Governments and individuals around the world have responded to the Nazi-like Blacklist, released July 25 by the Center for Countering Disinformation at the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, with outrage, anger, and, in several cases, demands for government action to stop financing the Ukraine government.
The Blacklist, characterized by many as a “hit list” and even a “kill list,” targeted 78 leading individuals from every part of the world as Russian propaganda agents, declaring them to be “information terrorists” and threatening legal and other actions as “war criminals.”
This threat was issued for even the slightest challenge to the official “narrative” coming from Global NATO regarding Ukraine and Russia. The first thirty people on the list were leaders and friends of the Schiller Institute. See the article, “Ukraine Labels Schiller Institute Leaders and Others as ‘War Criminals’,” in EIR, Vol. 49, No. 30, Aug. 5, 2022, pp. 5-6.
Here is a sampling of the responses.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute: While the Center was created in 2021, with the idea of becoming a “vital hub of counter-disinformation strategy and resources not just domestically, but internationally,” it had “been brewing since 2014,” according to a briefing by Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine for President Zelensky.
That, interestingly, places it in the immediate context of the Western-backed Maidan Coup, the prehistory for which Victoria Nuland claimed the U.S. had spent $5 billion dollars…. Otherwise, the poor authors of the Center seem to suffer from the syndrome of belief in conspiracy theories, since they assume that such a wide array of speakers representing top institutions from around the globe are all Putin agents and can’t think for themselves.
The widely read German website NachDenkSeiten (Pages of Reflection) posted an article on Aug. 8 by Dr. Wolfgang Bittner, a well-known jurist and author who spoke at a Schiller Institute conference and appeared on the Ukraine hit list. The article, under the title: “Ukraine’s Blacklist—The Federal Chancellor Must Act,” notes that in addition to himself and Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the list includes Rolf Mützenlich, the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party caucus in the Bundestag. (Chancellor Olaf Schulz is a member of the SPD.) Dr. Bittner writes: “The political situation is appalling, and the persecution of dissenters in connection with the Ukraine war is taking the form of unbridled fascism. It is unacceptable that state terrorism is being carried out here under the eyes of the world public. The persecution of critics and opposition figures by Ukrainian government organizations must be stopped immediately. The federal government is called upon to lodge a protest with the Zelensky government against the discrimination against German nationals … and to stop all aid for Ukraine. The list of the CCD must be deleted immediately.”
On Aug. 1, Danish parliamentarian Marie Krarup (independent) submitted questions to Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod regarding the Ukraine list, to be answered during a parliamentary “consultation” (samråd). Every Danish member of parliament has the right to require any minister to verbally answer written questions previously submitted. The parliament’s website announced the consultation request, and the two questions. The date is not set yet. Here are the questions posed:
Consultation Memo to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the Ukrainian list of foreigners who “promote” the Russian narrative, etc.
Will the Minister comment on the Ukrainian list of foreigners who “promote” the Russian narrative, including that the Minister is asked to answer whether, in the Government’s view, the list is an expression of respect for freedom of expression, democracy, and other values, which the Minister believes Denmark should promote in the world?
Does the Minister believe that Denmark can continue to justify its support for Ukraine with arms and money by saying that Denmark is thus helping to support democratic values outside Denmark?
See the Danish Foreign Affairs Committee document, Consultation Question from Aug. 1, 2022.
See “Ukraine Publishes List of Foreigners Promoting ‘Russian Narrative’ About the War in Ukraine, Three Danes Appear on List,” published on MR East, July 29, 2022.
On July 30, the Danish peace policy leader Jan Øberg (on the Ukraine hit list and a speaker at a Schiller Institute conference) described the Ukraine blacklist as being in the “best Joe McCarthy 1950 style.” Under the title: “Ukraine Smears People Around the World as Part of the Disinformation War,” Øberg wrote the following on his Jan Øberg website:
The government of Ukraine runs a Center for Countering Disinformation. It seems to be tasked with telling the world who carries the truth and who are spokespeople who are pushing a rhetoric that is in tune with Russian propaganda. I’m included in a list issued by the Center together with around 70 people, many of whom I am honored to be grouped with…. I distanced myself from the Russian invasion of Ukraine but also believe that the present arming of Ukraine is utterly counterproductive and will have unspeakably destructive consequences for Ukraine in particular.
But, sadly, the U.S. and NATO countries are united—so far—in (mis)using Ukraine as the battlefield to weaken Russia and “win” over it. That is, as a proxy—fighting for itself and Ukraine to the last Ukrainian….
