Archive | April 21, 2015

Ukraine’s Campaign of Political Assassinations of Critics*

Ukraine’s Campaign of Political Assassinations of Critics*

By Alex Lantier

Opponents of post-Maidan order in Ukraine have been dropping like flies in 2015 – first in a suspicious wave of ‘suicides’, and now in clear cut assassinations.

Author, journalist and editor Oleg Busina gunned down in Kiev last week is the most recent victim

Author, journalist and editor Oleg Busina gunned down in Kiev last week is the most recent victim

In the lead-up to the May 9 celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, there has been an accelerating wave of political assassinations targeting critics of the Western-backed, far-right regime in Kiev.

Yesterday evening, a group calling itself the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)—the name of a Ukrainian fascist militia that collaborated with Nazi forces in carrying out ethnic genocides of Jews and Poles during World War II—claimed responsibility for the killings. In a statement emailed to opposition legislators and political commentators, it also gave “anti-Ukrainian” persons 72 hours to leave the country or be killed if they stayed behind.

It pledged to carry out the “complete extermination” of enemies of Ukraine and a “merciless insurrectionary struggle against the anti-Ukrainian regime of traitors and Moscow toadies,” according to a report in Der Spiegel.

The killing spree began this week with the murder of journalist Sergey Sukhobok. On Wednesday evening, Oleg Kalashnykov was found dead in his home in Kiev. He was a former parliamentarian from the Party of Regions and a close ally of President Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian politician ousted in a NATO-backed, fascist-led putsch in February of 2014 that installed the current regime in Kiev.

According to Interior Ministry advisor Anton Heraschenko, killers were waiting for Kalashnykov outside his residence and shot him when he returned.

Before his death, Kalashnykov indicated that he had received death threats over his call to commemorate May 9. He addressed a letter to his friends warning that “open genocide on dissent, death threats, and constant dirty insults” had become the “norm” since he publicly raised the issue. He reportedly added in the letter that Ukraine was under Nazi occupation.

On Thursday, pro-Russian journalist Oles Buzyna was shot and killed near his house in Kiev by two unidentified masked gunmen firing from a car. Buzyna had edited the Segodnya newspaper, a pro-Russian publication financed by Ukraine’s richest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, a multi-billionaire who was also one of the leading sponsors of Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions. Also killed on Thursday was Neteshinskiy Vestnik editor Olga Moroz.

The killings were the latest in a spate of deaths of high-profile opponents of the Kiev regime. The victims have largely been political and media associates of the faction of the post-Soviet Ukrainian business oligarchy tied to Akhmetov, Yanukovych and the Kremlin oligarchy in Russia. Other deaths include:

  • Aleksey Kolesnik, former chairman of the Kharkov regional government, found hanged on January 29;
  • Stanislav Melnik, a Party of Regions member reportedly close to Akhmetov, found shot in the bathroom of his Kiev apartment on February 24;
  • Sergey Valter, the mayor of Melitopol, found hanged before his trial on February 25, leaving no suicide note;
  • Aleksandr Bordyuga, the deputy chief of Melitopol police, found dead the next day, in his garage;
  • Mikhail Chechetov, a former member of the Party of Regions, who jumped from the window of his 17th floor apartment in Kiev on February 28, leaving a suicide note;
  • Sergey Melnichuk, a prosecutor who fell from a 9th floor apartment in Odessa on March 14.

Russian and Ukrainian officials have traded accusations of responsibility for the killings. Speaking on a call-in television show, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said of Buzyna’s killing, “It is not the first political assassination; we have seen a series of such killings in Ukraine.”

Officials in Kiev offered up dubious arguments to blame the killings on Russia. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the killings “a deliberate provocation which plays into the hands of our enemies, destabilizing the political situation in Ukraine.”

In the meantime, officials and far-right parliamentarians in Kiev have openly endorsed and celebrated the murders. While lawmaker Borys Filatov rejoiced that “one more piece of sh*t” had been eliminated,” Irina Farion, a lawmaker of the fascist Svoboda Party, attacked Buzyna as a “degenerate” and hoped that his “death will somehow neutralize the dirt this [expletive] has spilled… Such ones go to history’s sewers.”

Political responsibility for the killings rests with the imperialist powers that oversaw and backed the Kiev putsch. They have encouraged Kiev to wage a bloody civil war against pro-Russian regions of eastern Ukraine and covered up its reliance on fascistic, anti-Russian forces. In the resulting political atmosphere, opponents of the Kiev states can be murdered without investigation and with political impunity.

What is occurring in Ukraine is a warning to the international working class. With the support of Washington and its European allies, which are moving to train the neo-Nazi militias that make up much of the Ukrainian regime’s National Guard, an ultra-right regime has emerged in a major European country.

