Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Odessa Trade Union Massacre, 2 May, 2014 {Masterlist}

October 28, 2014
last edits (major) Nov. 2

I don't intend many posts on this subject here, but at least two to start, plus this overview page. This appalling case and its details are being explored in much detail at the research wiki A Closer Look On Syria (ACLOS) on these pages and sub-pages (Talk pages are more active and full - front pages largely waiting to be filled in)

Posts here: 
* Stairwell Victims - Murdered and Burned Later
* The Red Tape Behind Odessa Police Purge

By way of an intro, I cite Stephen F. Cohen's description from The Nation, June 30, 2014
On May 2 ... a horrific event occurred in the southern city of Odessa, awakening memories of Nazi German extermination squads in Ukraine and other Soviet republics during World War II. An organized pro-Kiev mob chased protesters into a building, set it on fire and tried to block the exits. Some forty people, perhaps more, perished in the flames or were murdered as they fled the inferno. A still unknown number of other victims were seriously injured. ... Kiev alleged that the victims had themselves accidentally started the fire, but eyewitnesses, television footage and social media videos told the true story, as they have about subsequent atrocities.
Not everyone realizes, after they surrounded the building with hate and lit up some windowsills with molotov cocktails, the "rally for a United Ukraine" then entered the building. Hundreds of people armed with clubs are seen lining up at two forced-open doors on the building's un-policed south end. From there, they were reported all over the building, roving the halls in aggressive packs. Numerous witnesses describe parts of the MO employed - the invaders smashed in locked doors and barricades to take over occupied rooms, even spraying some debilitating gas at the defenders. Once in control they would either shoot or beat to death all the men (to be quieter about it?) and take the women, in some cases apparently to rape (see witnesses). Victims' bodies show signs of gunshots and other violent death, and of being re-arranged and deliberately burned after death (detailed post here - based on ACLOS analysis).

The scene, oriented to regular north.

The two corners where hundreds of armed Euromaidan militants visibly entered the building are best called south (first, prior to 7:45) and southeast (after 7:46, both calculated from given video start times)

(note: back stairwell fires might have been a bit earlier than indicated - the first might be the blaze mentioned in a 7:45 call about fire inside on floor 2, "above the entrance")

What About the First Half where "They Started It?" 
The above makes it sound like everything happened at Kulikovo with no preceding events. And in contrast, according to Kiev and sympathetic sources, this massacre stuff doesn't matter compared to the all-important preceding events. To them, the fire and bulk of the death was all accidents and "unknowns" and stuff, and was "probably inevitable," after people dressed as anti-Maidan militants first opened fire. This escalation of the clashes with no adequate reason, killed a few people on both sides and injured many more on both sides and among the police. These "pro-Russian Fascists" and they alone "orchestrated" anything that could be called a "massacre." They and the police who failed to stop the provocation (or the resulting massacre!) bear full responsibility, the massacre absolvers claim. The Maidan-Right Sector hate machine here was just a blameless slave of the "probably inevitable" - that still didn't kill anybody.

There are extremely valid issues worth considering in the early clashes set-up, the provocateurs, and the police inaction. And we do cover this at the ACLOS Clashes page, and in the red armbands post here. But we're all sick of hearing about this one lesser half of events as if it could possibly explain away the kind of unhinged brutality that marks this act of state-sponsored political terrorism.

State and Allied Response:
Kiev's new NSDC (security) chief Andriy Parubiy was in Odessa three days before the pogrom, meeting with local deputized criminal Mykola Volkov, delivering body armor for anti-terrorism use. Volkov and many others were seen wearing this body armor as they assaulted the Trade Union hall (Mykola seen firing a pistol, replica apparently). Parubiy's deputy in Odessa, Sergei Gutsalyuk, was seen monitorin the attack and working with police as they did nothing.