In summary, it is one of those intellectually and morally poor attempts, of course, to smear people who have a balanced view or are not 100% on your side.… The whole thing appears bizarre, hilarious. Unintentionally comic.
The foremost Danish News media, Danish Radio, on Aug. 1 featured an interview with Professor Li Xing, a Professor of Development and International Relations and a researcher at the Research Center on Development and International Relations at Aalborg University in Denmark. Prof. Li and the other three speakers from Denmark and Sweden who addressed the Schiller Institute’s conference on May 25 were on the Ukrainian hit list. The online conference video is available here.
Prof. Li confirmed to DR that he is critical of the sanctions against Russia, which are not working as intended, because many countries are still deeply dependent on Russian gas and oil, and because the sanctions could risk hitting EU countries harder than Russia. He said,
[The targeting of critics by Ukraine is a] fundamental violation of the right of researchers to think and speak freely. In this way, any criticism of Ukraine will be regarded as pro-Russian. It’s crazy…. As an academic, the only thing I try to find out is the truth about the war and to give an explanation.
Sam Pitroda, a high-tech specialist from India who lives in the U.S., but also served as an advisor to Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, responded strongly to his appearance on the blacklist. Pitroda had participated in two Schiller Institute conferences this year. In a July 29 interview with Indica News, “Sam Pitroda Hits Back at Ukrainian Agency that Tied Him to Russian Propaganda,” Pitroda called the report “stupid, misinformed,” adding that it appeared to be politically motivated.
I am surprised, shocked, puzzled and perplexed by the allegation from a high-level Ukraine government agency…. I feel sorry for Ukraine and other intelligence agencies involved in this propaganda…. Does the Ukraine agency really know who Sam Pitroda is, what he values, what he stands for, and where he comes from?
Do not be in a hurry to label people based on a conference or a comment taken out of context. Do not believe what you want to believe from your narrow perspective for propaganda. We all value our freedom to speak. Respect it…. I did not say Russia is right or Ukraine is wrong. What I am trying to say is this whole design of NATO, UN, IMF, etc., doesn’t work anymore. My message is that in the hyper-connected world, we need to design a world that is collaborative, cooperative, and not command and control.
On July 30, The Hindu of India ran a story titled, “India Silent on Ukraine Blacklisting Three Nationals,” featuring, in particular, the matter of former Ambassador P.S. Raghavan being targeted. Raghavan is now the Chairperson of India’s National Security Advisory Board. Ironically, it appears that the only reason the high-ranking Indian civil servant was on the list is that he was scheduled to speak at a Schiller Institute Conference—even though he didn’t appear!
The newspaper’s “sources” indicated that the “Ukrainian government should clarify its intent, given its potential impact on relations.” The Hindu notes that Mikhailo Podalyak, “Mr. Zelensky’s chief advisor and negotiator,” stood by the list in remarks to the The Print of India, and threatened sanctions against those named therein.
An important note on India’s response: As should have been the case in every country whose citizens appeared on the threatening hit list, The Hindu, the “newspaper of record” and the second-largest circulation English-language paper in India, called on Helga Zepp-LaRouche, clearly the primary target of the hit list, and published an honest interview with the Schiller Institute founder. The article, “Schiller Institute Calls for New Bretton Woods to End War, Economic Crisis,” explored the close relationship between Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche and her late husband Lyndon LaRouche in India, including their close relationship with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President K.R. Narayanan, as well as the role of three prominent Indian citizens who were on the Ukraine hit list due to their connections to the Schiller Institute.
In a July 26 article, “Kiev Publishes Black List on Alleged Philorussians,” ByoBlu, a leading multimedia outlet in Italy, reported:
[The Ukraine hit list’s] intimidating method closely resembles those used by Mafia gangs against future victims…. Italian names also appear on the compiled list: General Leonardo Tricarico and MEP Francesca Donato [both were speakers at a Schiller Institute conference —ed.]. For now, it is not known what steps Zelensky’s government intends to take against the people on the list. In any case, it is necessary to put one’s heart at rest about the fact that there is no accomplished democracy on Kiev’s side.
Former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer and UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who is on the Ukraine hit list, issued an Open Letter to his Congressional representatives in the State of New York, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Paul Tonko. The letter, posted on July 27 on Consortium News under the title, “U.S. Should Not Fund Ukrainian ‘Blacklist’,” called on them to:
Take the appropriate action necessary to ensure that funds appropriated by the United States Congress are not used to suppress the free speech rights afforded to citizens of the United States, including myself, by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Ritter notes that they all supported H.R. 7691, “The Additional Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022,” which provides funding for the Ukrainian government, and its Center for Countering Disinformation.
