organization, the International Federation of Journalists and the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland wrote a formal letter of inquiry to the Prosecutor General to ask for information about Citizen K under article 9/32/33 of the Ukrainian Law on Information. A reply was received from the Prosecutor General’s Office on 13 August, signed by chief of the Department of the Investigation of Very Important Cases. Mr A. Chumachenko stated that Citizen K had not been arrested as part of the Gongadze case, and that an investigation was continuing. His letter said only that all theories would be examined and none had yet been ruled out
Dated 1 March 2001, the Ukrainian delegation’s report to the Council of Europe stated that the Prosecutor General’s office was analysing the possible involvement in Gongadze’s murder of “Citizens D and G”, who belonged to an organised criminal group and whose corpses had been found and identified. The report stated: “The Prosecutor General of Ukraine is analysing the information on [the] possible involvement in the murder of G. Gongadze of Kyiv residents belonging to one of the organised criminal groups — citizens D. and G., who disappeared at the beginning of November 2000.
“Citizens D and G” stood for Igor Dubrovsky and Pavlo Gulyuvaty, also known by their nicknames Tsyklop (Cyclops) and Matros (Sailor). The president of Ukraine, the Minister of Internal Affairs and his deputy, the Prosecutor General and his deputy, all proceeded to announce that the case had been solved and that citizens D and G had murdered Gongadze.
Within a few months, however, this allegation was revealed to be completely untrue, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General’s Office were forced to retract their earlier statements.
On 6 March 2001, the deputy prosecutor general in charge of the Gongadze case, Mr Bahanets, said on Ukrainian television that: “A group of people from a criminal group may have been involved in Georgy Gongadze’s disappearance. One of them has a nickname Cyclops. They took a journalist, a Georgian, to a forest to get him to pay some debts.”
However, on 25 May a Kyiv newspaper revealed that the two criminals blamed for Gongadze’s death had both been filmed at a wedding on the day Gongadzedisappeared.
Mr Piskun spelled out the implication: that the Ukrainian opposition had fabricated the recordings, and possibly murdered Gongadze, in order to frame ex-president Kuchma for the murder. Mr Shokin repeated this allegation: “The motive was indeed to frame the president.”
On 14 July 2000, Georgy Gongadze sent an open letter to the Prosecutor General to complain he was being followed. Senior Ukrainian state officials at first denied the fact of surveillance, then made contradictory statements which continue to this day, despite prima facie evidence of Gongadze’s surveillance by police before he was murdered.
In June 2004, information from leaked documents from the prosecutor’s investigations in 2003 was published in the Independent (London). The documents appeared to show that MIA undercover police teams carried out surveillance on Gongadze for weeks until the time of his abduction on the orders of General Pukach. They showed that the surveillance continued until Gongadze’s disappearance on 16 September 2000; on that day, Pukach told officers to forget that there had been any surveillance operation against Gongadze. The original documents were later published on a website. At first Prosecutor General Vasylyev stated that he was “very dubious about [publications] with quotations from anonymous sources, or from mythical employees of law enforcement bodies”. Only six weeks later did the Prosecutor General’s office state at a press conference that the documents were genuine.
Despite this clear statement confirming the surveillance of Gongadze, the MIA announced a new investigation into the matter. On 14 September, the ministry reported the results of its investigation, saying it had not been able to establish whether Gongadze had been followed because documents had been destroyed and employees denied any surveillance. Two days later the ministry qualified its initial statement, telling journalists that it was in no position to say yes or no.
Ihor Honcharov, the witness who died in custody in August 2003, gave detailed evidence of the operation of a gang, whose members of which included policemen, who kidnapped and murdered people for money. This gang, of which Mr Honcharov was a member, has become known in the press as the “werewolves”. Mr Honcharov alleged that the gang abducted and killed Gongadze on the orders of Internal Affairs Minister Kravchenko. He also said that, after he informed the head of Kyiv’s directorate for combating organized crime about these facts, he was given a savage beating and warned not to tell anyone else. Two months later he died in custody and the body was hastily cremated. Fearing for his life, Mr Honcharov had written letters, referring to these issues, and requested they be published in the event of his death.
Mr Honcharov’s evidence points to the possible existence and operation of illegal “death squads” within the Ukrainian state. Despite the seriousness of this evidence, and the authority of its source, the evidence available to this inquiry strongly suggests that the Ukrainian authorities have failed to mount a proper investigation. Very early on, suspicions were aired that Mr Honcharov did not die a natural death. In November 2003, the respected Ukrainian newspaper “Zerkalo Nedeli” revealed that specialists had concluded that Mr Honcharov was administered a series of injections, in particular a preparation that paralysed the breathing. In December 2003, however, Prosecutor General Vasylyev told a news conference: “A medical examination did not establish the cause of death as violent.”
In June 2004, the “Independent” (London) published information based on leaked documents, including a secret autopsy on Mr Honcharov which showed he was injected with a drug called Thiopental, an anaesthetic. The newspaper concluded: “The autopsy and tests performed for the government by six experts show Honcharov was injected with Thiopental, which the experts said probably led to death. Doctors have told The “Independent” that there would have been no legitimate medical reason to use the drug.” 117 Only after this publication did prosecutors for the first time say that a Mr Honcharov did not die of natural causes, as previously claimed, although they denied that the death was caused by injection of drugs. The Prosecutor General’s office said it had opened a criminal investigation into Mr Honcharov’s death in May, 2004; the results showed the cause of death was a blow to the spine.
In October 2003, the investigation appeared to have reached a climax with the arrest of General Pukach in the Gongadze murder case, charged with destroying evidence of Gongadze’s surveillance by police. At this point, however, further progress of this investigation was halted. On 29 October Mr Piskun was sacked by President Kuchma, for reasons that are still unclear. Mr Pukach was released from custody a week later (he was cleared by a Kyiv court in April 2004). Ex-President Kuchma dismissed Mr Piskun after a request from the Presidential Coordinating Committee for Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption, which accused Mr Piskun of “committing serious breaches of current legislation and committing dishonest actions”. The committee further accused Mr Piskun of “over-politicising” his office, of failing to implement presidential decrees, and of large-scale corruption.
The issue of political interference in the Gongadze case was raised. Mykola Tomenko, having resigned as deputy prime minister, accused Petr Poroshenko, leader of the Our Ukraine group in parliament; Mykola Martyninko, senior aide to Yushchenko; Oleksandr Tretyakov; and Volodymyr Lytvyn, parliamentary speaker, of trying to hinder the investigation and of “doing everything they could” to hinder discussion of the Gongadze case in parliament and in the media. Lytvyn dismissed Tomenko’s statement as “nonsense”. Myroslava Gongadze, widow of Georgiy, said at a news conference that Lytvyn should explain what role he had played in the case, and said that she was “alarmed” by Yushchenko’s position on the issue and the “lack of political will” to drive forward the investigation.
