Monday, September 25, 2023

Crazy When You Think About It


So, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies are rightly outraged that a former Waffen SS fighter got a standing ovation in Canada's House of Parliament:

A top Canadian lawmaker apologized on Sunday for honoring Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian man who fought for a notorious Nazi military unit during World War II.

Anthony Rota, speaker of Canada's House of Commons and a member of the Liberal Party, hailed Hunka during a ceremony late last week as "a Ukrainian hero" and "a Canadian hero" who fought for "Ukrainian independence against the Russians" and "continues to support the troops today."

Canadian lawmakers in attendance gave Hunka a standing ovation, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy—who had just delivered a speech to the House of Commons—"raised a fist during the applause," NBC Newsreported.

Rota's description of Hunka—who fought in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi SS—sparked outrage, with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies saying in a statement that "the fact that a veteran who served in a Nazi military unit was invited to and given a standing ovation in Parliament is shocking."


In response to the backlash, Rota issued a statement saying he has "become aware of more information" that leads him to "regret" the decision to recognize Hunka.

"I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them," said Rota. "This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding and having been brought to my attention. I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. I accept full responsibility for my actions."

It would be nice if everyone involved in this debacle (including the media reporting on it) would realize that this is the natural end-point to this insanity.  Here's a blast from the past from the late, great Robert Parry about the beginnings of this crisis:

If you wonder how the world could stumble into World War III much as it did into World War I a century ago all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire U.S. political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats vs. black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.  

The original lie behind Official Washington’s latest “group think” was that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis in Ukraine as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim the territory of the defunct Soviet Union, including Estonia and other Baltic states. Though not a shred of U.S. intelligence supported this scenario, all the “smart people” of Washington just “knew” it to be true.

Yet, the once-acknowledged though soon forgotten reality was that the crisis was provoked last year by the European Union proposing an association agreement with Ukraine while U.S. neocons and other hawkish politicos and pundits envisioned using the Ukraine gambit as a way to undermine Putin inside Russia.


To believe that Putin was indeed the mastermind of the crisis, you would have to think that he somehow arranged to have the EU offer the association agreement last year, then got the International Monetary Fund to attach such draconian “reforms” that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from the deal.

Then, Putin had to organize mass demonstrations at Kiev’s Maidan square against Yanukovych while readying neo-Nazi militias to act as the muscle to finally overthrow the elected president and replace him with a regime dominated by far-right Ukrainian nationalists and U.S.-favored technocrats. Next, Putin had to get the new government to take provocative actions against ethnic Russians in the east, including threatening to outlaw Russian as an official language.

And throw into this storyline that Putin all the while was acting like he was trying to help Yanukovych defuse the crisis and even acquiesced to Yanukovych agreeing on Feb. 21 to accept an agreement brokered by three European countries calling for early Ukrainian elections that could vote him out of office. Instead, Putin was supposedly ordering neo-Nazi militias to oust Yanukovych in a Feb. 22 putsch, all the better to create the current crisis.

While such a fanciful scenario would make the most extreme conspiracy theorist blush, this narrative was embraced by prominent U.S. politicians, including ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and “journalists” from The New York Times to CNN. They all agreed that Putin was a madman on a mission of unchecked aggression against his neighbors with the goal of reconstituting the Russian Empire. Clinton even compared him to Adolf Hitler.

This founding false narrative was then embroidered by a consistent pattern of distorted U.S. reporting as the crisis unfolded. Indeed, for the past eight months, we have seen arguably the most one-sided coverage of a major international crisis in memory, although there were other crazed MSM stampedes, such as Iraq’s non-existent WMD in 2002-03, Iran’s supposed nuclear bomb project for most of the past decade, Libya’s “humanitarian crisis” of 2011, and Syria’s sarin gas attack in 2013.

But the hysteria over Ukraine with U.S. officials and editorialists now trying to rally a NATO military response to Russia’s alleged “invasion” of Ukraine raises the prospect of a nuclear confrontation that could end all life on the planet.


In another example, the Post and other mainstream U.S. outlets have ridiculed the idea that neo-Nazis played any significant role in the putsch that ousted Yanukovych on Feb. 22 or in the Kiev regime’s brutal offensive against the ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine.

However, occasionally, the inconvenient truth has slipped through. For instance, shortly after the February coup, the BBC described how the neo-Nazis spearheaded the violent seizure of government buildings to drive Yanukovych from power and were then rewarded with four ministries in the regime that was cobbled together in the coup’s aftermath.

When ethnic Russians in the south and east resisted the edicts from the new powers in Kiev, some neo-Nazi militias were incorporated into the National Guard and dispatched to the front lines as storm troopers eager to fight and kill people whom some considered “Untermenschen” or sub-human.

Even The New York Times, which has been among the most egregious violators of journalistic ethics in covering the Ukraine crisis, took note of Kiev’s neo-Nazi militias carrying Nazi banners while leading attacks on eastern cities albeit with this embarrassing reality consigned to the last three paragraphs of a long Times story on a different topic. [See Consortium News’s “NYT Discovers Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis at War.”]

Later, the conservative London Daily Telegraph wrote a much more detailed story about how the Kiev regime had consciously recruited these dedicated storm troopers, who carried the Wolfsangel symbol favored by Hitler’s SS, to lead street fighting in eastern cities that were first softened up by army artillery. [See Consortium News‘s “Ignoring Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers.”]

You might think that unleashing Nazi storm troopers on a European population for the first time since World War II would be a big story given how much coverage is given to far less significant eruptions of neo-Nazi sentiment in Europe but this ugly reality in Ukraine disappeared quickly into the U.S. media’s memory hole. It didn’t fit the preferred good guy/bad guy narrative, with the Kiev regime the good guys and Putin the bad guy.

Now, The Washington Post has gone a step further dismissing Putin’s reference to the nasty violence inflicted by Kiev’s neo-Nazi battalions as part of Putin’s “Big Lie.” The Post is telling its readers that any reference to these neo-Nazis is just a “fantasy.”

Even more disturbing, the mainstream U.S. news media and Washington’s entire political class continue to ignore the Kiev government’s killing of thousands of ethnic Russians, including children and other non-combatants. The “responsibility to protect” crowd has suddenly lost its voice. Or, all the deaths are somehow blamed on Putin for supposedly having provoked the Ukraine crisis in the first place.

As I've been pointing out consistently, these Ukrainian nazis are just the caucasian version of the radical Arab jihaadists that the USA uses to work its twisted will in places like Syria and Libya.  Because such men are the sort of violent psychopathic shit-heads that are the only sort of human swill that can be manipulated to kill on the Washington imperialists' behalf.

If the Simon Wiesenthal Center wanted to be consistent it could have also condemned Canada's CURRENT support for Ukrainian nazis fighting Russia.  And all our MP's should pull their heads out of their asses and end Canada's complicity in this evil insanity.


Purple library guy said...

This Anthony Rota guy must be a total moron. My wife told me about this yesterday, and when she got to the part where they brought in this 98 year old guy who fought the Russians back when I was like "Hang on. A Ukrainian fighting the Russians NOW is honourable enough, if tragic and probably futile. But a Ukrainian fighting the Russians BACK THEN--wouldn't that be in WW II, and wouldn't that mean they were fighting FOR the Nazis?" This was my immediate, one-second reaction, before she said yup, that did turn out to be the problem.

So I mean fine, he was too dumb to vet the guy before doing the photo op, but you'd think an alarm bell would ring if he just had an extremely basic knowledge of history. But no, apparently if we are at war with EastAsia that means we have ALWAYS been at war with EastAsia.

thwap said...


Not just Rota. His whole fucking office and whoever approved putting that ovation before Parliament. Every single air-head ignoramus.

But then, what is to be expected from people who are happily arming and training genuine nazis TODAY?

The ignorance of history, the ignorance of the present, the self-delusion, the arrogance, the mental laziness. It's not surprising to me anymore. But it still gets me down.

[Truth be told, I can find more sympathy for a Ukrainian siding with "the Germans" to fight the Russians, when the Holdomor was only ten years in the past, than I do with a Ukrainian joining the Banderite movement today. Somebody in the 1940's shouldn't have been expected to grasp the consequences of such a decision in 1941 or 1942. Which isn't to deny the complicity of any enthusiastic anti-Semites in the conquered territories in the east in pogroms or anything.]

Troy said...

By 1941-42, the Nazi death machine was red lining its motor, pushing hard into overdrive, and the SS were at the forefront of all this.

By this point, there was no other purpose to the SS other than its genocidal program. It didn't take much effort on the German Nazi's part to convince scores of Ukranians to join them in pushing this forward as the property of Jewish people was too incentivizing to pass up.

Every Ukranian in service at the time would've known what was happening. It was simply that widespread by then. The SS were chasing Jewish people from the cities into the countryside by then, and literally hunting them down house to house for slaughter. In Ukraine, there was no need for subterfuge or disguising their program. They merely had to use bullets, and a great many of them did they use. It would've been utterly impossible to ignore.

thwap said...


I based my opinion on the notion that news didn't travel all that fast at the time and the Ukraine is a vast area. I figured a Ukrainian who hated the Russians might have first welcomed the Germans as Germans and not as nazis. There wasn't a lot of news about the outside world that penetrated the Soviet Union before Hitler's invasion.

I'm aware that Ukrainian auxilliaries assisted in the "Holocaust by Bullets" of that time. Such as at places like Babi Yar. I still thought it was possible for a young man to have signed-up with "the Germans" without being aware of the wider ramifications.

But I don't pretend to be an expert on this subject.

Regardless; if they didn't know then (which you argue pretty convincingly was unlikely) we certainly should know better now. And yet here we are arming nazis to fight Russians and thinking ourselves wonderful for doing so.

Cap said...

Does the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies have information that wasn't shared with the Nuremberg Tribunal or the Deschênes Commission? If so, they should make that public before smearing the name of Yaroslav Hunka, an 98-year-old veteran who travelled from North Bay to Ottawa at parliament's invitation.

The FSWCHS argument seems to be that Ukrainian soldiers were in the Waffen SS, the Waffen SS committed atrocities, so the Ukrainians committed atrocities. The trouble with this guilt-by-association argument is that there's no evidence that Hunka himself committed any atrocities. In fact, the Nuremberg Tribunal investigated the First Ukrainian Division, aka the Galicia Division of the Waffen SS, and found the unit not guilty of any war crimes.

Forty years later, Canada launched an investigation into the alleged presence of Nazi war criminals who had immigrated after World War II, commonly known as the Deschênes Commission. After conducting extensive hearings over nearly two years, interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence, the Deschênes Commission concluded that none of the members of the First Ukrainian Division who settled in Canada were guilty of war crimes during World War II.

So, it seems to me that everyone involved in this dogpile owes Mr. Hunka an apology for smearing his good name without producing a shred of new evidence. That goes double for Rota and the Liberal party, who as hosts, presumably did their due diligence before inviting him and have a duty to defend their guest's good name.

thwap said...


I wrote a lengthy reply with embedded links n' everything but it disappeared.

Here's the link:

I'm too tired to re-write what I said. Basically Rota should have known the basics of what Hunka's story was if he didn't want to embarrass himself. Or, as you say, defend his decision.

But if we're going to apologize for applauding Hunka, then we shouldn't be supporting Ukrainian Banderites today.

Troy said...

Some levity in regards to Simon Wiesenthal: Simon Wiesenthal and the Ethics of History. Anything shared by Simon Weisenthal and his friends should probably be taken with a huge grain of salt. His heart was probably in the right place but his methodology mainly consisted of taking credit for others' work and generally getting underfoot. That there's an entire organization dedicated to his work and methodology is incredibly disconcerting.

It is also important to remember, the German SS by the early 1940's were eschewing paperwork and simply doing the killing (re: "The Holocaugt by Bullets"). It isn't that the Nazi's and Nazi collaborators were cleared of any wrong doing but rather as any and all paperwork was never done, destroyed, or disappeared to hide the proceeds of the crimes in Ukraine that proving beyond a shadow of doubt complicity in the crime was and still is incredibly difficult (however, I'd mainly argue Canada being a white supremacist colonial state was fairly lenient toward Nazis and their collaborators, and that is the reason so many Ukrainians with dodgy records were allowed entry (or IOW, Canadian authorities were bending over backwards and covering their eyes and ears to ignore the histories of the "veterans" they were letting into Canada)).

However, Canadian law has changed —and improved— since then. When it comes to Crimes Against Humanity, cognizance itself (when the person charged was in a position to refuse orders) is now enough to prove complicity (re: Mugesera v. Canada). Nowadays, Canada would be well within its rights to deport Hunta and his ilk as soon as possible. This is doubly worse when it comes to Hunta as he was an SS volunteer: snitches and thugs in the service of the Nazi secret police, charged with executing Hitler's personal policies of genocide of the "enemies to the German state", which were Jewish, Roma, LGBT+, and so on. Cognizance is easily provable simply by virtue of his affiliation; he was an SS volunteer and likely had knowledge of the ongoing crimes.