Of Neo-Fascists and Smiley-Face Neoliberals

Back before February 4, weeks before the most violent crackdown that killed protestors that led to Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine had a conversation about how to divvy up power between 3 opposition figures in a post-Yanukovych Ukraine. Nuland deemed “Yats” the necessary post-Yanukovych leader.

Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.

Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that’s right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?

Thursday, Yatseniuk was appointed Prime Minister. (Update: See this Forbes piece on Yatseniuk.)

On Monday, Mark Ames wrote a piece explaining why “Everything You Know about Ukraine Is Wrong.” In it, he treated claims about two main groups involved in Ukraine’s uprising: the general protestors, and the far right.

Of the general protestors, he says,

In fact, the people who are protesting or supporting the protesters are first and foremost sick of their shitty lives in a shitty country they want to make better—a country where their fates are controlled by a tiny handful of nihilistic oligarchs and Kremlin overlords, and their political frontmen. It’s first and foremost a desire to gain some control over their fate.

Of the far right, he says,

They’re definitely real, they’re a powerful minority in the anti-Yanukovych campaign—I’d say the neo-fascsists from Svoboda and Pravy Sektor are probably the vanguard of the movement, the ones who pushed it harder than anyone. Anyone who ignores the role of the neo-fascists (or ultranationalists, take your pick) is lying or ignorant, just as anyone who claims that Yanukovych answered only to Putin doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The front-center role of Svoboda and the neo-fascists in this revolution as opposed to the Orange Revolution is, I think, due to fact that the more smiley-face/respectable neoliberal politicians can’t rally the same fanatical support they did a decade ago. [my emphasis]

I generally agree with this: there is abundant reason for protestors, of their own accord and with full agency, to want to change the status quo. And that’s what has been going on for months. A big change to the status quo going forward is probably not going to happen, because the existing offerings on all sides are all pretty crummy. And there is a concerning faction — the loud violent one, which therefore played an outsized role in Yanukovych’s ouster — that espouses troubling far-right politics.

Sunday, partly because of real legal questions about Yanukovych’s ouster, partly because some of the tactics we’re seeing in Ukraine seem to have ties to those we saw in Syria, and partly because of a 20-month old twitter conversation with Adam Colligan involving Paraguay laid out here, I tweeted, “There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is,” though I said we don’t really know what went on yet. Later in the conversation I suggested this part of the invitation for all parties to sow instability arose because American power is waning. “Of course, part of it is just that Pax America is spinning out, trying to sustain itself.”

As Colligan laid out, our conversation existed in the context of a long-ago conversation we had about the potential role of parliaments in “coups.” Nowhere did I get into specifics about who I believed to behind any coup (though later I suggested John Brennan might one day rival Allen Dulles for the number of coups he pulls off; I actually think he might instead rival him for coups attempted, not coups successfully pulled off). But in any case, we were talking about very recent events — still in the last week, which is part of the reason I said we probably don’t know everything there is to know yet, in the context of violence that led to Yanukovych’s ouster.

Ames took that one tweet — “There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is” — and my reference to Pax Americana and used it as a hook for this piece. Here’s how he uses those tweets:

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.”

These are serious claims. So serious that I decided to investigate them. And what I found was shocking.

Wheeler is partly correct. Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.

But that’s not the shocking part.

What’s shocking is the name of the billionaire who co-invested with the US government (or as Wheeler put it: the “dark deep force” acting on behalf of “Pax Americana”).

Step out of the shadows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omidyar.

Yes, in the annals of independent media, this might be the strangest twist ever: According to financial disclosures and reports seen by Pando, the founder and publisher of Glenn Greenwald’s government-bashing blog,“The Intercept,” co-invested with the US government to help fund regime change in Ukraine.

Now, Ames apparently couldn’t even cut and paste competently because he added “force” inside quotation marks attributed to me, and in the original reference used “dark” instead of “deep,” all of which played a key rhetorical role in giving his claims their “dark deep” tinge. (In several tweets, Ames’ editor Paul Carr assured me he thought Ames’ citations of me were fair.)

Cue Hollywood villain music: Bum bum bum!

But let’s look at what Pando claims it has proven: It claims it has presented (1) clear evidence that (2) US (and Omidyar’s) investment was a “force multiplier” (3) for “many” of the groups “involved” in overthrowing Yanukovych. It also says Omidyar (4) “co-invested with the US government” (5) “to fund regime change.”

The “clear evidence” in question consists of:

A) In 2011, the Omidyar Network awarded $335,000 to New Citizen (Centre UA), an NGO headed by former Viktor Yushchenko aide Oleh Rybachuk. The goal of that award was to:

Why We Invested


Established prior to the February 2010 presidential elections in Ukraine, New Citizen seeks to enable citizen participation in national and regional politics by amplifying the voices of Ukrainian citizens and promoting open and accountable government. Using technology and media, New Citizen coordinates the efforts of concerned members of society, reinforcing their ability to shape public policy. Additionally, the organization monitors the performance of government, giving people access to valuable information to hold their leaders to account.

