The Assassination Program Bears Parallels With the Vietnam Phoenix Program and Israeli Mossad Operations Targeting Palestinians
On September 9th, The Economist ran a remarkable story entitled “Ukraine’s Assassination Programme: Its Agents Have Become Expert in Dark Revenge.”
It spotlighted how the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU)’s Fifth Directorate and Special Operations Forces (SSO) are running an assassination program across regions of Ukraine occupied or reintegrated into Russia and in Russia itself, and that some SBU agents are starting to believe that these programs have gotten out of control.
An unnamed SBU counter-intelligence officer is quoted as saying that it made him uncomfortable that “marginal figures” were being targeted in operations that were designed “to impress the president rather than bring victory any closer…clowns, prostitutes and jokers are a constant around the Russian government. Kill one of them, and another will appear in their place.”
The same officer noted that Ukraine’s assassination campaign was being “driven by impulse rather than logic,” and “risked exposing sources and the extent of Ukrainian infiltration into Russia,” adding that “our security services shouldn’t do things just because they can.”
These comments provide an incredible admission of an out-of-control assassination program, subsidized in effect by U.S. taxpayers, that is engaging in wanton violence and killing.
A historical parallel can be found with the CIA’s Vietnam Phoenix Program, an assassination operation designed to liquidate civilian officials supportive of the National Liberation Front (NLF), which also got out of control and was used to resolve private disputes.
The Economist, predictably, did not mention the CIA, though we know from Vasily Prozorov, a former SBU officer who defected to Russia, that the SBU was advised by the CIA since 2014, and that CIA employees have come to the SBU’s central office to plot secret operations.
The Myrotvorets site was launched just after the February 2014 Maidan coup backed by the U.S.
Former SBU Director Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said that Ukraine’s leaders decided that their policy at that time of imprisoning supposed Russian collaborators was “not achieving enough. Prisons were overflowing, but few were deterred. We reluctantly came to the conclusion that we needed to eliminate terrorists.”
Many of these “terrorists” were actually patriots who supported the legitimately elected government of Viktor Yanukovych (2010-2014), who was deposed in an illegal coup backed by far-right nationalists that worshiped pro-Nazi figures like Stepan Bandera.
They also favored close political-economic and cultural relations with Russia, which had been firmly established over generations. Many were involved in peaceful protests against the post-coup order that were violently suppressed or supported legal political parties that were banned.
In eastern Ukraine, the “terrorists” supported the renegade Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which were established after the people living in those republics voted for their autonomy in referenda. They voted that way because they did not accept the Maidan coup and were outraged by the passage of draconian language laws that were an affront to their culture.
The rights of the people of Donetsk and Luhansk were recognized under the Minsk peace accords, which representatives of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics signed and which Russia supported, though which Ukraine viewed largely as a ruse to buy time to build up Ukraine’s military capacity to wage war, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted.
On August 31, 2018, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, was murdered, in a café where he was eating, after a bomb was set off by the death squads profiled in The Economist. (Zakharchenko’s bodyguard also died and 12 people were severely injured in the blast.)
A former mine electrician who staunchly supported the Minsk accords, Zakharchenko had been a compromise figure between the left-leaning and anti-establishment forces that led the Donbas uprising and the more conservative, pro-capitalist forces backed by the government of the Russian Federation.
Zakharchenko’s assassination coincided with that of other notable Russian-backed commanders in the Donbas, such as Mikhail Tolstykh (aka Givi), who was murdered by a flamethrower while he was working in his office, and Arsen Pavlov (aka Motorola), whose 2016 murder in an apartment complex bombing was falsely blamed on Russia in Western media outlets.
Yevhen Yunakov, the mayor of the town of Velykyi Burluk in the Kharkiv region, was another victim murdered by the SBU in a car bombing. The Economist reported that Yunakov was “one of dozens of people targeted in clinical operations” who were “shot, blown up, hanged, and even on occasion poisoned with doctored brandy.”
Ukrainian General Kyrylo Budanov was quoted in The Economist piece stating, “if you are asking about [creating a version of] Mossad. We don’t need to. It already exists.”
