Part II of a CAM Series on the Georgian Legion
[See Part 1 here.—Editors]
The story of the Georgian Legion is more than just battles and atrocities. Far from the battlefield, thousands of people are now soldiers on a second, digital front. They are engaged in both propaganda and attack, relentlessly swarming anyone who dares to question approved narratives. These are not random Internet trolls; rather, they operate with the approval and backing of the Pentagon and the Ukrainian defense apparatus.
This digital army is called NAFO, or the North Atlantic Fellas Organization. It is a thoroughly modern group, a bizarre amalgamation of neo-Nazis, gamers, trolls, crypto-scammers, and many more, with NATO intelligence and NGO backing providing the horsepower necessary to spread their message to every corner of the globe.
Unlike most far-right groups, their reach is not limited to Telegram groups and Discord chats. Through clever Internet memes and seemingly endless signal boosting from NATO’s propaganda apparatus, the Georgian Legion’s online army has grown to such an extent that it counts members of Congress and prime ministers among its ranks.
NAFO was created by 26-year-old Kamil Dyszewski, aka kama_kamilia, a Polish video game reviewer. When asked by a subscriber where they could donate to the Ukrainian war effort, Kamil suggested the Georgian Legion. Soon after, Kamil started making custom avatars for anyone who could prove they had donated to the Legion and before long a meme was born.
NAFO is steeped in gamer and “chan” culture with their memes, jokes and identity, all originating from the same hyper-online stock. Their avatars, known as “fellas,” are anthropomorphic cartoon Shiba Inu dogs based on a popular meme called Cheems. As memes tend to do, Cheems evolved from a funny picture of a dog posted on Instagram to an entire galaxy of derivatives and inside jokes. The meme has been widely circulating since 2017 and most “cheems” have no connection to NAFO whatsoever, even the anthropomorphized “fella” is little more than a derivative of earlier memes now turned to the service of the far right.
In the vein of groups like Anonymous, NAFO is informally organized. There are no real leaders, only influencers trying to steer the swarm of trolls in various directions and barriers to entry are intentionally very low. Anyone can “join” the group if they can post a screenshot proving they have donated to the Georgian Legion or placed an order with Saint Javelin.
This created a vast and amorphous group with no concrete ideology, but also one which is nearly impossible to pin down or snuff out. For each fella you block, it seems a dozen more are waiting in the wings.
NAFO is mostly directed via hashtag, with individual NAFO members using #Article5 or #WeAreNAFO to summon their comrades to attack any “vatniks” (a racial slur for Russians common among NAFO trolls) they find. You do not need to be a Russian to be deemed a “vatnik” by NAFO; the slur is used to describe anyone who holds an opinion counter to the NAFO hivemind, regardless of how true it is. When a target is found, NAFO swarms them with endless spam accusing them of being a Russian agent, along with mass reports to trigger algorithms that will ban their opponents.
Despite the nature of NAFO, Kamil is as close to a ringleader as anyone can be and is usually accepted either as the “boss of NAFO” or at least one of a handful of influencers with enough sway to credibly say they command the horde.
Although he is far from the only one, Kamil is the most prolific and well-known fella artist, often making dozens of avatars for the Legion’s backers each day, particularly those with a high profile such as “journalist” Malcolm Nance and Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Kamil also works with the official NAFO parent and merchandise company, Saint Javelin, which was founded by former BBC, CBC, and Vice journalist Christian Borys. Borys claims to have raised more than one million dollars for the Georgian Legion so far, with new merchandise released regularly. Saint Javelin was created using seed money from the Ukrainian World Congress, an offshoot of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) that has been funded by American intelligence for seven decades.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Kamil is also a strident white supremacist, Holocaust denier, and neo-Nazi. As late as 2021, he regularly posted neo-Nazi and white supremacist memes on his Twitter account. Even after NAFO took off, he did not attempt to conceal this until he was outed in October 2022.
Once the curtain was lifted, Kamil released a pathetic “apology,” saying that he had changed and was too young to be held accountable for posts he made only two years ago. He now claims that he is not a Nazi and was simply making edgy jokes to “mess with people” and “fit in.” This begs the question of where Kamil was trying to fit in, and why anyone would ever want to win the approval of white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
Kamil is predictably silent on this, but his silence speaks volumes as to his true motivations, and those of the Georgian Legion. As of the time of publication, Kamil still works with Saint Javelin, which remains similarly silent regarding his Nazi “past.”
