PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY OF UKRAINE: NO BLACKMAIL IN PRESIDENT TRUMP’S CALL

October 11, 2019

Newsmax on October 10, 2019, reported that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that U.S. President Donald Trump did not seek to blackmail him during a phone call in July or a meeting in September. Excerpts below:

Zelenskiy said he had not known that U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been blocked at the time of the call. Having been made aware of this by his defense minister later, he raised the issue during a separate meeting in September in Poland with Vice President Mike Pence.

The U.S. House of Representatives… is focused on whether [Trump] used congressionally approved aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden…

Zelenskiy told reporters that his aim in having a phone call with Trump was to arrange a subsequent meeting and that he had asked the White House to change its rhetoric on Ukraine.

He said Kiev was open to a joint investigation into Biden but added that Ukraine was an independent country with independent law enforcement agencies that he could not influence.

“There was no blackmail. This was not the subject of our conversation,” Zelenskiy said about his call with Trump, speaking to reporters in a day-long series of televised briefings with the press, held at a Kiev food court.

Zelenskiy said there were no conditions attached to him meeting Trump, including whether he should investigate the activities of Hunter at Burisma.

Zelenskiy said he had no desire to interfere in the U.S. election.

Zelenskiy said he had been made aware by his defense minister that Washington had frozen military aid to Ukraine.

MODERN WARFARE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME: USING DRONE SWARMS FROM THE COCKPIT IN THE AIR

October 10, 2019

National Interest on October 10, 2019, reported on advances by the U.S. Air Force and DARPA in the use of computer power, processing speed and AI. Excerpts below:

The U.S. Air Force and DARPA are now testing new hardware and software configured to enable 4th-Generation aircraft to command drones from the cockpit in the air, bringing new levels of autonomy, more attack options and a host of new reconnaissance advantages to air warfare.

Working with BAE Systems at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Air Force test pilots are combing ground-based simulators with airborne leer jets to demonstrate how 4th generation cockpit avionics can direct drones from the air, BAE Systems developers said.

“The airplane was structurally configured to allow us to take our autonomy hardware and connect it directly to the flight control system of the airplane,” Skip Stolz, Director of Strategic Development for Autonomy Control, told Warrior Maven in an interview.

Demonstrations with specially configured leer jets are intended as an interim step on route to integrating this kind of system into an operational F-15, F-16 or even F-35, developers said.

Using standard data-link technology, the jets operate with a semi-autonomous software called Distributed Battle Management, which enables new levels of compressed airborne data transfer, weapons integration and sensor operations, Stolz explained.

A recent Mitchell Institute paper, titled “Manned-Unmanned Aircraft Teaming: Taking Combat Airpower to the Next Level,” cites Distributed Battle Management software as a “system-of-systems future landscape for warfare, in which networks of manned and unmanned platforms, weapons, sensors and electronic warfare systems interact.”

At the moment, the flight path, sensor payload and weapons disposal of airborne drones such as Air Force Predators, Global Hawks and Reapers are coordinated from ground control stations. However, due at least in part to rapid advances in autonomy, the concept of an autonomous or “semi-autonomous” wingman – is arriving even faster than expected.

A fighter-jet aircraft will be able to provide a drone with tasks and objectives, manage sensor payload and direct flight-path from the air.

The Mitchell Institute essay also points to a less-frequently discussed, yet highly significant advantage offered by manned-unmanned teaming. Simply put, it could massively help mitigate the current Air Force bomber and fighter jet shortage. It is often mentioned that there simply are not enough Air Force assets available to meet current demand. As a result, having a massive fleet of fighter-jet operated drones could radically increase the operational scope of Air Force missions.

Fighter-jet controlled drones could also be programmed to fly into heavily defended or high-risk areas ahead of manned-fighter jets in order to assess enemy air defenses and reduce risk to pilots. Furthermore, given the fast-evolving efficacy of modern air-defenses, drones could fly into high-threat or heavily contested areas to conduct ISR, scout enemy assets and even function as a weapons truck to attack enemy targets.

Advances in computer power, processing speed and AI are rapidly changing the scope of what platforms are able to perform without needing human intervention.

…the paper explains that – in the event that a pilot is shot down – drone command and control operations could shift to a larger manned “battle manager” aircraft such as an E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System or E-8 Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System.