In a nation where civic action historically has been fragmented, New Citizen provides Ukrainians with a platform to collectively advocate for positive social change, from defending human rights to solving problems of local governance, the environment, and healthcare. With support from Omidyar Network, New Citizen will strengthen its advocacy efforts in order to drive greater transparency and engage citizens on issues of importance to them.  [I’ve bolded the pieces of this description Ames decided to quote to make it easier to see what he ignored]

This is in line with other donations Omidyar Network makes, such as the 3 years of funding it gave to Sunlight Foundation to build tools to help Americans hold its legislators accountable.

B) The Kyiv Post reported that in 2012 (the year after New Citizen received this grant, and therefore presumably the year it got spent), Omidyar Network funded 36% of New Citizen’s budget, Pact, a non-profit funded in part by USAID funded 54% of it, and other funding came from the National Endowment for Democracy.

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.”

C) Pando links 2011-2012 funding documents from Chesno, another Rybachuk group, providing line-item funding from Omidyar Network and USAID via Pact. You can see a statement about that audit in English here.

D) In March 2012 (that is, after Omidyar Network granted the funds), Rybachuk said he wanted to repeat the Orange Revolution by developing grassroots organizations.

That is what Oleh Rybachuk is doing. He worked for both the Orange Revolution’s leaders as Yushchenko’s campaign chair, Chief of Staff and Tymoshenko’s assistant. He is disgusted with them for their actions and devotes his time to developing grassroots organizations, NGOs, throughout the country to restart the Orange movement.


“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,” he said. “People don’t watch the propaganda in the media. Facebook had 300,000 members a year ago and now has two million. The Orange Revolution was a miracle, a massive peaceful protest that worked. We want to do that again and we think we will.” [again, I’ve bolded what Ames quoted; note, I think, elsewhere in his piece he attributes the last quote to a Financial Times piece]

E) He links but does not quote from this article, claiming it is a 2012 article (it is a 2013 one describing the protests in December). It quotes Rybachuk saying the movement is not the product of political technologists, and also claiming that New Citizen doesn’t rely on western donors for “this work,” instead relying on “domestic donations from a mushrooming middle class.”

F) In February, Yanukovych’s government launched a money laundering investigation into Center UA. (This post provides a more accessible description.)

Here’s what Pando has shown: Clear evidence that Omidyar network awarded funds in 2011, spent in 2012, tied to a networked NGO pushing transparency, human rights, and grassroots civil society.

Bum bum bum!

It has also shown clear evidence that that same year, a non-profit funded in part by USAID provided even more of that group’s funding, and NED less.

Pando has not shown that these donations were linked in any way, though it’s definitely possible: here’s what Pact, the non-profit, says about partnerships:

Pact works side by side with as many 10,000 partners, from community nonprofits to civil society organizations, village and town governments to citizen volunteers. These partnerships in turn partner with millions of people for whom Pact is a promise of a better tomorrow.

Pact can’t do it all. So Pact also partners with other international NGOs that may have particular expertise, relationships or resources Pact needs to better help more people. In different places around the world, Pact partners with ChildFund, FHI360, Marie Stopes International and Population Services International, for example.

Much of Pact’s work is supported by national aid agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Great Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the Australian Government Overseas Aid Program (AusAID) fund much of Pact’s work.

Foundation and corporate partners – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation and Chevron, among them – also fund Pact projects.

I guess, if you count all the groups tied to Center UA, that 2011 grant funded “many” organizations.

I don’t see any evidence here that those donations were explicitly intended to pay for regime change (indeed, Ames’ evidence for that post-dates the awarding of the grant and leaves out the bit about grassroots networking, though I suspect Rybachuk can be found saying he wanted to support more grassroots change before 2011, too), unless you presume transparency and better governance equates to regime change. Though Rybachuk clearly wanted better parliamentarians.

So far so good: the Pando accusation against Omidyar Network is that back in 2011 it gave money to do things like foster transparency. And USAID also donated money via a non-profit, Pact. Pando has not presented evidence about what Pact’s goals were, but here’s what they say about their Ukraine governance project.

Pact helps people who may lack resources, education or influence exercise their voice through education, networking, coalition-building and advocacy. Our tools and strategies connect people with their public servants, enable them to track their activity and efficiency, and give communities a voice in policy-making and priorities.

Likewise, Pact also works directly with host government officials, legislators, local government councils and key ministries to devise ways to share information, decisions, plans and progress reports with communities.

In more than dozen countries today, Pact nurtures positive state-society engagement based on inclusiveness, responsiveness, transparency and accountability.

Pact’s emphasis on partnership cultivates grassroots support for reform by encouraging collaborative efforts between civil society organizations; local, regional and national NGOs; businesses; and government. These networks build broad-based constituencies whose voices command attention.

Pact and its partners also help train women in political leadership, conduct civics education in schools and communities, raise awareness of issues critical to marginalized groups, and reinforce democratic and gender-equal ideals.

Cue the Hollywood villain music again. Bum bum bum! Women in leadership?

