On December 18th, Donald Trump became the third U.S. president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives. The second to be indicted before completing a first term, the 45th commander-in-chief must now survive a Senate trial before seeking reelection later this year. As many nonpartisan analysts predicted, the charges appear to have only improved his chances with the electorate as his approval rating saw an uptick after the articles were approved on grounds of “obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.” After dragging the country through three years of Russiagate which never panned out, the Democrats appear to be scoring yet another own goal. Even a near brush with war against Iran does not seem to have impacted Trump’s favorability, which could have been seen as a reversal of his campaign pledges to end America’s forever wars that were arguably a significant factor in his unlikely victory.
It was Trump’s rhetoric as a peace candidate suggesting rapprochement with Russia which made him a target of the political establishment and intelligence community, who subsequently blamed his shocking win on still unproven allegations of election interference by the Kremlin. Since he took office, Trump has done nearly everything short of declaring war on Moscow to appease the bipartisan anti-Russia consensus in Washington but to no avail. One such step was the decision to provide military aid to Ukraine amid its ongoing war in the eastern Donbass region against Russian-speaking separatists, a move the Obama administration decided against because of Kiev’s rampant corruption. Trump’s predecessor tapped his Vice President, Joe Biden, to head up an anti-corruption drive in Ukraine who instead used the opportunity to personally enrich his family by landing his son, Hunter, a job on the executive board of the country’s largest private gas company, Burisma Holdings.
Biden led the U.S. role in the 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine which overthrew the democratically-elected government of Viktor Yanukovych after he turned down a European Union Association Agreement for an economic bail-out from Russia that was the flashpoint for the subsequent Donbass war. Contrary to the Trump-Russia ‘collusion’ narrative, one figure who tried to lobby Yanukovych into signing the pro-austerity treaty was none other than Paul Manafort, the future Trump campaign manager indicted during the Russia probe for failing to register as a foreign agent while consulting for the deposed Ukrainian president. Manafort’s influence went against Russian interests in favor of the EU and was years before Trump was ever a candidate, but this did not stop the Democrats from later misconstruing it as evidence he was a backchannel to the Kremlin. Meanwhile, Biden’s hand in the junta was revealed in an infamous leaked phone call between Victoria Nuland, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Geoffrey Pyatt, then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.
Nuland, who is the wife of leading neoconservative figure Robert Kagan, also spilled the beans that the U.S. invested as much as \$5 billion dollars on regime change in Kiev when we were led to believe the Maidan was a spontaneous, popular revolt. Shortly after the putsch, Hunter Biden joined the board of directors at Burisma despite having no experience in Ukraine or the energy sector. The embattled fracking company was founded by a notorious oligarch and corrupt minister from the Yanukovych era, Mykola Zlochevsky, yet who unlike the former did not have to flee to Russia and curiously escaped prosecution in a money laundering case under the new Western-friendly regime — did he obtain immunity with Hunter Biden’s appointment? When the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin, reportedly began to investigate the energy firm, the elder Biden did not just blackmail the post-Maidan government of Petro Poroshenko into sacking him by threatening to withhold \$1 billion in loan guarantees but openly bragged about it on camera.
As a reward, Poroshenko — nicknamed the “Chocolate King” for his background as a business tycoon in the confectionary industry — was touted as a reformer by the Obama administration despite multiple Wikileaks diplomatic cables featuring U.S. officials describing him as a “disgraced oligarch” “tainted by credible corruption allegations” and “a deeply unpopular politician that has widespread support among party leaders due to his past financial/organizational roles.” Incredibly, Poroshenko would replace Shokin with a former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yuriy Lutsenko, who had previously been imprisoned for embezzlement and corruption himself. It is still a matter of debate whether the top prosecutor was even actually looking into the activities of Burisma, but what is not in dispute — except to corporate media — is the criminal nature of Biden’s conduct who clearly allowed his family to profiteer off U.S. meddling in the country. After he became a 2020 presidential candidate and frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, the subject of Biden’s past wrongdoing was broached by Trump last July during a phone call with current Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky.
The controversial exchange occurred just a day after former FBI director Robert Mueller delivered his anticlimactic testimony before congress where the lead investigator in the Russia investigation did not appear familiar with the details of his own inquiry. The call transcript shows that Trump asked the newly elected Zelensky if he would assist U.S. Attorney General William Barr in determining whether there was truth to the rumors that the infamous Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server given by the FBI to CrowdStrike Holdings was located in Ukraine. CrowdStrike was one of the cybersecurity firms hired by the DNC which questionably determined it was Russian intelligence which perpetrated alleged cyber attacks during the 2016 election. In other words, Trump wanted to find out if it was actually Kiev which “meddled” and framed the Kremlin. While he did not offer Zelensky compensation, it is true Trump asked for the favor shortly after mentioning the javelin missiles being provided to Ukraine in the military assistance. However, Biden’s extortion and the firing of Shokin is only raised later in the conversation and whether or not either matter was contingent upon the military aid is dubious and implicit at best. At the time of the correspondence, Zelensky and his government were unaware that the nearly \$400 million in aid had been withheld and did not learn of it’s freezing until a month later, making any alleged ‘quid pro quo’ doubtful.
