Patrick O’Connor / World Socialist Web Site & Alex Lantier / WSWS – 2014-02-09 00:41:01
US Regime-change Operation in Ukraine Exposed in Leaked Diplomatic Phone Call
Patrick O’Connor / World Socialist Web Site
(February 7, 2014) — A leaked phone conversation between Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, has exposed the anti-democratic and colonialist character of the Obama administration’s intervention in the former Soviet republic.
The discussion between the two officials includes a detailed review of which right-wing opposition figures Washington is working to install in office, and how it is using the United Nations to rubber-stamp the operation.
While Germany and other European powers have worked closely with the Obama administration in promoting the violent protests against President Viktor Yanukovych, the leaked phone call reveals tensions between the imperialist powers. At one point Nuland tells Pyatt, “Fuck the EU.”
The discussion, posted anonymously on YouTube, underscores the thoroughly cynical character of Washington’s public diplomacy. The Obama administration’s rhetoric about “democracy” and the Ukrainian people’s right to determine their own future is a charade, concocted for public consumption.
Behind the scenes, government officials speak frankly with one another about the real agenda — advancing Washington’s geo-strategic and economic interests in Eastern Europe by installing pro-US and anti-Russian puppet figures in the Ukrainian capital.
The phone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt apparently took place late last month, after President Viktor Yanukovych offered the posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister to opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko, respectively.
Referring to Klitschko, head of the UDAR (Strike) party, which has close financial ties with Germany’s ruling conservative party, Nuland tells the ambassador: “I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.” Pyatt agrees, saying, “let him stay out and do his political homework.”
Nuland continues: “Yats [Yatsenyuk] is the guy that who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.” Pyatt later warns Nuland that “Klitschko has been the top dog” within the opposition, and that she will need to “move fast on all this stuff” and speak with the UDAR leader as part of their “personality management” of the opposition leadership.
The utter criminality of Washington’s drive to install a pliant regime in Kiev sharply emerges in Nuland and Pyatt’s discussion of Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the neo-fascist All-Ukrainian Union (Svoboda) party. Nuland describes Tyahnybok as one of the “big three” within the opposition leadership.
The State Department operative goes on to tell Pyatt that “what [Yatsenyuk] needs [after he is installed in office] is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside — he needs to be talking to them four times a week.”
These remarks confirm that there is no confusion whatsoever within the Obama administration that it is working in partnership with fascist movements in Ukraine.
Tyahnybok is the leader of the Svoboda party, which was initially called the Social-National Party of Ukraine and featured a neo-Nazi logo. In 2004, Tyahnybok praised right-wing Ukrainian partisans in World War II, who, he declared, “did not fear, but took up their automatic rifles, going into the woods to fight Muscovites, Germans, Jewry and other filth.”
He added that Ukraine still had to be liberated from a “Moscow-Jewish mafia.” In 2005, Tyahnybok signed an open letter to Ukrainian leaders demanding a halt to the “criminal activities” of “organised Jewry,” which, he declared, was attempting to commit “genocide” against the Ukrainian people.
This is one of the “big three” figures with whom the Obama administration is working to install a client regime in Ukraine. Yesterday, Nuland met with several opposition figures, among them Oleh Tyahnybok. No details of the discussion have been made public, but Ambassador Pyatt released via Twitter a photo of a smiling Nuland posing next to the pro-Nazi leader and his colleagues.
Yesterday’s meeting between Nuland and Tyahnybok was not the first. The two also held a closed-doors discussion when she was previously in Ukraine, last December. After that meeting, Nuland staged a photo opportunity in the Kiev central square that has served as the headquarters for the anti-government protests organised by the right-wing opposition, handing out bread to the demonstrators in a show of US support.
In her telephone conversation with Pyatt, Nuland praises UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for deploying a special envoy, Robert Serry, to Ukraine. This, she explains, will “be great, I think, to help glue this thing [i.e., a new government].” These remarks underscore the role played by the UN as an instrument of imperialism, working with the US and its allies to cover up or endorse their predatory operations around the world.
Immediately after praising the UN, Nuland declares, “Fuck the EU,” in apparent frustration that the European powers were not doing more to back the regime-change operation. According to the Kyiv Post, another leaked phone conversation, in German, between EU official Helga Schmid and EU Ambassador to Ukraine Jan Tombinski includes a discussion between the two figures over how the US regards the EU as being “soft” on Ukraine.
In the Nuland-Pyatt discussion, the US ambassador expresses his agreement on the need for the UN to be involved, saying, “we’ve got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it.” He adds that “we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.”
Washington is engaged in a ruthless struggle to undermine any obstacle posed by Moscow to its drive to dominate the geo-strategically crucial Eurasia region, the vast land mass stretching from Eastern Europe, extending over the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asia, and reaching to China’s western borders. US imperialism is promoting fascist movements in Ukraine and fuelling the flames of a nascent civil war as a means of advancing its interests and ratcheting up the pressure on the Russian government.
Nuland’s nomination as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in May last year clearly formed part of the Obama administration’s aggressive strategy. She previously served as a deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and is married to the prominent “neoconservative” commentator and historian Robert Kagan.
Yesterday, Sergei Glazyev, a senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, claimed that the US was spending $20 million a week sponsoring Ukrainian opposition groups, including supplying them with arms.
Responding to questions about the leaked phone conversation, state department spokesperson Jen Psaki admitted that it was genuine and said that Nuland had apologised to EU figures, before absurdly declaring the incident marked “a new low in Russian tradecraft.”
Psaki said that while the Obama administration had no evidence that the Russian government was responsible for intercepting and leaking the phone conversation, “this is something they have been actively promoting, posting on, tweeting about, and certainly we feel that represents a new low.”
The Obama administration was revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to have erected a vast surveillance network to eavesdrop on the telephone and Internet communications of the world’s population, including heads of state and government.
It is in no position to lecture anybody about “new lows.” Its hypocritical protests nevertheless point to concerns that the leaked conversation could prove damaging to its ongoing campaign against Moscow and the Yanukovych government.
US Response to Leaked Call Confirms
US/EU Regime-change Plot in Ukraine
Alex Lantier / World Socialist Web Site
(February 8, 2014) — Washington’s response has confirmed the authenticity of a YouTube clip of a leaked telephone conversation between US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt that emerged Thursday.
In the call, posted by an anonymous Russian source, Nuland and Pyatt discuss installing a new, pro-US government that will incorporate the fascistic opposition which has been leading street protests against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Even though Washington’s campaign for regime-change has been coordinated with the European Union (EU), and particularly with Berlin, in the phone conversation with Pyatt, Nuland attacks the EU for being insufficiently aggressive, saying at one point, “Fuck the EU.”
Asked about the leaked video, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “I didn’t say it was inauthentic.” She added that Nuland was “in contact with her EU counterparts and, of course, has apologized for these reported comments.”
Psaki also addressed Nuland’s and Pyatt’s discussion of which forces Washington would allow to come to power in Kiev. In the telephone call, the two discuss plans to install an oligarchic regime working closely with fascist gangs. They agree that boxer Vitali Klitschko, who leads the German-backed UDAR party, should stay out of power and “do his political homework and stuff.”
They conclude that Arseniy Yatsenyuk of jailed billionaire oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party should rule, conferring regularly with Oleh Tyahnybok of the fascist Svoboda Party, whose members and neo-Nazi allies provide most of the thugs fighting riot police in Kiev.
Psaki indicated that such discussions are normal for US policymakers. “It shouldn’t be a surprise that at any points there have been discussions about recent events and offers and what is happening on the ground,” she said.
US officials tried to retaliate for the exposure by blaming it on Russia. White House spokesman Jay Carney commented, “I would say that since the video was first noted and tweeted out by the Russian government, I think it says something about Russia’s role.”
The implied criticism that Russian officials are bugging US communications is utterly hypocritical. US intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency carry out massive Internet and telecommunications spying directed at the entire world’s population, including heads of government and international bodies such as the European Union and the United Nations, as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed.
European officials on Friday were silent or issued brief statements downplaying Nuland’s remarks. A spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Christiane Wirtz, said: “The chancellor finds these remarks totally unacceptable and wants to emphasize that [EU foreign policy chief] Catherine Ashton is doing an outstanding job.”
One EU official told the BBC, “The EU is engaged in helping the people of Ukraine through the current political crisis. We don’t comment on alleged leaked telephone conversations.”
If European officials are tucking their tail between their legs and swallowing Nuland’s call to “Fuck the EU,” it is because they — like Washington — are trying to bury the entire episode, which reveals quite clearly the character of the US/EU intervention in Ukraine.
Far from “helping the people of Ukraine” to establish a democratic government, they are engaged in secret, back-channel maneuvers with far-right parties to violently impose a fascistic, pro-imperialist puppet regime on the Ukrainian people.
The Nuland-Pyatt call provides a glimpse of how Washington organizes provocations to forcibly install authoritarian regimes in strategic countries targeted for regime-change by US corporate and military interests.
Their discussion recalls how US and British officials, led by the CIA, organized paid mobs of right-wing protesters in 1953 to topple the elected regime of Iranian President Mohammed Mossadegh and maintain their stranglehold on Iran’s oil fields. They then supported the bloody regime of the Iranian Shah and his sadistic SAVAK political police.
In Ukraine today, as in other countries in the past, US plans for regime-change require organization, discussion and planning. Imperialist operatives have to get on the phone to coordinate operations and funding, make sure subordinates organize the distribution of clubs, chains and Molotov cocktails to their fascist foot soldiers, and so on.
Another key element in such operations is propaganda from key figures in the media and academia, who present such filthy enterprises as noble struggles for freedom and democracy. (See: “Ukraine and the pro-imperialist intellectuals”).
The media plays a key role in the campaign, maintaining a complicit silence about Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland’s orders to “Yats” and “Klitsch,” whom the pundits and anchormen hail as great democrats even as US officials discuss them with contempt.
There is little doubt that had this recording not surfaced, publications like the New York Times would dismiss reports of Washington and its allies manipulating the Ukrainian opposition as “conspiracy theories.”
As for “Yats” and “Klitsch,” they are careful not to tell the raving anti-Semites and neo-Nazis fighting their street battles for them that Svoboda is intended to serve only as a tool to shift power from a more pro-Russian faction of oligarchs led by Yanukovych to a pro-EU faction led by Tymoshenko.
Due warnings must be made. Under conditions of deep economic crisis and widespread popular opposition to the bankrupt and corrupt Yanukovych regime, fascist thugs and imperialist operatives can very well, in the absence of an independent mobilization of the working class against US-led regime change, come together and overthrow the current government.
In one sign of the political agenda underlying the US/EU operation in Ukraine, Nuland has called for major changes in the Ukrainian regime in exchange for emergency US loans to fund the country’s debts. She said, “Washington is ready to support Ukraine if it will quickly move towards the path of protecting human rights, dignity, a de-escalation of the conflict, and political reforms.”
Among the “reforms” Western officials have demanded are deep cuts in energy subsidies and other social programs that will have a devastating impact on the Ukrainian working class.
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