After deleting more than 2,400 of his tweets, Kamil locked his account to prevent anyone else from finding out what he was doing only a couple of years ago. Unfortunately for him, a vast amount of evidence has been collected showing Kamil is more than just a neo-Nazi troll making edgy jokes. He has made posts advocating violence against Black Lives Matter protesters and even seemingly has called for civil war as the far right stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
The reaction from the rank-and-file NAFO trolls is one of almost complete support for Kamil, along with painting the whole affair as Russian propaganda or disinformation. Some of the more notable influencers (This person’s username, Lviv Nightingale, is a reference to the Lviv pogrom of 1941, during which more than 4,000 Jews were massacred by the OUN’s Nightingale Battalion as OUN leaders pledged allegiance to Adolf Hitler) within NAFO have tightened ranks in support of Kamil, who remains a well-paid and respected leader of NAFO.
To wit, Adam Kinzinger believes that thousands of neo-Nazi and white supremacist “jokes” made over years to “fit in” and “mess with people” is not enough evidence to call his friend Kamil a Nazi.
Sadly, Kinzinger did not require such a high standard of evidence before he participated in America’s illegal, brutal, and utterly unjustifiable war in Iraq, for which no evidence was ever presented. In Iraq, Kinzinger was not only willing to kill for an obvious lie but then based his entire political career on his participation in the greatest crime of the 21st century.
Despite collective amnesia from the western press and warmongers like Kinzinger, by 2006 when The Lancet released the most thorough and peer-reviewed study, America’s illegal war in Iraq was already the direct cause of more than 600,000 civilian deaths. This amounts to 100 times more than the current toll in Ukraine.
This staggering disparity has only increased in the following decade and a half as the world continues to grapple with the bloody fallout of America’s disastrous criminal invasion. Unfortunately, the extremely negative reaction to The Lancet study from a mainstream press cowed by arms dealers has prevented any follow-up studies to see how many more died because of Kinzinger’s war.
Kinzinger was not just a participant, but an enthusiastic supporter of the Iraq war during his time in Congress. Perhaps some of those would still be alive had Adam Kinzinger demanded the same standard of evidence he now hides behind in defense of his Nazi friends.
The irony is particularly sharp from Kinzinger, who was once very concerned by imaginary anti-Semitism from Ilhan Omar, but now defends real anti-Semitism from his friends. It seems that Kinzinger’s opposition to anti-Semitism is about as real as Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
While NAFO uses memes and jokes as a mask to hide its true face, the Georgian Legion does not need such scruples. They continue their wanton slaughter unabated, no doubt pleased with both the endless well of funding and distraction their internet minions provide.
“Ukraine has taken on the role of protecting not only its own democratic values, but also the values of the entire Western world” – Mamuka Mamulashvili
By the time a neo-Nazi gamer made them famous, the Georgian Legion had already been operating in Ukraine for eight years in one form or another.
According to Mamuka Mamulashvili, his unit was the first to enter the post-Maidan civil war. Starting in April 2014, they trained the infamous Special Tasks Patrol police units, recruited from among the thousands of neo-Nazis (many of them CIA-affiliated) who infested post-Maidan Ukraine. After the army evaporated almost overnight when asked by the Maidan regime to kill their friends, family, and countrymen, it fell to the STPs to crush the nascent counter-revolution in Donbas.
They carried out their mission with extreme brutality, subjugating cities and towns by any means necessary. It was more than just training; by his admission Mamuka took part in combat in Luhansk Oblast with the very first front-line units.
However, Mamuka was present in Ukraine much earlier. Weeks after the Maidan protests began in December 2013, Mamuka was already soliciting mercenaries, offering $60,000 to beat opposition leaders. Upon arriving in the country, Mamuka’s mercenaries attacked police with rocks and Molotov cocktails, hoping to provoke a massacre in response.
When that failed, Mamuka planned a massacre of his own. On February 20th, mercenaries opened fire on the crowd from the Kyiv Philharmonic and Hotel Ukraina buildings, killing some 50 people from both sides. While the Western media blamed the Yanukovych administration for these attacks, all evidence was destroyed by the Maidan government after it came to power and the crime remains unsolved. The victims were among those the Maidan regime dubbed the “Heavenly Hundred” and are venerated by the state with a nearly religious fervor.
While Mamuka had been fighting in Ukraine for years prior, the Georgian Legion was not officially founded until 2016 when a new law allowed foreigners to join the Ukrainian Army.
Almost immediately after, three unnamed U.S. Army officers were the Legion’s first recruits and they set about creating an officer corps for the fledgling unit. The unit was small until the 2022 war opened the floodgates and it now has thousands of soldiers from 32 countries. The Legion has grown in both size and sophistication; they have only the most cutting-edge NATO war machines and make sure to include them in their endless streams of slickly produced social media propaganda.
