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Parry writes: "While most civilized people view the Swastika and other Nazi symbols as abhorrent reminders of unspeakable evil, the Washington Post trotted out a new way of seeing them - as "romantic" - a sign that apologists for Ukraine's coup regime know no limits."

Nazi symbol on helmet worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (photo: filmed by a Norwegian camera team and shown on German TV)
Nazi symbol on helmet worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (photo: filmed by a Norwegian camera team and shown on German TV)


Ukraine's 'Romantic' Nazi Storm Troopers

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

17 September 14

 

he U.S. mainstream media’s deeply biased coverage of the Ukraine crisis – endlessly portraying the U.S.-backed coup regime in Kiev as “the good guys” – reached a new level of absurdity over the weekend as the Washington Post excused the appearance of Swastikas and other Nazi symbols among a Ukrainian government militia as “romantic.”

This curious description of these symbols for unspeakable evil – the human devastation of the Holocaust and World War II — can be found in the last three paragraphs of the lead story in the Post’s Saturday editions, an article about Ukraine’s Azov battalion which has become best known for waging brutal warfare under Nazi and neo-Nazi insignia.

However, if you didn’t know that reputation, you would have learned little about that grim feature of the Azov paramilitaries as you wound your way through the long story which began on Page One and covered half an inside page.

Post correspondent Anthony Faiola portrayed the Azov fighters as “battle-scarred patriots” who were nobly resisting “Russian aggression,” so determined to fight for Ukraine’s freedom that they threatened to resort to “guerrilla war.”

The article finds nothing objectionable about Azov’s plans for “sabotage, targeted assassinations and other insurgent tactics” against Russians, although such actions are often regarded as terrorism. Similar threats are directed even at the government of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko if he agrees to a peace deal with the ethnic Russian east that is not to the militia’s liking.

“If Kiev reaches a deal with rebels that they don’t support, paramilitary fighters say they could potentially strike pro-Russian targets on their own — or even turn on the government itself,” the article states.

Incorruptible Freedom Fighters

The Post, which has avidly supported a Cold War-style confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, portrays Kiev’s so-called “voluntary battalions” as the true heroes of this international morality play, incorruptible freedom fighters angry about a potential sell-out by Poroshenko and other politicians far from the front lines.

So, you might have been a little unsettled to reach the inside jump of the story and see a photograph of a Swastika festooning one barracks of the Azov brigade. According to a variety of other news accounts, the Azov brigade also marches under the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel banner, a slight variant of a symbol used by the Nazi SS.

But the Post offers an excuse for the Swastika in the barracks. In the last three paragraphs, Faiola reported: “One platoon leader, who called himself Kirt, conceded that the group’s far right views had attracted about two dozen foreign fighters from around Europe.

“In one room, a recruit had emblazoned a swastika above his bed. But Kirt, a former hospitality worker, dismissed questions of ideology, saying that the volunteers — many of them still teenagers — embrace symbols and espouse extremist notions as part of some kind of ‘romantic’ idea.

“He insisted the group’s primary goal is defending its country against Russian aggression.”

Yet, whatever excuses the Post and other Western media offer – or how much they try to downplay the key role played by neo-Nazi militias in the U.S.-backed Kiev regime – the ugly reality is that Nazism, deeply rooted in western Ukraine since World War II, has been an integral part of the story since the crisis erupted last winter.

The putsch that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych was spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias trained in western Ukraine, organized in 100-man brigades and dispatched to Kiev where they became the muscle behind the increasingly violent Maidan protests.

Empowering the Nazis

On Feb. 21, Yanukovych agreed to set early elections (in a deal brokered by three European nations) and pulled back the police (at the request of U.S. officials). The next day, the neo-Nazi bands seized government offices and forced Yanukovych’s loyalists to flee for their lives. Far-right parties were then rewarded with four or more ministries in the new regime, including national security.

Neo-Nazi leader Andriy Parubiy, who was commander of the Maidan “self-defense forces,” was elevated to national security chief and soon announced that the Maidan militia forces would be incorporated into the National Guard and sent to eastern Ukraine to attack ethnic Russians who had refused to accept the coup regime that replaced Yanukovych.

As the U.S. government and media cheered this “anti-terrorist operation,” the neo-Nazi and other right-wing battalions waged brutal street fighting as territory was gradually reclaimed from the Russian ethnic rebels.

Only occasionally did the nasty reality slip into the major U.S. news media, often – as with the Post on Saturday – relegated to the last few paragraphs of long stories. For instance, an Aug. 10 article in the New York Times mentioned the neo-Nazi paramilitaries at the end of a lengthy story on another topic.

“The fighting for Donetsk has taken on a lethal pattern: The regular army bombards separatist positions from afar, followed by chaotic, violent assaults by some of the half-dozen or so paramilitary groups surrounding Donetsk who are willing to plunge into urban combat,” the Times reported.

“Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.”

The conservative London Telegraph offered more details about the Azov battalion in an article by correspondent Tom Parfitt, who wrote: “Kiev’s use of volunteer paramilitaries to stamp out the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘people’s republics’… should send a shiver down Europe’s spine.

“Recently formed battalions such as Donbas, Dnipro and Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming. The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.”

Based on interviews with militia members, the Telegraph reported that some of the fighters doubted the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and acknowledged that they are indeed Nazis.

Andriy Biletsky, the Azov commander, “is also head of an extremist Ukrainian group called the Social National Assembly,” according to the Telegraph article which quoted a recent commentary by Biletsky as declaring: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

Nazis Knowingly Dispatched

In other words, for the first time since World War II, a government had dispatched Nazi storm troopers to attack a European population – and officials in Kiev knew what they were doing.

The Telegraph questioned Ukrainian authorities in Kiev who acknowledged that they were aware of the extremist ideologies of some militias but insisted that the higher priority was having troops who were strongly motivated to fight.

But a rebel counteroffensive by ethnic Russians last month reversed many of Kiev’s gains and drove the Azov and other government forces back to the port city of Mariupol, where Foreign Policy’s reporter Alec Luhn also encountered these neo-Nazis. He wrote:

“Blue and yellow Ukrainian flags fly over Mariupol’s burned-out city administration building and at military checkpoints around the city, but at a sport school near a huge metallurgical plant, another symbol is just as prominent: the wolfsangel (‘wolf trap’) symbol that was widely used in the Third Reich and has been adopted by neo-Nazi groups. …

“Pro-Russian forces have said they are fighting against Ukrainian nationalists and ‘fascists’ in the conflict, and in the case of Azov and other battalions, these claims are essentially true.”

Over the past several days, more evidence emerged about the presence of Nazis in the ranks of Ukrainian government fighters. Germans were shocked to see video of Azov militia soldiers decorating their gear with the Swastika and the “SS rune.”

NBC News reported last week: “Germans were confronted with images of their country’s dark past on Monday night, when German public broadcaster ZDF showed video of Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi symbols on their helmets in its evening newscast.

“The video was shot … in Ukraine by a camera team from Norwegian broadcaster TV2. ‘We were filming a report about Ukraine’s AZOV battalion in the eastern city of Urzuf, when we came across these soldiers,’ Oysten Bogen, a correspondent for the private television station, told NBC News.

“Minutes before the images were taped, Bogen said he had asked a spokesperson whether the battalion had fascist tendencies. ‘The reply was: absolutely not, we are just Ukrainian nationalists,’ Bogen said.”

You might think it’s an extraordinary fact that a U.S.-backed government in 2014 has dispatched neo-Nazi storm troopers to lead street fighting in Ukrainian cities where seven decades ago the Nazi SS and its Ukrainian adjunct, the Galician SS, slaughtered Poles, Jews and Russians.

But it’s an unpleasant fact that the U.S. media would prefer to ignore. When it does get mentioned it is typically buried deep in an article or surrounded by excuses, such as the Post’s novel idea that the Nazi Swastika is “romantic.”

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+47 # Brian Flaherty 2014-09-17 09:04
Often "Educational Reformers" raise issues such as "What's it worth for kids to study History in school?" Well, it can be "worth" a lot in the World of the 21st Century when considering "How" and "Who" to support in Ukraine!

The Ukraine region during World War II was infamous for providing "aid and comfort" AND active support to the Nazi war effort! And, has a long HISTORY of anti-semitism and "cultural abuse," going back through the centuries! The roots are deep; and, remain "alive" today!!
 
 
+36 # ctcarole 2014-09-17 09:10
Does American hypocrisy know no bounds? I guess the asking of the question is the answer in itself.
 