The ambiguity of the conversation has not prevented Democrats from surmising that the security aid was suspended on the condition that Zelensky cooperate with Trump’s requests. While the exploits were arguably unethical, for the content of the exchange to be considered sufficient grounds for impeachment would set a very low bar and virtually ensure any future president can be indicted on a technicality for politicized reasons. In the meantime, the focus has shifted to Trump’s firing of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, because if threatening to withhold foreign aid alone qualifies, Biden is not only guilty of the same crime but more explicitly. Forget that from a procedural standpoint, without the required constitutional majority in the GOP-controlled Senate, the chances of removing Trump are dead in the water anyway. This can only mean the trial is really meant to be a smokescreen for Biden’s own palm-greasing in Ukraine while legally requiring his biggest primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, to spend time away from the campaign trail in attendance.
Not only has the legitimate question of whether the former Vice President and his son should also be probed been dismissed by mainstream media as a “conspiracy theory,” but completely lost in the political theater of the proceedings is if Washington ought to be providing defense assistance and fueling a proxy war with Russia to begin with. The Russiagate hoax successfully transformed the entirety of the Democratic Party into new cold warriors and its Ukrainegate sequel has only continued that hawkish trajectory. To make matters worse, Western media coverage of the scandal has omitted that many of the militias fighting with the Ukrainian army in Donbass are far right, neo-Nazi groups previously instrumental in transforming the 2014 Maidan protests into violence. One of the three main political parties which formed the opposition to Yanukovych was the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, personally met with Biden in 2014 despite having been barred from entering the U.S. for his anti-semitism just a year prior.
Svoboda and its militant offshoots like the Azov regiment fighting in Donbass are the self-proclaimed ideological progeny of the fascist collaborators led by the Ukrainian nationalist, Stepan Bandera, who sided with Nazi Germany during its invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. In the Cold War, the CIA provided covert assistance to the post-war remnants of Bandera’s faction as it waged a failed insurgency in the 1950s. In post-Soviet Ukraine, a disturbing campaign of historical revisionism has rewritten Bandera‘s fifth column as nationalist heroes who fought solely for Ukrainian independence. This is not reflected in the historical record which shows they not only participated in the Third Reich’s war crimes but shared their racist ideology, as admitted in the CIA’s own declassified document s:
“Altogether, during the 5 weeks of its existence the Bandera “state” destroyed over 5,000 Ukrainians, 15,000 Jews, and several thousand Poles. The “Ukrainian State” Of Stepan Bandera ended its short but ignominious existence in August 1941, when it was announced in Lvov that Western Ukraine had been incorporated as the “District of Galicia” in the “General Governorship” (occupied Poland). And then a “new order,” Hitler style began to be introduced in the Ukraine. This in short, the story of Bandera’s “one-day holiday,” which his followers, relying on people’s forgetfulness, now try to present as a glorious and heroic page in the history of the Ukrainian liberation movement. In reality, it would be best, especially for the supporters of a free Ukraine, to erase from the history of their .. movement this infamous Hitlerite, fascist episode, which brought nothing. but shame and sorrow to the Ukraine.”
Despite provisions in the aid barring weapons from going to the Azov detachment, the U.S. military has continued to provide them with arms and training. We are already witnessing blowback for this decision in the case of Jarrett William Smith, an ex-Army soldier arrested by the FBI for planning to assassinate former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and plotting terrorist attacks against major news networks. Smith had made plans to travel to Ukraine to fight with the Azov battalion and had previously volunteered in the Donbass war in 2017 with another Ukrainian neo-fascist paramilitary, the Right Sector. Smith reportedly sought help in making contact with Azov from another AWOL soldier, Craig Lang, currently under house arrest in Ukraine and wanted for extradition to the U.S. for killing a Florida couple. Lang, who is considered a hero in the country for serving as a private mercenary with Right Sector, also spent time with Georgian Legion, a unit formed by ethnic Georgians conscripted on the Ukrainian side in the War in Donbass whose members are believed to have perpetrated the ‘false flag’ sniper attacks on the Maidan that was blamed on the government of Yanukovych.
