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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Odessa Trade Union Massacre: Stairwell Victims - Murdered and Burned Later

By Adam Larson (aka Caustic Logic)
November 1, 2014
last edits November 12

<-- Odessa Trade Union Massacre {Masterlist}

Warning: This is an exceptionally gruesome crime, and this semi-forensic examination of it is extremely graphic and not for the young, faint of heart, etc. By the standards of this site, for those who know, it's about average - but in Europe this time, and standards seem to differ (?). As usual, respect to the dead is paid in attention to detail, with an eye to truth and to achieving some semblance of justice, whenever that become possible. 

Note: I had to get this up slightly ahead of the 6 month mark - it's not complete, missing some links and images I'll add soon ... and as we're still considering the details (these victims mainly at this spot), I'm expecting revisions to this post in time. But this is the latest acceptable time and it's close enough to get this advanced rough draft up. These details need to be addressed, then double-checked, verified or refuted. In my opinion, proof of state-sponsored terrorism doesn't get much more obvious than this.

After the fires were put out at the Hall of Trade Unions in Odessa on the night of May 2, at least 12 bodies were visible in or right next to the central stairwell at different levels. The only of these to be widely seen are the five charred bodies, all seemingly of men, clustered together on the landing below the half-barricaded 4th floor. These were first seen in a Dumskaya video with a privileged view at what the screen-titles say is 22:00 (rounded off, possibly rounded way down, who knows, but presumably around 10:00 PM). This shows all the stairwell victims, mostly in extreme dark and revealing little detail. At that time, the five on the landing were arranged as shown in the composite view, lightened (from still images found around, apparently from this video):
For reference, let's number these poor souls left-to-right:
#1) hanging out the window, as if he died (from the gas? From the glass in his belly?) in the act of climbing out, and had his pants burned away and shoes melted
#2) head at the railing's bend, arms out to the sides, far more charred than most
#3) along the wall, face-up, almost recognizable
#4) head towards stairs, arms frozen up
#5) same but with head almost under the pile of junk "barricade"

These five and some below can be seen mid-day on the 3rd in a Euromaidan PR video of "Russian Terrorists Burnt Alive" and in the ubiquitous photos taken by a young lady calling herself Alena. These show the victims finally tagged by the police, and also arranged differently. #1 is pulled inside and laid in the corner, abd #2 rolled over halfway. #3 is about the same, and #4 and 5, of most interest here, have been dragged a little ways down the stairs. 

With the scene established, let's consider four points, A-D:

A) Gunshot Wound?
The May 3 Euromaidan video offers one brief glimpse of an important clue regarding victim #4. Seen at 0:54 - the clearest frame frozen here - is a dark circle on the right chest, indicated. The way the angled light falls across it, this seems to be concave, some kind of circular puncture wound - likely a bullet hole. About fingertip size, it seems, this might be about one centimeter/a half-inch across, or about the size of a 9 mm round?

A bit further over is something dark and convex, looking more like his nipple than this other dark spot.

This is not a conclusive finding but as the next part clarifies, something killed this guy hours before he and the others were burned in a fire on this landing. A bullet or other puncture just to the left of his right nipple could explain that.

B) Rigor Mortis Before Burning
An extremely important point that can be discerned just from the available images is that victims #4 and 5 at least were dragged here by the arms after they were dead and rigor mortis had set in.  They didn't die here as claimed.
By my limited reading, it seems rigor mortis onset is usually 2-6 hours after death, or a bit faster in warm conditions - like summer, or a severe fire. Considering the intensity of heat it might be reasonable to put it at 2 hours here. A human body usually reaches maximum stiffness after about 12 hours and relaxes slowly thereafter. By this, anyone killed at 8 PM would start stiffening around 10 PM, be most rigid around 6-8 AM, and be little different from that by mid-day.

In charred bodies, muscles contract, locking the last position and never relaxing. Both at night and the next day, the raised arms here look the same - like handles, on bodies dead for a few hours or so before that pose was charred into them permanently.

Landing victim #2 stands out from the others in being more charred, almost skeletal in spots. He (or she) was quite likely burned once in another spot before being placed with these other bodies, apparently carried face-down by two people, one holding each wrist to create this unusual "crucified" posture.

Two others not in the above image show the same signs, all within one floor below these victims, in or right by the blazing stairwell:

- third floor landing - never seen clearly, we see stiff, raised left arm, fingers burnt to the bone, with the right arm unclear and also the head unclear - it almost seems there's not enough room there for a full head, and there's no sign - no nose or anything but an off-center light object. If missing part of his head, that's a clearer sign of prior murder than #4's possible bullet-hole. But this sin't enough to be sure. He was either dragged into this position by a person who back up to the wall and pulled the body right up to it as well, or only dragged part-way and later pushed back further.

- third floor - fingers burned to the bone, face inexplicably messed up, maybe boiled outward (?), no trace of pants (except at waistline?) often considered female rape victim, aside from hairless burnt legs, I'm not so sure - all others in the stairwell seem to be male. * This body seems to have the same handles as the others, as seen on the 3rd, but the bent legs don't suggest dragging. The body's earlier position - flipped over face-down - can hardly be the one he/she was burned in. Top sides burn, faces and hands. That we see the ub-charred back of the victim's jacket on top means they've been flipped over, and the next-day view is more accurate - so the arms do look like the same raised handles, and the legs were perhaps re-positioned after dragging.

* note - gender segregation of the dead to this degree often means someone singled out the men to kill and the women for some other fate - but possibly only the men went here hoping to get out and get help for the women inside, or whatever...

I'm not an expert on the subject, but have the insight of studying the Khamis Brigade Shad Massacre, where we could see many cases of extreme burning. It does not cause arms to stick up in the air. What it does, that study showed, is contract muscles, with the most relevant feature how the stronger back muscles contract with more force than the front, and the body curls backwards. Ribs, arms, and legs, splay out in reaction to that, and the head rolls back and to one side. None of the bodies here is burned enough to clearly show that, and there's no fire-related cause for these zombie-arms.

This effect is not really seen elsewhere among the TU Hall victims. Some have arms are up like they're surrendering horizontally, or were dragged lengthwise, but the extended arms lay on the floor with the rest of the person, not locked up in the air.

Consider a victim seen of the 5th floor landing, in the Dumskaya video from 10 PM (at 1:02 in the video) and in a better side-view in this Dumskaya photo. Lightly burned on the back of the head and hands only, his cause of death is unclear. His hands are elevated slightly, suggesting he too was dragged into place. His arms would have been higher at first, but the movers saw them adjusting back down and figured after a few minutes it wouldn't look so odd. But the stiffness was still increasing, and his hands only dropped this low before filming. After full stiffness and some relaxation, his hands are flat on the floor by mid-day on the 3rd as seen in another photo (that has strange issues to cover elsewhere). That's the natural progression, with not enough burning to lock the position in place.

C) Burned After Positioning
The arm position of these five victims being locked in place by fire suggests both that they had rigor mortis, and that they'd been positioned like this prior to their main torching, and not after it. But there are other supporting clues, including these:

We can see these stairwell victims have specifically burned faces and hands, like many other victims do. Perhaps in an expansion of that, or in a separate round of burning, #4 and 5 seem to have also had fire set to the upper-middle surfaces of their bodies. We can see on their thighs and bellies where fatty tissues beneath ignited, bubbled briefly and then went out. That suggests a fire dwindling from an intense start, probably with one coat of flammable liquid applied and lit up.

All things considered, the body movers must have managed this part as well. Note how victim #5 has only the left pant leg burned away. That suggests the fuel was sort of drizzled on/between both of them by someone standing on the landing, further from #5. More fuel would be splashed on the their inner halves (#4 right, #5 left), and less on the far side of #5. Also, they splashed more in the middle of each body and less at the ends; at the open expanses, clothing burns away. leaving the crotches and seams, with lower pant legs and footwear intact, and at least #4 retaining the upper part of his long-sleeved shirt.

Victim #2, as noted above, seems significantly more charred than the others, possibly burned once even before being positioned here, doused anew, and included in this staged blaze. 

D) Burned Too Late or Killed Too Early?
When this all happened is a central question. At least one victim, and perhaps only the one, was being burned in that spot shortly before fire crews arrived, so app. 8:00-8:07 PM (estimate - "8PM" hereafter). This is seen on video: Road E-95 News at 20:40, for example, shows him from the outside, hanging headfirst out the window as flames churn behind him. (See also my analysis video that shows a possible start to this second blaze, then some footage of it really going) It might seem natural to conclude all the victims are there behind him and being burned as well, in the same fire of disputed cause that pro-government sources blame for their deaths.

But if so, to develop rigor mortis in time, they must have died around 6:00 PM, and I challenge anyone to tell me where that happened and by whom. Were the federalists already killing their own before the mob arrived? (that was about 7:10 PM, by the way) Who was dragging them around and burning away their faces at 8:05, well after after Maidan and Right Sector took over and stormed into the building? No, the dying started between 7:30 and 7:50, at the change in management following the mob's arrival.

Unless ... it's true that some of the mob's worst allies - the apparent false-flag provocateurs from downtown, Parubiy-sniper types dressed as pro-Russians who slipped through the special police-Maidan cordon at Afina Center - came here earlier than the rest. Some clues do suggest some tricked their way in, mingling with local security, up to the roof and down to the basement and urging everyone else to hide inside between them. Once in, they might start killing an early few people quietly in the shadows ... shortly after 6 PM, the timeline suggests.