Another advantage of these technological advances is that one human may have an ability to control multiple drones and perform a command and control function – while drones execute various tasks such as sensor functions, targeting, weapons transport or electronic warfare activities, the former Air Force Chief Scientist told Warrior Maven in a previous interview.

The Army has advanced manned-unmanned teaming technology in its helicopter fleet –successfully engineering Apache and Kiowa air crews to control UAS flight paths and sensor payloads from the air in the cockpit. Army officials say this technology has yielded successful combat results in Afghanistan. Army program managers have told Warrior Maven that manned-unmanned teaming enables Apache pilots to find and identify enemy targets, before they even take off.

Senior Air Force leaders have said that the services’ new next-generation bomber program, the B-21 Raider, will be engineered to fly manned and unmanned missions.

Also, in September of 2013, the Air Force and Boeing flew an unmanned F-16 at supersonic speeds for the first time at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The unmanned fighter was able to launch, maneuver and return to base without a pilot.

While computer processing speed and algorithms continue to evolve at an alarming pace, it still remains difficult to engineer a machine able to make more subjective determinations or respond quickly to a host of interwoven, fast-changing variables.

However, sensor technology is progressing quickly, the point where fighter pilots will increasingly be able to identify threats at much greater distances, therefore remove the need to dogfight. As a result, there may be room for an unmanned fighter jet in the not-too-distant future, given the pace of improving autonomous technology.

U.S. ATTORNEY JOHN DURHAM EXPANDING THE PROBE TO INVESTIGATE COUNTERINTELLIGENCE ACTIVITY AND THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN 2016

October 10, 2019

American Greatness on October 8, 2019, reported that John Durham is expanding his probe to include ”a post-election timeline”. Excerpts below:

Durham—who has a reputation for being a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor— has also added agents and resources to the case, multiple senior administration officials told Fox.

Previously, it was understood that Durham was only reviewing U.S. intelligence activities during the 2016 election up to the inauguration.

Now, based on his findings, Durham has reportedly expanded his investigation to include a time period that runs through “the spring of 2017, up to when Robert Mueller was named special counsel.”

The DOJ’s investigation meanwhile has spread to several other countries, eliciting consternation and confusion from Democrats, who still believe that the Western assets who approached Trump campaign officials overseas were Russian.

…Attorney General Bill Barr and Durham recently traveled to Italy where they asked law enforcement officials to assist Durham in his probe. The pair have also had conversations with officials in the U.K. and Australia about the investigation, according to Fox’s sources.

Barr assigned Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, back in May 2019 to conduct the inquiry into alleged misconduct and improper surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016, as well as whether Democrats were the ones who’d improperly colluded with foreign actors.

The attorney “is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr’s request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said last month.

Durham, known as a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor, according to a source, has been focusing on the use and assignments of FBI informants, as well as alleged improper issuance of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.

Just like the Russia hoax, Ukraine-Gate is another soft coup attempt from a party desperate to prevent the Trump administration from uncovering the gross malfeasance on their own side.
Pure political projection has long been a Democrat specialty.

The reason they are able to go on offense with a weak hand is because the media, the swamp, the tech industry, academia, and the entertainment industry are on their side and willing to disseminate their false narratives. Time will tell whether their latest (impeachment) gambit will work for them.

WHITE HOUSE: IMPEACHMENT IS ILLEGITIMATE AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL

October 9, 2019

Fox News on October 8, 2019 reported that the White House had in an eight-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats outlined why it will not participate in their ”illegitimate and unconsitutional” impeachment inquiry. Excerpts below:

The White House outlined in a defiant eight-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats on on October 8, 2019, why it will not participate in their “illegitimate and unconstitutional” impeachment inquiry, charging that the proceedings have run roughshod over congressional norms and the president’s due-process rights.

Trump administration officials called the letter, which was written by White House counsel Pat Cipollone…perhaps the most historic letter the White House has sent.

“President Trump and his administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process,” the letter stated. “Your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice. In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”

The document concluded: “The president has a country to lead. The American people elected him to do this job, and he remains focused on fulfilling his promises to the American people.”

Substantively, the White House first noted in its letter that there has not been a formal vote in the House to open an impeachment inquiry — and that the news conference held by Pelosi last month was insufficient to commence the proceedings.