A detailed account of how the murder was committed, based on statements by the accused and by witnesses, had previously been given in interviews by Viktor Shokin, deputy Prosecutor General. According to Shokin, Gongadze was kidnapped by a group of serving MIA officers (i.e. policemen), led by Pukach and including the three mentioned above. Gongadze was taken to the Belotserkovsky district, where he was beaten and then strangled with his own belt by Pukach. Pukach and a second, different, group of people, subsequently moved Gongadze’s body to Tarashcha, where it was discovered.
From the BBC’s “Ukraine journalist killers jailed”:
A court in Ukraine has sentenced three former police officers to prison for the murder of investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze.
Mykola Protasov was given a sentence of 13 years, while Valeriy Kostenko and Oleksandr Popovych were each handed 12-year terms.
Mr Gongadze’s death, in 2000, sparked widespread protests in the Ukraine.
His family said the high-profile trial had failed to bring the masterminds behind the killing to justice.
On 4 March, the following day, Kravchenko’s body was found at his country villa, with two gunshot wounds, one to the chin and one to the temple. A note to his family, found on his body, said he was innocent of wrong-doing and had “fallen victim to the political intrigues of President Kuchma and his entourage”. SBU director Turchynov and other officials have stated that the available evidence shows that Kravchenko committed suicide. The PGO also considers that the death was suicide, although it has opened a murder case with respect to it. Interior affairs minister Lutsenko has stated, “I have doubts about this suicide, but nothing more than that”.
The death of Dagayev and illness of Fere, together with the death of interior minister Kravchenko and the disappearance of Pukach, mean that, with respect to the organisation of Gongadze’s murder within the MIA, none of the most important potential witnesses known to investigators can be questioned. Not surprisingly, the fates of Dagayev and Fere have been the subject of a considerable amount of media speculation. Fere suffered from a stroke in June 2003 that left him in a vegetative state; since then he has been in a coma, in the central MIA hospital, and is not expected to recover; he has lost his functions of muscle movement and speech. Three weeks after Fere’s stroke, Dagayev also suffered from a stroke which led, after an unsuccessful operation at an Austrian clinic, to his death. Suggestions that they may have been poisoned have been published in the Ukrainian media, and we believe that this issue should be considered by the PGO.
On 21 July this year, Pukach was arrested in the village of Molochky in Zhytomyr Region, in an operation conducted jointly by the Prosecutor’s General Office (PGO) and officers of the Ukrainian security service (SBU). The PGO stated subsequently that, during questioning, Pukach told investigating officers where Gongadze’s head was buried. The site was searched, and in August, a skull that is almost certainly Gongadze’s was found.
On 28 July, the PGO confirmed at a press conference that fragments of a human skull, which investigators believed to be Gongadze’s, had been found in Belotserkovsky district in Kyiv Region, near Sukholisy. Investigators had searched a site the location of which had been identified by Pukach. In the weeks that followed, Ukrainian forensic experts confirmed that the skull belonged to Georgiy Gongadze. Investigators have now decided, with the agreement of Myroslava Gongadze, to arrange for further confirmation of the identity of the skull, by foreign experts using DNA techniques, working together with their Ukrainian colleagues.
From “Kiev police chief jailed for Gongadze murder” by Roman Olearchyk:
A senior police officer found guilty of carrying out the gruesome murder of a journalist 13 years ago implicated a former Ukrainian president and his aide as he was sentenced on Tuesday.
The parting words of General Oleksiy Pukach will mean doubts will linger over the case that has haunted Ukraine ever since September 2000, when Georgy Gongadze, an opposition journalist, disappeared.
His headless corpse was discovered two months later in a forest 75 miles from Kiev.
Listening from behind courtroom bars while Kiev’s Pechersk district court read out its guilty verdict, Pukach, 60, grasped a prayer book and bowed as he was jailed for life.
But when one of the three judges asked if he accepted their verdict, he replied: “I will accept it when Kuchma and Lytvyn join me in this cage” – a reference to Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine’s president from 1994 to 2005, and Volodymyr Lytvyn, the former speaker in parliament, whom Pukach accuses of ordering the murder.
“Ukraine Gongadze case: Court convicts journalist’s killer” by Irena Taranyuk:
A Ukrainian court has convicted a former police chief of murdering journalist Georgy Gongadze in 2000, a crime which rocked the country.
The court in Kiev found that Olexiy Pukach had killed the journalist, then cut off his head. It sentenced Pukach to life imprisonment.
Pukach confessed but said he had acted on the orders of the late Interior Minister, Yuri Kravchenko.
The murder sparked protests against the president at the time, Leonid Kuchma.
An attempt to prosecute Mr Kuchma for ordering the killing collapsed in December 2011 when a judge ruled that secret audio recordings which apparently incriminated him could not be used as evidence, as they had been obtained through “illegal means”.
Conspiring to murder someone, though, I think would put you in prison for life.
Only if you take, see…the conspiracy laws are very interesting. You and I could sit here, and conspire to kill Bababooey all day long. But unless, and until, either one of us takes one affirmative action to advance that, there’s no crime.
So, the planning is not a crime?
It’s the efforts.
Right. We got a plan to rob the bank. No problem. One of us goes out steals a car for the getaway. Now, there’s a problem.
That Caputo worked with Stone on the campaign in the Ukraine is also evidenced in this piece, “The Quiet Americans” by Chris Bragg, on Caputo working again in that country in 2011:
How do you follow up managing a campaign for a candidate who made anti-gay remarks, was caught forwarding pornographic emails and nearly traded blows with a newspaper columnist?
Apparently you hightail it for Ukraine, a place where things can also get pretty hairy.
“Last time around, my Ukrainian campaign manager was murdered,” said Michael Caputo, Carl Paladino’s former campaign manager, via an email from that country. “Tough place, but Ukraine is a cakewalk compared to the New York governor’s race—and off Fred Dicker’s beat, thankfully.”
Caputo, a sharp-witted consultant who has worked everywhere from Nicaragua to Russia, has returned to Ukraine to work as a strategist during that country’s parliamentary elections. He is one of a number of New York consultants who have gravitated to the sometimes risky business of working for foreign clients, a trade that can prove especially appealing during off-year election cycles in New York.
On Caputo’s previous campaign in Ukraine alone, he was joined by flamboyant Republican strategist Roger Stone and Western New York Democratic operative Steve Pigeon—a veritable dream team of New York dirty tricksters.
