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Blackwater Killers in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman Sunday, May. 11, 2014 at 11:36 PM


Blackwater Killers in Eastern Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Blackwater's rap sheet reveals a record too deplorable to conceal. It became Xe. It's now Academi.

Putting lipstick on this pig doesn't help. It's no different than before. Jeremy Scahill's book titled "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" called it:

A "shadowy mercenary company (employing) some of the most feared professional killers in the world accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences (and) largely off the congressional radar."

It has "remarkable power and protection (within) the US war apparatus." It's well funded. It operates extrajudicially.

It's unaccountable. It's licensed to kill, terrorize, destroy and destabilize. It takes full advantage. It does so wherever it's deployed.

On May 11, Voice of Russia (VOR) headlined "400 US commandos help Kiev in its military offensive in east Ukraine - reports."

They arrived to commit mayhem. They're from the "notorious US private security firm Academi..."

They're involved "in a punitive operation mounted by (Kiev) against federalization supporters in Eastern Ukraine…"

Bild am Sonntag is Germany's largest Sunday circulation broadsheet. It reported Academi operatives near Slavyansk.

It's uncertain who hired them, it said. It's clear Washington's dirty hands are involved. Russia's Foreign Ministry said:

"(I)n the absence of support from the Ukrainian population, the Maidan government has only one option if it wants to remain in power - to mobilize any support possible from foreign sponsors, including foreign mercenaries."

"Among the candidates for the role of gendarme is the company Greystone Limited, registered in Barbados, which is integrated with the Academi corporation," it said.

"It is an analogue, or, probably, an affiliate body of the Blackwater private army, whose soldiers have been accused of committing rigorous and regular human rights abuses in troubled regions."

Note: Greystone is a private company. It separated from Academi in 2010. Both firms maintain close ties. They operate the same way. They do so extrajudicially.

"It looks as though this practice, if it really is implemented, goes against the Ukrainian laws that ban foreign citizens from working with private security companies," said Russia's Foreign Ministry.

"Such initiatives demonstrate that those who have conquered their place in power in Kiev cannot guarantee minimal order or even their own security."

"The question arises, what the price of this plan is and where the money will come from."

"To what extent will the burden of spending on highly-paid foreign specialists be shifted to ordinary Ukrainians who, in connection with the painful tax increase, including taxes on gas as the precondition for securing loans from the International Monetary Fund, will have to tighten their belts even stronger?"

VOR cited Itar Tass saying Kiev putschists believe they're unable to suppress Eastern resistance on their own. They can't eliminate activist leaders.

Coup-appointed Kiev president Oleksandr Turchynov agreed, saying:

"Therefore it was decided to 'attract' foreign mercenaries, who will serve as political police and state security protection."

They'll operate extrajudicially. They'll do so unaccountably. They're licensed to kill.

VOR said coup-appointed governors Igor Kolomoisky and Sergei Taruta are involved. They're multi-billionaire oligarchs. Earlier Kolomoisky said:

"(W)hy reinvent the wheel if there are real people who understand how and how much to pay."

They're hired guns. They're unrestricted by US, international or local laws. They're free from civil or criminal accountability.

Under Article 47 of the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions:

"A mercenary is any person who:

(a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;

(b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities:

(c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of the Party;

(d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

(e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and

(f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces."

Washington uses them in conflict areas. They serve its imperial agenda. They're doing so in Ukraine. Perhaps hundreds more will be sent.

Maybe they're in Crimea. Perhaps covertly. Maybe elsewhere in Eastern Ukraine. They're not good will ambassadors.

They're well-trained killers. They're experts. They're hired for their skills. They're licensed to use them. They take full advantage.

On May 11, Itar Tass headlined "Donetsk referendum organizers plan to begin 'civilized divorce' with Kiev authorities."

They'll convene a regional congress of deputies. Central Election Commission head Boris Litvinov explained, saying:

"We want to be a party to the negotiating process, which rests on the will of the people, and to build relations with all states on the basis of equal rights."

Sunday's referendums were absolutely legal, he stressed. Claims otherwise are false.

"People (stood) in 300-400 meter lines. Doing so showed enormous interest in voting. "Even in the Soviet times we never saw such queues," Litvinov added.

Late afternoon Sunday reports said Lugansk turnout topped 75%. Earlier ones indicated Donetsk exceeded 50%. Later ones said over 70%.

Preliminary results will be announced overnight Monday. Final ones will follow. Perhaps by Monday afternoon.

Slavyansk activists reported Kiev military attacks. According to one named Vlad:

"The artillery fire was so loud, that the earth and houses shook."

"I have been trying to call the people at the checkpoint but they don't pick up."

"There are snipers in the area and it's too dangerous to speak on the phone."

RT International's Paula Slier tweeted "#Slavyansk: Some polling stations (were) guarded by Cossacks."

"Roman #Lyagin, chair of central #election commission, 'This is will of people.The world can say this is bad idea but it's idea of the people."

"People patiently wait(ed) outside voting stations in #Donetsk #referendum."