It’s the “force-multiplier” thing that really confuses me. Setting aside the temporal issue (and even assuming, just for sake of argument, that Rybachuk’s claim that the protests themselves — the ones in 2013 — were domestically funded is not true, though I’m not making that claim), I’m really curious by the different picture of what groups played what role that Ames has provided. Again, on Monday, he said this:

I’d say the neo-fascsists from Svoboda and Pravy Sektor are probably the vanguard of the movement, the ones who pushed it harder than anyone.


the more smiley-face/respectable neoliberal politicians can’t rally the same fanatical support they did a decade ago.

Yesterday, he said this:

When the revolution came to Ukraine, neo-fascists played a front-center role in overthrowing the country’s president. But the real political power rests with Ukraine’s pro-western neoliberals. Political figures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State DepartmentDC neoconsEU, and NATO—and the right-hand man to Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko. [my emphasis]

That is, on Monday, the “smiley-face neoliberal politicians” couldn’t rally support like they used to be able to, which made the neo-fascists the vanguard in the movement, which in turn contributed to the violence that led to Yanukovych’s ouster. That would seem to say whatever funds Rybachuk got, it didn’t serve as enough of a force-multiplier.

Yesterday, the neo-fascists were still “front-center,” but “the real political power” was now back in the hands of the “smiley-face neoliberal politicians,” and one in particular, Rybachuk, the one Omidyar Network happened to give money to in 2011 which got spent in 2012.

I guess, ultimately, this comes down to whether Foundation support of NGOs funding transparency is a bad thing, and whether that amounts to funding regime change.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

65 replies
  1. jerryy says:

    So you moved from investigating governments’ actions to helping overthrow governments…

    Dang, you’ve been busy! :^)

  2. kris says:

    Marcy, have your read Robert Parry’s article “A Shadow US Foreign Policy” (http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22314-focus-a-shadow-us-foreign-policy)? It’s light on references about its statements vis-a-vis Ukraine, but does shed light on the history of NED (USAID’s sister organization). I don’t think we have to buy into a big conspiracy to see that these organizations and the amount of funding they can project, especially when spread around in relatively poorer countries, can really impact public perceptions about the home government.

  3. Ben Franklin says:


    “dancin’ your troubles away at carnival in Rio – or New Orleans, or Venice, or Trinidad and Tobago – your brain will have registered that NATO’s ultimate wet dream is to command a Western puppet Ukrainian government to kick the Russian navy out of its base in Sevastopol. The negotiated lease applies until 2042. Threats and rumors of reneging it have already emerged.”

    Neonazis notwithstanding, there are a lot of regular folks who made up the bulk of the protestors. Svoboda seems like the Tea Party, and I agree Marcy, their squeaky wheel is the loudest.

    I believe a crucial Syrian port also figures into the geography.

  4. ArizonaBumblebee says:

    There once was a time when I would have trouble sleeping at night and would decide to listen to Alex Jones for some lighthearted entertainment until I could fall back to sleep. No more. Now, when I occasionally tune in to his show, I ask myself: could he be right? I feel increasingly disturbed when I see evidence of dark forces at work around the world preaching the virtues of democracy while here at home many of these same players are busily destroying our constitutional republic.

    President Obama’s escapade in Ukraine is dangerous and could start a major war. As I said in a comment at another site, Ukraine is a black hole getting ready to explode. The infrastructure and industrial base of the country is a pile of junk. There are deep, and potentially irreconcilable, cultural divides in the country between eastern and western Ukraine. I have seen estimates that it will take capital infusions in excess of $200 billion just to begin modernizing the economy, and that doesn’t include a substantial amount needed to service existing debt. Why would America and Western Europe take on such an obligation when their economies are already in distress? One theory I’ve read is that several European banks have significant exposure to Ukrainian bonds and would not survive a default by Ukraine on its debts, potentially reigniting the financial crisis of 2008.

  5. Tom Allen says:

    Omidyar’s foundation supported NGOs that NED and USAID also funded? Well, with such sterling company I certainly wouldn’t be suspicious, particularly since Pierre doesn’t mention “regime change” on his network’s About page.

    Besides, how would a billionaire market capitalist benefit if Ukraine moved away from Russian influence toward the EU’s?

  6. emptywheel says:

    @kris: Agree on NED, especially, though most of this is coming second hand through USAID. Still doesnt’ mean it’s not of concern.

  7. TarheelDem says:

    There is a more troubling issue in the Ukraine situation. Just how did Victoria Nuland-Kagan get put in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs at State in the Obama administration? And why is the progressive blogosphere so asleep as to these appointments? Maybe it’s time (in light of the flurry of deep state articles) to do a program of who the key players are throughout the world. (Yes, that’s rhetorical.)

  8. emptywheel says:

    One of the issues here is theories of change.

    I think back to the Czech case, where I knew some of the players. Did US funding — more explicitly tied to NatSec establishment — help the Revolution.

    Yep. One thing that was key was enabling a way for dissidents to publish.

    Question was, does that mean CIA ran the Velvet Revolution?

    Some colleagues claim they were consulted by CIA as it was happening because they didn’t know leaders well enough to know who to back. Scary, if true, but the CIA at least claimed to be clueless about even so major a figure as Havel.