“Last time around, my Ukrainian campaign manager was murdered,” Caputo is quoted as saying. This is Oleg Sheremet. It was a killing that received no notice or mention that I can find in the western press.
“Murder of Political Strategist from Litvin’s Bloc: New Blood to be Shed?!” (no credited author):
On November, 30 in the evening unknowns shot down political strategist from Litvin’s Bloc, “Land and resource clearing centre” commercial manager Oleg Sheremet in Borispol. According to Litvin’s bloc representatives, he had been advising on land issues. According to Interior Ministry Chief department PR centre in the Kyiv Region, the day before at 11:20 p.m. militia was informed by a nurse from city hospital in Borispol citizen of Ukraine was taken to hospital with gunshot wounds. He died of injuries in the hospital.
The regional department of the Interior Ministry brought an action on that incident. Sheremet was murdered near the entrance to his house on Holovatogo, 69 with 5 shots.
Ukrainian politicians gave their comments on murder of Oleg Sheremet, 41. Particularly, the Party of the Regions’ people’s deputy Vladimir Sivkovich considers the murder of “land and resource clearing centre” commercial manager happened as a result of the land conflict between two business groups.
“Sheremet was on the side of one of the business-groups which struggled for land shares concerned with Bolshaya Alexandrovka rural residents. Some entrepreneurs purchased shares. Other businessmen forged documents, were successful in the actions and sold that land one more time”, told Vladimir Sivkovich in the commentary for Segodnaya.
According to deputy, 2-3 owners were pretenders at one ground area. “Sheremet had been drawing those procedures. Also he was a middleman. As a result, both business-groups suffered from it. According to my data, the matter is about only over US $50 mn”, reported Vladimir Sivkovich.
Besides, one advisory institute for land valuation in the Kyiv Region has been involved into scandal. It is founded in order to monopolize information about lands, shares, its sellers, purchasers, owners and centralized bribes scheme has been made. “It should be liquidated. Otherwise blood will be shed one more time”, ProUa cites people’s deputy as saying.
From Caputo’s Public Relations photos on his site, Caputo is the leftmost:
The photo carries the caption: “In Kiev for 2007 Ukraine parliament elections (RIP Oleg Sheremet)”
Unlike any other residents, Russians who want citizenship must endure a Latvian language proficiency exam. The accompanying bureaucracy takes sometimes up to a year to finalize applications. Meanwhile, passports are held for paperwork purposes and the Byzantine process frustrates applicants at every turn.
But local Russians like Alexander Nacharov aren’t much concerned about citizenship. Born and raised in Latvia, his Russian parents sent him to Moscow where he graduated from TOURO College in finance. Today, as the head of Baltic operations for a leading global investment firm, he embodies the “noncitizen” debate. Like many Russians at the entrepreneurial core of Latvia, he is unwilling to forgo the international travel associated with his nascent business.
“I am Russian to my toes,” Mr. Nacharov told me over lunch in Jurmala, the picturesque nearby Baltic Sea resort. “I am also very proud of my Latvian roots. I don’t think I truly suffer from discrimination; it’s more an inconvenience, like a traffic jam.”
In fact, his opinion mirrored those of most young Latvians I met: Only politicians really care about this debate. Comments by a Latvian legislator or Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue, are ignored by most of the young professional class.
Despite popular indifference, the “noncitizen” issue repeatedly lights up the political landscape. Mrs. Vike-Freiberga has moved in the right direction recently, mostly because her anti-Soviet administration now recognizes Russia-oriented investment fuels its economic growth. As the historical crossroads of Eastern Europe, Latvia better hope it stays that way: Their economic opportunity will remain anchored in Russia for decades.
Perhaps the Bush Summit will help steer the Latvians away from this reeking policy of discrimination. But for everyday Latvians and Russians, who still rarely mix, the visit is politics as usual. “We know the debate must work itself out soon,” Mr. Nacharov told me. “Meanwhile, I am a man without a country who is willing to wait and see.”
A piece on the strong reaction to the official language bill in Latvia is “Latvians reject Russian as official language” by Associated Press and one on the strong reaction to the idea in Ukraine is “Political Maneuvering Stalls Language Bill in Ukraine” by David M. Herszenhorn.
319 A screenshot from “Bahamas National Trust calls for disclosure on Bimini facility”:
William Windorf or “William Windorf” is discussed in part nine, under the section “Empty Voices, Empty Rooms / I Bring the Applause”.
The first to seize the talisman was school board member Frank Bolaños. Within days of Amador’s formal complaint, he called for a suspension of the standard review process and an immediate ban of the book. His proposal shifted the debate from a nuanced discussion to a polarizing yes-or-no vote.
When, at the April meeting, school board member Ana Rivas-Logan voted to allow a review process instead of an immediate ban, she found herself targeted by Radio Mambí, a popular station among hard-line exiles. Rivas-Logan, who was born in Nicaragua after her family fled Cuba in 1960, paraphrased one commentator’s advice to listeners: “Let’s not forget, when it comes to election time, that Ms. Rivas-Logan is Nicaraguan.” Other board members who voted to review rather than ban the book were labeled Communist and anti-Cuban.
Two months later, when the issue came before the board again, Bolaños challenged his colleagues in stark terms. “They will have a choice to either define themselves on the side of truth and with the Cuban community or on the side of lies and against the Cuban community,” he said. Board vice president Perla Tabares-Hantman, running for re-election, said she was fulfilling her “duty as a Cuban-American” in voting to ban the book. Board member Marta Pérez, also up for re-election, compared the book to “pornography” and “books about Devil worship,” saying there was no place in school libraries for such things.
After Tabares-Hantman and Pérez had weighed in, board member Evelyn Langlieb Greer, appearing exhausted and exasperated, warned of “caving to political imperative” and urged common sense in the wider community. “Your fight is with [Castro],” Greer said to the vocal, exile-filled audience. “Your fight is not with the Miami-Dade County school system over a book for five-year-olds.”
Historians chalked up another only-in-Miami moment that day when the school board voted to override the committees’ recommendations and ban Vamos a Cuba. The board also circumvented its own review process by banning all 24 books in the elementary-level travel series.
The excerpt dealing with Caputo:
This, believe it or not, was Seamans in a diplomatic mood. In another e-mail, he called Bolaños an “absolute idiot … grubbing for votes,” and referred to his press officer, Michael Caputo, as an “insignificant terd [sic].” The latter comment was in response to a Caputo e-mail implying Seamans had lost his colleagues’ respect and was surrounded by sycophants as he “preen[ed] and careen[ed] about town.”