Donetsk People's Governor Pavel Gubarev said his region and Lugansk will become new legal entities.

"The referendum(s) for us (are) about creating a new state paradigm," he explained.

Kiev's illegitimate foreign ministry issued a statement, saying:

"Organizers of this criminal farce have consciously violated the Ukrainian constitution and laws, and have neglected calls coming from the authorities in Ukraine and from the international community."

Kiev forces seized four Krasnoarmeisk schools. Polling stations were inside. Voters were ordered out.

Ballots and voter rolls were confiscated. Krasnoarmeisk's executive committee building was seized. It was blocked so no one could get in or out.

Communication was lost with two Krasny Liman referendum committees. Kiev forces clashed with activists there.

Donetsk People's Republic leader Denis Pushilin explained what happened. At the same time, Lugansk press spokesman Vasily Nikitin reported National Guard elements "intimidating" residents.

They "move(d) military hardware from one settlement to another."

Note: Many polling stations remained open until 10PM local time. Others closed between 6 and 8PM. They did so for security reasons. Eastern Ukraine is a war zone.

Voting under these conditions risked people's lives. High numbers turned out anyway. Fundamental rights matter more. So does real democracy.

On Saturday, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry issued a statement, saying:

The Bolivarian Republic "does not recognize and will not recognize as legal a government that emerged as a result of a state coup."

"In view of a regrettable development of events in Ukraine, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela confirms that it rejects violent processes that, with the support of the United States and NATO, led to the overthrow of the government, jeopardizing the peace and unity of the Ukrainian people as well as the stability of the entire Eurasian region."

"Until free elections are held in Ukraine and broad dialogue starts, Venezuela will keep warning the world's nations of the danger of foreign interference, speaking for the creation of a multipolar world that guarantees the peace and sovereignty of all peoples."

RT International reported "Kiev troops roll(ing) through E. Ukraine in 'bid to disrupt voting.' "

Fascists operate this way. Democracy is considered verboten. Attacks tried blocking its emergence. Efforts failed. Turnout was impressive. Voters want freedom most of all.

Weeks earlier poll numbers showed Putin's popularity topped 80%. Most Russians support him. They praised him. They believe he's governing responsibly.

Last December, UK broadsheet The Times named him International Person of the Year. He succeeded in reestablishing Russia as a major international problem-solving country, it said.

On Saturday, Henry Kissinger debunked notions about Putin initiating Eastern Ukrainian conflict conditions.

He had nothing to do with what's ongoing, he said. "(W)e ought to settle the Ukrainian issue first, and then have a discussion about relations with Russia," he added.

On March 5, he headlined a Washington Post op-ed "How the Ukraine crisis ends," saying:

"Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going?"

"Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West."

"But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side's outpost against the other - it should function as a bridge between them."

Russia can't force Ukraine into satellite status, he said.  Western nations "must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country."

It was part of Russia for centuries. Their histories are closely intertwined.

"The European Union must recognize that its bureaucratic dilatoriness and subordination of the strategic element to domestic politics in negotiating Ukraine's relationship to Europe contributed to turning a negotiation into a crisis," said Kissinger.

Western residents mostly speak Ukrainian. Eastern ones mostly Russian. Any attempt by either side "to dominate the other (will) lead eventually to civil war or break up."

Treating Ukraine "as part of an East-West confrontation (will) scuttle for decades any prospect to bring Russia and the West…into a cooperative international system."

"The politics of post-independence Ukraine clearly demonstrates that the root of the problem lies in efforts by Ukrainian politicians to impose their will on recalcitrant parts of the country…"

A "wise US policy" would seek East/West "cooperation."

Demonizing Putin isn't sound policy, said Kissinger. It's "an alibi for the absence of one."

Understanding Russian tradition isn't America's long suit, he explained.

He laid out his notion of outcome compatibility representing interests of all sides, saying:

Ukraine should freely choose its economic and political associations.

It shouldn't join NATO.

Its government should represent all its people. It should resolve East/West differences.

It's "incompatible with the rules of the existing order for Russia to annex Crimea."

"(I)t should be possible to put (its) relationship with Ukraine on a less fraught basis."

Kiev "should reinforce Crimea's autonomy in elections" internationally monitored.

Kissinger called his notions "principles, not prescriptions." Key isn't "absolute satisfaction but balanced dissatisfaction," he added.

If differences aren't resolved, "confrontation will accelerate."

It's happening in real time. It bears repeating. Fascist regimes operate this way. Washington and Kiev are two sides of the same coin.

One decides. The other obeys.

Kissinger omitted explaining what's most important. As Nixon/Ford National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, he was part of Washington's dirty system.

His rap sheet is bloodstained. He was an early architect of new world order lawlessness.

He's guilty of multiple crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. In late May, he'll be 91.

His op-eds or other actions can't undo enormous harm he caused. He remains unaccountable.

At the same time, he largely addressed Ukraine sensibly. He foresaw what's unfolding. It's prelude to what's likely much worse to come.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
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