Mamuka frequently insists that he vets members, particularly looking to weed out neo-Nazis or fascists who, he claims, are not welcome in the Legion. If he is telling the truth, Mamuka has failed utterly at this and the unit is rife with neo-Nazis from around the world. Maybe Mamuka is too far from the battlefield in his headquarters shared with the Azov Battalion to see that some of the worst neo-Nazis in the world fight alongside the Legion.
Among them is Paul Gray, a former U.S. Army Airborne soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gray is best known as a neo-Nazi terrorist affiliated with at least four known groups, the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP), Vanguard America, Patriot Front, and the infamous Atomwaffen.
Vanguard America was the group responsible for the murder of Heather Heyer at the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally, and it was the TWP which organized the rally. Gray was one of the lead organizers and provided combat training for the participants. After the attacks, Gray bragged on a neo-Nazi podcast about how TWP had “fought off the beaner hordes” and the host was so enraptured by Gray’s tall tales that, by the end of the segment, he was repeatedly shouting “white power” at the top of his lungs.
Gray’s association with Atomwaffen is even more disturbing. In keeping with their name, Atomwaffen is best known for attempted nuclear terrorism against historically Black colleges and at least a half dozen murders. Atomwaffen’s founder, Brandon Russell, was eventually arrested and sentenced to five years in a Federal Penitentiary. He served fewer than six months before his release in 2021, despite spending much of that time sending bomb-making instructions to his comrades.
Gray joined the Legion no later than January 2022 and was wounded by Russian artillery in April. Paul is more than just a soldier in the Legion; he often represents them on American TV with more than a half dozen appearances on Fox News and has received almost worshipful praise from the media.
It seems Mamuka’s “vetting program” is little more than a PR campaign designed to launder fascists into freedom fighters. Sadly, it has succeeded. Despite Paul’s well-publicized links to violent neo-Nazi groups, Gray and the Legion avoid any real scrutiny from the credulous Western press.
The Georgian Legion is not just foreign mercenaries; many of its members are the cream of the rotten crop from Georgia’s far right. Even in the company of some of the world’s most vile neo-Nazis, the Georgian Legion’s homegrown killers are second to none.
On March 30, 2022, the Legion released one of its many propaganda videos revealing a successful “cleansing operation” about five miles north of Bucha. A bearded man celebrates wordlessly, drowned out by music, in front of the bodies of several Russian soldiers before the camera cuts to a captured armored vehicle. In this censored version, you see a scene of military glory; the Georgian Legion has vanquished its enemies and captured their weapons.
In the full-length video, reserved at first for Ukrainian-language Telegram channels, you see what a “cleansing operation” really looks like. At the beginning of this extremely disturbing footage, several bound Russian soldiers lay with their throats slit in pools of their blood as the cameraman brags about Georgian prowess and shouts out his housing complex. One of the Russians starts to gurgle as he fights for air, catching the attention of the cameraman, who shoots the prisoner.
Somehow the bound prisoner survives, and his breathing grows increasingly ragged as he desperately struggles for air. The cameraman yells “Look, he’s still alive!” before one of his comrades finally executes the prisoner with three shots at close range. The Georgians spend the rest of the video looting, celebrating, and posing for pictures with the men they murdered as they shout the old Fascist greeting “Slava Ukraini” back and forth, albeit without the traditional “Roman salute” that accompanied it.
Some of the men’s clothes and equipment were still there when ex-Daily Mail journalist Oz Katerji toured the site several days later. Katerji was so impressed with what he saw that he donated to the Legion soon after and became one of the most enthusiastic NAFO fellas. Once again, a “mainstream conservative” who spent so much of his time decrying imaginary anti-Semitism, this time from Jeremy Corbyn, is enthralled the moment he sees the genuine article.
The killer was identified as Georgian Legionnaire Teymuraz Khizanishvili, a former bodyguard of Mikheil Saakashvili, the disgraced pro-NATO prime minister of Georgia from 2004 to 2013 and a close ally of the Mamulashvili family. The crime was so brazen that even British intelligence asset Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat and The New York Times were forced to confirm its veracity. For his part, Mamuka doubled down when confronted with this evidence in an interview.
“Yes, we tie their hands and feet sometimes. I speak for the Georgian Legion, we will never take Russian soldiers prisoner. Not a single one of them will be taken prisoner.”-Mamuka Mamulashvili
Mamuka attempted to backpedal in later interviews, denying that the killer was a member of the Legion before saying his rant about never taking prisoners was taken out of context. Mamuka said what he really meant is they were handed over to MPs instead of taken by the Legion, but the damage was already done.