A political operative and head of his own public relations firm in Miami Beach, Caputo boasts credentials that include work on the presidential campaigns of George Bush Sr. and Jack Kemp, Boris Yeltsin in Russia, and rightist Alfredo Cristiani in El Salvador. So why is Caputo working on the campaign of an aspiring state senator? He says he joined Bolaños’s campaign because he admired the candidate for showing “real stones” in taking up the fight against Vamos a Cuba.
Killing time outside a Little Havana restaurant, with his candidate still inside, Caputo radiated a focused intensity. The 44-year-old consultant described himself as a “cold warrior” who is also, oddly enough, a Grateful Dead fanatic. He maintained that the book-banning issue has been a “gift” to his candidate. Campaign contributions to Bolaños skyrocketed in the weeks after he took his stance, and droves of reporters have descended on the relatively unknown politician.
For the opposition — those, like Seamans, who say Bolaños is grandstanding for political gain — Caputo had no patience. People might not want to face this ugly truth, he said, but America and its freedoms are still under attack from an old foe. “The last vestiges of Communism will live and breathe in America. It’s in the school system. Some bureaucrat bought [Vamos a Cuba] …” with the intention of tweaking the Cuban exile community, Caputo said as he stabbed the air with an imaginary shiv. “Somebody did this.”
What Caputo considers an act of principled self-defense has been largely viewed, outside the exile community, as shameless pandering. Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, for instance, decried the creation of an atmosphere “where you can get pelted with batteries for being insufficiently anti-Castro.” Ray Taseff, chairman of the ACLU Greater Miami Chapter Legal Panel, called Bolaños’s stance “irresponsible. It’s demagoguery at its best.”
Coky Michel, a Coral Gables Senior High School teacher and Cuban immigrant, put it more succinctly: “These people make me vomit.” Michel said she’s tired of a vocal and extreme minority speaking for all Cuban-Americans.
That Frank Bolaños lost his election is mentioned in “There’s Something Fowl in North Miami” by Francisco Alvarado, a brief piece on other Caputo shenanigans:
Local campaign strategist Michael Caputo likes to employ some fowl play in his election day tactics.
In the mid-1990s, Caputo busted out his patent-pending tactic of using a man-in-a-chicken-suit-to-tail-opponents when he worked for Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s campaign.
Back when he was spokesman for ex-School Board Member Frank Bolanos’ failed campaign against state Sen. Alex Villalobos, Caputo had a volunteer don a chicken suit too. Bright yellow and bearing the nickname, “Demolobos,” the chicken trailed Villalobos when both camps failed to agree on a debate.
Former Federal Bureau of Investigation director William Sessions once condemned Russia’s rising mafia. “We can beat organized crime,” he told a Moscow security conference in 1997.
Today, Mr. Sessions is a lawyer for one of the FBI’s “Most Wanted”: Semyon Mogilevich, a Ukraine-born Russian whom the FBI says is one of Russia’s most powerful organized-crime figures.
Mr. Sessions is trying to negotiate a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice for his client, who is charged with racketeering and is a key figure in a separate Justice Department probe of energy deals between Russia and Ukraine.
Mr. Sessions’s client, Mr. Mogilevich, is accused in a 45-count racketeering and money-laundering indictment in Philadelphia of masterminding an elaborate stock fraud using a web of shell companies in Europe. The Justice Department also is investigating whether there are any ties between Mr. Mogilevich and a recent series of billion-dollar natural-gas deals between Russian gas giant OAO Gazprom NRGP.RS 0.00% and Ukraine, people familiar with the matter said. The probe is being led by the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.
According to people familiar with the matter, Mr. Sessions recently approached former colleagues at Justice with an unusual offer: Mr. Mogilevich would provide the U.S. with intelligence on Islamist terrorism if prosecutors opened negotiations to resolve his legal problems in the U.S. Federal prosecutors rejected that offer, lawyers and others familiar with the matter said.
322 From “How Foreign Governments Make Sure You Don’t Know They’re Lobbying You” by Rosie Gray:
WASHINGTON — The European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, an obscure nonprofit based in Belgium, was founded by a former top official in Ukraine’s governing party and appears to be a proxy for the country’s pro-Russian government. In 2012, the group hired a pair of high-powered American lobbying firms to advocate on its behalf.
But what those lobbyists, who include Obama-era Democratic superlobbyist Tony Podesta, are actually doing is a mystery. Unlike the Washington firms hired directly by foreign governments, Ukraine’s leadership has slipped its American agenda through an increasingly popular loophole in the federal law intended to regulate foreign activity in the United States, allowing it to follow the minimal disclosure practices required of domestic corporate lobbies, not the extensive ones demanded of registered foreign agents. It’s a loophole now used by a range of post-communist governments, in particular, with money to burn and no particular love of transparency. And it offers a path to the end of a disclosure regime put in place in 1938, amid American concern over the effects of Nazi propaganda.
Any entity controlled and funded by a foreign government is formally required to be registered as a foreign principal. But as long as the entity is formally a nongovernmental organization and isn’t funded by a government — a chamber of commerce, an advocacy group, or some other entity — the law does not apply.
“For better or for worse, it’s legal,” said Joseph Sandler, a Democratic lawyer and expert on FARA law.
Those groups register instead under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, whose roots are in anti-corruption crusades of the 1990s, but which is far less onerous. The two laws “evolved in completely different ways,” Sandler said. In particular, an LDA filing shows you very little about what the lobbyists actually did for their clients, while FARA filings require disclosures of specific duties and expenses.
The European Centre for a Modern Ukraine offers a particularly clear case study in this method. The Center is a nongovernmental organization in Brussels that, its website says, is “a unique ‘Modern Ukraine’ organisation based in Brussels and operating internationally as an advocate for enhancing EU-Ukraine relations.”
The group has a strong tie to the Ukraine’s government: It was founded by Leonid Khazara, a former senior member of parliament from Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. The Centre is established as a nongovernmental organization in Brussels. It lists no staff on its website save for two employees on the Contact page, and a spokesperson didn’t return requests for comment.
But for that skeleton staff, the ECFMU was represented by two lobbying firms, the Podesta Group and Mercury/Clark & Weinstock, during a period in which a flurry of pro-Yanukovych stories appeared in the American conservative blogosphere. The EFCMU’s managing director, Ina Kirsch, tweeted out two of the stories, from Breitbart News. The bloggers declined to identify the source of the stories’ pitches, and said they hadn’t been compensated for writing them.