The police at first only stood in formation some distance from the building, with no effort to slow the mob's invasion and ignition of the building. Later they somewhat shielded the survivors as they arrested almost every one of them - and no one from the attacking mob - for their protection and also on terrorism and related charges (or, one could say, on charges of surviving). It took the fire department nearly an hour to respond from the first flames, with operators apparently ordered to ignore emergency calls on the basis there was and could be no fire emergency (calls analysis). Someone turned off the building's water prior to the fire's outbreak. The fire response units finally sent between 8:09 and 8:16 PM were inadequate, the rescue process painfully slow (see Fire Response). It's reported that authorities refused to accept missing person reports- leaving an unknown number of (probably dead) people simply written off as mysteries that never came home that day.

The current Ukrainian government has launched six official investigations, five being insider whitewashes, one a compromised parliamentary investigation that reached a few relevant conclusions, the most important of which were edited out after everyone signed (at least one committee member withdrew her signature after seeing the edits). Kiev blames only "pro-Russian terrorists" and allies in the police and general society for sparking events, the massacre part of which was just an accident (unless, as they sometimes hint, the terrorists gassed and burned themselves on purpose!)

Somehow, this basic view carries over to at least one public "independent" investigation ("Group 2 May") and apparently another (Information Center). Governments that support Kiev, and the Western mass media, have virtually ignored the story past their initial reports of a murky fire that apparently never seemed worth figuring out.

Our Response:
It's been six bleak months for truth and justice in Odessa. Time for action. Many others are already working on this case. (For example, the May 2 Committee) I plan to start networking with them for best effect. Below I will gather some useful links and pointers for spreading the word, the best word, and the best way. Also, ideas and tips are more than welcome in the comments section.

Things we support:
* Anti-fascists massacred in Odessa to be remembered, honored
On the six-month anniversary, activists around the world will remember this crime and honor the victims with memorials, rallies, meetings and photo exhibits. 
In New York, the International Action Center has called for a protest at the U.S. military recruiting station in Times Square on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m., to remember the murdered anti-fascists. Participants will tell Washington, Kiev and the corporate media to stop the cover-up of those responsible for the massacre.

* Events in Lugansk People's Republic, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, elsewhere plus some links to info resources, etc. at the new Facebook page Odessa Massacre: Six Months Later

Monday, October 27, 2014

Odessa Trade Union Massacre: The Red Tape Behind Odessa Police Purge

October 27
small edits Oc. 29

<-- Odessa Trade Union Massacre, 2 May, 2014 {Masterlist}

There can be little doubt the first deadly violence of May 2 came from militants wearing red armbands, pointing and firing guns from ground level and rooftops. The red bands (plus St. George ribbons and other signs) are supposed to mean Anti-Maidan, "pro-Russian" activists; their unprovoked bullets are blamed for the shooting deaths of six people, sparking the following escalation by the other side. Pro-Kiev analyses consider these "terrorists" the only people to blame for the day's events, while anti-Maidan analysis often calls these obvious infiltrators, probably Right Sector, sent in to spark the planned massacre. The latter is probably more true, but at least some in that outfit seem legitimate, caught up in the backlash and arrested in the dozens just before the assault on the House of Trade Unions.

This likely mixing of real and fake leaves researches with a murky situation that can't be easily called one way or the other. Whoever they all were, note that including non-fatal hits, the Odessa shooters apparently aimed for both pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan activists and police - see here - just like the mystery snipers in Kiev that brought the new government to power in February. Sooper-seekrit Russian agents bent on mindless chaos are generally blamed by Andriy Parubiy, who was in charge of security in both cases ...

The obvious police inaction that allowed this deadly escalation has been widely criticized, often taken as a sign of complicity with the red-armband militants. Both sides do this; one says they were pro-Russian cops, the other says we see right-wing cops helping with the provocation. By our study so far, it seems the police were neutered by some kind of unofficial order to support no one and let actions take their corse. This furniture-like state was best taken advantage of by the provocateurs, like "Botsman" (Vitaly Chudeko) who fired a fake AK-47 replica at people from behind the police lines (see here).

Less of these people complain that the same inaction at Kulikovo Field allowed them to get manifold revenge without interference. Consider this lightened still from 2:50 in this Alex Rychkoff video, showing the police line at the building's north end around 8 PM. One of the many things there they did nothing to stop was neo-Nazis spraying their vile symbols across their pointless wall of shields.