    So consider Ukraine. Are their oppo groups who should be enabled? Sure. At what point does that slip from being civil society promotion to funding regime change?

    FWIW, many many many people I studied with were funded at least in part by Soros. They didn’t strike me as spooks.

  9. abby says:

    Ben Franklin, the Russian Navy is likely one of the best employers and seed sowers in the Crimea, and that’s a Crimean shame. But if you think Russians are leaving Crimea, I got a base in Cuba you might like to remove from my ass.

    The oily implications begin in Baku and train or pipe through the Caucasus to the Black Sea where they either go by boat like Jason and his ah go nutz or pipe through Turkey all the way to the Med. There are several competing reservoirs of supply and they are all super sensitive to shocks. Baku baby, that’s who rocks the Cashbar.

  10. abby says:

    I appreciate all the smarties in the house, but can I say there’s a reason Louise Bryant likely messed around with Eugene O’Neil. Do we imagine our adversaries take themselves this seriously? This tete-a-tetitus is going to get dull in the long an protracted struggle I anticipate based on the historical going rate.

    Let’s not souly bog down to the point no one will likely pick backup on it for laughs. I wouldn’t repeat this conflict for drama’s sake, it’s too boringly detailed.

    Didn’t those revolutionaries not occasionally break for lunch and a few theatrical performances they made up on the spot? Those skits can dig deeper than a well rendered rhetorical piece. Let’s not forget to FEAST at our adversaries expense, too!

  11. William Ockham says:

    My reading of the second Pando article (the one that mentioned Marcy) is that Ukraine had almost nothing to do with the article. It was Omidyar is eee-ville and anyone who works for him is a fawning sycophant. The whole thing is just ludicrous. Ames, who’s been obsessed with Omidyar for months now and had just written a debunking piece on the Ukrainian situation a few days ago would have us believe that his total misreading of one of Marcy’s tweets caused him to investigate the funding of civil society groups in Ukraine. Right…

    And, in the best viral headlining style, Ames writes “what I found was shocking.” It strains my credulity to think that Ames is just now finding out about the Omidyar Network’s funding of these groups since it was, you know, announced on their fricking website. Either he’s the most incompetent investigative reporter ever or he’s lying fraud. Possibly both.

  12. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Obama works for whomever pays for his political career, i.e., the Crown and Pritzker families in Chicago. And those people believe in 1) profits from the military-industrial complex – which is why Obama wanted to attack Syria, and 2) Israel – which is also why Obama wanted to attack Syria – and still does.

    Obama is not a “liberal” – he’s a Pre-Emancipation South plantation foreman working for his masters while narcissistically deluding himself into thinking he’s some hero of the common man. Or he’s not deluding himself, he’s simply a masterful liar. Take your pick.

    The real laugh is how many people STILL believe in Obama’s basic good nature and liberal credentials and ability to positively effect change. It’s hallucinatory, but every time he does something particularly repellent, his supporters continue to tout “change we can believe in”.

    There’s a word for that: suckers.

    “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…”

  13. Valley Girl says:

    I am wondering what exactly Mark Ames was trying to accomplish with his piece yesterday (Friday).

  14. P J Evans says:

    @Valley Girl:
    Getting attention for himself, I suspect, and (just by coinkydinky, I’m sure)) trying to make the people he wants to compete with look bad.

  15. Fabrizio says:

    This is a rather small piece of what’s going on, and in general I agree that it’s an overreach on Ames’ part. However, it is true that numerous foundations, private and public, have been in the business of funding civil society groups for some time and have been heavily involved in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War. Most donors know very little beyond the grassroots democracy rhetoric and American style of the groups being funded. Although donors such as Omidyar don’t support “regime change” in the W meaning, or even in the sense of the events of last week, they do provide space, funding, communications and organization to a movement which transparently, ostensibly democratically, wants to change the regime. The organizational power no doubt helped contribute the “mass” to the “mass protests,” peaceful protesters with genuine grievances who stood behind the neo-fascist vanguard. I think Ames has his facts right, but it’s quite a leap to imagine Omidyar or his Network had any intention of creating the conditions for a coup (and little if no idea that a fascist could be a consequence of their donations). And even wilder to assume the Omidyar Network giving will influence the work of The Intercept.

  16. jo6pac says:

    @P J Evans: Agree and with old former friend Matti Tabbi on board it driving him bonkers. Just saying.

    On the Ukraine, Amerika set the trap to only find Amerika & Euro in it.

    This site has some good stuff on it about this all Amerikan event in the making but looks like the Russians will finish it.

    Fun read with insight just shows how out of touch the belt way really is.

    Then last but a great piece by Pepe Escobar.

  17. Rosalind says:

    @Valley Girl: Marcy’s tweet from yesterday aligns with my view:

    “@David_EHG Hey! I spent time dealing w/this instead of going through 8 court filings. So it serves someone’s purpose. @LitThom @ggreenwald”

  18. orionATL says:

    @William Ockham:

    the nsa listens for sex, and i presume drug, “opportunities”.

    gossip suggests ames’ life-style would have afforded the nsa lots of drug and sex recording opportunities for nsa/fbi/cia’s favorite attractant – blackmail.

    my bet:

    ames ain’t the 21st century’s hunter thompson on a roll.

    ames is a fbi/cia/nsa “convert”, perforce.


