US Involvement in Ukraine, Omidyar/ Greenwald Connection:
Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network has funded the Ukrainian opposition through Oleh Rybachuk’s network of Western-backed NGOs, along with the US Agency for International Development (USAID). According to a recent Pando report by Mark Ames,
“According to a Kyiv Post article on February 10 titled, “Rybachuk: Democracy-promoting nongovernmental organization faces ‘ridiculous’ investigation”:“Police are investigating Center UA, a public-sector watchdog funded by Western donors, on suspicion of money laundering, the group said. The group’s leader, Oleh Rybachuk, said it appears that authorities, with the probe, are trying to warn other nongovernmental organizations that seek to promote democracy, transparency, free speech and human rights in Ukraine.“According to Center UA, the Kyiv economic crimes unit of the Interior Ministry started the investigation on Dec. 11. Recently, however, investigators stepped up their efforts, questioning some 200 witnesses.“… Center UA received more than $500,000 in 2012, according to its annual report for that year, 54 percent of which came from Pact Inc., a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Nearly 36 percent came from Omidyar Network, a foundation established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife. Other donors include the International Renaissance Foundation, whose key funder is billionaire George Soros, and National Endowment for Democracy, funded largely by the U.S. Congress.”
According to the Nation Endowment for Democracy website, Oleh Rybachuk is, “A civil society activist and politician who specializes in issues related to Euro-Atlantic integration. Within the third sector, he has helped to launch the New Citizen Civic Campaign and CHESNO Civic Movement, and is a co-founder of the NGO “Center UA.” Oleh has also held numerous political appointments, including Chief of Staff to President Yushchenko.” Oleh Rybachuk was influential in the 2004 Orange Revolution and has since played a major role in the opposition movement against the government of Viktor Yanukovych. In March of 2012 Rybachuk stated, “People are not afraid. We now have 150 NGOs in all the major cities in our ‘clean up Parliament campaign’ to elect and find better parliamentarians… The Orange Revolution was a miracle, a massive peaceful protest that worked. We want to do that again and we think we will.” And as recent events have proven, the government of Viktor Yanukovych has fallen amidst violence that was incited and escalated by Neo-Nazi, ultra-nationalist, ultra-right-wing parties (Right Sector and Svoboda), and the transitional government headed by Oleksandr Turchinov (and largely dominated and intimidated by Right Sector and Svoboda) has issued a warrant for the arrest of the democratically elected former President.
The damning part of these revelations is not that the wealthy, eBay co-founding billionaire Pierre Omidyar helped finance the largely violent and forceful take-over of a democratically elected foreign government, it is rather that the United States government was his co-investor. The United States denies direct involvement in the affairs of other nations apart from normal diplomacy, and State Department representative Psaki stated in response to a question regarding the leaked Victoria Nuland call that, “It should be no surprise that U.S. officials talk about issues around the world, of course we do, that’s what diplomats do. And discuss especially issues were have been closely engaged. The Secretary met with the opposition this weekend, he stopped by a meeting with the foreign minister…” In other words, of course the U.S. discusses which person they want to install in the Ukrainian government, it shouldn’t even have to be said, the truth is self-evident. Further, the US doesn’t hide the fact that diplomats have been in constant contact with the opposition, and Senators such as John McCain have openly met and supported neo-Nazi, anti-Semetic, Russophobic, violent, ultra-nationalist opposition leaders as well. This, coupled with the corporate media black-out of these hard-right, Nazi-inspired groups, the State Departments reluctance to denounce the violent aggressions of these groups, and the State’s practice of laying the blame solely on the Ukrainian government, goes to show that the U.S. will support any group whose interests line up with theirs, no matter how violent, radical or un-democratic they are. Important to mention as well is the torrent of celebration and excitement accompanying the corporate media’s protestations of the ‘victory’ and ‘success’ of the U.S., E.U. and NATO in what amounts to the violent take-over of the Ukrainian government by militant, neo-Nazi contingencies and the destabilization of a country whose political and cultural rifts continue to intensify in the face of political uncertainty and a vacuum of power that is increasingly being filled by hard-right opposition leaders who espouse a violent, anti-Russian, Nazi-sympathetic ideology and utilize methods of violence and intimidation to acquire control of political power. The U.S. see’s Ukraine as being a geopolitical prize on the international chessboard whose annexation from Russian influence would greatly damage the interests of Russia, and thereby strengthen the West and further contain the Eastern power, and end which is implied to justify U.S involvement in the region. The geopolitical chess-game holds precedence over the wellbeing of the Ukrainian people, despite Secretary Kerry’s statement that, “The people of Ukraine want nothing more than the right to define their own future – peacefully, politically and in stability. The United States stands with them, as we have for 22 years, in seeing their rights restored.”