From “American Bloggers Praised Ukrainian President Before Election” by Associated Press:
At Breitbart, Ben Shapiro also dove into Ukrainian matters around the time of the election. On October 22nd, he wrote, “Yanukovych is not the pro-Putin stooge many make him out to be, and Tymoshenko is not the pro-Western ally many make her out to be.” And “President Obama’s flip-flopping on the Yanukovych administration is accomplishing nothing but driving Yanukovych closer to Moscow. No wonder Ukraine is falling back into the Russian sphere of influence.”
Later, he criticized Hillary Clinton for allegedly siding with the Ukrainian opposition despite its forming a coalition with far-right nationalist party Svoboda, and trying to “throw the election from Viktor Yanukovich to his opposition.”
“It’s no surprise to see the woman who once hugged Suha Arafat shilling for a Ukrainian opposition that makes governing deals with reported Nazi knockoffs,” Shapiro wrote.
323 A screenshot of the comment from “Chaos in Kiev: Yanukovych flees, Tymoshenko free”:
324 That this slur was used against the Ukrainian opposition is not to dismiss that this vile passion is there in the country, and that it is there among some members of the opposition.
“Are Ukraine’s Jews Screwed?” by Adam Weinstein attempts to get at the question, and that this hateful feeling is there among both supporters and opponents of Viktor Yanukovych:
In this atmosphere, plenty of critics are asking: Should the West distance itself from the revolutionaries?
This is not an academic question reserved for uppity web pundits. Anti-Semitism has a long and hoary history in Ukraine. I should know; my Weinstein ancestors supposedly braved pogroms by Cossacks and Tatars for centuries in Kamenetz-Podolsk, a western citadel town, before bugging out in the 19th century—part of numerous waves of Jewish refugees who fled the nation to join the diaspora in Western Europe, the U.S., and eventually, Israel. World War II and the Holocaust are believed to have wiped out two-thirds of those who remained.
This is the pre-revolutionary cultural status quo in Ukraine.
Now, take away street policing. Make this a state that’s somewhat drunkenly weaving between stable governments, goaded on not just by native rightists but by Russian puppeteers and their sympathizers, too. In the absence of laws, and enforcers of laws, all of that cultural antipathy starbursts, and it burns the Jewish community, and every other hated group that doesn’t have a champion.
So: Yes, there are anti-Semitic, fascist elements who are relatively well-placed among the revolutionaries who booted Viktor Yanukovich out of the presidential mansion. But the revolution itself isn’t a Nazi revolution, and defenders of the previous oligarchy aren’t exactly friends of the tribe, either. No side is especially friendly to Jews or any other religious, ethnic, or sexual minority, because this is Ukraine.
But there are rays of hope: First, among young Jews themselves, many of whom have been on the front lines in Kiev. “I want to let you know that lots of people who study Hebrew together with me are going to Euromaidan after classes every single day,” one young woman says on a video recorded on the street several weeks ago. “My friends, my coworkers from the Jewish Channel go to the Maidan too… Here, at Euromaidan, it doesn’t matter which nationality you are.”
Then there are the antifascists, the students, the left-leaning demonstrators, the pacifists, who estimate that right-wing dullards make up about 30 percent of the protesters—an outsize bunch, considering their poor showings at the polls. “Lots of people want to manipulate the people here,” one antifascist says. But on the whole, they’re simply against the old order and in favor of a more participatory democracy.
Some of the complexities are also described in “Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine” by Timothy Snyder:
What does it mean when the wolf cries wolf? Most obviously, propagandists in Moscow and Kiev take us for fools—which by many indications is quite justified.
More subtly, what this campaign does is attempt to reduce the social tensions in a complex country to a battle of symbols about the past. Ukraine is not a theater for the historical propaganda of others or a puzzle from which pieces can be removed. It is a major European country whose citizens have important cultural and economic ties with both the European Union and Russia. To set its own course, Ukraine needs normal public debate, the restoration of parliamentary democracy, and workable relations with all of its neighbors. Ukraine is full of sophisticated and ambitious people. If people in the West become caught up in the question of whether they are largely Nazis or not, then they may miss the central issues in the present crisis.
In fact, Ukrainians are in a struggle against both the concentration of wealth and the concentration of armed force in the hands of Viktor Yanukovych and his close allies. The protesters might be seen as setting an example of courage for Americans of both the left and the right. Ukrainians make real sacrifices for the hope of joining the European Union. Might there be something to be learned from that among Euroskeptics in London or elsewhere? This is a dialogue that is not taking place.
The history of the Holocaust is part of our own public discourse, our agora, or maidan. The current Russian attempt to manipulate the memory of the Holocaust is so blatant and cynical that those who are so foolish to fall for it will one day have to ask themselves just how, and in the service of what, they have been taken in. If fascists take over the mantle of antifascism, the memory of the Holocaust will itself be altered. It will be more difficult in the future to refer to the Holocaust in the service of any good cause, be it the particular one of Jewish history or the general one of human rights.
325 From Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, the excerpts where John Podesta gets a mention:
And you could tell right away that her well-funded, well-oiled, John Podesta–led machinery was of no use to her at a moment when Americans were connected like never before, when wedges were blunted and impotent.
He isolates threats to the reign of the far left and the reign of his father’s cabal of Clinton/Podesta and the organized left. He’s a vicious guy. He falsely slandered James O’Keefe as a racist, we disproved it—
Perhaps I’m being a bit hubristic, but I’m convinced that this was the meeting in which Obama and Clinton decided to put John Podesta in charge of the ACORN response team.
Naturally, the usual Podesta/Media Matters apologists leaped to diminish the encounter (which was fairly widely reported). Media Matters “Senior Fellow” Eric Boehlert called my oral and written reports about the event “the Phantom Egg,” calling into question my truthfulness.
One of Mitt Romney’s top foreign-policy advisers recently took a side job: Burnishing the reputation of the government of Ukraine, a country condemned by international human rights groups and European governments for alleged corruption, unlawful imprisonment of opposition figures and a slide into authoritarianism reminiscent of Putin’s Russia.
According to forms filed in May under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, Vin Weber, a former Minnesota Congressman and special adviser to Romney, is a registered lobbyist for a Brussels-based group known as the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. The group’s mission, according to its website, is to push for a comprehensive trade agreement between the European Union and to strengthen ties with the United States. Its founding president was Leonid Kozhara, a senior member of parliament for Ukraine’s ruling Party of Regions.
On the campaign trail and on his website, Romney has criticized Russia, promising that as president he would “be forthright in confronting the Russian government over its authoritarian practices,” and contrasting his more-hawkish stance with President Obama’s “reset” of U.S.-Russia relations. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has at times sought closer ties with Vladimir Putin even as he has courted the West. In 2010, Yanukovych extended the lease for the Russian Navy’s use of a Black Sea port in Sevastopol. This week, he will meet with Putin in Yalta for a major summit.