“In the history of our nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the president without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step,” the letter stated.

It continued: “Without waiting to see what was actually said on the call, a press conference was held announcing an ‘impeachment inquiry’ based on falsehoods and misinformation about the call.”

White House officials told Fox News the vote opening the proceedings was a small ask, considering the implications of potentially overturning a national election.

The letter went on to note that “information has recently come to light that the whistleblower” who first flagged Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president “had contact with [House Intelligence Committee] Chairman [Adam] Schiff’s office before filing the complaint.”

Multiple reports surfaced this week that the whistleblower had a prior “professional relationship” with one of the 2020 Democratic candidates for president.

The letter added: “In any event, the American people understand that Chairman Schiff cannot covertly assist with the submission of a complaint, mislead the public about his involvement, read a counterfeit version of the call to the American people, and then pretend to sit in judgment as a neutral ‘investigator.'”

“Perhaps the best evidence that there was no wrongdoing on the call is the fact that, after the actual record of the call was released, Chairman Schiff chose to concoct a false version of the call and to read his made-up transcript to the American people at a public hearing,” the letter stated. “The chairman’s action only further undermines the public’s confidence in the fairness of any inquiry before his committee.”

Ukraine’s president has said he felt Trump did nothing improper in their July call, and DOJ lawyers who reviewed the call said they found no laws had been broken.

Separately, the letter asserted multiple alleged violations of the president’s due-process rights. It noted that under current impeachment inquiry proceedings, Democrats were not allowing presidential or State Department counsel to be present.

Democrats’ procedures did not provide for the “disclosure of all evidence favorable to the president and all evidence bearing on the credibility of witnesses called to testify in the inquiry,” the letter noted, nor did the procedures afford the president “the right to see all evidence, to present evidence, to call witnesses, to have counsel present at all hearings, to cross-examine all witnesses, to make objections relating to the examination of witnesses or the admissibility of testimony and evidence, and to respond to evidence and testimony.”

Democrats also have not permitted Republicans in the minority to issue subpoenas, contradicting the “standard, bipartisan practice in all recent resolutions authorizing presidential impeachment inquiries.”

The letter claimed that House committees have “resorted to threats and intimidation against potential Executive Branch witnesses,” by raising the specter of obstruction of justice when administration employees seek to assert “long-established Executive Branch confidentiality interests and privileges in response to a request for a deposition.”

“Current and former State Department officials are duty bound to protect the confidentiality interests of the Executive Branch, and the Office of Legal Counsel has also recognized that it is unconstitutional to exclude agency counsel from participating in congressional depositions,” the letter stated.

Additionally, the letter noted that Democrats reportedly were planning to interview the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry at an undisclosed location — contrary, the White House said, to the constitutional notion of being able to confront one’s accuser.

According to a White House official, the bottom line was: “We are not participating in your illegitimate exercise. … If you are legitimately conducting oversight, let us know. But all indications are this is about impeachment.”

The document came as the White House aggressively has parried Democrats’ inquiry efforts. One of the administration’s first moves: the State Department on October 8, 2019, barred Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from appearing before a House panel conducting the probe into Trump.

“What they did to this country is unthinkable. It’s lucky that I’m the president. A lot of people said very few people could handle it. I sort of thrive on it,” Trump said on October 7, 2019 at the White House. “You can’t impeach a president for doing a great job. This is a scam.”

The House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees were investigating Trump’s actions alleging he pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son, potentially interfering in the 2020 election.

Biden has acknowledged on camera that in spring 2016, when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the time,

Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings — where Hunter had a lucrative role on the board despite limited relevant expertise. Critics have suggested Hunter Biden’s salary bought access to Biden.

The vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion in critical U.S. aid if Shokin, who was widely accused of corruption, was not fired.

“Well, son of a b—h, he got fired,” Biden joked at a panel two years after leaving office.

FIGHT FOR FREEDOM. STAND WITH HONGKONG.

October 7, 2019

It could be Hongkong today and the world tomorrow.

freedomhongkong.org is an initiative by Hongkong freedom fighters to launch various advertisment campaigns in support of the Hongkong freedom struggle starting from the 2019 G20 Osaka summit in June.