That's passivity. Another and more concrete issue with the police that day was the apparent show of solidarity some cops at the clash scenes made with the anti-Maidan side. Several were seen wearing the same red-tape armbands as the provocateur militants, but lower on their arms (always below the elbow, while the militants have it always above). Here are three still images used around, and the source articles for background reading:
Top:  Odessait.ua Middle: bolshoyvopros.ru Bottom: TSN.ua in a report citing then-governor Nemirovsky claiming police were often bribed to take the anti-Kiev side, supported the with this image. Also used at "Planet Putin" which explained "It has been common practice since early Maidan for titushki provocateurs to wear a common armband with Berkut riot police they were working with, so presumably the police would be able to identify them and not accidentally shoot or beat them."

In context, the visual effect is clear: red-banded militants always cling to and talk to the police, especially those unusually displaying the same color. Not just pro-Russian militants but corrupt, pro-Russian cops were also to blame for angry people having to massacre people later on the day's unfortunate events. Such images, alongside the real inaction and various other clues and rumors, fed into a massive purge of the police force of those thought to be of this pro-Russian sort.

Police chief Petr Lutsyuk and his top deputy Dmitri Fuchedji (one of those shot and wounded in the clashes) were both fired and put on watch on May 4, likely along with quite a few others. Fuchedji, fearing for his life, fled to Transdnistria, where he blames Parubiy's private army for the assault (Kiev calls the fugitive their "main suspect" and want Russia to hand him over). Lutsyuk remains around, perhaps in hopes he'll side with Kiev and blame Fuchedji and the pro-Russians (so far, it seems he's maintained public silence)

In quieter batches, the new chief Katernichuk has overseen the dismissal of what the Interior Ministry estimated in mid-October as 412 members of the police force (in Odessa region, not just the city) over links to terrorist groups and the like (see here and Policing the Police?). What proportion is that, I wonder? MoI brags that over half of those fired were ranking officers, meaning they really shook up the system responsible for what happened May 2.

The guys in the photos used as proof for the problem should surely be among those fired. But just like the real snipers so necessary to the massacre, who probably escaped everything unharmed as others paid the price, the case against these particular cops eventually fell apart. For their September report, the Ukrainian Rada's temporary committee investigation (whitewash, mainly) asked about the issue. As summed up by RBC.ua, Sept. 8 auto translated with repairs:
"When asked why some police guards had wound red tape around their hands (forearms), similar to what is used to identify activists of Odessa squads "the police reported that when they stand in steps ( тоять у сцепці ), for hand protection they wear shields. These shields often slip, causing injury to hands, so for fixation, the plates were wrapped with tape, the color that was in there ( який був у наявност )" - said in the committee's report.
So it had a strictly tactical purpose, simply using the color - maybe the only color - they had on hand that day. It was an unusual bright red and had this unfortunate effect. They might have skipped it and relied on the professional gear designed with such things in mind. But that wasn't good enough, and they were really worried about slipping shields. The troublesome color did not actually wind up hidden beneath shields very much, and was seen just waving in the open on many arms. Red flag! Problem with the police!

The low placement, about where you'd put shield-holding tape, does in fact fit with this story, but it's still hard to believe. Rather, using the forearm probably means they put on this costume with that excuse in mind, that is with conscious intent to cause a problem for others and then wriggle out of it themselves. It worked and they got in no trouble, I'm guessing, because they are not the pro-Russian cops they appeared. In fact, they might swing far to the right, helping as they did to spark a purge of those anti-Fascist cops like Fuchedji, Lutsyuk, and 410 others.

An investigation of these police with red tape is in order, but will not happen by official channels. After such massive losses recently, they can't afford to fire every cop just who happens to be a Pravi Sector sympathizer and participant in the false-flag massacre and Fascist purge.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Houla, May 25: the Turning Point in Syria

May 27/28, 2012
Adam Larson/Caustic Logic

Note, Dec. 2014: This post is just early thoughts. The good material on Houla came later and can be found by following this link:
Houla Massacre (Syria) {Masterlist}

(otherwise last updated July 4, 2012 with minor edits Oct. 26, 2014)
July 4 "Houla" Massacre investigation progress:
A Discussion thread: Houla Massacre, Syria: What If?
An appeal and two starter articles at the CIWCL site
the appeal and the forum create the research wiki (still accepting members willing to dig in a bit and help)
That enables a featrued article at SyriaNews.cc, July 3.

The last was actually finished and published today, the 4th, but didn't want to make a point. But here I do. Happy Independence Day, USA. Long ago you stood up as a nation and said "we have a right to exist as a nation and reject foreign management." Some nations don't get to be so lucky, even today.   From the last link (prior to a possible edit of a few typos, which I'll just fix here, sory):
Do please realize now that if little Ali Al-Sayed is a fake, coached witness as he now seems, that suggests the opposite of what he says is more likely true. That means the people the West is increasingly arming and supporting are the ones who actually left a reported 49 children and 59 adults dead in Houla. It would mean the weapons people want more of sent were responsible for attacking the protecting army stations, and getting these monsters in close enough to slash throats, hammer heads, rape, mutilate, burn, and otherwise make of men, women, and children extreme examples sent out on Youtube. 
Besides propaganda fuel against the regime, this horror show might also have been designed to send a different signal within Syria, where people actually know more of what’s going on and have thought about it more deeply. Some evidence suggests the killings terrorized loyalist, Alawite, and other non-Sunni or non-rebel families into fleeing for their lives and limbs. That’s in lieu of joining or surrendering to the side that, increasingly, has a good chance of winning and hunting them down anyway.

After Houla and at least one copycat massacre, among an ever-increasing string of barbaric terrorist acts, it’s more urgent than ever that the world help Syria overcome the menace. Monsters are inscribing their bleak world vision on the flesh of the nation’s families, and the government’s defenses grow weaker by the week. But sadly, the brain-damaged “world community” is further than ever from helping at all, and is in fact pushing to escalate the horror until it manages to overcome all defenses and satiate itself at its own leisure.

And doubtless we’ll have plenty of witnesses along the way to deliver a version that upsets us less than the truth would.

Original article, initial thoughts, updated to June 2, below:
I don't keep up on the news, and Syria, while related, is off-topic here. But I just caught a CNN report on the protests against a supposed Syrian government atrocity, late on Friday (May 25), in the small town of Houla (or rather the Houla area, with the worst in Taldou). The readers hardly should need a re-cap of this amazing slaughter  - as in with blades - of over 100 people, half of them young children. Some number of Syrian protesters believe the Rebel claims of Assad forces authorship, and are protesting and, they say, being killed nowfor that. There's condemnation from self-righteous Western outsiders of the Syrian forces, its demonized regime, even the UN monitors who've been monitoring the gov't forces and still failed to prevent this massacre against civilians (meaning BY non-civilians, gov't forces)...

Who runs the morgue where all the bodies are laid out? Where was the rebel video of this to shock the world freely filmed? Is it it an area under rebel/terrorist gang control? Let's see.
Houla, Google Maps - about ten miles northwest of Homs.
Map, April 10 - it's between Homs and Rastan, partially controlled and totally controlled and hotly contested by the false-flagging Bosnian-Libyan style terrorists there. Suspicions bolstered.

The big question CNN and the corporate media salivating after Iran's oil will not want to ask: Who stands to benefit from a sudden slaughter-provoked panic in this rebel-held area? The government struggling to regain control of a country it has to live in, or the outsiders (who feel free to mangle and walk away as they've done in Libya) and the insurgents they support? Who would hack to death fifty children? Who stands to benefit from the responsibility to Panic (R2P) doctrine, when Syria's (and Libya's) enemies tend to control the process?

Islamists hack people up. Islamist provocateurs might do it in public, en masse, on children, if they want to upset people in a direction they find useful for destroying a nation. Libyans are involved here, since the NTC/NATO rebels took over Libya's plentiful ports, their exports include people much like the ones who almost surely caused the slaughter at Abu Salim hospital, perhaps 200 or more people shot in their hospital beds, throats slit, heads chopped off, government loyalists, local black people who were trying to flee, a few women and children included... this time they're in someone else's contry, perhaps more free to mangle and walk away like NATO does.