With Ukraine’s economy disintegrating and its population resisting Kiev’s attempts to reinstate the draft to wage war against eastern Ukraine, Kiev is seeking to crush domestic dissent and relying ever more directly on the far right. Terrified that mass opposition might coalesce around the May 9 holiday, it has banned public discussion of communism. It also rehabilitated the UPA and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).

This is the culmination of a series of police state measures by the Kiev regime that have enjoyed the full support of its NATO backers. During last year’s Ukrainian legislative elections, opposition candidates, including Pyotr Symonenko, the Stalinist Communist Party of Ukraine’s (KPU) former presidential candidate, were physically attacked by fascist thugs.

Even before the murder of Buzyna, Kiev regime officials and sympathizers were demanding draconian punishments of journalists who oppose the regime. Last month, Ukrainian Minister of Information Policy Yuri Stets demanded that journalists in the breakaway eastern Ukrainian Donbass region serve prison terms of eight to 15 years.

In an account on Facebook of a speech he had given at Harvard University, pro-Kiev regime commentator and political analyst Yuri Romanenko boasted that he had argued for murdering pro-Russian journalists and summarized his arguments.

“The Ukrainian army must selectively and carefully eliminate Russian journalists covering the situation in Donbass. We need to direct Ukrainian army snipers to shoot people wearing PRESS helmets, making them priority targets,” Romanenko wrote.

“Since the media represent a destructive weapon and allow Russia to operate not only in the war zone but across Ukraine, taking out several dozen journalists in the conflict zone will reduce the quality of the picture presented in the Russian media and, therefore, reduce the effectiveness of their propaganda.”

The murder of Kalashnykov, Buzyna and their political associates emerges directly from the foul political atmosphere produced by such ranting. It is an indictment of the NATO powers backing the regime in Ukraine and the illusions peddled by the Western media and corrupt pseudo-left groups that the right-wing protests on the Maidan and the February 2014 putsch were part of a democratic revolution.

While these forces insisted, without any proof, that the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was a crime carried out by the Russian government, they are maintaining a hypocritical silence as the Kiev regime’s internal opponents are gunned down in the streets.


Related Topics:

Ukraine’s Oligarchs Eradicating Each Other*

Ukraine Snapped up by the Rothschilds*

The Earthquake that Stopped Before Hitting Ukraine and Russian Borders*

U.S. on Russia’s Borders Trying to Provoke War*

The Zionist Holocaust of 66 Million Russians*

Doing the Netanyahu: A Russian fighter jet Intercepts U.S. Reconnaissance, but U.S. Accuses Russia*

President Mohammed Morsi Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison*

President Mohammed Morsi Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison*

President Mohammed Morsi Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison*

Mohamed Morsi supporters gather in Istanbul after the Egyptian leader’s ouster in 2013. (Sadik Gulec /


In a verdict which an Amnesty International official says “shatters any remaining illusion of independence and impartiality in Egypt’s criminal justice system,” Mohammed Morsi was convicted Monday by a Cairo court.

Al-Jazeera English:

Morsi was convicted on Tuesday of ordering the arrest and torture of protesters in clashes outside the presidential palace in December 2012. The court acquitted the former president of murder charges that could have seen him face the death penalty.

Morsi also faces serious charges in three other cases, including an accusation that he passed intelligence to Qatar.

Mohammed Soudan, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an official within its affiliated Freedom and Justice Party, told Al Jazeera that the trial was a “political farce”…Amnesty International also condemned the trial as a “sham”, and called for the release of Morsi and protesters…Egyptian journalist, Yehia Ghanem, told Al Jazeera the Egyptian government was sending a message that it would not tolerate any opposition.

“The whole thing was calculated politically from the start. It sends a message to Egyptians and the rest of the world that there’s no future for any civil rule,” Ghanem said.

Morsi was deposed by his then military chief and Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah el-Sisi after mass protests against his rule in the summer of 2013.

Following the coup, the former president’s supporters launched a series of protests and sit-ins across the country culminating in a crackdown by security forces that left hundreds dead.

In the deadliest incident, at least 817 protesters were killed in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square when security forces opened fire on a sit-in. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the killings likely amounted to “crimes against humanity”.

Thousands have also been imprisoned, with many supporters of Morsi facing mass trials facing charges of involvement in violence.

At least 1,212 people have been sentenced to death since the start of 2014, including the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie.


Related Topics:

As Actor and Singer Could be Charged for Treason, a Leak inside Sisi’s Office Take the Truth Further*

Freeing Mubarak: Another Moment in Egypt’s Counterrevolution*

Egypt Begins to Import Gas from Israel*

Egypt: Israel to Support Sisi’s Regime*

In Their Own Words: Egypt’s Young Revolutionaries Behind Bars*

Members of Egypt’s Elite Admit to Planning and Financing the Coup as they Conspired to Bring Down Sisi*

Woman Who Led Palestinian Bid for ICC Membership Arrested 24hrs of Succeeding*

Woman Who Led Palestinian Bid for ICC Membership Arrested 24hrs of Succeeding*

By Roisin Davis

In the middle of the night April 2, less than 24 hours after Palestine obtained membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), dozens of Israeli soldiers burst into the Ramallah home of the prominent Palestinian lawmaker and leftist activist Khalida Jarrar and seized her.