As a constituent whose name has appeared on a so-called “blacklist” published by the Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation,” Ritter wrote, “my personal and professional life has been, and continues to be, detrimentally impacted by the chilling effect of being labeled a “Russian propagandist” for simply exercising the right to free speech guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Moreover, Ukraine has a history of converting “blacklists” of this nature into “kill lists,” where those who speak out against the policies of the Ukrainian government are being murdered or threatened with violence.
I am certain you agree with me that Congress cannot be in a position where, through its actions, foreign governments are provided the means to intimidate citizens of the United States from exercising their Constitutionally protected rights regarding free speech….
Congress cannot be allowed to bypass Constitutionally imposed constraints on its actions by allowing a foreign government to do that which would not be permitted here in the United States. By paying the salaries of the civil servants employed by the Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation, who have prepared and disseminated the so-called “blacklist,” you and your fellow Senators and Representatives appear to be doing just that—allowing the government of Ukraine to suppress the right of free speech guaranteed to United States citizens under the Constitution.
In a second article in Consortium News, “Chuck Schumer’s War on Free Speech,” on Aug. 3, Ritter focused on Senate Majority Leader Schumer, noting first that in the debate over H.R. 7691, when Sen. Rand Paul proposed appointing an inspector general to monitor the way the $40 billion being handed over to Ukraine would be spent, Schumer called the request “repugnant,” as an effort to “obstruct Ukraine funding.” Rand Paul then ended up on the hit list.
Ritter then addressed the fact that Schumer’s opponent in the November election, LaRouche candidate Diane Sare, was also smeared by the hit list:
Diane Sare was singled out by the Schumer-funded, State Department-supported Center for Countering Disinformation as an “information terrorist” who should be prosecuted as a “war criminal” because of her public stance challenging the narrative about the Ukraine conflict.
That’s right—Chuck Schumer helped create the organizational structures which have attacked the reputation of a challenger for his Senate seat, threatening her with political violence and more for the “crime” of challenging Schumer on the issue of Ukraine.
has obvious security implications for myself and each of the individuals listed, who include former U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, current U.S. Senator Rand Paul, and notably 30 of us who spoke at conferences sponsored by the Schiller Institute.
She offered her support for the statements from Scott Ritter (see above), and issued a public question to her opponent Sen. Schumer:
Is it your intent to silence my voice in an indirect, but menacing fashion, by voting to fund Ukrainian Civil Servants who have stated that I should be arrested for war crimes?
Given that Americans are very sensitive about foreign governments meddling in our elections, as the Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation appears to be doing, I would urge that our Representatives launch an investigation into whether U.S. taxpayer money is being used to support agencies which would seek to curtail our First Amendment rights and alter the outcome of upcoming elections. Senator Schumer owes me an explanation.
David T. Pyne, a retired military officer, advisor to Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), and currently the Deputy Director of National Operations for the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security, who is also on the Ukraine hit list, signed on to the Joint Statement titled, “Call for an Investigation of the Ukrainian CCD Hit List,” issued by people on the Ukraine hit list and others, and circulated by the Schiller Institute. In his own statement, Pyne posted a response, given here in part, on his David T. Pyne website July 29:
The Ukrainian government has alleged, with insufficient supporting evidence, that we, a group of distinguished Americans consisting of America First patriots, elected leaders, retired military officers, national security strategists and leading foreign policy scholars and statesmen, have engaged in efforts to disseminate Russian disinformation.
However, the truth is that the only offense we have committed has been our unfailing determination to loudly, publicly and courageously advocate a realist foreign policy that not only serves to champion U.S. national security interests in the face of tremendous public opposition by the mainstream liberal media establishment and liberal political elites, but as a visionary and enlightened policy of peace through strength which we believe to be very much in Ukraine’s national interest as well.
Similarly, neoconservative Republicans, led by former Vice President Mike Pence, have been marching in lockstep with President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in trying to demonize principled America First conservative voices of opposition to Biden’s undeclared proxy war against Russia in Ukraine as “apologists for Putin” without any real evidence to support their claim….
We have opposed continued U.S. lethal military assistance as we believe it is in opposition to U.S. national security interests to provide it, as it has caused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to refuse to negotiate a compromise peace agreement with Moscow, which both sides were close to finalizing in late March and early April before Zelensky decided to break off all peace talks with Moscow, at the cost of tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and military personnel, whose lives might have otherwise been spared.
