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‘Countering Disinformation’ by Assassination: Lesson of the Fico Hit

a running person is in the crosshairs of a weapon, while the Myrotvorets logo is in the background
The graphic illustrating a story on the Ukrainian “Myrotvorets kill list” blog threatening “Russian war criminals!” (source)

May 24, 2024—Whoever may have pulled the trigger, the May 15 assassination attempt on Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is no domestic Slovak affair. The urgent strategic questions to be answered are: Who set up the hit? Who gave the order to proceed? Cui bono?

Any investigation into those decisive questions must take into consideration the fact that Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD) had Robert Fico on its hit list of enemies to be silenced since at least April 2022. Fico, then an opposition figure, was publicly fingered by the infamous CCD as “an information terrorist” on April 9 of that year, accused of repeating Russian propaganda for “at least the last 8 years.” When the CCD first publicly issued a centralized hit list of so-called “Kremlin propagandists” in July 2022, Fico’s name was on the list.

The Ukrainian Center For Countering Disinformation's post on Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, April 2022. Credit: Facebook/CCD

Investigating the CCD connection opens the door to the broader apparatus where the answers to those urgent strategic questions lie. The CCD is the chief “information warfare” unit of the Ukrainian government, operating out of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) and tasked with feeding the names of targets to the Ukrainian security apparatus and Ukraine’s “international partners.” It is staffed by fanatic neo-Nazis, proud defenders of Ukrainian nationalist hero and Hitler ally, Stepan Bandera (1909-1959). The CCD is no mere “Ukrainian” matter, however. Since it was established in March 2021, the CCD has been financed and directed by the U.S. and UK governments, NATO, and the European Union.

After the CCD issued its first master list of “enemies” in July 2022, with nearly half of the names included being either leaders of the Schiller Institute or having participated in one or another of its conferences, with Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche right up front, EIR assembled a dossier, “Kiev’s ‘Info Terrorist’ List: ‘Global NATO’ Orders a Hit on Advocates of Peace,” documenting the international control over the CCD, and its intent. The dossier, released on September 2, 2022, demanded that “rapid, decisive international action” be taken, including by the U.S. Congress, to cut all international funding and backing for the CCD, in order to shut it and the apparatus behind it down, to protect the lives of those it was targeting, and restore freedom of thought and speech, including the promotion of peace, in the West.

That did not happen, and Slovakia’s Prime Minister Fico had to fight for his life in hospital, where he remains. Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation was not only protected by Washington and London, but, as we detail below, NATO parties, working with the CCD, now insist that it is urgent to replicate in the rest of Europe—and then in the United States—the Ukrainian model of multiple public and private “anti-disinformation” agencies. These agencies would then act in a coordinated fashion to search out the opponents of the Anglo-American drive to crush Russia (and then China), to silence those opponents, one way or the other.

Other European heads of state and government are in the crosshairs of this operation. Right before Fico was first publicly targeted by the CCD, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had been also fingered for the same “crime” of arguing for peace. The CCD reported on April 7, 2022, that its “experts” had met to “analyze” Orbán’s refusal to go along with the drive for war against Russia. The day prior to that report, on April 6, Orbán had been labeled “an accomplice of Russian war criminals” and added to the public database maintained in Ukraine by the avowedly neo-Nazi Myrotvorets ("Peacemaker") to notify “Myrotvorets volunteers” and “law enforcement authorities and special services” where hits are needed. Since that time, the CCD has labeled Orbán as the “main weapon of the pro-Kremlin disinformation system for ‘shaking’ the EU,” and otherwise repeatedly slandered him.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico. Credit: X/Viktor Orbán

But Orbán is only the most visible of the individuals and governments targeted. Investigators take note: “countering disinformation” is also the official, stated mission of the majority of the NGOs being financed by the State Department and other government agencies to promote color revolutions and regime-change in Slovakia, Hungary, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Moldova, and many other countries. That is the stated mission, as well, of the entire complex of Ukrainian “countering disinformation” hit squads deployed around the CCD, also financed by the U.S. and British governments.

Let there be no mistake: The NGO-led destabilization apparatus and the “countering disinformation” hit squads are a single operation financed by the U.S., the UK, and the European Union; each one creates the conditions for another one to then act. This point became shockingly clear with EU Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi’s brazen admission on May 23 that he had “reminded” Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze in a phone call, that “the latest tragic event in Slovakia” was an example of what could happen in Georgia, should the Prime Minister insist on implementing its new legislation requiring such NGOs, which receive significant funding from foreign governments, to register as foreign agents.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze. Credit: Flickr/NATO

The EU Commissioner had been forced out into the open after PM Kobakhidze reported to the press, “for the purpose of prevention,” that he had received a “horrific threat” from “an EU commissioner…. The parallel drawn with the attempted assassination of Robert Fico reminds us that in the form of the Global War Party, we are dealing with an extremely dangerous force that will do anything to bring chaos to Georgia,” Kobakhidze noted.