"Okay, you two guys that were here before, go with these two new guys and set up a surveillance room at the north corner." A wink and a nod at the right time, and there's two dead ...

Placement and burning for the three discussed - #2, #4, #5 - should be around 9:30-10 PM at the earliest, if they died around 7:30-8. The fire response ran from arrival at 8:09PM to, as the Rada investigation's report says, all fires being declared extinguished at 8:50. So there was either a later fire that defies the official timeline, or the victims were killed earlier than the known fact can account for - something mysterious was going on there well before the main attack force arrived.

Let's consider this Odessa Channel 1 video - 9:55:50 PM by the title, meaning (broadcast time? Live? It's got edits... whose time zone? Etc.) It's full dark - possibly 8:50 (fire containment time), but likely even later. At 0:12 the camera looks slightly down from a high fire ladder or crane into those windows, with victim #1 still hanging out on the right. Firefighters with their white helmets are inside, working the landing, with others descending from there. A strangely bright and energetic fire continues high up and to the left - corresponding perhaps to the pile of debris "barricade" on the right (as seen from inside). This may be some kind of intense gas lantern - they don't seem at all concerned with it. Maybe we shouldn't be.
Note how they're bending down as if doing special work on something on the floor, like the other four bodies would be. Suggested is a no-later-than planting and apparently burning time for those - whatever that is (unsettled). We can see firefighters tried putting out the one victim as a first order of business around 8:10 PM, while actually putting out the 2nd floor blaze. They had a proper ladder soon (about 8:20?), and presumably put the 4th floor blaze down then, and claim they got all fires by 8:50.

But the clues might say there was one last fire they didn't admit and had to put out anew an hour later, in about the spot they started at almost two hours earlier. Confirmation or refutation of this fire time is an important next step.

Two possible scenarios, depending how all the details really line up:
* Only the one victim was in place at 8 PM: #1 in the window. Then the landing was doused with flammable liquids and lit up. The fire crew arrived right after this and put it out. Later, the movers had more bodies, dragged or carried the other four in, doused and torched it again shortly before the Channel 1 footage was filmed.

* These were people killed an hour or more earlier, and possibly no second fire after 8PM is needed to explain it.

Possible thinking for a late fire: the visible victim #1 already set the picture for the whole landing fire at 8PM. As long as the later blaze didn't get noticed, the clues would seem to suggest killings around 6 PM - long before they got there, publicly. "The "Russian Terrorists" were shooting each other before they started the building on fire by accident, and also before we ever got here, maybe just to make us look bad!" Sounds silly except they may have had a hundred extra bodies and some worries about that becoming known ... just in case, they could say there were some pre-killings by their own side ... and in context, that probably includes the extra hundred, already trucked away before we got there. When you're dealing with Putin, all bets are off and anything goes, right?

Other Evidence for Bodies Moved After Murder
While it can't be directly connected to any of the stairwell victims under study, there is at least one spot where we can see signs supporting people being murdered in one place and then dragged elsewhere - possibly to this spot. This is seen in the "Flagneck Tour Video," as it turns out filmed by local Right Sector supporter Alex Rychkoff. In there somewhere, in an upper floor office (seems maybe 4th floor?) we see smashed-in doors, a dead man and a dead woman (smoke inhalation, "Flagneck" says) and next to a far wall, no body but instead a heavy smear of blood. Not brains shot out, Alex is told - the blood just coagulates. Fire and smoke killed them, smashing down doors, and leaving blood coagulating beneath the one person who ... got up an walked away fine? No, that does not add up well.

The person who bled and presumably died here was clearly removed. The copious blood might be from  an obvious fatal injury not suitable to explain with "smoke inhalation" like the ones left in place. Problem is, it doesn't explain the blood either. Here, maybe 4th floor, a non-burned room with a murdered body taken out. In the stairwell just below the 4th floor and a bit further down, bodies that died or murdered somewhere else were dragged in and burned. That might add up perfectly.

Point B is central. The other two have their ambiguities. All-in-all, we have clear evidence that people were murdered and dragged around after rigor mortis set in and deliberately burned, for whatever reason.

The main mystery that raises questions for investigators of the massacre is the killing-and-fire timeline. To be that stiff before burning, victims either needed to be dead by around 6 PM, if they were burned around 8:00 (at least one was), or killed at the time of the known incursion (roughly 7:30 and after) and burned in a later fire around 9:30-10 PM, that challenges the official story.

At the moment, I'm leaning to earlier murders by allies of the attackers who had managed to get inside the building well before the main events. I suspect these quietly picked off a handful of victims (I presume they make silencers even for 9mm pistols), anyone they ran across over the afternoon as they laid the trap for the rest. Details of who was/should be in there still remain unclear to me - anyone happen to have more info on how busy vs. empty it should have been?

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