327 From “New Questions Over McCain Campaign Chief’s Ties To Ukraine” by Seth Colter Walls:
How much does John McCain know about his campaign manager’s lobbying history and potential current business interests inside Ukraine — and when did he know it?
The stakes of the answer to that question are increasing, due both to the continuing controversy over the role of lobbyists in McCain’s second presidential run, as well as the press inquiry into the connections between McCain campaign manager Rick Davis and the global business and political interests in Ukraine, a country represented by the lobbying firm that bears his name — Davis-Manafort.
The Davis lobbying firm offered political consulting services to the pro-Russian “Party of Regions” inside Ukraine. (To do so, the firm did not have to register as a “foreign agent” under U.S. law, because it was operating outside the United States.) The Party of Regions wound up on the wrong side of the 2004 “Orange Revolution” that captured many a heart in the West (including John McCain’s). Since then, the firm, which Davis co-founded, has been described as instrumental in organizing a political comeback for the once-discredited Party of Regions, which emerged victorious in 2006 legislative elections.
From “Lawmakers Seek to Close Foreign Lobbyist Loopholes” by Barry Meier:
For instance, a lobbying firm owned by Rick Davis, the McCain campaign manager, has worked in recent years for a Ukraine politician, Viktor Yanukovich. Both Mr. McCain and the Bush administration supported the opponent of Mr. Yanukovich, who had close ties to Vladimir V. Putin, then the president of Russia and now prime minister.
During this time, however, Mr. Davis’s firm, Davis Manafort, never registered as a lobbyist for Mr. Yanukovich even though Paul Manafort, Mr. Davis’s business partner, had met with the United States ambassador in Kiev on Mr. Yanukovich’s behalf.
In a related development, Mr. McCain may have first become aware of Davis Manafort’s activities in Ukraine as far back as 2005. At that time, a staff member at the National Security Council called Mr. McCain’s Senate office to complain that Mr. Davis’s lobbying firm was undercutting American foreign policy in Ukraine, said a person with direct knowledge of the phone call who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A campaign spokesman, when asked whether such a call had occurred, referred a reporter to Mr. McCain’s office. The spokesman there, Robert Fischer, did not respond to repeated inquiries.
Such a call might mean that Mr. McCain has been long aware of Mr. Davis’s foreign clients. Mr. Davis took a leave from his firm at the end of 2006.
The former Dole strategist Mr. Manafort and a former Dole fund raiser, Bruce Jackson, have received fees and donations from Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, the political patron of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovich.
Messrs. Manafort and Jackson played prominent roles in the Ukrainian’s recent visit to Washington. The visit included meetings with U.S. officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney. A company controlled by Mr. Akhmetov donated $300,000 in 2005 to a human-rights charity run by Mr. Jackson and his wife, an Internal Revenue Service document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal shows. Mr. Jackson said he was grateful for the support.
329 From “With cash, Ukraine’s political foes bring fight to Washington” by Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel:
WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Rival political factions facing each other on the streets of Ukraine have also enlisted heavyweight lobbyists in Washington, some with connections at the highest levels of U.S. government, to promote their causes to American policymakers, media and members of Congress.
Among the high-profile lobbyists registered to represent organizations backing Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s government are prominent Democratic lobbyist Anthony Podesta and former Republican congressional leaders Vin Weber and Billy Tauzin.
Meanwhile, Yanukovich’s most prominent political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister who is serving a seven-year prison term for alleged abuse of power, is represented in Washington by former Democratic Congressman Jim Slattery, a partner in the law firm Wiley Rein LLP.
The sums of money involved are substantial. Over the last two years, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a Brussels-based organization sympathetic to Yanukovich and his political party, has paid $560,000 to Weber’s firm, Mercury, and another $900,000 to Podesta Group Inc, for a total outlay of $1.46 million, according to a U.S. Senate database.
The database shows total payments over the same two years of $810,000 to Wiley Rein by Oleksandr Tymoshenko, a Ukrainian businessman and husband of Yulia.
“A lot of people are making a lot of money off Ukraine’s political competition,” said Bruce Jackson, president of the Project on Transitional Democracies, which advocates Western-oriented reforms in Eastern Europe.
“The Yulia-Yanukovich competition has definitely spilled out of the country. Both sides are heavily invested in representation in Washington,” Jackson said. He said he and his group do not lobby.
Mr. Jackson, you usually visit our country in critical moments. You may know that early this year European Commissioner Stefan Fule and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Melia visited our country. They both expressed concern regarding the “selective” political prosecution of the opposition during their negotiations with the Ukrainian authorities. What can you say about it?
“Yes, this is a critical time. If we look at the objective facts, President Viktor Yanukovych and the new government had a very good year in 2010. They reached an agreement with the IMF, initiated intense negotiations regarding the free trade area with the EU, signed the Action Plan on visa regime liberalization. They saw the country growing again, and did not go bankrupt like Greece. Generally, we can consider Ukraine a ‘new Poland,’ not a new Belarus. This is all very good. But Yanukovych isn’t getting any credit for it. Everyone hates the government.”
Why do you think this happens?
“I would say there are three explanations. First, the judiciary in Ukraine is a disaster.
“Second, the mentality of the SBU is not helpful. I met the head of the SBU. Maybe he is a little naive, a little young, and maybe not everything is under his control. But this is not a thug. He is trainable and we can fix it. I’ve been in Bulgaria and Romania and I’ve seen much worse. The third reason is that now that political ‘water’ has receded and there is no political fighting, we can look directly at the economy of Ukraine. We see a serious corruption problem. People are saying it’s getting worse and worse. I am not sure it’s worse. I think it’s the first time we really looked at it. If there were no big companies here before, now those who came here are drawing more attention to it. The corruption here is a precondition of doing business. And I don’t think it’s all government corruption, I think we’ve got traffic police, doctors, education — it’s the entire structure of the economy.”
WSN: It seems that for the US administration, even the French are better Atlanticists than the Germans nowadays, why is it so?
Bruce Jackson: President Sarkozy is immensely popular in Washington and seems to us to say all the right things. I suspect that the perceived difference in French and German foreign policies lies in what they have chosen as priorities. Sarkozy emphasizes his commitment to make the EU more efficient by implementing the Lisbon Treaty, making Europe stronger by building up ESDP, and by reaching out to North Africa in a Mediterranean Union. These initiatives are non-controversial and modestly popular here. Conversely, Berlin sees itself as the business partner of Moscow and the explainer of Kremlin anxieties to the West. And, on occasion, Chancellor Merkel sees herself as the “schoolmarm” of Europe who restrains the excessive enthusiasm of the new democracies in Europe’s East by saying “Not so fast, boys.” The positions which Germany has chosen for itself are quite controversial and have encountered significant criticism.
