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.