By Jeff Mackler
As I write, four days after it was revealed that classified documents had been found in the former personal office of President Joseph Biden when he was Barack Obama’s Vice President in charge of the 2014 U.S.-backed fascist-led coup in Ukraine, no one has revealed who found the secret documents, or others that were “discovered” soon after. No one has reported their contents, although a combination of government agencies, now in possession of the documents, including the keepers of the National Archives and Records Administration, the FBI and no doubt Republicans who today control the House of Representatives, will sooner or latter reveal whether they are deemed useful to bring charges against Biden or, as The Times reports, his drug-addicted, most likely corrupt, rich boy son Hunter.
The major portion of the classified documents were supposedly “found” by unnamed individuals, locked in a closet at Biden’s former office and think tank at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington when he was Vice President. A few days later another cache of classified documents was found in Biden’s locked garage, along with his Corvette, at his home. A few others were soon after found in an adjacent room.
Aware of the potential damage to his reputation, Biden delayed reporting the mysteriously “found” documents, according to the January 12, New York Times, until “after the November midterm elections.” Damage control, as we shall see!
The Times added, “A White House spokesman and a member of Mr. Biden’s legal team did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment.” Biden declared, with a straight face no doubt, that he was “surprised” at the findings. Neither he, nor any of his underlings referenced their contents, as if none had bothered to read them before they were turned over to the National Archives.
The political score sheet between Republicans and Democrats now appears even, with both investigating and exposing each other’s illegal confiscation of classified documents, implicitly in both cases, to cover up heinous deeds, the least of which involves exposing the truth about the U.S. role in orchestrating the bi-partisan war in Ukraine. No doubt, the lead up to the 2024 elections will see capitalism’s twin parties once again exposing each other’s duplicities to garner votes in the nation’s periodic contests between the billionaire elite. But on critical questions like the “right” and obligation of U.S. imperialism to impose its will on the world’s people, there is no dispute.
Background to the U.S.-backed 2014 Ukraine coup
Perhaps not by accident another front-page Times article, entitled “The Tale of Hunter Biden To Come Front and Center” appeared in the same issue. It revealed in considerable detail what has been largely hidden from public view since the U.S.-engineered, February 2014 fascist-led coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected government and set the stage for today’s U.S. proxy war against Russia.
“Hoisted on his own petard,” a phrase from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet that has become proverbial, refers to a bomb-maker being blown off the ground – “hoisted” – by his own bomb, “petard.”
The January 12, 2023 Times articles exposed Biden’s previously hidden bombs via four full pages detailing the the investigations of David C. Weiss, who is described as a “veteran federal prosecutor… nominated in 2017 as U.S. attorney by President Donald J. Trump.” The Times added, “Mr. Weiss was kept on by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland after President Biden took office to avoid any suggestion of political meddling in the investigation.” The Times added, “Mr. Weiss has been given the authority by the Justice Department over whether to bring charges [against Biden] and could make a decision at any time.”
Here I will largely refrain from detailing what The Times presents as critical issues found by the ongoing Weiss investigations other than to note his revelations that Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, served on the board of Ukraine’s largest fossil fuel company, Burisma, led by an oligarch, “who at the time was under investigation for corruption — a position that Hunter accepted while his father, as vice president, was overseeing Obama administration policy in Ukraine.”
Burisma’s chief, Mykola Zlochevsky, was also under scrutiny from British authorities, which were “investigating whether he had illicitly taken millions of dollars worth of Ukrainian assets… Zlochevsky had become concerned about his standing in Washington after he was prevented from boarding a flight to the United States. He later learned that his U.S. visa had been revoked by officials at the American Embassy in Kyiv.”
Zlochevsky, via a series of intermediaries, contacted Hunter Biden, who had little or no experience in the energy field, for assistance and was hired by Burisma for a job, “not particularly demanding of his time… that paid, handsomely — about $600,000 a year,” Weiss reported. The article also reports on Biden’s subsequent role representing a Chinese “tycoon” at a salary of over $1 million. But that’s a story for another article.
Maidan’s 2014 rooftop fascist snipers
What The Times omits from its multiple pages of coverage is the fact that Hunter Biden was hired on by Burisma, shortly after the U.S.-orchestrated February 2014 coup when rooftop fascist snipers opened fire on Kyiv’s Maidan Square protestors. At that moment, according to several eyewitnesses, including revolutionary socialists present from the Ukrainian section of the Fourth International, who were chased from the square by fascist gangs, beaten and their literature destroyed, the Maidan had been taken over by far right fascist-aligned forces. The fascists murdered 100 in cold blood, including some of their own for good measure. Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s elected president was instantly blamed and pilloried by the world’s corporate media, paving the political road for what followed. He fled for his life.