These comments provide a stunning rebuke to the pristine image that Ukraine has tried to cultivate given the ruthless reputation of Mossad, which has assassinated more people than any other intelligence service in the Western world—save perhaps the CIA with its drone and torture programs.
The parallel between Ukraine and Israel is that both countries feel they can get away with illegal practices because of the military backing and support that they get from the United States. A further parallel is that both are coming to be viewed more and more as pariah states among politically conscious citizens of the world—as they have both crossed over onto the dark side.
U.S. Intelligence Official Admits to Black Propaganda Operation Against Putin
The exposure of Ukraine’s assassination program in the mainstream media comes amidst the backdrop of the failure of Ukraine’s spring-summer counteroffensive, which has resulted in the demoralization of Ukraine’s army.
Maverick investigative reporter Seymour Hersh recently interviewed an intelligence official with access to up-to-date intelligence who said “it’s all lies,” in reference to claims of incremental progress in the counteroffensive. “The war is over. Russia has won. There is no Ukrainian offensive anymore, but the White House and the American media have to keep the lie going.”
The same official said that while believing Vladimir Putin’s decision to start the war was “stupid,” the Biden administration’s decision to wage a proxy war in response was “also stupid. And so now we have to paint him [Putin] black, with the help of the media, in order to justify our mistake.”.
These latter comments acknowledge the existence of a black propaganda campaign against Putin by the CIA along with British intelligence that the media has been central to.
CovertAction Magazine has previously reported on this campaign, which fits the pattern of past demonization campaigns targeting U.S. adversaries like Fidel Castro, Muammar Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Nicholas Maduro, Daniel Ortega and many others.
The accomplishments of the above leaders were all suppressed in the propaganda campaigns and supposed evil played up.
Putin fits the standard as a leader who has stood up to U.S. interests by strengthening national control over Russia’s economy following an era of foreign exploitation and looting under his predecessor Boris Yeltsin.
Putin has also increased the central authority of the Russian government and projected Russian power outwards, coming to the defense of the beleaguered people of Eastern Ukraine that were attacked by the Ukrainian military, with U.S. and UK backing following the 2014 coup that they orchestrated.
As I have analyzed elsewhere, the black propaganda campaign against Putin compares to that adopted against the German Kaiser during World War I, which helped whip the American public into a frenzy that led them to support U.S. intervention in the Great War—with dubious consequences that included the death of an estimated 100,000 American soldiers.
The current campaign against Putin has been so successful that many elements of the so-called left have embraced it and supported U.S. weapons supplies and covert military intervention in Ukraine.
However, the lies surrounding this campaign and delusions underlying U.S. policy in Ukraine are beginning to crumble.
More and more people are waking up to the Vietnam-like disaster that has been steadily unfolding—replete with Phoenix style terrorist operations that expose the true dark nature of the Ukrainian regime the U.S. has helped to prop up.
“Ukraine’s Assassination Programme: Its Agents Have Become Expert in Dark Revenge,” The Economist, September 9, 2023, 46. ↑
“Ukraine’s Assassination Programme,” 46. ↑
See Jacques Baud, Operation Z (Paris: Max Milo, 2022). Baud’s study makes clear that, if anyone deserved the designation terrorists, it was the Ukrainian Army and its assorted militias which, according to the UN, were responsible for 80% of artillery attacks against civilians in the years leading up to the launching of Russia’s Special Military Operation. ↑
Baud, Operation Z. ↑
The bomb that killed Pavlov, who has been featured on commemorative stamps in eastern Ukraine, was planted in the elevator in his building and detonated remotely. Another victim of the Ukraine assassination squad was Alexey Mozgovoy, an anarchist who led the Ghost Battalion and ran the town of Alchevsk, nominally part of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). He was killed when his motorcade came under fire. ↑
“Ukraine’s Assassination Programme,” 46. ↑
“Ukraine’s Assassination Programme,” 46. ↑
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About the Author
Jeremy Kuzmarov is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine.
He is the author of five books on U.S. foreign policy, including Obama’s Unending Wars (Clarity Press, 2019), The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018), and Warmonger. How Clinton’s Malign Foreign Policy Launched the U.S. Trajectory From Bush II to Biden (Clarity Press, 2023).
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.