Still, Mamuka’s panicked denial was much more credible than Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to the interior minister and former Kharkiv gangster in charge of the infamous and universally condemned hit list Myrotvorets. On Gerashenko’s Telegram, he released a bizarre statement claiming the massacre was faked by the Russian FSB using actors and animal blood. This fantasy was the best he could do in the face of such obvious evidence.
The Ukrainian government claimed that the people responsible for this atrocity would be brought to justice. As of the time of publication, no charges have been filed, no arrests have been made, and there is no indication of any investigation whatsoever. The Legion is still active on the front lines, and NAFO has only grown larger in response to both scandal and atrocity.
Sometimes, when we look at dogs it can be hard to imagine that long ago, their ancestors were among the most formidable hunters on Earth.
Tens of thousands of years ago, the primordial wolf ancestors of every Pug and Chihuahua could chase prey for hours until it finally succumbed to exhaustion and then tear their quarry apart with their teeth. They would run dozens of miles in pitch darkness, with no food or water and little concern for terrain or weather, then feed for days straight. These wolves were highly intelligent, resilient and adaptable, leading to thriving populations all around the world. However, despite their prowess, even wolves sometimes go hungry.
We still do not know when or where, but at some point a very long time ago, a desperate wolf’s hunger overrode its fear of fire and it approached a group of humans hoping for some scraps. One of the humans must have obliged, and eventually the two species found themselves in a mutually beneficial situation. From then on, humanity went about the task of domesticating the wolf, and the two species were forever joined at the hip.
It was a long genetic march over dozens of millennia to mold Canis Lupus into the domestic dog. After countless generations of selective breeding, the wild predator became a beloved friend and companion to humanity. Today many of us cannot imagine our life without a dog by our side, and our breeding efforts have resulted in countless breeds of all shapes and sizes, many of them a far cry from their wild ancestors.
However, despite humanity’s best efforts, some part of the ancient wolf remains in every dog. If you look closely enough, you can still see the killer inside as your dog chases after the ball it views as prey and shakes the squeaky toy designed to mimic the sounds of a dying rodent. In the mind of a dog, it is still the predator its ancestors once were.
What we are seeing now is an attempt to domesticate the Georgian Legion, turning the Nazi wolves into NAFO’s funny little dogs in the mind of the public.
Many fellas cannot accept that Kamil is a Nazi because he is their friend and comrade. When they look at Kamil, they do not see the virulent neo-Nazi who was denying the Holocaust and glorifying right-wing terrorists to “fit in” and “mess with people” only a few years ago. Rather, they see their friend who makes funny memes and jokes while they hunt for “vatniks.” While Kamil has not changed, how he is perceived has.
Now, when the general public sees the media bending over backwards to fete Paul Gray, it will be as difficult for them to see him as a Nazi terrorist who orchestrated the murder of Heather Heyer and tried to send dirty bombs to Black colleges as it is to imagine a pug tearing apart a bull elk with its teeth. This is absolutely intentional.
NAFO is simply the latest evolution of a project that has been going on for 80 years. Before the Second World War was over, the founders of the so-called liberal international order were already setting up the structures they would use to weaponize the world’s fascists against the Soviet Union and China.
The echoes of these operations can still be heard throughout Ukraine today. Even after the death of Allen Dulles’s Gladiators (see Daniele Ganser’s NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Europe), their children and grandchildren still use the same structures, financed from the same places for the same end goal, crushing any nation that dares to challenge the “rules-based international order” that the ruling class holds so dear.
Of course, something of the predator will always remain. The Legion and all the other Nazis infesting Ukraine are not wolves that we can mold into our beloved pets. Violence and oppression are an indivisible pillar of their ideology; the idea of a peaceful, tolerant Nazi is a contradiction on par with a vegetarian wolf. The “domestication” of the Legion is nothing more than a ruse.
This is not a problem for the people who orchestrated this war; the liberal internationalists never wanted family pets. Mamuka and the fellas finally give them what they have spent 80 years looking for: a pack of wolves that can fool the world into believing that they are nothing but dogs.
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About the Author
Evan Reif was born in a small mining town in Western South Dakota as the son of a miner and a librarian.
His father’s struggles as a union organizer, and the community’s struggles with de-industrialization, nurtured Evan’s deep interest in left-wing politics. This, along with his love of history, made him a staunch anti-fascist.
When not writing, researching or working, Evan enjoys fishing, shooting, and Chinese cooking.