The demands of Freedom Hongkong are:

1. Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill;
2. Retraction of the characterisation of any anti-extradition protest as a riot;
3. Amnesty of all protesters in relation to the anti-extradition protests;
4. Establishment of an independent commission of inquiry to inquire into alleged police brutality; and
5. Immediate implementation of dual universal suffrage for Legislative Council and Chief Executive elections.

These are modest demands in light of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) tearing apart of Hongkong.

In spite of the existing treaty Beijing is de facto running the city. CCP has for years been infiltrating the political and business sectors of Hongkong. This and other forms of subversion have undermined institutions and eroded Hongkonger’s freedom.

Watch Freedom Hongkong’s advertisments on You Tube and follow freedomhongkong.org on the web.

COUNTERING CHINA’S VISION OF VICTORY

October 7, 2019

The Diplomat on May 26, 2019, published an interview by Ankit Panda of Diplomat Risk Intelligence with Jonathan Ward, author of ”China’s Vision of Victory”. Ward is the founder of Atlas Organization, a consultancy focused on the rise of India and China, and on US-China global competition. Excerpts of Wards answers can be found below:

Jonathan Ward: The U.S.-China contest will be a unique and original competition. Unlike the Cold War which was predominantly an ideological contest, this competition is likely to be an economic contest with military and ideological dimensions coming close behind.

The goals of the Chinese Communist Party, as described in ”China’s Vision of Victory”, may be even more ambitious than those of the USSR – the CCP envisions a future in which China ascends to the top of every major industry and technology, in which most of the world’s continents and markets are linked together with China as the economic and strategic center, and in which China has built a military that “can effectively secure China’s overseas interests

The goals of the Chinese Communist Party present a clear and open challenge for U.S. global leadership

This is an economic contest – China’s goal is essentially to surpass the U.S. economically and from there to build long-term advantages over the United States and other nations. On some level decoupling is inevitable, particularly where it can help preserve a competitive edge in critical technologies and industries that are needed for long-term competition. China’s program of harvesting technology from the developed world during the last 20 years of integration has yielded major results, but China still depends on economic engagement in order to build its technological and industrial advantages.

CCP initiatives such as civil-military fusion also show us how the Party is exploiting innovation in the private sector for military means, and this gives an entirely new meaning to doing business in China. Providing the Chinese Communist Party with any further advantages through economic integration seems unwise in a long-term competition. Additionally, China’s surveillance state and human rights abuses, especially in Xinjiang, present reputational risks for American investors and corporates that are seeking opportunities in China, and given the role of Chinese companies in creating the surveillance state, human rights abuses will also impact economic engagement with China as long-term competition sets in.

There are three major strategies that support the end goal of “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” – that is China’s goal of becoming the world’s de facto dominant power, by restoring the wealth and power it once held relative to other nations before its “Century of Humiliation.”

First, the Belt and Road Initiative, which shows us the geographical ambitions of global Chinese wealth and power – that is an integrated Asian, European, African, Australian continental superstructure with China as the economic and strategic center.

Second is “Made in China 2025,” which envisions Chinese dominance in a series of strategic industries from robotics to next generation information technology to high-tech shipping, and also refers, for example, to striving to “transform China into the global manufacturing leader before the centennial of the founding of the New China,” that is 2049.

Third is military modernization, which ultimately envisions a Chinese military “second to none” that is able to “effectively secure China’s overseas interests.” CCP goals in space, oceans and emerging technologies are also important pieces of the picture. We have seen what it looks like for China to pursue these goals during a period of open globalization – the question becomes, how successful will the Communist Party be if the world begins to push back, not only the U.S. alone, but in concert with allies around the world.

In today’s global contest, however, we will need our allies to think and act globally…

Chairman Xi’s goal is to convert China’s wealth into military power, and to build and consolidate China’s role as a global player. We see this in the scope and scale of China’s major strategies, many of which were underway before him, but which now have come together as global grand strategy that we can all observe.

I believe that we would do best to focus on winning the economic competition, working together to integrate our democratic friends and allies around the world, and maintaining our military and technological edge over both China and Russia. We should focus on our own vision of the future, and on beginning to rebuild a world that is less dependent on authoritarian China – a place which economic engagement has failed to change…we must work to build our own strengths if we are going to win the long-term competition.