332 Those for whom the names William Windorf, Karla Von Stetten, Philip Dodge, Richard Knox mean nothing will find more about these people in part nine, under the section “Empty Voices, Empty Rooms / I Bring the Applause”.
Various theories have been advanced to explain the prolonged political crisis in Ukraine, all of them at best partially true and most completely false. The original explanation was that Ukraine’s frequent, indecisive elections were part of the process of building a Ukrainian nation. While there may be some superficial truth to the perception that people from Lvov, Odessa, and Dnipropetrovs’k are not overly fond of each other, everyone believes (even politicians) they are part of a Ukrainian nation and are fiercely patriotic.
About a year ago, a second theory appeared which held that the elections would be a decision on whether Ukraine would be a pro-Russian state or a pro-European state. This theory is demonstrably false and intentionally misleading. The culture and history that Ukraine shares with Russia is a matter of historical fact, and history cannot be rewritten by election or referendum. Similarly, the intimacy of Ukraine’s relations with Europe is established by history, geography, and shared economic interest. Ukraine will always be close to and independent of both Russia and Europe, and there is nothing any of Ukraine’s parties can do about it. We can be confident that this election is not about violating the iron laws of geopolitics.
Over the past two decades we have been consistently wrong about the political character of Ukraine, the values and aspirations of its people, and the profound weaknesses of its government and economy. With the exception of the success in dismantling Ukraine’s strategic nuclear forces, the United States has gotten very little if anything right about Ukraine or its politics. Beginning with the infamous “Chicken Kiev” speech in July 1991 wherein U.S. President George H.W. Bush exhorted Ukraine to stay within the Soviet Union through the apotheosis of the democratic credentials of Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, Washington has neither seen Ukraine clearly as it is nor understood its aspirations properly. Along the way, U.S. diplomacy has isolated Ukraine for selling Kulchga radars to Iraq that turned out never to have occurred, accused former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma of murdering journalist Georgiy Gongadze before having second thoughts, and has driven public support for NATO from roughly 50 percent in the late 1990’s to less than 10 percent today.
One prominent neoconservative familiar with Jackson describes him as the “nexus between the defense industry and the neoconservatives. He translates us to them, and them to us.” After Jackson had left the government, he joined Martin Marietta in 1993, which merged in 1995 with Lockheed to become part of the nation’s largest defense contractor. In 1997 he became director of global development and was put in charge of finding new international markets for Lockheed.
Jackson was extremely active in Republican politics. He was finance co-chairman of Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign and drafted the foreign-policy plank of the 2000 Republican convention platform. But his most important outside work was with the U.S. Committee on NATO, which he founded in 1996 and on which he served as president. Board members included Perle, Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley, now the deputy national-security adviser but then a partner in the Shea & Gardner law firm, which represented Lockheed.
The declaration not only angered the French and Germans, it didn’t sit well with some of the governments that signed it. In Slovenia, Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel came under attack for signing the declaration. On Feb. 13, he distanced himself from the declaration. “In everything that it does … Slovenia is representing the stance that the Iraqi crisis must be resolved within the United Nations, i.e., within the Security Council,” he said. When the war began, Slovenian Prime Minister Anton Rop finally said it had been a mistake to sign the declaration. The Slovenian press blamed pressure from Jackson, acting on behalf of the United States, for the initial decision to sign. Rupel, columnist Sasa Vidmajer wrote, had “buckled under … Bruce Jackson’s threat.”
Who is Admiral Daniel Murphy and why should we be intrigued by his visit with Noriega in Panama last November?
Murphy says he was there as a private businessman, a political consultant for undisclosed clients. This may, in fact, be true – but there is far more to Murphy than that: He is George Bush<s former chief of staff, a former deputy director of the CIA, and a former supervisor of the vice-president's task force on drugs. He and the Korean Tongsun Park arrived in Panama just as Noriega and the State Department were close to makign a deal for the dictator's departure.
"Noriega was ready to go," says José Blandón, the Panamanian who represented Noriega in the negotiations. "He knew the drug indictment was coming. He knew the Panamanian economy was in trouble. He was tired and wanted out. In September, he told me to negotiate a deal for him."
This was Blandón's deal: If the pending drug indictment could be quietly forgotten, Noriega and his top henchmen would leave the country in April 1988. Blandón says Elliott Abrams, the assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, agreed to the package – Abrams won't comment – in early November, and Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage gave Noriega the official word in late December. By then, however, it was too late.
"Noriega started to back off after he spoke to Murphy in November," Blandón says. "He said Murphy offered him a better deal: He could stay until March of 1989. He said Murphy had spoken to George Schultz and Colin Powell about it – and he began to question my loyalty and wonder why he could get a better deal from Murphy than from me."
338 The figure of Johnson and eight murders is mentioned many times in The Man Who Killed Kennedy, here is one:
The former president was racked not only with pain in his final days but guilt, undergoing psychotherapy in an attempt to unburden himself from a political past that included as many as eight murders and was ended in shame. Intimates said that Johnson had even smoked marijuana to deal with his demons—the pastime of the counter-culture that had driven him from the White House.
339 From The Man Who Killed Kennedy:
It is also astounding how many witnesses and those believed intimately connected to the Kennedy assassination met untimely and abnormal deaths. In his recent work, Hit List, which contextualized the many bizarre circumstances of deaths surrounding the assassination, Richard Belzer estimated that in the fourteen years following the incident, out of the approximately 1,400 witnesses, seventy have died unnaturally. The odds of this happening has been mathematically calculated as 1 in 715 million trillion trillion.
It should be noted that the death of witnesses from what appear to be death under such unusual circumstances as to suggest assassination, is far more striking and more substantial in Gongadze case. From “The Gongadze Inquiry (specific page 107)”:
Finally we draw attention to the opinion of Vasily Silchenko, deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission, who felt able to reinforce Moisyk’s conclusions more forcefully outside the formalities of parliament, in an article that called for a change to the law on the protection of witnesses:
The strange and unexpected death of the nurse from the Tarashcha morgue, the early death of Dagayev, the coma that has struck Fere, the “suicide” of Kravchenko … And more: the death in a custody cell of Goncharhov, the grenade attack on Nesterov, a member of the “werewolves” gang, who was being guarded by the militia […], the disappearance of Pukach even after he was arrested, the “small calibre bullet” in the skull of Irina Radzievskaya [an important witness in the case of the death of Kravchenko]. … And these were all important witnesses, who had things to say about the Gongadze case! And they all in one way or another were in the field of vision of the law enforcement agencies or special forces. How many more “coincidental” deaths must there be in this chain, until it becomes impossible to refute the obvious logic?