US-backed fascist coup
U.S. representative to the European Union, Victoria Nuland, soon after inadvertently revealed that the rooftop assassins were of the fascist Svoboda Party and Right Sector ilk and not Yanukovych’s police and military. The armed thugs that had come from across Ukraine and beyond to take control the Maidan events – replete with U.S. Senator John McCain sharing the stage with fascist orators and Nuland handing out U.S. friendship cookies to boot. They were led by the fascist Svoboda Party leader, Andriy Parubiy, who headed the storming of the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada. The rump gang constituted itself as Ukraine’s new government, banned the two largest and majority parties from entrance and instantly approved a series of reactionary laws.
Two weeks later, the March 5, 2014 online British Channel 4 news account told the story well, albeit with its own twisted embellishments, including granting legitimacy to the coup government’s self-appointed leaders. Andriy Parubiy is described as the new “Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council… who oversees national security for the nation, having previously served as [self-appointed] “security commandant” during the anti-government [Maidan] protests in Kyiv.” Parubiy is identified as “a member of fascist Svoboda Party and a founder of its pro-Nazi predecessor, the Social National Party.” The British television station’s account continued: “Overseeing the armed forces alongside Parubiy is Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector – a group of hardline nationalist streetfighters, who previously boasted they were ready for armed struggle to free Ukraine.”
Other Svoboda neo-Nazis leaders “elected” to the top echelons of the new government were Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Sych, Ecology Minister Andriy Mokhnyk, Agriculture Minister Ihor Shvaika, and acting Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnitsky. In 2016 Parubiy became Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament.
The fascists in power instantly moved to ban the Russian language from schools and public institutions. They ordered the Ukrainian Army, replete with its now formally integrated fascist Azov, Aidar, Dnipro and Tornado battalions, to march on the Donbas in the east to take control of this largely Russian-speaking population. With “government” approval, the fascists attacked anti-coup demonstrators across the country. In Odessa, they murderer 48 coup protestors outright, setting a trade union building afire and slaughtering survivors who were compelled to leap off the flaming edifice. All leftwing parties were instantly banned.
The agreements negotiated by the Yanukovych government with Russia to assist the bankrupt Ukraine, on terms far less onerous than those offered by the European Union, were revoked, and instead, an economically punishing Association Agreement with the European Union, that largely subordinated Ukraine to the US-dominated International Monetary Fund, was approved.
US appoints Ukraine president
The question then arose. Who would take Yanukovych’s place? Nuland and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, made that decision. In her own taped remarks, Nuland named Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a hard right member of Fatherland, the ultra-nationalist, anti-Russian formation. The Europeans, especially the Germans, wanted a more moderate figure to head Ukraine. They favored Vitaly Klitschko, a boxer turned politician with more moderate views than Yatsenyuk. During the hacked call, Nuland blurted out, “F**K the EU!” The U.S. pick, Yatsenyuk, became the Prime Minister of Ukraine, forming a coalition-governing majority with the fascist Svoboda Party.
The U.S.-backed rump government declared itself the leader of the nation. Nuland remarked in her intercepted phone call, that Vice President Joseph Biden, in charge of the Ukraine events at that time, would give the ultimate “atta boy” to the coup leaders. He did.
Two weeks later, March 4, 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kyiv in a further attempt to shoulder aside European Union competitors over financial control over Ukraine’s future. Kerry offered $1 billion in loan guarantees to the Ukrainian coup makers and promised to send in a host of U.S. “technical experts” to help realign the country’s national bank and finance ministry.
Several months latter the coup’s finance minister became U.S. citizen and high-ranking State Department diplomat, Natalie Jeresko, who was granted Ukrainian citizenship the day after her appointment. As we mentioned above, Biden’s son Hunter, soon after the coup, took on a post at Ukraine’s largest energy company, Burisma, at $600,000 annually.
The U.S. had previously laid the ground for the coup, pouring $5 billion into Ukraine over the years to support hundreds of NGOs aimed at moving Ukraine into its orbit, one way or another.
US military base established in Ukraine
Shortly after the 2014 coup, in 2015, the coup makers established the so-called International Peacekeeping and Security Center, a U.S.-run western Ukraine military base near the Polish border that had been, according to the March 14, 2022 New York Times, “a hub for Western military troops to train Ukrainian forces since 2015.” The Times added, “Troops from the United States, Britain, Canada, Poland, Sweden and Denmark, among others, have trained 35,000 Ukrainians there under a project called ‘Operation Unifier.’” This operation aimed to forcibly “unite” western Ukraine, with the Russian-speaking eastern and southern populations that had rejected the fascist coup. U.S.-paid troops included the modern-day descendants of the privatized Blackwater forces of Erik Prince that slaughtered civilians in Iraq during that “weapons of mass destruction” regime change war that killed 1.5 million Iraqis. With the exception of Sweden, all the above nations are today NATO affiliates, training, arming and financing non-NATO Ukraine to wage war on behalf of NATO’s U.S. puppet master?