Comment: The CCP in the fight for global dominance is guided by the most murderous ideology in human history. After initial setbacks the party has now established a near perfect authoritarian system. There is limitless state power, revolutionary digital totalitarianism, and a vast re-education camp archipelago into which millions have disappeared. CCP now believes this system can be exported worldwide starting with domination of Eurasia. Such a domination can probably only work with Russia as partner. In the end this means that Europe and the European Union will be faced with the choice between the United States and the China-Russia system. A full decoupling of the economies of USA and China could result in the build up of the economies of the whole Western Hemisphere with the USMCA (United States, Mexico, and Canada) as base. With much untapped economic potential in North and South America this could be a success story for the 21st century.

There is a strong both rational and realist case for why America should not allow China’s global vision to come to pass. This means that it is important for America and its allies to show that China is not like any other empire. It is a truly evil empire.

60 YEARS OF SOLIDARITY WITH NATIONS SUBJUGATED BY COMMUNISM

October 6, 2019

National Review on July 15, 2019, published an article by Marion Smith on the Captive Nations Week in the United States. Excerpts below:

Welcome to Captive Nations Week…This week [the third in July] was once a fixture of American public life, especially in urban areas with refugee populations [from communist occupied countries]. It was created through an act of Congress signed by President Eisenhower in 1959, decreeing that the third week of July would be a time for Americans to show solidarity with all the nations dominated by Communism. In the words of the authorizing legislation, the people of the United States share with the people of these countries “their aspirations for the recovery of their freedom and independence.”

The original law listed by name 22 Captive Nations, most of which had substantial communities in the United States. After the law’s passage, these communities began to hold massive parades and rallies during the annual week, while establishing local committees to coordinate year-long activities. Armenians in Los Angeles, Polish in Chicago, Ukrainians in New York, and many others joined with American citizens to highlight their unique cultures — often suppressed by Soviet or Chinese tyrants — while demanding the release of their countries from Communist captivity.

American politicians also joined the festivities. Mayors and governors participated in local parades and showed their support for their constituents. Presidents, obliged to issue an annual proclamation under the 1959 law, did their part too — especially Ronald Reagan, who touted the week’s importance in public speeches. Looking back, Captive Nations Week kept the reality of Communist tyranny at the forefront of the national consciousness…

Since 1989, Captive Nations Week has faded from view. But while the Berlin Wall fell, Communism didn’t. There are still many captive nations across the world, including some that were on the original list.

The 1959 list included countries such as mainland China, Tibet, North Korea, and Vietnam that remain under Communist sway today, as do several countries, such as Laos and Cuba, subsequently added to the list by the congressionally authorized (and now defunct) National Captive Nations Committee. The original law also noted geographic areas, such as the part of Turkestan now called Xinjiang by the Communist People’s Republic of China, which still controls and brutalizes it.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, of which I serve as the executive director, continues to raise awareness about the plight of these countries. Three years ago, we also recognized three new Captive Nations.

The first is Hong Kong. For more than a decade, Communist China has rigged the city’s elections, kidnapped dissidents, dictated school curricula, and engaged in other nefarious activities to undermine the city’s autonomy.

The second is Venezuela, which is captive to Communist Cuba. Cuba’s military and intelligence services help keep Nicolas Maduro in power as the rest of the country descends deeper into poverty, blackouts, hunger, and desperation.

The third comprises the parts of Ukraine, including Crimea, which since 2014 have been illegally occupied by Russia.

This year, we are recognizing another Captive Nation: Nicaragua. Like Venezuela, it is increasingly a satellite state of Cuba.

Every Captive Nation, new or old, deserves the same attention that Captive Nations received in the second half of the 20th Century.

In decades past, Members of Congress introduced a slew of resolutions, gave countless speeches, and participated in nationwide events surrounding Captive Nations Week. They should do so again. Additionally, it has been many years since a president issued a substantial proclamation marking the week, and President Trump should revive that practice.

Sixty years after its establishment, Captive Nations Week offers an important moment to focus on the continued global struggle for freedom.

Comment: In the 2019 Proclamation on Captive Nations Week President Donald Trump declared: …today, many decades since the end of the Cold War unleashed a new era of democratic flourishing, tyrannical and coercive governments still threaten the freedom and well-being of countless individuals worldwide. They persecute people for worshiping their God, and jail people for daring to speak out and for demanding even the most basic forms of transparency and accountability. They use food distribution as a tool of social control, manipulate electoral processes, and undermine the will and spirit of their people through intimidation and fear. The United States stands with repressed people around the world and urges governments everywhere to respect the God-given rights of every individual and to embrace the establishment of representative government.

