Obama and Kerry Ignore U.S. Law on Aiding Ukraine Coup Leaders

Russia’s Foreign Ministry and ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych have correctly pointed out that the decision by the Obama administration to provide U.S. economic assistance to Ukraine’s coup leaders is a direct violation of U.S. laws designed to ensure that juntas, which overthrow democratically-elected governments, are not rewarded with U.S. taxpayers’ money in the form of grants, loan guarantees, and other economic and/or military assistance.

The original Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 forbidding such assistance was signed into law on September 4, 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. However, as with President Barack Obama’s and Secretary of State John Kerry’s decision to provide Ukraine’s coup-installed government with $1 billion in loan guarantees, the Public Law 87-195’s enforcement has been subject to inconsistent application by a number of U.S. administrations, including the present one… Obama, like Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before him, have been «artful dodgers» in granting waivers outside the scope of the letter and spirit of the Foreign Assistance Act to some countries where it was later discovered that U.S. intelligence played a part in the coups.

The election of Yanukovych on February 14, 2010 over his opponent, the coup-supporting Yulia Tymoshenko, was deemed «free and fair» by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Ukrainian Central Election Commission certified the results of the vote, which saw Yanukovych best Tymoshenko 48.9 percent to 45.4 percent. Yanukovych received congratulations from President Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

On March 11, the Russian Foreign Ministry released the following statement:«…in accordance with the amendments introduced to the 1961 law (Foreign Assistance Act) a few years ago the provision of foreign assistance is prohibited to ‘the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.’ The relevant provision is contained in 22 US Code § 8422… Thus, by all criteria the provision of funds to the illegitimate [Ukrainian] regime, which seized power by force, is unlawful and goes beyond the boundaries of the US legal system».

It cannot be emphasized more that there are no presidential or national security waivers under the terms of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Any such waivers are conducted unconstitutionally by the U.S. president and in violation of federal law.

The Foreign Assistance Act also stipulates that economic assistance to a nation suffering a coup can only be restored after the nation returns to rule by a democratically-elected government.

It is now more than obvious that the CIA, using various non-profit front organizations, including George Soros’s Open Society Institute/Foundation and Renaissance Foundation, Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, neo-conservative Ukrainian politician Oleh Rybachuk’s New Citizen, Center UA, Chesno, and Stop Censorship non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), both CIA pass-through operations, was largely behind the coup in Ukraine , which helped install an unelected government.

The installed government in composed largely of neo-Nazis, World Bank and International Monetary Fund technocrats, and anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalists. Making matters even worse is the fact that former President Viktor Yushchenko, who was drummed out of office in 2010 after receiving a mere 5.45 percent of the vote, the worst results in history for any incumbent president anywhere in the world, supports the coup leaders and intends to run for president in the next election.

Yushchenko was installed as president in 2004 after another coup d’etat brought forth by a street action-inspired «color revolution,» the so-called «Orange Revolution,» which was masterminded by professional CIA provocateurs and agitators trained using the playbook of Gene Sharp, the guru of creative coup-making.

The same template was used in Georgia in 2003 when President Eduard Shevardnadze, elected with 70 percent of the vote in 1995, was ousted in a coup known as the Rose Revolution.

The George W. Bush administration not only failed to cut off aid to Georgia for ousting the democratically-elected Shevardnadze but millions of dollars of U.S. assistance went to the coup plotters directly through USAID and NED, or through the auspices of Soros’s Open Society Foundation.

On addition to the Foreign Assistance Act, the so-called Leahy Law mandates that U.S. military assistance to countries where the security services violate the human rights of citizens. The mere fact that virulent anti-Russian neo-Nazis, «skinheads,» and fascist Ukrainian extreme nationalists have targeted ethnic Russians and other minorities in Ukraine with abuse means that Ukraine should also see a total ban on U.S. military and security assistance. That is, if the Leahy Law were followed. The Obama administration, through fiat executive decisions, has decided to violate the spirit and letter of the Foreign Assistance Act and the Leahy Law when it comes to Ukraine. Obama and Kerry seem to march to the dictates of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation when it comes to enforcing the Foreign Assistance and Leahy Laws. 

After democratically-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in a military coup in 2013, the Obama administration decided that a «coup» was not really a coup under the definition of the Foreign Assistance Act: a «duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree».

Morsi was ousted by a military coup but Obama, more concerned about salvaging America’s military alliance with Egypt, waffled for months on whether to cut off U.S. assistance to Cairo. Obama toed the line of the Heritage Foundation, which concluded that it was acceptable to ignore the Foreign Assistance Act because the «spirit of the law, which was passed to help protect democracy, would support continuing aid because the coup was launched against a leader [Morsi] who was ignoring the will of the people [i.e., the Egyptian military] in order to impose his anti-democratic Islamist agenda».

In October 2013, the Obama administration belatedly decided to cut economic and some military assistance to Egypt’s military government. Many observers saw the action as too little and too late.

Today, the coup leaders in Kiev have instituted an anti-democratic agenda that rewards thuggish street violence by neo-Nazis and other far-right gangs. But Obama and Kerry have decided that such conduct is worthy of a waiver in application of both the Foreign Assistance Act and the Leahy Law, the latter to the tune of $1 billion in loan guarantees.



The inconsistent application of the Foreign Assistance Act by Obama alone is staggering. In 2012, the Obama administration cut off $70 million in humanitarian and food assistance to Mali after that nation’s government was ousted in a military coup. Similarly, Obama cut aid to the Central African Republic in 2012 after a rebel-led coup in that country.

After a 2009 military coup in Madagascar, the Obama administration suspended a trade pact with Madagascar pursuant to the Foreign Assistance Act. In 2009, after CIA- and Pentagon-supported Honduran right-wing elements ousted President Manuel Zelaya in a coup, Obama only reluctantly and belatedly reduced assistance to Honduras in a piecemeal manner.

In Paraguay in 2012, after what a number of Latin American governments considered to have been a coup ousting democratically-elected President Fernando Lugo, Obama decided that the coup was not really a «coup». Obama continued U.S. aid to Paraguay.

Obama has violated the spirit and letter of the Foreign Assistance Act more than any previous administrations combined. It is another dubious distinction for a president who has brought more 1917 Espionage Act charges against national security whistleblowers than any previous president combined.

In 2006, the Bush administration suspended $2.5 million in economic assistance to Fiji after that nation’s government was ejected in a military coup. A coup in Thailand saw Bush cut $24 million in military aid but continued economic assistance.

After the 1999 military coup by General Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan, the Bill Clinton administration cut off aid pursuant to the law but quietly reinstated some of it a few weeks after the seizure of power by Musharraf. Bush rescinded the cut-off in aid following the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States.

George H. W. Bush cut off all aid to Algeria in 1991 after the military seized power after an election that saw Islamist political parties carry the day. Aid was resumed by Bush’s son after the 9/11 attack.

The corporate media in the United States, rather than focus on the continuing violations of U.S. law by successive American presidents, sees fit to criticize Russia for pointing out a fact: Obama and Kerry are violating the letter and spirit of a law brought into force by a Democratic president, John F. Kennedy.

What makes this policy even more galling is the fact that John Forbes Kerry, as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Kennedy’s home state, often sees himself as the political reincarnation of «JFK». Nothing could be further from the truth and the truth for Mr. Kerry is as fleeting as his other political «convictions».


Wayne MADSEN | Strategic Culture Foundation



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