EIR insists: This “anti-disinformation” warfare operation inside Ukraine and the Anglo-American-EU-NATO war party apparatus that created it must be shut down, before others among the hundreds of European and American political, military, and civic leaders on those NATO-Ukrainian lists get the “Fico treatment.”

To further that effort, EIR provides the following roadmap as a guide for international investigators, updating its earlier, groundbreaking dossier on Global NATO’s so-called “anti-disinformation” apparatus in Ukraine. Two new elements are added: how the Ukrainian “countering disinformation” apparatus is intended to be replicated in every European country; and an in-depth profile of another key player in the West’s Ukrainian hit list apparatus, the “private” intelligence agency named Molfar-OSINT.

The Strategic Setting

It is no secret to anyone that Fico, along with Orbán, is viewed as an obstacle to the drive to militarize all Europe for a war to crush Russia. Fico told London’s The Telegraph while campaigning for the September 30, 2023 elections, that, “it is better to negotiate peace for 10 years and stop military operations, than to let the Ukrainians and Russians kill each other for another 10 years without results.” His party won the election on that basis, and in his inaugural speech as Prime Minister on Oct. 25, Fico announced that Slovakia would henceforth send only civilian and humanitarian aid to Ukraine; Slovakia’s military aid would end.

As Prime Minister, he urged others to look at where this policy was heading. He told Slovak radio broadcaster RTVS in January 2024, before meeting his Ukrainian counterpart, Denys Shmyhal, that he would tell Shmyhal that Slovakia would veto and block Ukraine’s NATO bid, “because that is exactly the basis of the Third World War and nothing else.”

It was Fico who first blew the whistle on French President Emmanuel Macron’s scandalous proposal to send NATO troops into Ukraine. A visibly distraught Fico revealed to the press before heading into the Feb. 26 special European Summit on Ukraine called by Macron in Paris, that a “restricted document,” circulated prior to that meeting, showed that “a number of NATO and EU member states are considering sending troops to Ukraine on a bilateral basis.” This is an idea which “sends shivers down your spine,” he exclaimed. He came out of that summit and denounced the “purely martial atmosphere” that had dominated the discussions, where “not a single word was said about any peace plan.”

Coverage of Fico’s near-assassination by the leading organs of the Anglo-American press has been virtually identical to the CCD’s slanders against him. The message in the British media, “conservative” and “liberal” alike, is that Fico got what he deserved for “polarizing” the country by opposing NATO’s war. None missed the opportunity to name Orbán in their next breath.

“How Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico Turned His Country into One of Russia’s Only Allies,” The Telegraph headlined a May 15 story even before Fico was out of danger. “The Slovakian prime minister who was shot on Wednesday, has presided over a shift from pro-Western values to growing sympathies with Russia since his election victory last September…. Since the invasion of Ukraine, he has grown much closer to Viktor Orbán, the increasingly Putin-friendly leader of Hungary,” it asserted. The Guardian wrote the same day: “The veteran politician, shot and wounded on Wednesday, is a fan of Viktor Orbán and has embraced ever more extreme positions to retain power.” The Guardian provocatively headlined its piece: “ ‘He Is Borrowing from Trump’: The Rise of Robert Fico, Slovakia’s Populist Leader.”

Anglo-American outlets generally sought to portray Fico and Orbán as “isolated” voices in an otherwise unified Europe. “With European parliament elections only weeks away…. America hopes that new governments in Poland and the Czech Republic will bring Slovakia and Hungary back into the fold, to produce some kind of political unity at NATO’s 75th birthday summit in Washington in July,” The Times of London reported. The Times’ own view, however, is more cautious, pointing to the “obstructionism” seen in a number of countries to the full EU-NATO narrative. Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Moldova are named as centers of concern, along with Slovakia and Hungary. The Times announced that with Fico’s shooting, “the battle is on.”

Many security and intelligence experts are increasingly alarmed about where this is all heading. With the policy of double standards becoming so clear to the whole world, the legitimacy of the entire Western system is being called into doubt. And history has proven that once a system loses its legitimacy, that system quickly comes to an end.

What Is the CCD? To Whom Does It Answer?

EIR’s 2022 dossier “Kiev’s ‘Info Terrorist’ List: ‘Global NATO’ Orders a Hit on Advocates of Peace,” documented that the CCD:

  • is a wholly-owned creation of the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom, NATO, and the European Union bureaucracy, funded and closely advised by the U.S. State Department, British intelligence, and NATO in every step it takes;
  • is tasked to produce hit lists of international personalities to be silenced—one way or the other. Targeted are those who are urging diplomacy to end the Ukraine-Russia conflict, rather than sending yet more weapons to Kiev; who question whether Ukraine can succeed in delivering a strategic defeat against Russia; or even just express concern that trying to do so will likely lead to global nuclear war and the end of the human species;
  • is demanding that “information terrorism” be classified as an international “crime against humanity.” Information terrorism is defined as any deviation from the proposition that Russia must be destroyed. Those on its lists can then be charged, tried and sanctioned as “information terrorists” and “war criminals,” with all the penalties which thereby apply; and
  • turns over the lists it compiles to Ukraine’s notorious Security Service (SBU), to Myrotvorets, and to Ukraine’s allies and partners, for counter-measures to be taken against those individuals—i.e., physical assaults and assassinations.
The Myrotvorets "Peacemaker" site lists the names, photos, and personal details of individuals labelled as pro-Russian enemies. A list of thousands of such individuals is compiled under the banner "Purgatory," and a large red "Liquidated" is placed over their portrait once they've been killed. Here is the page for the late Russian journalist Darya Dugina, assassinated by a car bomb in August, 2022. Credit:

Myrotvorets was set up in 2014 by activists in the neo-Nazi 2014 Euromaidan coup, and is known for its role in fingering “enemies,” domestic and foreign, and then bragging when any of those “enemies” is “terminated,” including through car-bombings and assassinations on the street. It is the best-known of the multiple Ukrainian hit lists, because, unlike the CCD and the entire complex of overlapping hit lists fostered by the Anglo-American war party in Ukraine, there have been calls for investigations into its deadly operations from international institutions such as the UN Human Rights Commission (2017) and the German Foreign Ministry (2018), with the Documentation and Research Division of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless (OFPRA) issuing an 11-page report on the Myrotvorets operation in 2018.

The EIR 2022 dossier provides the necessary overview of the British and U.S. governments’ role in standing up, training, and directing the overall “cybersecurity” apparatus in Ukraine. Counter-disinformation operations and hit lists are supervised by that apparatus. While the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and intelligence operations are well known as the “brains” of such censorship operations (for example, the Integrity Initiative, the British Army’s 77th Brigade, et al.), it is the Americans, as usual, who provide the “muscle.” The leading public faces of NATO’s disinformation apparatus in Ukraine continue to be the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reports to the State Department, and the Civilian Research and Development Foundation–Global (CRDF-Global), a U.S.-headquartered Anglo-American “quango” involved in international security and logistics. Molfar-OSINT, which we describe below, is also supported by both agencies. (See CRDF-Global’s summary of its central role in putting together Ukraine’s national cybersecurity strategy.)

Centralizing Hit Lists, Preparing for Expanded War

On Feb. 8, 2024, Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD) announced that its new head, Lt. Andriy Kovalenko, had signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Artem Starosiek, CEO of Molfar-OSINT, the open-source intelligence company dubbed “Ukraine’s biggest private intelligence agency” by its fans at London’s The Independent. The two agencies agreed “to join forces” out of recognition of the importance of state agencies coordinating with civil society “to strengthen the fight against disinformation,” the CCD reported. The same day, Molfar added 28 names to its public “Russian Propagandists” list, and including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) among them. (See Appendix.)

The head of Ukraine's CCD, Andriy Kovalenko. Credit: YouTube/CCD and X/Andriy Kovalenko

On Feb. 9, VoxCheck, the “fact-checking” project of VoxUkraine, an outfit in USAID’s network of “countering-disinformation” operations posted an article, with an accompanying flowchart, which purported to identify “a network of pro-Russian disinformation” practitioners formed by 26 “Western ‘experts’ ” whose activities are a “danger.” Each of the experts named in this so-called “network” had been fingered individually in a series of 26 videos produced in October and November 2023, in Ukrainian, by a joint project of VoxCheck and the CCD. Now this article, published Feb. 9 in English, asserted that the CCD/VoxCheck team had identified the alleged “connections” between those individuals, for the purpose of “restrain[ing]” their voices in the West, as well as in Ukraine.

The lists of personalities targeted by VoxCheck, Molfar-OSINT, and the CCD heavily overlap. Several (if not more) of those targeted in those three lists are also found on the Myrotvorets kill list. Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche figures prominently on all of those lists, as do several other leaders of the Schiller Institute.

VoxCheck's infographic. Credit: Screenshot/

Note that the moves to centralize Ukraine’s various strike forces against foreign opponents of the war policy were taken in tandem with the stepped-up drive to militarize European society and governments preparatory to the larger war with Russia which NATO treats as inevitable. This is the same timeframe in which France’s Emmanuel Macron sent “shivers down the spine” of Slovakia’s saner Fico with his proposal that NATO countries send troops into Ukraine “bilaterally.”

In that same timeframe, the First Kyiv International Cyber Resilience Forum 2024 was convened in Ukraine on Feb. 7–8, 2024, bringing together “the whole gang.” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry reported that the Forum was co-initiated by Ukraine’s National Coordination Centre for Cybersecurity (NCCC, also operating under the NSDC) and the ubiquitous CRDF-Global. It was co-organized by Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its Security Service (SBU) and its Defense and Digital Transformation Ministries; and is “supported by”—i.e., financed by—the U.S. Department of State.

Top international speakers included, among others:

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