Incoming FBI Director Cristopher Wray has stated that he would be interested in investigating links between officials of the Ukrainian regime and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
With evidence mounting that high level officials in Kiev actively worked with the Clinton campaign to try and influence US voters, it is imperative that any future investigation isn’t whitewashed simply because Kiev’s tactics failed to win the election for Clinton.
Although the investigation into Donald Trump’s non-existent links with Russia have unsurprisingly come up with virtually nothing of interest, the methods of the investigation ought to be examined and replicated where necessary in a future Ukraine-Clinton investigation.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the so-called Russiagate investigation is that seemingly anyone connected to Donald Trump who ever had a conversation with a Russian, irrespective of their lack of involvement in Russian politics, is a person of interest to investigators.
The same tactics could be accurately applied to an investigation into Clinton and the Democratic party’s links with Ukraine.
Here are the people that ought to be questioned.
1. Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden is the youngest son of Barack Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden. In April of 2014, just two months after the February coup in Kiev, Joe Biden visited Ukraine where he gave a tub-thumping speech about the need for the Ukrainian regime to rely less on Russian gas supplies.
Weeks later, Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Ukraine’s largest private sector gas company, Burisma.
While many spoke of a prima facie conflict of interest in the appointment, the US mainstream media’s favourable stance towards the Obama administration meant that the story never saw the light of day.
The issue remains prescient, especially in light of allegations regarding wide spread Ukrainian collusion with the Democratic party in respect of the 2016 election.
2. Joe Biden
The timing of Joe Biden’s anti-Russian Ukrainian gas speech and his son’s appointment to the board of a major Ukrainian energy company necessarily means that the former American Vice President is a person of interest.
No one could reasonably believe that the proximate timing of the former VP’s speech and his son’s appointment to the board of Burisma was coincidental.
This is a matter which speaks of itself.
3. Alexandra Chalupa
For over 10 years, Chalupa, a US citizen of Ukrainian origin worked for the Democratic party. It has been established that she had multiple meetings at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington D.C. in order to dig up dirt on former Trump campaign worker Paul Manafort.
Chalupa claims that her visits to the Ukrainian Embassy were for unrelated endeavours. Her word should not be take at face value. Her interactions with foreign officials in relation to the 2016 US election should be fully investigated.
4. John McCain
Unlike Chalupa, McCain is not a Democrat, McCain has more political ties to Ukraine than anyone in the US Senate. His position as a former Presidential candidate and a strong critic of Donald Trump makes him a person of interest.
McCain is something of a fanatic when it comes to the Ukraine issue. Prior to the coup of February 2014, McCain was frequently pictured in Kiev with many extremist and fascist leaders who actively participated in the coup.
McCain recently visited Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko along with troops loyal to the regime during the 2016/2017 New Year’s holiday.
This visit, just weeks before Donald Trump’s inauguration ought to be thoroughly investigated as well as McCain’s other connections to a plethora of Ukrainian politicians, leaders, business and military figures.
For these reasons and because of McCain’s increasingly dubious role in allegedly leaking the so-called ‘Urinegate’ dossier to the media, he is clearly a person of interest.
5. Maxine Waters
Maxine Waters is a Democratic Congresswoman from Los Angeles whose anti-Russian rhetoric is vile and at times incoherent, but nevertheless protected by free speech.
It is not clear if Waters has any direct connections with Ukrainian authorities, but an innocent prank call by the Russian comic callers Vovan and Lexus to Waters, reveals that she is highly susceptible to anti-Russian propaganda. The fact she engaged with the prank callers, seemingly believing that they were officials from Kiev, means that Waters ought to be questioned about any real calls she may have taken from actual Ukrainian regime officials.
For those who believe that Waters is far removed from the sandal, one ought to be reminded that political commentator Alex Jones has been accused by Hillary Clinton of being a Russian agent. It was later confirmed by Jones and other media outlets that the FBI is currently investigating whether Jones’s platform InfoWars as well as Breitbart had direct links with Russia.
InfoWars and Breitbart can hardly be considered Russophile outlets, but the fact remains that Waters has said far more in favour of Ukraine than InfoWars or Breitbart have of Russia.
What’s good for the goose is good for a much more prominent gander.
5. Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham was a Trump opponent before it became fashionable in certain quarters. During the Republican primary, Donald Trump read out Graham’s private phone number and encouraged his supporters to ring up the Senator.
Graham was furious with Trump and later had to change his phone number.
When it comes to being a US Senator with close ties to the Ukrainian regime, only John McCain has more than Graham. Graham indeed accompanied McCain to Ukraine on his infamous New Year’s excursion and has close personal contacts with many individuals in Kiev.
For the same reasons McCain should be of interest to anyone who wants to unearth the extent of Ukrainian interference in American democracy, Graham ought to be on the list too.
While the proliferation of war crimes, including the use of chemical weapons on civilian targets by the Ukrainian regime is consistently ignored by the western mainstream media, there is another long-term problem that is if anything, being silenced in an even more sinister manner. It is a problem that could cause suffering not only to the people and the environment within Ukraine’s current borders but also those far beyond.
Over 31 years after the Chernobyl disaster, Ukrainian authorities are displaying an irresponsible attitude to the safety of nuclear power facilities that could cause another Chernobyl style disaster.
In 2016, the The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Euratom loaned Ukraine €300 million each as part of a safety upgrade of Ukraine’s ageing nuclear reactors.
12 of Ukraine’s 15 active nuclear reactors will be deemed unsafe to operate by 2020. In order to meet the deadline, the safety upgrades should have been completed by 2017. As things stand, the upgrades have barely started.
Ukrainian nuclear safety campaigner Irina Holovko described the situation in the following way,
“The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Euratom – each extended EUR 300 million in loans for improving the safety of Ukraine’s 12 nuclear energy units – had also practically acknowledged, that in their current condition, these Soviet-era nuclear reactors are a serious risk for both Ukraine and its neighbours.
Over the next four years these ageing nuclear reactors will reach the end of their original lifespan, but the government in Kiev is as keen as ever to use the EU’s financial support to keep them going for at least ten extra years.
And indeed, rather than helping Ukraine to retire its nuclear fleet and chart a new, sustainable energy course, Europe is now knowingly helping perpetuate a profoundly precarious energy source.
Nearly a quarter of European public money invested in Ukraine’s energy sector between 2007 and 2014 has gone into nuclear energy generation, concentrated in the hands of state-owned operator Energoatom. The European financiers were hoping to be able to positively influence the nuclear regulatory framework in the country, but have so far failed to act on a governmental decree in effect since January 2015 that bars SNRIU, the state nuclear regulator, from initiating inspections in nuclear facilities. This decree was issued a mere month after the EBRD gave the green light for the disbursement of its loan’s first tranche.
One year on, the Ukrainian government’s irrational fixation on nuclear energy means it does not even stop to consider alternatives. And even worse, Ukraine is consistently overlooking its legal obligations under both international treaties and the conditions to the loans it has received.
In May, when unit 2 at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant exceeded its design lifetime, it was taken off the grid. Unit 1 in the same nuclear power plant has already been operating beyond its original operational deadline since 2013, even though an independent expert study released in April this year determined the nuclear reactor has critical vulnerabilities due to substantial wear. When the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine, a Bankwatch member organisation, commented on the news about unit 2, Energoatom filed a libel lawsuit against us.
And the Ukrainian authorities appear to be quite consistent. In early December, South Ukraine’s unit 2 became the fourth to have its expiry date rewritten and was swiftly switched on again. The fact it had at least ten safety issues of the highest priority still pending did not seem to bother the SNRIU’s board, and addressing them has been postponed for 2016-2017.
The day before last Christmas another nuclear unit reached its original expiry date and was shut down. This time it was unit 1 in the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, barely 250 kilometres from the front lines of the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine. But in its meeting a week earlier the SNRIU’s board clarified that, once again, this is merely a technical intermission after which it will approve a similar lifetime extension. This could happen as soon as March 31, probably regardless of the state of safety improvements.
One might think that the Ukrainian authorities are equally in rush to guarantee the safety of these nuclear units, or that perhaps European involvement would help ensure that all safety upgrades are implemented fully and in a timely manner.
But, apparently, not if the Ukrainian government considers this a hurdle in its nuclear energy race. The deadline for the implementation of the European-financed program was agreed to be 2017. Yet, earlier this year the government decided to move this deadline to 2020 without the approval of the program’s financiers.
It is then no wonder that, even though the Ukrainian authorities receive support from EU taxpayer money for its hasty nuclear adventure, they blatantly ignore international treaties. The Aarhus and Espoo Conventions oblige Ukraine to carry out transboundary environmental impact assessments and consult neighbouring countries which could be affected by projects of this kind before permitting lifetime extension. In fact, several EU governments and the European Commission have already expressed their concerns to their Ukrainian counterparts.
The current government has been elected primarily with the mandate of fostering tighter relations with the EU. Keeping these outdated nuclear reactors at once condemns Ukraine to decades of unsustainable energy, and jeopardises the safety of both Ukrainians and their neighbours. The ball is now in Ukraine’s court because real solidarity is based on mutuality”.
Many suggest that the so-called safety upgrades, even if implemented on time (according to the new self-set extended timeline) and thoroughly, would still be insufficient due to the advanced age and outdated technology of the 12 reactors in question. Bankwatch have suggested that the entire process violates UN conventions on nuclear power safety.
The response of the authorities in Kiev has been dismissive and patronising. While they admit that the project was supposed to be complete by 2017 at the latest, they blame the delays on the coup which transpired in Kiev in 2014.
A statement from Gregoriy Plachkov, the deputy director of investment and long-term development at Energoatom, the state owned nuclear energy company of Ukraine, dismissed concerns over the delays in safety upgrades in the following way during a brief statement from 2015,
“The project began in 2011 … we were supposed to complete it in 2017, but unfortunately, due to the fact that the European credit came into force only this year – due to a change of government and bureaucracy – we are now engaged in a change to the timing of this program and we hope that it will be implemented before the end of 202”.
Others yet have pointed out the dangers of Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporozhye being located in close proximity to the Donbass war-zone.
Sergey Shygyn, the chief specialist for nuclear reactors at Zaporozhye nuclear power plant has publicly admitted that Zaporozhye was not designed to withstand the conditions of war. Incidentally, not long after the post-coup regime took power an accident occurred at Zaporozhye.
With many of the necessary parts and equipment necessary to repair and maintain Ukraine’s ageing reactors only being available in Russia and considering the regime’s refusal to do business with Moscow, things begin to look even more troublesome.
International authorities reacted to the concerns of environmental and nuclear safety activists by holding a recent meeting of parties to the Espoo convention for environmental safety behind closed doors.
The Ukrainian regime has frequently played political football with issues of local and global public safety. The regime in Kiev had the last clear chance to avert the MH-17 disaster by re-routing the civilian aircraft away from what was a known war-zone where rockets capable of shooting down such a plane were known to be in operation. The regime was and is so hellbent on hiding the true violent nature of their war of aggression on Donbass, that they were willing to risk civilian life in order to prove that the region was safe when it clearly was not. They took a gamble and lives were taken as a result.
Can a regime which routs a civilian aircraft over a war-zone where anti-aircraft missiles are present be trusted with nuclear safety? Can a regime which uses chemical weapons on civilian targets be trusted with nuclear safety? Perhaps most importantly, can a regime which cavalierly delays the safety upgrades of nuclear reactors that many say should be permanently shut down due to safety concerns be trusted with nuclear safety?
The clear answer is no. Even if one agreed with the fascist ideology of the regime, one ought to consider how dangerous it is for the wider world for nuclear safety to be in such deeply corrupt and irresponsible hands.
The Chernobyl disaster took place within the modern borders of Ukraine. One might have surmised that Ukraine’s rulers would have learnt the lessons of Chernobyl more than any in the world. As it turns out, they seem to have learned the least.