Coincidentally, just as Americans are following the impeachment, trending on the internet streaming service Netflix is a new documentary by a pair of Israeli filmmakers that touches upon U.S. harboring of a Ukrainian Nazi called The Devil Next Door. The series recaps the fascinating case of John Demjanjuk, a retired autoworker and Ukrainian-born immigrant living in Cleveland, Ohio, who is suddenly accused of being a notoriously sadistic Nazi guard at Treblinka concentration camp in eastern Poland during World War II known as “Ivan the Terrible” and is extradited to Israel in 1986 to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. After impassioned but inconsistent eyewitness testimony by camp survivors, he was mistakenly found guilty of being the mysterious guard by an Israeli court and sentenced to death until his conviction was overturned under appeal in 1993. Years later, Demjanjuk is identified as a different prison guard at another camp in Sobibor and re-convicted, this time more convincingly by a German court. He maintained until his death in 2012 that he was again a victim of mistaken identity and during the war was a POW himself after serving in the Red Army until his capture by the Germans who then “forced” him to work as a guard at Trawniki, but never Sobibor. However, newly discovered photos of Demjanjuk at the death camp were just released which contradict his denials and increase the likelihood he was a willing defector.
The documentary sheds light on how Demjanjuk was able to gain safe harbor in the U.S. because of amendments to the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 which restricted immigration of those persecuted by the Nazis while giving preferential treatment to Polish and Ukrainian nationals who hid under new aliases in refugee camps while fleeing the Soviets. U.S. immigration services were only able to detect the entry of formal members of the Nazi regime while their local collaborators like Demjanjuk often snuck through unnoticed. The show also speaks briefly of the U.S. embrace of many “former” Nazis such as Wernher von Braun and the thousands of other German scientists recruited in Operation Paperclip who were employed by the U.S. government during the Cold War in order to gain an advantage over Moscow in the space race. However, the series neglects to mention the CIA’s support for Stepan Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), much less their descendants in Kiev today who are renaming city streets after SS veterans and tearing down Soviet statues to replace them with effigies of fascist quislings. Unfortunately, it is unlikely viewers will make any connection between the show and the current political scandal gripping Washington.
Netflix did receive objections over The Devil Next Door from the Polish government and its right-wing populist Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, who accused the streaming giant of “rewriting history” in its production by using a map of the country’s post-1945 borders while implying that Poland shared culpability for Nazi war crimes that occurred in its territory. Much of western Ukraine became eastern Poland overnight with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the German occupation, one of the reasons why a native of northwestern Ukraine like Demjanjuk ended up in the neighboring country. Like the Banderites doctoring history in Kiev, Polish nationalists are seeking to revise the historical record of the many Poles who collaborated with the Germans in the slaughter of their fellow compatriots as well. This historical negationism continued in Poland’s recent row with Russia over the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in which Morawiecki despicably made a false equivalency between the USSR and Nazi Germany with a disturbing reinterpretation encouraged by the U.S. who seek to take credit for the Soviet accomplishment of freeing the concentration camp in 1945. Nothing is sacred to the Atlanticists who are willing to politicize anything in the name of their geostrategy of encircling Moscow and ultimate goal of conquering Eurasia.
That the Democrats are not impeaching Trump for an actual unconstitutional offense like the diverting of military funds to his border wall without congressional approval is revealing of its true motivations. Trump only crossed a line when he went after another member of the political establishment and fleetingly halted the U.S. war machine in its aggression toward Moscow. It is reminiscent of what some have argued were the real reasons for the impeachment of Richard Nixon that resulted from the Watergate scandal. Similarly, Nixon was forced to resign in 1974 after he targeted other members of the elite in the wire-tapping and break-in of the DNC headquarters, not his use of the CIA to violate its own charter for domestic espionage on American citizens active in the anti-war movement. Like Trump’s rhetoric toward Moscow, Nixon had also broken with foreign policy orthodoxies both in his unprecedented restoration of diplomacy with China and détente with the Soviet Union negotiating arms control.
The dangerous consequences of the campaign against Trump for deviating from the anti-Russia foreign policy dogma can be seen in the unparalleled recent NATO war games and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists pushing the hand of the Doomsday Clock forward to just 100 seconds to midnight, its closest ever approach which even exceeds that of the beginning of the Cold War in the early 1950s. Trump would never have armed Ukraine to begin with if not for the constant pressure of the Russia investigation and the need to not appear soft on Moscow. It is clear that the impeachment is nothing more than an inter-war between different factions of the elite and not only has it reduced the American people to onlookers, it may get us all killed in a nuclear holocaust in the process. For an excellent in-depth investigation of the roots of the crisis, Revealing Ukraine, the anticipated follow-up to the 2016 documentary Ukraine on Fire directed by Igor Lopatonok and produced by Oliver Stone, is highly recommended.
Max Parry is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. His writing has appeared widely in alternative media. Max may be reached at [email protected]