 
+31 # fredboy 2014-09-17 09:18
Hilarious! It's like 'The Producers' from Broadway and the screen!

This is what the "New Journalism" became--blushin gly thrilled by the sight of ze swastika...

It's like my dad used to say, Americans would drink from the Devil's ass if he was waving an American flag...
 
 
+23 # fredboy 2014-09-17 09:20
And the Post plans a positive review of cattle car travel in its Sunday travel section...
 
 
+37 # MJnevetS 2014-09-17 09:54
Q.: Why would the US support a Facist regime in the Ukraine?

A.: If you use the Italian 'Mussolini' definition of Facism, it is "an authoritarian corporatist state". So, why would the US oppose a kindred spirit?!

(The only embarrassment is when a newspaper or politician has to justify their support for a Nazi organization. Think: Prescott Bush (G.W. Bush's grandpappy) during the lead up to WWII. Were it not for the Bush family and other wealthy (Republican) Americans, Hitler would never have been able to finance WWII. Documents, many of which were only declassified in 2003, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies involving death camps, Prescott Bush worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/25/usa.secondworldwar) So, nothing has changed in 80 years.
 
 
+26 # ctcarole 2014-09-17 10:12
And it has always been thus. We supported Qaddafi (until we didn't). We supported Saddam (until we didn't). We didn't support Nelson Mandela (until we did). The list is interminable.
 
 
+21 # Interested Observer 2014-09-17 11:29
IBM did custom work for the Third Reich developing tabulation equipment with specific enhancements for tracking future victims of the Final Solution. The nature and purpose of the changes were not unclear to those doing the work.
 
 
+16 # Saberoff 2014-09-17 11:56
Henry Ford, lent his support.
 
 
+5 # bigkahuna671 2014-09-19 13:49
And so did Charles and Anne Lindbergh.
 
 
+17 # ericlipps 2014-09-17 11:56
Yes. And Henry Ford sold military vehicles to the Reich as late as 1942--and the German trustees who took over Ford's European holdings after the U.S. entry into the war were scrupulously careful to preserve Ford's profits for postwar repatriation.

Nevertheless, what matters isn't what happened 70 years ago but what's happening now, which is alarming enough in itself.
 
 
+8 # mjc 2014-09-17 09:59
Ukrainian "refugees" who came to this country to avoid the authoritarian takeover in the Ukraine were also very opposed to what they considered "liberal" elements in our society and the United Nations in general. A model UN used to be held in Auburn, NY, every year and there were usually some protests, sometimes anti-Semitic in nature and definitely against international governments in the world. It was a literal history lesson for teenagers and worth a lot of the headache of traveling in a school bus in the middle of the winter some distance from the school. These "model UN groups" were always accompanied by THE loudest music ever contained in the gym following the day's work.
 
 
+31 # tomtom 2014-09-17 10:03
Like when we armed Osama Bin Laden, to fight the Russians and we armed Isis and the Syian rebels against Assad; damn, our American Arms Manufacturers are making out like Bandits.
 
 
+24 # fredboy 2014-09-17 10:11
tomtom, you hit the nail on the head.

That's what it's all about.

And the American cattle--I mean people--buy it--and pay for it--every time!
 
 
+20 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-09-17 10:18
:Yes, the wealthy always profit from war which is why they are always doing their best to start new wars. The problem here is war, or course, but more serious is the attack on what is left of our Constitution and our democracy. Are you opposed to all these illegal wars based on lies? Well, all you have to do is contact your 'representative ' and the wars will end---yeah, this would be the case in the fairly land of America we learned about in the second grade. Time for you to rethink your trust in our political system. Your 'rep' pays NO ATTENTION to what the constituents say. NONE. Do not vote for that corrupt person again. Forget that 'lesser of two evils' stuff and vote for what you want---not the best you figure you can get---vote with morality and conviction that we can have a democracy where the government acts as the people direct.
 
 
+10 # Malcolm 2014-09-17 11:19
As we sed to say during the Viet nam debacle, "War is Good Business. Invest your sons!" And your daughters, nowadays.
 
 
+4 # bigkahuna671 2014-09-19 13:51
That only applies to the children of the middle and lower classes. You rarely see the scions of the wealthy serve in the military and, if you do, they are usually like David Eisenhower, serving in the rear with the beer and the gear. Oh, yeah, and they'll all get bronze stars and multiple promotions for doing so.
 