Our primary objective has been and will continue to be to identify the best course of action from the perspective of advancing the paramount U.S. national security interest of ending this terrible war as swiftly as possible in order to avert an unnecessary world war with Russia that could very possibly escalate to the nuclear level without warning and lead to the destruction of the U.S., NATO and very possibly of Ukraine as well.
The CATO Institute, a libertarian think-tank in Washington, D.C., posted an article on July 25 on its website titled, “Ukraine’s Disinformation Board: Terrible Idea, Terrible Results,” after CATO Senior Fellow Doug Bandow appeared on its hit list. The article denounced “disinformation boards” in any country:
Government “truth bureaus” are simply incompatible with the very idea of a free society and liberal democracy, [the statement read, naming the Ukrainian Center as] a compelling example of this in real time.
It’s absolutely wrong for Bandow’s prolific output on Ukraine, Russia, and the current war to be labeled disinformation or “Russian propaganda.” Bandow has been writing for years about how continued movement towards bringing Ukraine into NATO’s security orbit was not in the interests of the United States, and—by heightening Putin’s perception of threats close to Russia’s borders—risked a serious Russian reaction.
Furthermore, he and many others have cautioned against deepening U.S. involvement in the conflict, given the significant risk of sparking a broader conflagration: especially a war between the United States and Russia or increased risk of a nuclear exchange….
This kind of action—the establishment of ill-advised truth and disinformation bureaus, and the unfair smearing of eminent scholars—does nothing to burnish Ukraine’s reputation as an aspiring liberal democracy. Nor is it likely to help its war effort. Accordingly, Kyiv should retract its charges of disinformation and apologize for having leveled them.
Eric Denécé, the General Director at the French Center of Research and Intelligence (CF2R), was a speaker at a Schiller Institute conference and is also on the Ukraine hit list. He and associates Olivier Dujardin (also on the list) and Alain Charret, posted on the CF2R website a joint response to the Ukrainian attack. Titled, “Another Example of the Zelensky Regime’s Information Warfare,” they write that the arguments used to label them as Russian propaganda agents were “stupid and baseless,” that the authors were “acting like a start-up seeking funds to function,” using “any and all arguments to get the necessary money from its Western donors, in order to continue its war.”
The article adds another purpose for the issuance of the hit list: corruption, including doing dirty business with weapons being provided by the Americans and others.
In fact, two points are worth noting.
First, the number of round-trip flights between Burgas Air Base in Bulgaria and Rzeszów Air Base in Poland, is particularly high. For the day of July 10 alone, aircraft made three round trips…. This is all the more astonishing since the Bulgarian government has repeatedly denied supplying arms to Ukraine, and Rzeszów is the main platform where most of the weapons are delivered to the Ukrainian army. If Bulgaria is telling the truth—and given the various reports of black-market sales of some of the Western weapons delivered to the Ukrainian army—it is possible that the [planes] in question would have transported some portion of them from Poland to Bulgaria, whence they could then be reexported by air or sea.
[Other flights to] Nassau (Bahamas)—a Commonwealth territory—can only raise questions. It is unlikely that arms were transported to that tax haven, which is known to host offshore companies and other banks that are not very careful about the source of funds deposited in their accounts. So the stopover could have had another purpose. It is possible that cash in dollars was deposited there.
Washington has been “funneling pallets of dollars in the same way [as in Iraq and elsewhere], in order to remunerate, in particular, all the foreigners who have fought in the ranks of the Kiev army. Thus, part of these funds could have been diverted and transferred to the Bahamas to be deposited in accounts belonging to certain members of the Ukrainian government or to Western politicians, but also as kickbacks to American government agencies or weapons corporations.
Matthew Robson, the former New Zealand Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, responded to his appearance on the hit list with a powerful blast, calling for the New Zealand government to investigate. His statement, provided to EIR, reads, in part:
I am quite flattered to be in the company of such an eminent list of people with widely varying opinions on the nature of the war in the Ukraine. But all of them are engaged in the time-honored tradition of scholars and democratic societies of honest and open debate rather than the “group think” demanded by NATO governments.
He quoted the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, which assures:
Freedom of expression: Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.
The [United Nations] Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which New Zealand and, I presume, the Ukraine are signatories, guarantees the same. I am writing to the Prime Minister of New Zealand to ask her to take up with the government of the Ukraine this breach of my right, under both New Zealand and international law, to freely express my opinions, and my being on a list that endangers my safety.