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Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Shares—Then Deletes—Photo Holding Fascist Banner at Ukraine Protest

Freeland With Fascist Banner
Freeland With Fascist Banner - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.02.2022
Canadians reacted with outrage Sunday night after Deputy PM Freeland posted and then removed a controversial photo in which she’s seen carrying a banner of notorious Nazi collaborator 'Ukrainian Insurgent Army.'
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland drew the ire of thousands of social media users Sunday night after the Twitter account of the second-highest ranked official of Canada’s Trudeau administration uploaded a photo in which she proudly poses in downtown Toronto carrying a red and black banner bearing the nationalist slogan “Slava Ukraini.” The photo was taken down around 12 hours later after angry social media users flooded the replies, and a similar photo without the offending banner was quickly reposted by her account. Her office has yet to offer an explanation for the switch.
Eagle-eyed Twitter users quickly pounced on the new post too, pointing out that even though the Deputy Prime Minister is no longer personally holding the distinctive banner, a similar flag still appears in the background.
Red-and-black banners like the one held aloft by Freeland on Sunday evening were the official battle flag of the so-called Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), the paramilitary wing of the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The groups, which comprised heavilof Nazi collaborators, received funding by the Central Intelligence Agency for much of the 20th century. They became infamous for terrorizing Ukraine’s Jewish population alongside German death squads, especially after perpetrating the brutal Lviv pogroms which took the lives of tens of thousands of Ukrainian and Polish Jews in 1941. “We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet,” read one of their typically anti-semitic propaganda leaflets aimed at the city’s Jewish population at the time. Freeland’s own uncle, historian and author John-Paul Himka, has estimated that the OUN-UPA were responsible for the deaths of well over 100,000 Jews during the Holocaust.
Jewish Woman Flees Lviv Pogrom
Jewish Woman Flees Lviv Pogrom - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.02.2022
Jewish Woman Flees Lviv Pogrom
As Twitter users have pointed out, the red-and-black color motif of the UPA banner held by Freeland in the since-deleted tweet represents “blood and soil,” a key slogan in Nazi ideology referring to the fascists’ desire to seize the territory of the mainly Slavic populations they referred to as “untermenschen” in the name of acquiring territory for the so-called “master race.” The slogan was a popular chant among the far-right militias and neo-Nazi groups who instigated the infamous 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, which left one woman dead and dozens injured after the white supremacist terrorist attack for which James Alex Fields, Jr. was sentenced to life in prison, plus an additional 419 years, in July 2019.
As social media users noted, the idea that Freeland was unaware of the banner’s fascist history strains credulity. According to Canada’s Ukraine Archival Records, her grandfather, Michael Chomiak, was a longtime Nazi collaborator who made a living laundering fascist propaganda on their behalf for Ukrainian audiences, in a newspaper office seized from Jews–a well-documented historical truth which she’s attempted to paint as Russian propaganda.
Public support for Ukraine in western democracies, inflated by non-stop sympathetic coverage on corporate media, appears to have taken a hit in recent days as the far-right predilections of some of the Ukrainian military’s most high-profile factions come to light. But most mainstream media outlets have so far ignored the sitting Canadian Deputy Prime Minister’s apparent predilection for the Nazi collaborator militia which slaughtered Polish, Jewish, and Romani communities.
Accusations of media double standards have surged in recent days as outlets including NPR have published similar photos featuring the notorious groups’ flags without alerting audiences to their far-right implications.
One thing’s for sure: from the photos of fascist symbols displayed prominently at recent anti-Russian protests, to a since-restricted post in which the official Ukrainian National Guard’s Twitter account brags about their neo-Nazi Azov batallion greasing bullets in pig fat in anticipation of the arrival of Muslim “orcs,” mainstream outlets are having an increasingly tough time presenting Ukraine’s notorious far-right as a fringe element.
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