He says that the US has shown insufficient Will (the way he says it, the word should always be capitalized) in its foreign policy too. While the Nixon administration was spraying tonnes of napalm and poison over Vietnam, he complained the policy was “too soft.” He says now, “I wanted to bomb the Red River dykes. It would have drowned half the country and starved the other half. There would have been no way the Viet Cong could have operated if we had the will-power to do that.”
But what about the millions of innocent people who would have been murdered? “Look at Dresden. Millions of people died there too.” And it hits me: he just can’t see them. They are un-people, specks of red dust on a distant map, obstacles to his Will. Their suffering is as irrelevant as that of the chickens he decapitated with such glee sixty years ago in New Jersey.
341 Three appropriate excerpts rom Criminal History of Mankind:
Most children experience curiosity about sex; in the criminal, it seems to be an obsession that narrows down the focus of his consciousness to the idea of exploring the forbidden, of committing stealthy violations of privacy. His sexuality becomes tinged with violence and his criminality with sex. One of the most puzzling things about many cases of rape is the damage inflicted on the victim, even when she makes no resistance. This is because, in the criminal mind, sex is a form of crime, and crime a form of sex. The passage from de Sade is a remarkable illustration of this connection – Juliette’s intense sexual excitement as she waits to commit a crime.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
One day in 1960, at precisely ninety seconds before midday, a young student named Klaus Gosmann walked into a block of flats on the Tuchergarten Strasse in Hersbruch, near Nuremberg. He was a quiet, serious young man, known to his few acquaintances for his deep interest in mystical theology: his daydream was to find a job as pastor at some quiet little country village, where he could lead a life of dedicated service.
He chose a flat at random and knocked on the door. A young man opened it. It was thirty seconds to midday. Gosmann said: ‘Sir, I wish to ask you a question and I shall not repeat it.’ ‘What?’ ‘Your money or your lives?’ At that moment, the bells of the local churches began to chime midday, making a deafening noise. Gosmann drew a revolver from his pocket and carefully shot the young man in the heart. The man’s fiancée, who was looking curiously over his shoulder, began to scream. Gosmann shot her through the head. Then, before the bells had finished chiming, he turned and walked home. There he wrote up the story of the murder in his diary. He was pleased that he had timed it to a second – so that the bells would drown the shots – and that he had remained perfectly calm and controlled.
Gosmann committed four more murders during the next seven years. One was of a bank director – again at precisely midday – from whose desk Gosmann snatched a few thousand marks. Another was of a doorman in a bank he had just robbed – the man was reaching to his pocket for his glasses when Gosmann fired. And to obtain more weapons, Gosmann shot the widow who ran a gun-shop in Nuremberg and her twenty-nine-year-old son. His next crime was his undoing. In July 1967, he snatched the handbag of a woman in a department store; when she screamed he fired at her but missed. He also fired at a store official who chased him and hit his briefcase. Beaten to the ground, he was thinking; ‘How ridiculous – it can’t be happening.’ He fired one more shot, killing the man who had chased him. Then he was arrested.
Why did Gosmann kill? No doubt a psychiatrist would be able to uncover the roots of the obsessions and emotional disorders that turned his thoughts towards crime. (He revered the memory of his father, an army captain, who had been shot by the Americans at the end of the war.) But the central motivation was undoubtedly the need to bolster his self-esteem. Gosmann felt himself to be weak and inadequate – a thinker who was incapable of action. His crimes were a deliberate attempt to strengthen his identity. And just as some couples enjoy sex more if they can see themselves in a mirror, so Gosmann tried to add a dimension of reality to his crimes by describing them in his diary. In prison he wrote in his journal: ‘I would say there is a great difference between me and Raskolnikov [in Crime and Punishment]. Just as long as I don’t get it in the neck from the judge, I don’t have to consider myself as the perpetrator. Raskolnikov always thought of himself as the perpetrator…’ It is an interesting comment that reveals that even his present situation had not succeeded in rescuing him from his sense of unreality: ‘How ridiculous – it can’t be happening.’ Gosmann did ‘get it in the neck’ from the judge; he was sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of release.
Crime is basically the assertion of the ‘I’. ‘I’ strike someone in the face; ‘I’ order the bank clerk to hand over the money; ‘I’ pull the trigger.
342 From Dirty Tricks:
343 The original french text from “Scandale Prism : la NSA aurait aussi espionné l’Union européenne” by Laure Mandeville:
Ces nouvelles révélations ne tombent pas bien pour Washington, confronté, sur le dossier Snowden, à des tensions avec Moscou et Pékin. «Si ces révélations sont vraies, nous allons avoir des semaines de rhétorique européenne dure, mais j’ai du mal à imaginer que cela puisse faire dérailler les négociations sur l’accord de libre-échange dont l’Europe a plus besoin que nous», commente Sean West, de l’Eurasia Group. Le lobbyiste républicain Bruce Jackson, expert des relations transatlantiques, a relativisé la polémique, jugeant «ridicule» l’émoi des Européens et estimant «que tout mariage qui marche a besoin de renseignements». «Tout le monde espionne tout le monde», a-t-il dit, doutant en revanche de la réalité des écoutes de la délégation diplomatique européenne, vu le «peu d’intérêt» qu’elle représenterait en termes de renseignement.
344 From “Russia Today presenter hits out at Moscow over Ukraine” by The Guardian:
An American anchor on Russian state television has delivered an emotional rebuke of Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine and criticised the media’s biased news coverage.
Russia Today responded by saying it was sending Abby Martin to Crimea so she could learn more about the situation.
Martin, a Washington-based journalist with the English-language channel, wrapped up her show on Tuesday by saying “what Russia did is wrong” and that military intervention was never the answer.
“Exclusive: RT Anchor Liz Wahl Explains Why She Quit” by James Kirchik describes the story behind Wahl’s dramatic exit.
345 Should the tweets of Roger Stone relevant to this episode be deleted, the following are screenshots:
346 Should the tweets of Andrew Miller relevant to this episode be deleted, the following are screenshots:
347 Should the tweets relevant to the Rebecca Wells part of this episode be deleted, the following are screenshots:
348 Should the tweets on this page be deleted, the following are screenshots of the page as it appeared when the tweets were still extant: