U.S. Funds Ukrainian Organization That Creates List of U.S. Citizens Opposing Weapons to Ukraine

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, June 9, 2024

Here’s a list produced by a Ukrainian group with limited knowledge of the United States, a group that is listed as an “Implementing Partner” of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services (TAPAS) Project.

I find it unfortunate to read my name on a list of supposed opponents of something good for Ukraine, because I wish everyone in Ukraine peace, safety, freedom, and prosperity. The sole criterion for the list is apparently opposing dumping more U.S. money into weapons for a war in Ukraine. It doesn’t matter if you oppose spending money on anything and everything and war is just one of those things, or if you oppose all sides of all wars and the Ukrainian side of a war is just one of those. This last category, the one I’m in, is presumably what the list makers mean by “peace activists” — which they presumably put into quotation marks to express the belief that the best path to peace is through war.

But this whole idea is odd for a number of reasons.

1) Roughly half of people in polling in the United States oppose spending more money on weapons for Ukraine — and this despite the pollsters universally calling the spending “aid” with no mention of weapons. Are half the people of the United States enemies of the good and noble cause, according to the people in the U.S. government who fund this sort of list making?

2) The U.S. government generally pretends to care so little what anyone in the U.S. public thinks, that if someone were to ask the U.S. spokesperson at any agency press briefing about this list, he or she would be guaranteed to claim never to have heard of either the list or just about anyone on the list. I’m just back from a huge rally that surrounded the White House on June 8th in opposition to more murderous “aid” to Israel, and the U.S. government has neither made nor to my knowledge been asked to make any comment on the event. Yet the very same government works closely with the Israeli government and organizations that are generally too slick to put out sloppy lists of opponents, instead labeling any peace advocates “anti-Semites.” While the U.S. government will take credit neither for that operation nor for this Ukrainian list, nobody in the U.S. government is likely to denounce it. In fact eight years ago, the Washington Post promoted a similar list.

3) Both I and the organization I direct, World BEYOND War, which is also on the list, oppose the very idea of enemies, advocate negotiation, discussion, and compromise, promote the use of active nonviolent unarmed civilian defense, and have long said virtually everything that the makers of such lists are likely to demand be said: Russia’s warmaking is immoral and illegal, Russia should get the hell out of Ukraine, Russian criminals — like those from everywhere else — should be put on trial, etc.

4) Our Board Member in Ukraine Yurii Sheliazhenko is facing trial on June 11 and the possibility of 5 years in prison for speaking in support of peace in Ukraine. Yurii has been formally charged by the Ukrainian government with the crime of justifying Russian aggression. The evidence is this statement which explicitly condemns Russian aggression.

5) The facts suggest that Ukraine is harmed, not helped, by endless weapons shipments.

In March 2022, after negotiations mediated by Turkey, it appeared that Russia was ready to withdraw from Ukraine if Ukraine would commit to not joining NATO. Ukraine was prepared to agree and end in one month the war that has now dragged on for years. But well-sourced news reports show that the U.S. and UK told Ukraine to refuse the deal and keep the war going.

In late 2023, Russia proposed new negotiations — to include the United States this time, since it was calling the shots. The U.S. government refused.

Now Russia has indicated it wants a ceasefire on the current frontlines. The U.S. could allow Ukraine to sit down and negotiate — and to make a counter offer to Russia. The U.S. could indicate to Ukraine that there is a limit to the supply of free weapons. Ukraine is already realizing that there is a limit to the men it can conscript to do the fighting. As desperation increases on both sides and the risk of nuclear war reaches new heights, surely a step back from the madness of militarism is long since overdue.

Instead, the Secretary General of NATO publicly told the U.S. government to allow Ukraine to use U.S. weapons to attack inside Russia, something that Russia claimed was already happening, and the U.S. government agreed.

We must urgently pressure the U.S. government away from courting apocalypse and delaying necessary negotiations while the death toll mounts. As experts have delcared since the beginning, this war is “unwinnable” by either side. There is no military solution. I know that disagrees with the position of those supporting either side of the war, but it persists in being true anyway.

Of course, I may be mistaken. Part of not labeling people enemies is opening oneself up to listening to them with the possibility of being persuaded.

6) Opponents of the Ukrainian side of the war are not only imagined to be loyal to Russia but to be paid mercenaries for the Russian government. Yet, when the Russian military tried to pay me to publish its propaganda, I didn’t just refuse, but publicly exposed them. Not because I want to be paid to publish Ukrainian propaganda, but because I will always refuse to be paid to publish anything for anyone.

7) When top scientists and observers keep warning that we are closer than ever to a nuclear war — a threat to all life on Earth — what ever one does to increase that risk makes one an opponent of humanity. While Ukrainians and Russians are exactly as valuable as everyone else, most everyone else gets forgotten and treated as worthless if we consider a nuclear-risking war in only local terms.

Of course, I fully understand the tendency to label anyone who opposes a cause dear to one’s heart, a cause one believes is life-and-death for many, as an opponent who should go on a list. There’s hardly a Hollywood movie or a U.S. television show that doesn’t model this. A huge percentage of the people at yesterday’s peace rally at the White House, I’m afraid, did not want peacemaking, but the successful killing of Israelis. But the fact that something is so widespread as to be a challenge to think outside of doesn’t make it universal or required or a good idea. We’ve created a massive website aimed at helping people understand better alternatives:

One Response

  1. WBW should not be concerned at being mentioned in the research about the behaviour of an ugly, aggressive and corrupt state that is trying to drag the world into WW3. Perhaps the ugliest feature is their attempt to paint US legislators as Moscow fellow travellers because they exercised their right to vote as they saw fit on funding for Ukraine. I hope you send the piece to the legislators concerned and urge them to get very vocal about it, including by inviting the Ukrainian Ambassador to appear before Congressional Committees. I imagine Ukraine has done the same thing with Irish opponents of the war so I am going to tweet your piece to our foreign Ministry.

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