Ukrainian Army desertions
The official Ukrainian armies in the east and south also rejected the 2014 coup as they did orders from the coup government to turn their guns on the Russian-speaking populations. Indeed, with near zero exceptions they deserted the Ukrainian Army and joined the Russian-speaking and Russian-backed forces without a shot being fired. The same with the overwhelmingly Russian-speaking population in Crimea, which voted 97 percent to affiliate with Russia in a referendum result contested by no virtually one. The turnout was 87 percent.
The March 14, 2022 Times article concluded, “But Western nations withdrew their forces ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, the base has been used by Ukraine to train and organize the thousands of foreigners [from 28 nations] who have arrived in the country and volunteered to help defend it.” This single paragraph almost defied rational explanation, unless, of course, it is The Times’ explanation of the instant transformation of a secret US/NATO military base operating on Ukrainian territory into a solely Ukrainian-run base aimed at training the Ukrainian version of jihadist terrorists. No doubt these instantly-discovered “foreign fighters” who suddenly flocked to defend “Ukraine’s freedom” were akin to those jihadist murderers armed, trained, financed and deployed by the US/NATO/Gulf State monarchies to take down the Syrian government in that ten-year failed U.S. regime change war. 500,000 Syrians died in that U.S.-orchestrated horror. By all accounts, today’s Ukrainian “freedom fighters” were drawn from the ranks of Europe’s growing fascist and far right fanatics. Ukraine has become their central focus.
From 2015 to just before the Russian invasion, that is, for seven years, U.S. and NATO forces have been arming, training and financing, inside Ukraine, the coup government’s war against the Russian-speaking population. That war has killed some 14,000 people in the Donbas alone, mostly civilian, and wounded 50,000 others. That the victims are pilloried for defending their lives and for seeking Russian aid, constitutes yet another travesty of fundamental human and democratic rights, not to mention the right of an oppressed people to self-determination, that is, to be free from annihilation at the hands of the U.S.-installed coup government.
Russian public opinion polls
An April 2, 2022 front-page article by Anton Troianovski, Moscow Bureau Chief for The New York Times, previously Moscow Bureau Chief of The Washington Post, who spent nine years with The Wall Street Journal in Berlin and New York, apparently missed the eye of U.S. government censors. Entitled, “Shaken at First, Many Russians Now Rally Behind Putin’s Invasion,” Troianovski wrote, “The public’s endorsement of the war lacks the patriotic groundswell that greeted the annexation of Crimea in 2014. But polls released this week by Russia’s most respected independent pollster, Levada, showed Mr. Putin’s approval rating hitting 83 percent, up from 69 percent in January. Eighty-one percent said they supported the war, describing the need to protect Russian speakers as its primary justification.” [Emphasis in italics added.] That some three-quarters of a million Russian-speaking Ukrainians, mostly from the beleaguered Donbas region, had fled the fascist-led attacks, undoubtedly weighed heavily on the poll results. That Levada is described as “Russia’s most respected independent pollster,” is even more revealing.
The Minsk Protocols
During the eight years prior to the Russian invasion a state of perpetual war prevailed in the Donbas region, with the U.S. government backing the reconstituted and ever-reinforced Ukrainian Army’s unrelenting attacks – spearheaded by fascist troops that have been formally incorporated into the Ukrainian army.
The early post-coup years were punctuated by a series of negotiations referred to as the Minsk Protocols. Signed on Sept. 5, 2014 and Feb. 12, 2015, after negotiations between the Ukrainian coup government, Russia, Germany and France, they were purportedly aimed at stopping the bloodshed via a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front lines, release of prisoners of war, and a Ukrainian constitutional reform granting self-government to specified areas of Donbas. In practice, none of these Minsk Protocols were implemented, as the reconstituted Ukrainian Army’s ceaseless incursions into the Donbas region aimed at subjugation and conquest as opposed to pursuit of a negotiated settlement. Some 100 “ceasefire” agreements were repeatedly violated. The Ukrainian government refused to implement the Minsk-projected elections in Luhansk and Donetsk. Endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution, the gist of the Minsk accords was to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine via a federalization process that would return the breakaway republics in exchange for their local autonomy. The latter implied that the resources of a federated Donbas, especially the vast fossil fuel reserves, and access to pipelines, would be under the control of local/regional governments, a proposition that U.S. imperialism outright rejected.