    1) who poses a more serious journalistic threat to the nsa/cia/fbi/doj secret society than pierre omidyar’s “first look” journalism organization?


    2) who is the premiere forensic documents analyst now with hundreds of revelations to her credit about the nsa lies and deceit, based on documents they have produced thru foia, discovery, or psuedo-transparency, if not emptywheel?

    i’d guess that this cotton candy “analysis” from hunter ames affords the boys from deep state the opportunity to sow a seed of doubt about omidyar and about ew that can be harvested later as needed.

  19. ess emm says:

    The goal is to discredit First Look with the Left because Omidyar. Here the innuendo is that he is in league with the CIA and funded fascists. So their association with Omidyar discredits Greenwald, Scahill, Marcy, etc.

    A smear.

  20. 4jkb4ia says:

    I’m sorry, EW. Being on the masthead of Greenwald’s publication because people working on the NSA ought to stick together does NOT mean that someone is bought and paid for by Omidyar in any other way.

  21. orionATL says:

    @ess emm:

    “…The goal is to discredit First Look with the Left because Omidyar…”

    interesting; certainly possible.

    who/what organization(s) do you have in mind as seeking to discredit First Look?

  22. Marcus says:

    @William Ockham:

    “It strains my credulity to think that Ames is just now finding out about the Omidyar Network’s funding of these groups since it was, you know, announced on their fricking website.”

    Did you know about them before Ames’ article? Just because they were public doesn’t mean that that information couldn’t become much more pertinent, and given the circumstances we see today in Ukraine, that looks to be exactly the case.

  23. Liepardestin says:

    Pando has been funded by Peter Thiel, who has a vested interest in smearing those who may embarrass Facebook again.

  24. Liepardestin says:

    In reply to my own comment people may also remember Thiels little known entity PAlantir… Of HBGary smear Greenwald fame.

  25. decader says:

    the scary part is adding “BILLIONAIRE” to wheatever, even though unlike the Koch brothers’ hundreds of millions, Omidyar’s contributions seem to be about what, $1 million total? quite the influx of cash – that’ll fund like 1/4 of a rally somewhere.

  26. joanneleon says:

    I think you know how I feel about the loathesome people who have been doing slime attacks and trolling on Greenwald, Pierre and First Look, which this particular small group has been doing from Day One. Relentless whining, trolling, accusations until nobody was even listening to them anymore. The Snowden files and then the announcement of “NewCo” coincided with the failure of the news organization they had started during the previous year, nsfwcorp. And I’ve not always thought they were loathesome because when they started that organization, I found it interesting at first, and even subscribed. So I’ve got no grudge against them, though I later soured on nsfwcorp.

    You’re just the latest target. It was only a matter of time. A fresh new target and a hook for the material in the latter part of the article (same rehashed, repeated stuff), which, when I saw it, I thought “not this shit again”. They have a mission. It’s pretty clear. It’s to discredit Greenwald and the Snowden files reporting and the First Look media organization which seems to make some people irrational with jealousy and others crazy terrified of real independent investigative reporting with real money to work with and real talent. Can’t have that in America!

    Anyway, if not for your name and the hot Ukraine topic, nobody would even have read their rehashed attacks on First Look because they’ve seen their whiny, slimy smear artistry a hundred times before. (By the way, their MO is to find a way to turn themselves into the victim at some point in the process, so expect that soon).

    As for the analysis on the Ukraine situation, you’re one of millions of people talking about these things. How dare you!? I won’t bore anyone with my own analysis. It’s similar to Marcy’s. I will say this – I’m not very interested in the funding of the grassroots organizations working for transparency, new parliamentary candidates, using technology to improve democracy and all that. Here’s what I’m interested in: who funded the neo-fascist groups? Who trained them? Who armed them? That’s what, IMHO, we really need to know. If it turns out that the Omidyar Networks knowingly funded that, or knowingly created front peaceful front groups for them, then I’m interested.

    I think the neo-fascist groups attach themselves to nice liberal peaceful groups and I don’t think it was any accident that they did. I suspect that Russian intel, or whoever exposed the Nuland tape, are going to find out and expose more about the armed, violent part of this coup, revolution or whatever the technical definition of it turns out to be. I don’t know how credible these latest hacked/leaked emails are, but this kind of thing is already happening.

  27. whatever says:


    Look, let’s just say it for the record – Everyone in Silicon Valley will tell you Omidyar is somewhere between the John Birch Society & the Bros. Koch politically. As most tech billionaires are. As is Bill “Infinite Greed is Infinitely Good” Gates.

    No one with any knowledge of Omidyar would compare him to Warren Buffet or to George Soros, ok? He’s a right-wing nut job. But so are most tech billionaires.