Pierre Omidyar’s part in all of this serves as a further vindication of the hypocrisy and biased nature of his news venture with Greenwald, Poitris and Scahill. Despite an ‘inherently adversarial posture toward the State and those in power,’ as stated by Scahill on Democracy Now! the owner and publisher of “The Intercept” is co-financing regime change in Ukraine along with the State, a clear conflict of interests that Greenwald is reluctant to acknowledge. In a response to the Mark Ames article Greenwald writes,
“I have a long history of condemning U.S. government interference in the governance of other countries, and of the accompanying jingoistic moral narrative that this interference is intended to engender Freedom and Democracy rather than the promotion of U.S. interests. I have equal scorn for those who feign opposition to Russian interference in the sovereignty of other countries while continuing to support all sorts of U.S. interference of exactly that sort…“But what I do know is that I would never temper, limit, suppress or change my views for anyone’s benefit – as anyone I’ve worked with will be happy to tell you – and my views on such interference in other countries isn’t going to remotely change no matter the actual facts here. I also know that I’m free to express those views without the slightest fear. And I have zero doubt that that’s true of every other writer at The Intercept. That’s what journalistic independence means.”“I think it’s perfectly valid for journalists to investigate the financial dealings of corporations and billionaires who fund media outlets, whether it be those who fund or own Pando, First Look, MSNBC, Fox News, The Washington Post or any other. And it’s certainly reasonable to have concerns and objections about the funding of organizations that are devoted to regime change in other countries: I certainly have those myself. But the Omidyar Network doesn’t exactly seem ashamed of these donations, and they definitely don’t seem to be hiding them, given that they trumpeted them in their own press releases and web pages.”
Greenwald claims to be opposed to U.S. intervention and regime change in other countries affairs, and when his boss is accused of this Greenwald maintains that his views on this subject have not changed, yet he does not condemn Pierre for his actions, and instead seems to think they are justified because of the funding’s lack of secrecy. Does Greenwald seriously oppose U.S. State and corporate financing of regime-change abroad? If so, he is not condemning his boss for these actions, and instead maintains that the actions or political affiliations of his employers are of no consequence to him or his journalistic production. Mark Ames sums it up perfectly in the original Pando report, “What all this adds up to is a journalistic conflict-of-interest of the worst kind: Omidyar working hand-in-glove with US foreign policy agencies to interfere in foreign governments, co-financing regime change with well-known arms of the American empire — while at the same time hiring a growing team of soi-disant ”independent journalists” which vows to investigate the behavior of the US government at home and overseas, and boasts of its uniquely “adversarial” relationship towards these government institutions.”
According to the same report, an employee of Omidyar’s news organization “The Intercept” has voiced interest in seeking out the truth about U.S. involvement in Ukraine,
“Just hours after last weekend’s ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at national security blog “The Intercept,” was already digging for the truth.Marcy Wheeler, who is the new site’s “senior policy analyst,” speculated that the Ukraine revolution was likely a “coup” engineered by “deep” forces on behalf of “Pax Americana”:“There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is.”
Will Marcy Wheeler and “The Intercept” report on USAID’s financing of Rybachuk’s NGO’s? Will she report further on the Omidyar Network’s open proclamation of funding “New Citizen” and “Center UA”? Will she call out the conflict of interests that exist? Will “The Intercept” credo of objectivity and independence be proven as truth? I doubt it; instead what we see is another example of how corporate news media is influenced by the interests that support them.
The blatantly hypocritical ‘adversarial posture toward the state’ espoused by “The Intercept”, further proven false by its publishers cooperation with USAID in financing anti-Yanukovych NGO’s, coupled with team Greenwald-Poitris-Scahill’s dishonest and profit-motivated handlings of the Snowden documents, just goes to show how deeply corporate media is influenced by its financiers and their political affiliations, regardless of Greenwald’s apparent unconcern the matter. Greenwald states that he is and always will be opposed to U.S. interference in the governance of other countries, yet when his boss is accused of this he defends him, ostensibly because of the transparency of the action, as if doing something out in the open makes it any less illegal or immoral. If Greenwald is opposed to U.S. involvement in Ukraine, his relationship with his boss is surely influencing his opinions on the matter: he does not denounce U.S. activities in Ukraine, and he does not condemn his boss’s involvement eitehr. In my mind, if someone was opposed to interference, they would denounce U.S. involvement and denounce any wealthy billionaire who aided in the process.
Perhaps I’m wrong and Marcy Wheeler will bring to light these damning allegations against her boss, an act I would commend her for and one that would greatly change my mind about “The Intercept,” yet I doubt that she will. Of course Omidyar’s ownership of “The Intercept” influences what is published, of course this is a conflict of interests, and of course Greenwald is not going to openly criticize his boss when he is the one who signs the checks. The main point to take away from all of this is not the lack of integrity of any of these individuals who claim to be independent journalists, but instead to understand “The Intercept” for what it is: a biased corporate media organization falsely touting a banner of ‘independence’ and ‘full editorial control’ whose reporting should be looked at with a skeptical eye given the political affiliation and relationship of the owner to the State Department and their cooperation in the interference of sovereign nations, not to mention Omidyar’s relationship with the NSA and opposition to WikiLeaks.
Many news organizations claim to be ‘independent’ and free from subjectivity, yet many of these are financed by corporations, whose involvement in journalism leads to the biased and false reporting as seen in the New York Times or The Washington Post. Many in these organizations probably believe they are un-biased, perhaps Greenwald even believes himself when he says that his reporting is not influenced by his relationship to Omidyar, however, as his recent response in defense of Omidyar’s actions in Ukraine proves, this is not at all the case.