Insofar as we believe the Israeli authorities, Jarrar is the most dangerous woman in the Middle East.

Given her leadership in cementing the Palestinian bid to join the ICC treaty—which covers the Israel-Gaza conflict last summer in which more than 2,100 Palestinian civilians were killed—this may well be the case. Palestinian leaders have described accession to the ICC as a key means to “internationalizing” the conflict, with their membership to the Hague-based court paving the way for prosecution of Israel for war crimes.

Jarrar, a 52-year-old mother of two who suffers from serious health issues, has been declared a security risk for decades without ever being charged with any criminal offense.

She is a senior lawyer for the PLO and a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. She was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 2006 and heads its committee on prisoners, and she serves as the Palestinian representative on the Council of Europe.

She has long been a vociferous opponent of Israel’s policy of security coordination, is one of the region’s most prominent feminist voices and is a tenacious advocate for the rights of Palestinian political prisoners.

A member of several women’s rights organizations, Jarrar has worked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and is vice chair of the board of the Palestinian human rights organization Addameer.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, she was arrested for breaching travel restrictions imposed in August that banned her from leaving the Jericho area. Rejecting the “special supervision order,” she set up a protest tent outside the PLC office in Ramallah, where she had been living and working and which was frequented by numerous Palestinian and international delegations.

In the words of a Haaretz editorial, she was held in “vindictive administrative detention” and charged April 15 by an Israeli military tribunal on a dozen seemingly trumped-up political charges. An open letter signed by 58 members of the European Parliament describes the move as “a clearly political attempt to undermine Palestinian leadership and thwart Palestinian attempts to pursue justice in the International Criminal Court.”

The letter states:

“The arrest of Jarrar and other Members of the Palestinian Parliament and their transfer from occupied territory into Israel are not only in violation of Articles 49 and 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention but also blatantly violate international conventions and practices regarding the immunity of elected officials. Palestinian parliamentarians are frequently held in administrative detention without charge or trial, or tried in military courts that are mechanisms to produce a political result and in no way meet standards for a fair trial.”

Jarrar now joins 16 other elected Palestinian lawmakers held in Israeli jails, and her arrest means that more than 10% of Palestinian parliamentarians have now been detained by Israeli forces. More than half of those have not stood trial or been charged.

She also joins some 424 administrative detainees held by the Israeli state without legal process. According to the United Nations Human Rights Office, 181 were held at the same point last year. Since 1967, Israel has detained and imprisoned more than 800,000 people from the occupied Palestinian territory.

An April 7 statement issued by several human rights organizations expressed “grave concern” for the welfare of Jarrar, who must take medical lab tests every three days because of chronic conditions affecting her brain and circulatory system. The ban imposed on her movement since 1998 means that she has been allowed to travel on only one occasion for medical treatment, in 2010 following diplomatic intervention and legal proceedings. It is unlikely that Jarrar will receive the necessary medical care in Israel’s HaSharon Prison, where she is being held indefinitely.

Jarrar “apparently dared to violate the foolish order,” the Haaretz editorial explained,

“and for that she is being punished now with administrative detention. This is how Israel seeks to deter every Palestinian public activist—not to mention one involved with advancing the processes in the International Criminal Court—from realizing his or her rights.”

“If Jarrar broke the law, Israel must put her on trial and prove she committed a crime. If, on the other hand, the reason for her detention is revenge, she must be released immediately.”

When Palestinian leaders applied to join the ICC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared they had chosen “a path of confrontation” and that Israel would “not sit idly by.” Soon afterward, the Israeli government stopped the transfer of about $400 million in tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority between January and March 2015. As a result, 160,000 Palestinian government employees were paid only 60% of their salaries for three months.

These measures—including the aggressive persecution of Jarrar, an elected official—are Israel’s message to the Palestinian people not to challenge its power. As Israel attempts to silence and break her down, what makes Khalida Jarrar, our Truthdigger of the Week, so dangerous is her speaking truth to this power.


Related Topics:

Palestine to Become a Member of ICC*

ICC Chief Prosecutor Invites Palestine to File a Complaint against Israel*

Palestine Demands Israeli Withdrawal by 2016*

The Root Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine; and How to Fix It*

Israel Uses Child Slave Labour to Plant and Harvest its Agriculture*

Israeli-Zionist Investigative Journalist Ties Netanyahu to Charlie Hebdo Massacre*