What this incident really needs now is an investigation. Heck, the hospital thing still hasn't gotten one, and this won't either. What it's supposed to get is panic, moral certainty, and strong action to overthrow the government and turn the whole country over to the armed militias of whoever, just like happened in Libya. It'll probably get something along those lines.

No bombing this time? Fine. It won't be so quick and decisive. Rather than 7-8 months bombing and then the years-long purges and skirmishes, it'll be a grinding three-year war, costing at least half a million lives. Followed by the purges and insurgency and bleed-over. Sound good? No. "The Arab Spring" is long over. Welcome to next year, with Syria still resisting. Time to acknowledge a few things.

Advice to Syrians 
The Libyan loyalists (a large and ignored percentage of the population, if not an ignored majority) were up against even more pressure by far, per capita, than the you guys are now. But if they had stood together stronger at Tripoli, or earlier, they could have stopped – or greatly slowed - even that onslaught. Some of them fought valiantly but too little too late, and they were slaughtered. Too many others caved in to fatalism, defected, fled, or surrendered. Now those who supported or served the former government are demonized and hunted down, imprisoned for rebel crimes against their colleagues, blamed on them, and often tortured to death well before any of the promised "fair trials."

 The world cannot sit by and watch – or help - this happen again. Nonetheless, it might. All citizens who support the government of Syria, or at least oppose the terrorists trying to destroy it, make an ever more united front. Bigger protests, armed militias – armed civilians fighting the armed civilians-boy wouldn’t that confuse the corporate media? Brainwashed civilians they’d say, so not civilians-government machines. Well, fuck them. Arrest the rats, confiscate their weapons. Get decisive. Isolate their strongholds, smash their border crossings and supply lines. Support and protect the locals in their effort to end the disorder and get on with a reasoned approach to settling the real grievances they have against the government.

 If the forces of "Free Syria" and chaos are allowed to win, as some very powerful people are trying to make happen, eventually, it could be over for you. Government soldiers, police, ministers and workers and prominent civilian supporters and volunteer defenders will pay. They’ll be the ones hacked up in ditches, languishing in prisons rape rooms, toenails pulled out, boiled alive, who knows? If you are to be killed for daring to oppose them, do it head-on, in battle, now or quite soon. 

 This is war, or at least a huge police operation that’s threatening to become one, so no doubt people will continue to die during the clean-up. The Syrian loyalists must remain sane and humane, killing as few as possible, detaining or abusing as few as possible, all the while documenting everything, showing the world the truth (even if it ignores you by and large). They need to know they’re losing, and start giving up and scattering.

 Don’t ignore the propagandists – answer them calmly and efficiently. But don’t waste much breath or time trying to argue with them.

 Advice to The World:

 Russia: they could use more some help on all fronts. Responsibility to Protect a state from anarchy and years of bloodshed and revenge and torture? Check.

 Iran: fuck the propagandists. Send technical support for border control. Keep this all between the Syrians to sort out or, if that fails, make sure both sides are bolstered by armed outsiders, the legitimate government with more. You could be a force for peace, preventing the grinding war from taking root. Not that you'll get the recognition you deserve from CNN and the like...

UN: Can you do your job this time, unlike with Libya? The inspectors do seem to be making some sense. Who do they feel has been trying to blow up the monitors in rebel-held territory? 

F-UK-USA/Israel/Rebel Libya/Saudis/Others: Fuck the fuck off. I wish I could flat out say “you will lose here,” but that’s not clear yet. I hope it does soon get that way. Above named parties - make it so.

Update May 29: From one of the great comments below, Houla one month ago, on the regime's last child-killing foray against civilians there. They selected a Syrian military officer and his entire family. For refusing to kill civilians, we presume? Here's a young boy of a loyalist family caught in the crossfire. Not in the sense of being hit by accident. No, someone decided to put bullets in each and every one of these brains they hated. And they keep coming back for more, especially now the child-killing is working in their favor.
June 2: A lot of typos and such above, little time. New info is coming out. Some links
Details on the Syrian investigation (called a "Blatant Lie" by Susan "Viagra" Rice)
A list of the victims, Google translated Lots of stupid shit about punishing the regime, broad acceptance the regime did the shelling, because they have such weapons for sure and the terrorists only might have them.
BBC has satellite images from the day after the massacre showing caterpillar tracks in the "suspected artillery position," suggesting tank-tread artillery was driven there the day before.
"All the images were taken on the morning of Saturday 26 May, within hours of the massacre ending."

So... why are the same tracks there on Google Maps' earlier, greener imagery from February 22 or earlier (not there in Aug 20 2010, there by Feb. 22, per Google Earth, and thanks Petri for looking that up). This might be a tree farm, a small one, with lots of little dirt roads for accessing the trees, to plant, water, and eventually harvest them. I don't see any reason to think it's a place where artillery's been driving at random amongst the trees for at least three months now.

Why do we suppose the BBC called them "telltale tracks," giving credence to private "military analyst" Forbes McKenzie? McKenzie "believes [these] are the caterpillar tracks left by a mobile artillery battery that fired on the civilian houses" and told the BBC "This would be standard Soviet bloc tactics, firing from woods and then withdrawing." Is this guy an idiot or a liar trying to "justify" war? I don't think he's an idiot.

Dusty and Dated Names, so What?

October 26, 2014

We at this blog (basically Petri and I and, in context Felix) flaked out on covering Libya as soon as there was no ongoing external-power air war, almost as if that was the end of the "Libyan civil war." The blog title was never very acurate. For the record, I picked it in early April, 2011, in response to claims of pro-war Libyan suck-ups that virtually all of Libya's people rejected "the Gaddafi regime" and this was no civil war the West was stepping into - just a small prod to finalize the will of all the people. So I just countered that by calling it a civil war, always I thought with the majority supporting the government and opposing the suck-ups. Nothing since has changed my mind on that ... so it was the Libyan imposed chaos, the Libyan Naqba ... whatever the site's called, it's what's there that matters, and it was always pretty awesome on balance.

It took the end of the air war, the fall of Sirte and murder of Gaddafi, and some more time totaling about ten months of this blog's existence, before Petri and I formalized a Citizen's Investigation Into War Crimes in Libya (CIWCL - website) in February 2012. We refined some of our more detailed work on murky massacres in Tripoli into two serious reports later in the year (June and August). By then, we had shifted from covering these Libyan incidents and looking at current ones in Syria. Under the same CIWCL name and at the research wiki-cum-discussion forum A Closer Look On Syria (ACLOS), we have done much to correct the record on Syria and also expanded a bit into Iraq and even more into distant Ukraine, as that land too was flung far off balance fell apart, with all kinds of crazy false-flag shit for us to untangle.

We are the masters of the incorrect and dated title, arbitrarily left on what remains pretty amazing work. We are the CIWC Libya studying events in Syria, A Closer Look On Syria investigating war crimes in Ukraine, etc. So there's no good reason why a blog called "Libyan Civil War" should stay so quiet - especially one that still gets decent views (thanks to my salf-appointed ghost writer "h". Hi, h!)

Note: Petri already broke this barrier with his post Russia, Libya, Syria & MH17 This is me endorsing that spirit and encouraging more of the same, from him, me, or whoever (new members still welcome)

Forthcoming fairly soon, hopefully (still only so many hours in a day):
- Houla Massacre re-cap - important achievement
- Maybe other Syria highlights (Ghouta, Aqrab, Al-Bayda-Baniyas, the "Caesar" photos, etc.)
- Maybe some Ukraine issues, from February's snipers to mass graves in the east.
- Possibly some new Libya-related posts, at least all-but-blank subject-centered comment accumulators like my last couple...

Recently, I've been working mainly on Ukraine, and strictly the Odessa Trade Union Massacre (off-the-books Anti-Terror Operation?) of May 2, recently with more input from other ACLOS members. Resup has provided some great translations that unlock spoken info to advance the case (see main page, main talk page, and the sub-(talk)pages (with sub-(main)pages mostly underdeveloped so far... On November 2, it will be six months since this unsolved act of state-sponsored terrorism happened. I'll have a post or two in time to help mark the semi-anniversary.