    Now what the heck does Omidyar’s insane politics and his maniacal belief in Kurzweil’s Singularity religion have to do with the journalism? Is Facebook tainted somehow because Zuck’s a Randite fanatic? As btw, was Steve Jobs, altho’ his wife remains a die-hard Obama fan & fund-raiser. Will you all burn your Apple products because Steve thought himself a Rand hero?

  28. joanneleon says:

    @TarheelDem: I’ve been asking that for several years. How do the neocons still have so much power in the Obama admin? Yeah. At first I could buy the “leftover Cheneyites” thing but now, five years later? Nah.

  29. Les says:

    Ukraine is classic 4G warfare. The foreign governments back a widespread protest movement and paramilitary insurgency groups (remember McCain posing with the leaders of the Svoboda movement and Syria’s ISIS). The paramilitary forces employ hit-and-run tactics against the government and the police. The government is forced into a broader and harsher crackdown on the population as these groups melt into the civilian population. The result is that the anti-government protests become more widespread until the government fallss.

  30. Frank33 says:

    JTRIG, HUMINT, HSOC, CNA,OCA, how am I spposed to remember all these acronyms? I suppose detecting criminals who use computers is a necessary law enforcement function. But why should the “Five Eyes” want to “discredit a target” or “discredit a company” or attack hacktivists?

    Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.

    Espionage organizations should not be law enforcement organizations because history shows this leads to corruption. Does any of this have anything to do with terrorism?

    Yes, the Spies are protecting the terrorists, such as protecting Prince Bandar Bush, who financed the 9/11 attacks. Susan Lindauer claims the CIA Spies were aware of the the Al Qaeda attacks against the World Trade Center as early as April 2001. That would make the NSA and CIA accomplices in those attacks. Michael Hayden protected the San Diego Al Qaeda hijackers. Of course, Al Qaeda was a creation of Ollie North and master spy and terrorist Graham Fuller.

    Why destroy reputations? Why manipulate discourse? Why deceive the world about non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Irak? Obviously, the Five Eyes are the taxpayer funded goons for Billionaires, corporate polluters, Hollywood copyright lawyers, Monsanto, Syngneta, Blackwater, Halliburton and the rest of the rotten One Percent.


    Experts told NBC News the documents show the British had to have been either physically able to tap the cables carrying the world’s web traffic or able to use a third party to gain physical access to the massive stream of data, and would be able to extract some key data about specific users as well.

  31. Frank33 says:

    It is not just the NSA and CIA who are at war against American citizens. All the agencies of the Federal Govenment have been hijacked by the Koch Brothers and their corporate allies such as General Electric. The FDA is supposed to protect us from corporate poisons. The FDA helps corporations poison us and the FDA protects the polluters who pollute for fun and profit.


    When one of the most respected radiologists in America – the former head of the radiology department at Yale University – attempted to blow the whistle on the fact that the FDA had approved a medical device manufactured by General Electric because it put out massive amounts of radiation, the FDA installed spyware to record his private emails and surfing activities (including installing cameras to snap pictures of his screen), and then used the information to smear him and other whistleblowers.

    And Fukushima remains a continuing example of slow Genocide by the One Percent.

  32. orionATL says:



    what interests me is not the personal peculiarities of omidyar, greenwald, or wheeler.

    what interests me is information that allows me another view, with facts and analysis to support that view, which my government and its political and ideological supporters will not make available to me.

    the information from these sources must have gained my trust, as wheeler and greenwald have abundantly done over 8+ years.

    so long as omidyar keeps his part of the bargain – fork over the money to pay for their talent and to provide protection (from the inevitable harassing/intimidating legal attacks by gov and supporters) to greenwald, wheeler, poitras, scahill, et al. – i don’t care if he is a randian, rastraferian, or a suffi dervish.

    i do care about attempts to discredit greenwald and wheeler and their fellow warriors from self-inflated flakes like mark ames, because i have more than adequate evidence of the formers’ value to our society regarding national security affairs, and abiding mistrust of the motives and masters of floating, goof-ball journalists like ames.

    i regard such attempts as an attack on the truth surrounding the extraordinary misconduct and the threat to liberty which the nsa, the fbi, the doj, the cia, the dea, the dhs, the dod currently present.

  33. Swopa says:

    Just a note: The assumption in your opening paragraphs that Nuland & the ambassador were discussing “how to divvy up power between 3 opposition figures in a post-Yanukovych Ukraine” is wrong.

    They appear to be discussing this January 25th offer: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/01/25/uk-ukraine-idUKBREA0L0B820140125

    Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich offered the opposition several top government posts on Saturday, hoping to coax his opponents into ending protests that threaten to bring the country to a standstill.

    But opposition leaders, whose power base is among thousands of protesters massing in Kiev’s city centre, continued to press for further concessions, including early elections and the repeal of an anti-protest law.

    After meeting opposition leaders, Yanukovich offered former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk the post of prime minister to replace Mykola Azarov, whose government would be expected to resign, the presidential website said.

    Vitaly Klitschko, a former international boxing champion, would be appointed deputy prime minister responsible for humanitarian issues, it added.

    Compare this with the transcript of the leaked Nuland phone call: “The Klitschko piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister… I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government.”

    So it seems clear that Nuland & the ambassador were reacting to events, not orchestrating them.

  34. What Constitution? says:

    @joanneleon: I like the way you put all that. Where there’s a vacuum, things will seek to fill it; and in that environment, there will never be a shortage of third rate hacks seeking to enhance their own status by attacking prominent advocates of anything they disagree with. That’s Ukraine, that’s this article. Part of the landscape of the strata Marcy appears to have graduated to by associating in a sustainable forum threatening to those who live to fear the idea of reining in the forces Snowden has permitted Greenwald et al to expose. Dumb article, but geographically a real tinderbox and thus no surprise to see hacks trying to tar Omidyar Network any way they can, and “rich guy donated money” is tried and true for that.

  35. Les says:

    Russia is backed into a corner. The process of encirclement by the West has come to their doorstep. Both Libya and Syria host important naval bases.

    It’s obvious that the West’s motives in the Ukraine are first and foremost an asset grab. As in the case with Greece and others, the bailouts are merely bridge loans allowing Ukrain to continue operating while pressuring the government to sell off the prized farmland to banks and private equity funds.

  36. orionATL says:

    today’s russia is relying on oil and gas exports to be the backbone of its economy. any notion that russia, especially russia under putin who has gone full-bore for transportation of these resources, will allow any threat to its moving oil/gas is folly.

    i would imagine the ukraine is to russia what canada or mexico (or cuba:)) are to the u.s.

    given that the u.s. moved its armed forces halfway around the globe to invade and occupy two other countries under a pretext, i assume we will not have much moral standing wherever big-power realpolitik is employed for many years in the future.

    this in the same way we have lost moral authority and leadership in matters of human rights and freedom of expression.

    there may be some hay to be made bemoaning the lack of “democracy” or the brutality of a government, but any notion of the u.s. successfully opposing the soviet assertion of dominance in its sphere of influence is a fantasy.

  37. Frank33 says:

    Vickie Nuland Kagan Nudelman is supporting the Ukraine protesters. Vickie is not the brightest bulb in any Light Fixture. But she is a member of the secret government which gives her super secret government powers. Vickie worked with Darth Cheney to win the Irak war, and she worked with General Petraeus to win the Benghazi propaganda war.

    And she helped write the Susan Rice talking points that lost Susan Rice, the Secretary of State job. We cannot depend on Vickie to tell the truth except when she is being monitored and recorded by the Russian secret government. But we can depend on Vickie to mess up any job that she gets promoted to do.

    As Vickie always says. “FUCK THE EU!”

  38. Jeff Kaye says:

    @joanneleon: The funding of the neo-fascist groups is certainly covert. So we’re not going to know about that. But history is a reliable guide. Indeed, the US did fund Ukrainian fascists in the past, to be turned against the then-USSR. This history is not irrelevant to those who occupy the Kremlin today. Consider the case of Mykola Lebed, as reported by the Boston Globe in 2010:

    Mykola Lebed led an underground movement to undermine the Kremlin and conduct guerrilla operations for the CIA during the Cold War, said the report, prepared by two scholars under the supervision of the National Archives. It was given to Congress on Thursday and posted online.

    During World War II, the report says, Lebed helped lead a Ukrainian nationalist organization that collaborated with the Nazis in the destruction of the Jews of the western Ukraine and also killed thousands of Poles. The report details postwar efforts by US intelligence officials to throw the federal government’s Nazi hunters off his trail and to ignore or obscure his past.


  39. Jeff Kaye says:

    Recent events highlight Lenin’s observation that the prattling about the sanctity of “democracy” is abandoned when political and economic advantage for the capitalist rulers (and right now we could be talking of both the US and Russia) are in play.

    Notice how quiet it is when one considers just what the CIA must be doing in Ukraine right now.

    Meanwhile, consider this a feint in some ways by the US, which is making big moves in Asia to maneuver for war with China, in league with its partner, Japan. For the ever-lasting Cold Warriors in Washington, estruction of the last major Communist state is their most fervent dream, unless the latter is the opening up of the vast Eurasian land mass to their full unbridled exploitation.

  40. William Ockham says:


    Do you have reading comprehension problems or are you just incapable of following a logical argument? Just before the sentence you quoted I noted that “Ames, who’s been obsessed with Omidyar for months now…”

    Let me lay this out for you. Ames has written multiple articles about Omidyar, the Omidyar Network, and various groups it has funded. Since the announcement of First Look, Ames has written more articles about Omidyar, First Look, and the Snowden documents. All of these articles are cast as “exposés” and Ames uses a narrative device of revealing “inside information”. I don’t have a problem with him using the same narrative device for revealing public information.

    The problem I have is with his pose that it was Marcy’s tweet that caused him to do the research to find the documents in the article. That is a transparently dishonest trick to attack First Look through Marcy. It allowed Ames and Paul Carr to jump on Twitter in an attempt to badger Marcy in to making a comment on what is a non-issue. It’s lame.

    My foreknowledge (or lack thereof) of the Omidyar Network’s involvement in funding Ukrainian groups is completely irrelevant to the argument I’m making. But to answer your question, I read the press release on the site back in November when First Look was first announced. And promptly forgot all about it because it wasn’t relevant to my goal at the time.

  41. Phoenix Woman says:

    @William Ockham: It’s all part of Ames’ hate-on for Glenn Greenwald and anyone who hangs out with Greenwald.

    Furthermore, to judge from his recent actions, Ames apparently thinks the path to mainstream acceptance — and loot, which from what I hear Pando/NSFW needs desperately right now — is to attack those media figures that have been thorns in the side of officialdom. Glennzilla and Marcy qualify. (And, yes, I do believe there’s more than a little envy at work here. Well, Marky Mark, maybe if you and Taibbi’d spent more time on actual journalism instead of trying to force your female co-workers into giving you blow jobs, you might have got more backing for your media enterprises.)

  42. Phoenix Woman says:

    @William Ockham: It’s Ames trying, in his twisted way, to gain mainstream acceptance and mainstream money.

    He wants to ingratiate himself with mainstream media gatekeepers by attacking people like Greenwald and Wheeler. That’s what lies at the base of this. (There’s likely an extra touch of misogyny at work in the case of his growing anti-Wheeler fetish.)

  43. bmaz says:

    @William Ockham: Exactly right as to Ames MO. Ames picks fights with people to promote his worthless shit. He is a piece of work in the way he attacks other people, and when they answer his bullshit specifically, he then attacks them by claiming they are avoiding him. It is just patently absurd psychotic trolling.

  44. orionATL says:

    @Phoenix Woman:

    i like your explanation of ames motives much better than my own. it doesn’t require nsa/fbi mojo for one. it involves common, well-understood human motives for another.

    attacking the enemies of the powerful in order to achieve their recognition and largesse – that’s bound to be noted somewhere in machiavelli’ work.

  45. abby says:

    Hay, Ma! Look who got put on the Intercept’s NO FLY LIST!

    That’s what I get for giving nonsense everything I had to determine the parameters of the mission range. I elicited a desire from a few to become Zimmermans looking forward to volunteering to take me off their street.

    It amazes me how smart folks are more likely to see in something unknowable what they need to keep them thinking in their own straight lines. For good’s sake, even Strait two steps.

  46. abby says:

    @Tom Allen:

    They sure ran Jack Reed round in a circle game…

    I see we’re sending back in the clowns.

    Look, movement makers. The drill needs to be short and sing loudly, not decay in a frattering mess of jass riffs. Take a tip from an old riffer. Yo guys are not playing to the head! Stop diddling around under the bridge!

    Are we trying to get intel to bring our government to heel or just comparing HEELS? GEESH, rabble, get over rousing yourselves and get back to the business of Journalism!! I LOVE a good digression, but you are supposed to be our mission leaders, NO?

  47. abby says:

    You know what this reminds me of? Folks with way too much ammo in an automatic firing it into the air to give emphasis to their latest brain fart.

    Seriousy! Stop examinng each other’s naval lint! I want someone to tell me if Marcy’s LAST story, the one this weak debate promptly eliminated, made HOLDER SICK!

    It was hard to digest, so I sure hope it did!

  48. abby says:

    Holey Shite! Marcy admits to falling in it? She could have gone through EIGHT court fillings and fed back to us? I am SOOOOO PIZZED at Team Interrupt.

    You didn’t have to do me like you did, but you did, yes you did…and we lost a whole week in the Ring Cycle!

    Get back to base and basics, wiz kids! You have now demonstrated a Wild Weasel, but YOU be the fracking SAMs! VERY testy little buggers. Easy to make ya’ll give away the game.

    Damn it, This is pilot error! We suck at it! Those are NOT tac nukes, you sky spook hunters. Those are wastes of flippant flight time. Fuel is expensive, stop throwng it all over the tarmac! You aren’t Google!

  49. abby says:

    Marcy, do NOT bee wasting a wing tip’s time looking at this shite.

    I am hungry for more of Holder and Obama and how they do us all the way to Toontown. I wanna see the schematic of how this whole bent Rube Goldberg mechanism can still claim it works accordion to code. I’m sure if we can find where they cracked our armor, we can save Liberty’s arse.

    She has got to stop going topless into battle. She’s a hot tipped fracking exhibitionist. Put some shoes on, over archer!

  50. abby says:

    I’m always getting Liberty and Justice mixed up, but they are sisters. If you ain’t got one, the other is gonna scratch your eyes out. Look what Liberty did to Justice.

    She’s blind, Jim!

  51. abby says:


    Antigone and me will be digging the oldies all week at the only safe parking space for experimental clowns. An EmptyWheel.

    That sounds so South by Southwest. Is there some Austin the House?
    I got Skidmores in my mouth.

  52. abby says:


    I read a town southwest of Austin loved to read so much folks thought they were a book cult. If only they could have hidden their love of laughter and literate demolishion derby. I bet they got a few down under their cerebral belts.

    Someone’s got to break down the old foundations and pass out the useful parts to the people. You can’t get to Jame’s house in Scot’s Yard by Londinium Stone because it’s holding up a Chinese bank, today.

    Asides, Jim’s not home.

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