In truth, as revealed last month by Germany’s former Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Die Zeit magazine, “It was clear to all of us that this was a frozen conflict, that the problem had not been solved, but that is precisely what gave Ukraine valuable time,” that is, valuable time, as Merkel explained, for its relatively weak military forces to be armed and trained by NATO and U.S. imperialism.
The stage is set for war
In February 2022 Ukraine mobilized some 100,000 U.S./NATO-trained troops prepared to finally take control of the beleaguered Donbas region. 750,000-Russian-speaking Ukrainians had already fled the Donbas to Russia to escape the Ukrainian Army’s endless bombardments. The stage was set for war. The only question remaining was who would start it? Who would be deemed the aggressor? The Biden administration embarked on a concerted international media campaign to daily announce that U.S. intelligence agencies had discovered that Russia was mobilizing to invade. Biden himself, day-after-day, took to the airwaves to declare that a Russian invasion was imminent. Preparing for war Biden’s think tank no doubt operated on the thesis that “Whomever fired the first shot” would be held responsible in the public eye. In my view this “thesis” was subordinate to the historic context, that is, to the U.S.-orchestrated fascist-led coup and its aftermath. Zero legitimacy could be granted to the U.S-installed and backed coup government, not to mention to its slaughter of the Russian-speaking population. As with imperialist-oppressed minority peoples around the world, support to the right to self-determination was primary. In Ukraine, this includes the right of the under siege Russian-speaking population to defend itself against the coup government’s fascist-led attacks and their right to call on Russia to help in this endeavor, regardless of the reactionary nature of Putin’s capitalist/lesser imperialist regime.
Obliteration of the Nord Stream pipeline
Today, U.S. imperialism’s specific objectives in Ukraine include its affiliation to NATO and the U.S. taking control of its vital resources. These include its natural gas and oil reserves, among the largest in the world, as well as its agricultural wealth. Ukraine has often been referred to as the “breadbasket of Europe.” As evidenced by the more than likely U.S.-orchestrated obliteration of the joint Russian/German-owned Nord Stream pipeline, the U.S. today explicitly aims to substitute Russian natural gas to the west, now some 40-50 percent of French and German gas and oil imports, for significantly more expensive U.S. corporate liquefied natural gas – a multi-trillion dollar gambit aimed at fundamentally altering Europe’s fossil fuel supplies to the advantage of the U.S. fossil fuel monopolies.
That U.S. imperialism has recently engineered or sought to engineer coups in resource rich Iran, Iraq, Libya, Bolivia, Syria and Venezuela, not to mention its 10-year slaughter in Afghanistan and its coup efforts in Nicaragua and Cuba, cannot be separated from its heinous deeds in Ukraine.
In Syria, the Bashar al Assad government fell victim to a U.S./NATO/Gulf State monarchy 10-year war that slaughtered 500,000 Syrians. With the U.S.-backed jihadist armies occupying three-quarters of Syria some five year ago, poised to take Damascus and with the U.S. government’s Secretary of State at that moment, John Kerry, preparing to install yet another coup government beholden to the U.S., the Syrians, exercised their right to self-determination and asked for Russian aid. The result was the defeat of that U.S. regime change horror.
U.S. imperialism’s trillion-dollar fossil fuel gambit
The U.S. decision to pursue war in Ukraine, regardless of who fired the first shot, represented a historic shift in U.S. policy. This is inseparable from the U.S. imperialist objective for some time now for the dismemberment of Russia. All the Russian government’s efforts to peacefully deter the U.S. from these objectives were rebuffed, including the Minsk Protocols. Had not the Russians invaded, the eastern Ukraine Russian-speaking population would have been decimated, its resources devoured by U.S. corporations and Ukraine’s borders controlled by U.S./NATO forces replete with their nuclear weapons placed within minutes of major Russia cities. Serious antiwar activists have never been in favor of NATO’s expansion. All anti-imperialist currents in the movement have always been for NATO’s abolition. None have supported U.S. corporate wars to establish control over any nation’s resources or the domination and slaughter of its oppressed people.
One’s stated positions regarding Putin’s capitalist/imperialist Russia notwithstanding, its invasion, as terrible the consequences, as with any war, had the effect of at least stopping the slaughter in eastern Ukraine. The fact that Putin, counting on a quick victory and negotiated settlement along the lines of the Minsk accords, had misread U.S. imperialist intentions to pursue the war “until the last Ukrainian is dead,” does not alter that view.
As activist leaders and participants in the U.S. antiwar movement our demands on the U.S. government should include: