The ultimate question is: who sponsors this incessant trolling, cyber-harassing and disinformation program aimed at denigrating Russia in general and promoting Ukrainian neo-Nazis? US taxpayers?
Ivan Zaitsev is a retired journalist who now spends time outdoors while Yana Dianova is a Moscow-based lawyer.
This article is the final part of a 3 part investigation done specially for RI.
- Joel Harding appears to be "secretly” instructing Ukrainian ultra-nationalist paramilitary groups, including the "Right Sector", to commit criminal offenses such as destroying natural gas pipelines.
- He promotes a positive image of Stepan Bandera, an infamous Nazis collaborator whose Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) was responsible for mass annihilations of civilians in the Ukraine.
- Harding claims to maintain/contribute to 3,000 blogs, most of which are dedicated to spreading disinformation on and smearing Russia.
- Those who dare to counter Harding’s and his fellow trolls’ "cyber activities" usually face libel, harassment and even death threats.
- The essence and modus operandi of such trolling leaves little doubt regarding the sources of its financing.
To explore Harding’s neo-Nazi connections one needs to follow his activities from the early days of the Ukrainian crisis.
On 3 March 2014, Harding advocated for "talent" to blow up natural gas pipelines that run from Russia to Europe through Ukraine, to "shut down a major part of Russia’s exports and, therefore, a source of money, another kind of power which Putin must truly understand".
It seems the then NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) did not appreciate Brig Gen Harding’s blog-based hybrid warfare proposal, and promptly ordered him to return to his Star Trek teen porn retail business. However, on the same day, in between racy downloads, Harding noticed an increase in Ukrainian visitors to his blog: “Suddenly I have 510 people in Ukraine following this blog. That is a… let’s see, 510 divided by four, multiplied by 100 is a 12,750 percent increase in one day! Gee, I wonder why?”.
We wonder why too, which Ukrainian “teen model” was featured on Harding’s blog on that day? Actually, 510 unique visitors is a pathetic figure to boast about. You mean to tell us that you only get an average 127-odd visitors a day, Joel? Doesn’t the number of active duty US armed personnel stand at 1,301,000? Don’t they want to be informed by a “former senior military intelligence officer”?
Coincidentally on 16 March 2014, Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist paramilitary group "Right Sector" actually threatened to blow up gas pipelines across the Ukraine. Yarosh and his block are infamous for threatening Crimea with guerilla war, killing several Ukrainian police officers in Mukachevo over cigarette smuggling, cutting electricity to the Crimea and even disrupting the gay pride parade in Kiev.
OK, we get it. One part of this “Russia invaded Ukraine” racket is about peddling teen porn and another is about smuggling contraband cigarettes. Apart from being a "shadow" instructor for Ukrainian extremists, “Brig Gen” Harding has been actively promoting the Maidan version of history:
Praising the neo-Nazi’ idol Stepan Bandera, a Nazi collaborator whose Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) members formed the Nachtigall Battalion -- the sub-unit under German command, has been another important part of Harding’s "counter propaganda". The Banderists exterminated Jews and Poles during the Lvov Pogrom from June 30th to July 2nd 1941, whose brutality shocked even Nazis. In 1943, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and the OUN-B organized the mass-murder of Poles in Volhynia in Western Ukraine under Nazi occupation (an approximate number of Poles brutally exterminated by the OUN-B, the UPA, and their security service is 35,000). Even after the Nazi defeat, the OUN-B continued to murder not only informers, collaborators, and eastern Ukrainians transferred to Galicia and Volhynia to work as teachers or administrators, but their families as well. According to a 1973 KGB report, more than 30,000 people fell victim to the OUN before the Soviets managed to wipe out the Banderists’ resistance in 1950, including some 15,000 peasants and collective-farm workers and more than 8,000 soldiers, militia members, and security personnel.
In the Russian International Affairs Council group (RIAC) on LinkedIn, Harding’s rants were detached from reality, reflecting the fantasy world of his pornographic obsession. His troll crew’s rants roughly boiled down to the following:
The US government, acting either directly or through USAID and other similar organizations, did not effectively sponsor the coup in Ukraine (even though this fact was proved by relevant documents and covered by various online media). (Maybe they spent too much money funding imbeciles like our "Brigadier General “?)
OK. Snuff porn, including the decapitation of children, is a growing industry in the US and there is a lot of $$$ to be made by undercover American patriots.
Any media outlet and/or Internet site that publishes materials that counter the mainstream media narrative on the Ukrainian crisis or other political issues involving Russia, is sponsored by the Kremlin either directly, or via Russian oligarchs, including Russia Insider.
Any individual who disagrees with Harding and his trolls is automatically called a Putinbot and a Kremlin agent by these fine individuals who have sworn to “uphold the US Constitution against enemies, both domestic and foreign” when they take time off from porn.
Brig. Gen. Joel Harding and his underlings don’t bother backing up their allegations, retorting merely: "My friend who works at USAID told me that…" or, if asked how he knows that the Russian aviation bombed hospitals with civilians in Syria he replies: "If we were in [name of Syrian settlement] you would see it with your own eyes" ….then we would sit in a café smoking shisha….”. Or watching teen Ukrainian beauties in a basement?
Or let’s take this academic tour de force by Jason C. Groves, self-declared US Department of Commerce official, in an April 9, 2016 LinkedIn post titled "Russian, Soviet Forced Migrations, Deportations, and Ethnic Cleansing".
This compilation of undocumented assertions was based on a selective montage of Wikipedia references and perhaps any one of the 3,000 blogs that superman Harding maintains on a daily basis.
Further ramblings of the sort can be seen in the fetid opus of former Russian "journalist" Ksenia Kirillova, born in 1984 in the Sverdlov region, and graduated from the Humanitarian University with a degree in law, who worked from 2008-2011 as the press-secretary of the Ekaterinburg eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church. Currently based in San-Francisco, she is on a mission to paint Russia as anti-semitic, writing for euromaidanpress.com and New Region Ukrainian media outlets.
The allegations in that document are bizarre and ridiculous, for example:
" Russian policy for almost 300 years followed the Roman model of dumping their own ethnic population into acquired territories, and supplementing this with transmigration of ethnic Ukrainians. The latter also included recruiting Ukrainian Cossacks as shock troops and militias to capture additional land in Siberia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, the quid-pro-quo being settlement rights. … The reality is that up to 10-20% of the “ethnic Russian” population of the Russian Federation may be assimilated ethnic Ukrainians, or Russians with significant Ukrainian ethnic heritage. Russia may have between 11 and 22 million ethnic Ukrainians or their descendants embedded in their population.".
Note: In reality, the conquest of Siberia started about 1581 when a large group of Don Cossacks set out across the Urals to submit the vast area on the other side, then known as Jurga, to Russian rule. They were financed by members of a rich merchant family, the Stroganoffs, with the approval of the tsar. The Cossacks were the descendants of serfs who from the 14th century on had fled from Russian grand duchies and the Polish-Lithuanian kingdom to the steppe regions bordering the Black and Caspian Seas. They called themselves "free Cossacks" to emphasize that they were not the subjects of any master. They established a loose system of settlements, called "khutors" and larger "stanitsas" living predominantly on booty from armed raids into neighboring territories. The Don Cossacks were first mentioned in 1550 in a letter from Tzar Yusuf of Nogai to Ivan IV (The Terrible), in which he called Cossaks the servants of the Russian tzar. When Don Cossacks started the conquest of Siberia, there was no Ukraine as a more or less separate state (becoming such only in 1991, following the dissolution of the USSR) and the Cossaks could not identify themselves as "ethnic Ukrainians" since they were mostly ethnic Russians.
As if the above gibberish is not enough, the anonymous author rambles on: "The other significant ethnic minority in Russia are about 6.5 million ethnic Tartars (Turkic Kipchaks), many having assimilated into mainstream Russian society over generations since the schism with Kiev 800 years ago. … Ethnic Tartars or Russians with Tartar heritage outnumber ethnic Ukrainians in Russia today. … Of the 110 million “ethnic Russians” how many are really ethnic Russians? Subtracting the likely number of assimilated Ukrainians and Tartars the number could drop by 15 to 20 million.".
Note: the author may not have heard of (or did not care to fact check her Wikipedia source for) the results of the genetic - geographical research of Russian genome performed in 2007 by doctor of biological sciences Elena Balanovskaya and the sciences candidate (Russian equivalent for Ph.D) Oleg Balanovsky of the Laboratory of Population Genetics of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, according to which the share of Eastern-Eurasian (i.e. Tatar) haplogroups in the Russian genome is just 2%, while the average share of haplogroups among Europeans is 3.6%. Nor does she appear to be aware, as is typical for Ukrainian propagandists, that "schism" generally means division or disunion, "especially into mutually opposed parties", while there was no "division" or "disunion" with Kiev: in 1157 the prince Andrey Bogoluybskiy, a direct descendant of prince Vladimir Monomach, transferred the capital of Russ state to Vladimir city (in the North-Eastern part of modern Russia). Kiev thus became a second-rate city ruled by junior Rurik princes, and in 1240 was devastated by Mongols.
Whatever ludicrous lies and disinformation are promoted by Brig. Gen. Joel Harding and Co, every "politically incorrect" rebuttal online will be screenshot and saved for stalking and possible blackmailing. This may be an effective covert “disrupt, deny, degrade and destroy” strategy in the United States, but it is a laughable if irritating ploy when used against foreigners.
According to anecdotal evidence provided by those who have been following Brig. Gen. Harding’s cyber activities for a while, Joel Harding along with planners, operators, logisticians, hackers, and anyone wanting to be involved with his ‘inform and influence activities’ recruited directly on his blog and his allegedly long-term partner Andrew Aaron Weisburd, gathers information on people from open sources and then targets them directly or indirectly on-and-off-line.
This information, including the personal data of Ukrainian, Russian and other citizens labelled as "terrorists" by Ukrainian "patriots", including women, children, and even 4,000 foreign journalists who received accreditation in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic/Luhansk People’s Republic (DPR/LPR), is then published on the Peacemaker (“Myrotvorets”) site. A Ukrainian journalist Olez Buzina who was assassinated after his personal data was published on the Peacemaker site in 2015 is an example of "inform and influence".
Along with libel and defamation, murder threats are a Harding specialty. The snapshot below includes a "metaphorical" death threat directed at one of the authors of this article.
Many other targets of Harding’s LinkedIn crew received death threats via LinkedIn messages and email. Employees and relatives linked to Harding’s victims are particularly targeted and harassed. One Asian-based editor reportedly received a not-so-subtle death threat via personal messages from Harding’s troll, James Berger. The editor’s crime? He liked Donald Trump, which was how we knew Harding would be hawking his services to Hillary in due time. James Berger also reportedly threatened to unleash the Israeli Mossad on someone who disagreed with him on the Ukraine.
These are the fantasy-fueled maniacs who cannot distinguish between teen models in a porn movie and the real world of politics. We wish Harding every success in catapulting Hillary Clinton to the presidency.
And whoever is paying for such low-grade, school-yard bully exercises needs to consider seriously the ROI and/or the image of the US that the alleged military/special services retiree Brig. Gen. Joel Harding promotes.
The ultimate question is: who sponsors this incessant trolling, cyber-harassing and disinformation program aimed at denigrating Russia in general, and promoting Ukrainian neo-Nazis on the other? Are US taxpayers liable for another CIA program after AERODYNAMIC, under which the CIA worked with Bandera associates – emigres to the USA and Canada, in particular, Mykola Lebed, who they knew as a ²well-known sadist and collaborator of the Germans" from 1950, until the so-called end of the Cold War in 1990? (Details of the long-term collaboration between the US Army and CIA with some of the most important Ukrainian Nazi leaders were examined among others by historians Richard Breitman and Norman J.W. Goda in a remarkable book ″Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence, and the Cold War″ based on declassified documents.)
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