PROSECUTOR GENERAL RUSLAN RYABOSHAPKA OF UKRAINE WILL REVIEW CASES INVOLVING ENERGY GIANT BURISMA WHERE JOE BIDENS SON HUNTER SERVED ON THE BOARD

October 5, 2019

Fox News on October 4, 2019, reported that Ukraine’s top prosecutor will ”conduct an audir” of cases involving Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian energy giant Burisma. Excerpts below:

Ukraine’s top prosecutor said on October 4 that his office is “conducting an audit” of cases that have been previously investigated and closed, including the probe involving the energy giant Burisma, where Hunter Biden had served on the board.

Ruslan Ryaboshapka, the country’s prosecutor general, said at a news conference that his office was instructed to review cases that have been closed, fragmented or investigated to make sure they were fairly and thoroughly handled.

He said no one attempted to influence him to make the call.

The office plans to review 15 cases that previously were closed, including the Burisma case.

Trump’s key focus has been how Hunter Biden, who reportedly knew little about the energy business and the country, ended up on Burisma’s board while his father was vice president under Barack Obama. The elder Biden later pressured Ukraine to oust a prosecutor who had been looking into the company’s founder, though Biden allies say this intervention was driven by corruption concerns.

It is unclear how much money Hunter Biden made while serving on the board of the firm, but reports have estimated he made up to $50,000 per month — which would be up to $600,000 a year.

Fox News has also obtained notes from an interview Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani conducted—with Yuriy Lutsenko, the former Ukrainian prosecutor who replaced Shokin and eventually closed the Burisma probe. He said he “believes Hunter Biden received millions of dollars in compensation from Burisma,” according to the notes.

Fox News on October 2 reported on notes from another interview Giuliani conducted with Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor Biden helped oust, in which he claimed he was told by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt to back off the Burisma probe. According to interview notes, Shokin claimed Pyatt – currently the ambassador to Greece – told him to handle that investigation “with white gloves.”

Biden has acknowledged on camera that when he was vice president he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin.

The vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion in critical U.S. aid if Shokin was not fired.

Ryaboshapka is considered a reformer and the father of the anti-corruption strategy in Ukraine…

HOUSE REPUBLICANS: SUSPEND THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

October 4, 2019

Fox News on October 4, 2019, reported on Republican demands that the ongoing impeachment inquiry be suspended. Excerpts below:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., sent a letter on October 3, 2019, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calling on her to suspend the impeachment inquiry into President Trump until “equitable rules and procedures” are set up.

Coming amid concerns by GOP lawmakers that they will be sidelined or shut out of the impeachment inquiry into Trump, McCarthy criticized Pelosi for the “swiftness and recklessness” which House committee chairs have proceeded with the impeachment inquiry and pleaded with the House speaker to ensure Republican participation in the proceedings.

“Unfortunately, you have given no clear indication as to how your impeachment inquiry will proceed – including whether key historical precedents or basic standards of due process will be observed,” McCarthy said in his letter. “In addition, the swiftness and recklessness with which you have proceeded has already resulted in committee chairs attempting to limit minority participation in scheduled interviews, calling into question the integrity of such an inquiry.”

McCarthy’s complaint about limiting Republican participation is a reference to reports that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was limiting Republicans’ ability to ask questions during testimony on October 3 by former U.S. envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker.

…McCarthy [in his letter] asked a number of questions, including whether Pelosi plans to hold a full House vote on authorizing the impeachment inquiry, whether she plans to grant subpoena powers to both the committee chairs and the ranking members, and whether she’ll allow Trump’s lawyers to attend the hearings.

The House minority leader’s letter earned him the praise of President Trump, who also took the opportunity to slam the Democrats who opened the impeachment inquiry into him.

McCarthy’s questions come a day after the leading Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, said in a letter to Chairman Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., that despite statements made by Pelosi and other Democrats, “there is not a ‘House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry” because the entire House has not voted on the matter.

Citing House Rules X and XI, McCaul said that until Congress members from both parties vote to create a special impeachment task force to carry out proceedings, “Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff lacks the jurisdiction to investigate the Department of State’s conduct of United States foreign policy toward Ukraine. That prerogative belongs to our Members.”

“Official impeachment inquiries are initiated by the adoption of a House resolution empowering or creating a committee or task force to undertake such activities,” McCaul continued. “In both the Nixon and Clinton cases, the Judiciary Committee debated and reported a resolution authorizing the Judiciary Committee to investigate whether there were sufficient grounds to impeach the President, which was then debated and voted on by the full House of Representatives. There have been no such debates or votes in this Congress.”

NÄR RYSSARNA BRÄNDE NORRTÄLJE – EN VÄRDEFULL HISTORIEBOK

October 3, 2019

Norrtälje är en mindre stad norr om Stockholm men de historiska rötterna är imponerande. Det måste man ha i minnet när man läser bokenJakob Jakobsson och Anna Guttorp, ”Onsdagen den 19 augusti 1719 : dagen då ryssarna brände ner Norrtälje – de som var med berättar”, Norrtälje Biblioteks Förlag, 2019.

Boken skildrar i detalj den katastrof som drabbade Norrtälje för 300 år sedan i augusti 1719. Stora nordiska kriget (1700 – 1721) närmade sig sitt slut och Sveriges försvarsförmåga var dålig. Sommaren 1719 landsattes ryska trupper i Stockholms skärgård. En avdelning härjade och brände längs kusten norrut mot Gävle. Norrtälje brändes ner fullständigt. Det finns ett stort antal tryckta källor som skildrar den ryska terrorn den ödesdigra dagen. Främsta källan är protokollen från den kungliga undersökningskommission som 1725 försökte klarlägga vilka misstag som de ansvariga för försvaret av den svenska kusten begått. Protokollen förvaras i Riksarkivet.

Under det ryska terrorangreppet mot Sverige spreds ett ryskt propagandamanifest av tsar Peter I, som försvarade skälen till att han nu förde ett förstörelsekrig mot befolkningen i Roslagen. I manifestet nämns dock inte Norrtälje eller stadens store son, Rurik, enligt den normandiska skolan stamfader till den fursteätt som styrde Ryssland fram till 1598.

Varför blev Norrtälje målet för förstörelse? En orsak kan vara att man på rysk sida redan då kände till teorierna om att Rurik och varjagerna kom från Roslagen, där Norrtälje var ett regionalt centrum. För propagandan i Ryssland kan det säkert ha varit viktigt att visa att nu hade man förstört Norrtälje, ett centrum för tesen om varjagerledaren Rurik från Sverige

”De jagade bort varjagerna över havet och gav dem ingen skatt och började själv härska. Men det fanns ingen rätt bland dem och släkt reste sig mot släkt och det blev inbördes kamp emellan dem och de började kriga mot sig själva. Och de sade till varandra: ’Låt oss söka oss en furste som skall härska över oss och döma rätt.’ Och de drog över havet till varjagerna…’Vårt land är stort och rikt, men det finns ingen ordning i det. Kom och var furstar över oss.’ Och man valde tre bröder med deras släkter och de tog med sig alla… Den äldste, Rurik, bosatte sig i Novgorod, den andre Sineus, bosatte sig i Beloozero, och den tredje, Truvor, i Izborsk.” (Nestorskrönikan (1998); översatt av Gabriella Oxenstierna; Brutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion, Stehag, Skåne).

Statyn med Ruriks skepp i Norrtälje minner om den stora striden om varjagerna och Roslagen inom historieskrivningen. Skildringarna i den ovan citerade Nestorskrönikan påminner om den fornisländska litteraturen. I början av krönikan finns flera kärva dialoger av sagotyp.

Inkallandet av Rurik

Den stora och omtvistade frågan är inkallandet av Rurik och hans bröder med deras släkter för att göra slut på det kaos som härskade i Rus’ år 862.

På ena sidan står den normandiska teorin som accepterar det svenska ursprunget (numera finns det dessutom omfattande arkeologiska bevis i Novgorodområdet som styrker den normandiska teorin). De ryska och östeuropeiska anti-normandisterna bestrider häftigt Roslagsursprunget och hävdar ett slaviskt ursprung. Det finns också en tredje tes, den gotiska, som utvecklats av den svenske historikern och antikvarien Stefan Söderlind (1911 – 2003). Goterna hade på 200-talet e.Kr. bosatt sig norr om Svarta Havet, där de grundade ett stort kungarike, som hade sin största utsträckning under kung Ermanarik strax före hunnernas angrepp på Europa.

Rus’ rötter – en olöst gåta

Ordet Rus’ rötter har också varit omstritt. Antinormandisterna har lagt fram en rad teorier om Rus slaviska ursprung och bakgrund. Oavsett striderna om Rus’, Ruriks och Rysslands grundande finns det onekligen ett skandinaviskt inflytande i norra Ryssland vid tiden för Kyivrikets grundande (det ukrainska namnet på Kiev i Ukraina). Debatten kommer att gå vidare i Ryssland, Ukraina och i väst. Det är en värdefull debatt och kan kanske så småningom leda fram till en lösning.

Den normandiska teorins grundare

En föregångare till 1800-talets normandiska teori var den svenske forskaren J. Thunman med sin bok ”Untersuchungen über die alte Geschichte einiger Nordischen Völker” (1772). Medlemmen av den ryska vetenskapsakademin F.H. Strube de Pyrmont framlade teser om det gotiska ursprunget av Rhos/Rus i ”Disserations sur les anciens Russes” (1785) (om det gotiska ursprunget se nedan). Till sist kan den tyske forskaren A.L. Schlözer med bidraget Nestor i ”Russische Annalen 1-5” (1802 – 1809) nämnas.

Det var dock först på 1800-talet som den danske professorn V.Thomsen närmare utvecklade teorin om det skandinaviska ursprunget (på engelska har verket titeln ”The Relations between Ancient Russia and Scandinavia and the Origin of the Russian State”; Oxford/London 1877.

Fornminnesföreningen i Norrtälje

Att varjagerna kom från Roslagen lär idag vara tämligen oomstritt. När statyn med Rurikskeppet invigdes 1974 i Norrtälje (konstnär Clarence Blum) hänvisade adjunkten Lennart Jansson i en historisk återblick till sin företrädare på posten som ordförande i fornminnesföreningen, P.M. Lijsing. Denne hade pekat på sjön Erken, som betyder ”den klara sjön” och gården Vitsjö vid stranden. Nära varjagerleden i norra Ryssland ligger Bjelozero, som betyder vit, klar sjö. Ruriks bror, Sineus, lär ha slagit sig ner i den trakten, där det också har påträffats stora vikingagravfält.

Några slutsatser

I en skrift som publicerades i samband med den stora utställningen ”Vikingarnas Ryssland” i Sigtuna 1994 konstaterades att nordbor i allmänhet i Nestorskrönikan kallades varjager, vilket motsvarar det nordiska väringar. Det senare anses komma från ”var”, en språkstam som har med trohet att göra. Här konstateras att Rurik motsvarar det nordiska namnet Rörik och Truvor (en Rurikbroder) Torvard. De äldsta gravfynden i norra Ryssland av skandinavisk typ härrör från 800-talets mitt och de finns i Ladogaområdet, kring Volgas övre lopp och vid Peipussjön. Enligt traditionen skall Rörik ha byggt ett fäste söder om Novgorod, Gorodisce (den gamla borgen). Rurik hade med sig ett par Roslagshövdingar, Askold (Höskuld) och Dir (Dyre). Dessa seglade enligt myten vidare till Konstantinopel (Miklagård).

Förstörelsen av Norrtälje är en del av det stora nordiska krigets historia. Föga uppmärksammat är att den ukrainske statschefen Filip Orlik med exilregeringregering vistades i Stockholm under 1719 och 1720. Deras bostad hölls hemlig av regeringen på grund av det ryska hotet mot Stockholm under sommaren 1719.

Ryssarna kom till Norrtäljeviken i 14 fartyg. De landsteg på tidiga eftermiddagen och vid femtiden var staden utplånad och ryssarna hade gett sig iväg. Kvar fanns de hemlösa Norrtäljeborna.

Köp och läs boken om Norrtäljes tragiska öde. Den förtjänar en plats i alla svenska bibliotek som en påminnelse om att ryska trupper en sommar drev krig mot civilbefolkningen i Sverige. Ett liknande öde drabbade en gång fiskebyn Råå söder om Helsingborg under ett av de kommande rysk-svenska krigen under 1700-talet.