 
-18 # Patrice Ayme 2014-09-17 11:46
Lenin, Stalin and other Soviet fascists were allied to the German fascists in 1916, and until 1941.

Stalin had a strong alliance with Hitler in 1939. They invaded Poland together. The invasion of France was fueled by Stalin's oil.

The fact that the Nazis are remembered as better than the Soviets is testimony to the ferocity of Soviet rule.

Hitler posed as a lover of peace, minorities, and an enemy of "plutocrats" (quoting Hitler here!), and he was just the opposite. Putin uses exactly the same method. On top of paying newspaper owners (such as Hearst), as Hitler did, Putin is paying an army of Internet writers and commenters.

Stalin actually out-Nazied the Nazis. Soldiers who did not follow orders were summarily executed by the NKVD (secret police, the much larger equivalent to the Gestapo). "Blocking sections" were set behind the Red Army, and if soldiers went the wrong way, they were shot.

The Nazis themselves were aghast by Stalin's ferocity.

Putin has duplicated Hitler's methods, accomplishing the first annexation since 1945 in the greater European area. That per se, makes what is going on clear.

A difference with Hitler is that Putin is craftier. Each time he feels he can get away with it, he jumps forward, and then says the opposite.

Russia is already nearly twice larger than any other country. Yet Putin wants much more, he said.
 
 
+9 # dsepeczi 2014-09-17 12:17
Quoting Patrice Ayme:
Lenin, Stalin and other Soviet fascists were allied to the German fascists in 1916, and until 1941.

Stalin had a strong alliance with Hitler in 1939. They invaded Poland together. The invasion of France was fueled by Stalin's oil.

The fact that the Nazis are remembered as better than the Soviets is testimony to the ferocity of Soviet rule.

Hitler posed as a lover of peace, minorities, and an enemy of "plutocrats" (quoting Hitler here!), and he was just the opposite. Putin uses exactly the same method. On top of paying newspaper owners (such as Hearst), as Hitler did, Putin is paying an army of Internet writers and commenters.

Stalin actually out-Nazied the Nazis. Soldiers who did not follow orders were summarily executed by the NKVD (secret police, the much larger equivalent to the Gestapo). "Blocking sections" were set behind the Red Army, and if soldiers went the wrong way, they were shot.

The Nazis themselves were aghast by Stalin's ferocity.

Putin has duplicated Hitler's methods, accomplishing the first annexation since 1945 in the greater European area. That per se, makes what is going on clear.

A difference with Hitler is that Putin is craftier. Each time he feels he can get away with it, he jumps forward, and then says the opposite.

Russia is already nearly twice larger than any other country. Yet Putin wants much more, he said.


Where do you get this stuff ?
 
 
0 # RMDC 2014-09-17 19:59
She pulls it right out of her right wing ass.
 
 
+7 # Patrice Ayme 2014-09-17 23:58
Not only I am not right wing, but I have been subjected to an attempt on my life for my left wing ways. I also worked years for Obama before splitting with him immediately after the election, when he chose the wrong cabinet (cordially).
 
 
+5 # Patrice Ayme 2014-09-17 23:55
Plenty of stuff like that on my site, it's called history
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2014-10-06 13:13
Lenin and Stalin were not 'fascists'... however else you might want to characterize them.

"Fascism should rather be called corporatism, as it is the merging of government and corporate power" ~ Benito Mussolini
 
 
+13 # ericlipps 2014-09-17 12:00
Quote:
The Nazis themselves were aghast by Stalin's ferocity.
I'm sure they were shocked, SHOCKED to find someone else, someone they regarded as subhuman, doing what they were doing. How DARE the mongrel Russians presume to compete with the purebloods of the SS!

Nazi outrage at Stalin's brutality took hypocrisy to a whole new level.
 
 
+4 # Patrice Ayme 2014-09-18 00:00
Indeed. Yet Stalin boasted he killed more Russians than Hitler.
 
 
+14 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-09-17 12:03
Get the neocons out of "our" government. They and their corporate sponsors make money off of war. We pay.
 
 
+10 # Activista 2014-09-17 12:11
“If Kiev reaches a deal with rebels that they don’t support, paramilitary fighters say they could potentially strike pro-Russian targets on their own — or even turn on the government itself,”
these militia - out of control - are only fighters on the ground - armed by EU and USA. The analogy with Taliban is valid - they are out of the control and soon will be fighting Kiev "government" made be USA.
Note escalating/absu rd anti Putin propaganda by NATO/USA - like www.naturalnews.com/046886_Russia_nuclear_bomb_Obama.html#
 
 
+5 # Activista 2014-09-17 12:20
"$30 million will be given to those who help identify the perpetrators of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine that killed all 298 on board, said an independent German fraud investigation company."
rt.com/news/188512-30million-malaysian-plane-ukraine/
are we ready for inconvenient truth?
 
 
+7 # RMDC 2014-09-17 20:06
And the mainstream media have never mentioned that following WW II the US brought about 10,000 nazis to the US to help in its programs of spying, rocket development, chemical weapons research, propaganda, and so on. This was operation Paperclip.

The top scientists at NASA were 70% Nazis. It was the Nazis who landed the man on the moon. Werner von Braun was the top NASA scientist.

Of course the US supports the Nazis in Ukraine. It has done this all over the world.

US SEALS and other special forces put Nazi SS emblems on their uniforms and guns. The whole SEAL headquarters building is built on the design of a swastika. Look here --

http://www.armageddononline.org/forums/threads/4968-Google-Map-Shows-Nazi-Swastika-Design-on-Naval-Base
 
 
+5 # Patrice Ayme 2014-09-18 00:10
The USA used major war criminals, such as Barbie, knowingly, massively, for years. Worse: the Dulles brothers, once history is inspected in detail, are examples of, literally, major Nazis (they represented more than 1,000 Nazi companies before WWII).

Better: Prescott Bush was one of Hitler's closest and most important collaborators.

And, even better: JP Morgan launched Schacht, who launched Hitler (with a cornucopia of USA plutocrats).

And that's just the snow on top of the iceberg. Hitler was pretty much a USA plutocrats' instrument... But so was Stalin (see Harriman brothers, decorated by both)
 
 
+3 # Patrice Ayme 2014-09-18 00:11
Some elements of history:

http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/d-day-racket/
 
 
+3 # cmp 2014-09-18 00:50
@RMDC
As always, very well put. Very, well put.

It looks to be a rather "tough patch" ahead for Europe ((10 - 15)yrs?). And. an extremist group may be just the "right tool" to maintain the confusion on the ground for the transitions (.. or submissions)..

Didn't the "Golden Dawn" serve an effective role in Greece?
 
 
+6 # fredboy 2014-09-18 08:09
Won't it be an ultimate historic irony if the US sends 'advisors' there to train troops wearing Nazi swastikas?

The world has flipped upside down...
 
 
0 # BKnowswhitt 2014-09-18 15:35
Good article and reporting of relevant history. Putin used these facts to go back to Russia after meeting with Ukranian Prime minister and saying that they had no plan to invade. The very next day they did anyway after Putie went on national television in Russia calling the Ukranians Nazis. So the Post did conveniently fudge some facts and so did good ole Putie. Fact though of the matter is Gorbachev agreed with Reagan to let the Western Provinces to move with Europe if they so choose. That government is committed to that and will not turn back. Putin is still guilty of colonialism or better yet a War Crime. Overall the Nazi thing is a big big problem and of course they are young and naive - who else would that bad ideology recruit. And this almost always happens when there is a bad little or no economy and a post communism rule ...
 
 
0 # dsepeczi 2014-10-02 10:18
Quoting BKnowswhitt:
Good article and reporting of relevant history. Putin used these facts to go back to Russia after meeting with Ukranian Prime minister and saying that they had no plan to invade. The very next day they did anyway after Putie went on national television in Russia calling the Ukranians Nazis. So the Post did conveniently fudge some facts and so did good ole Putie. Fact though of the matter is Gorbachev agreed with Reagan to let the Western Provinces to move with Europe if they so choose. That government is committed to that and will not turn back. Putin is still guilty of colonialism or better yet a War Crime. Overall the Nazi thing is a big big problem and of course they are young and naive - who else would that bad ideology recruit. And this almost always happens when there is a bad little or no economy and a post communism rule ...


How is Putin guilty of a war crime with regards to the Ukraine ? You do know that it was America, not Putin, that organized the overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine, don't you ?
 

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