Fort Russ, May 27th, 2016
Before we discuss the mindblowing-yet-ignored facts in an official report on the Maidan events written for the Council of Europe, let’s briefly discuss two more subjects:
A) Why should you care about official reports at all?
To put it simply, official documents are more useful than mass media reports. They are far less tainted by propaganda or scaremongering – simply because such reports are written by government agencies for other government agencies, not by incompetent journalists for the gullible masses.
Almost always, time dedicated to watching or reading the mainstream “news” would be better spent going through official documents and reports. Today’s theoretically “open” governments leave a lot of detailed information buried in their websites, as no one reads it anyway. Oftentimes, very interesting findings are just a couple Google searches away.
B) How does this pertain to the Ukrainian conflict?
One could say that all this senseless bloodshed and economic collapse was, in a large part, caused by people failing to read an official treaty. I haven’t met a single pro-Maidan person that has actually studied the EuroAssociation agreement.
Let me repeat that: THE VAST MAJORITY OF PROTESTERS DIDN’T EVEN READ THE DOCUMENT THAT WAS SUPPOSEDLY THE MAIN REASON THEY OVERTHREW THE GOVERNMENT.
I can’t even express how crazy this is.
Let me try to explain by comparing to Russia’s Bolshevik revolution:
In 1917, even the rank-and-file members of revolutionary factions knew the key ideological points, what were the main laws/reforms their parties wanted to implement, and why. Many/most activists actually read the source material, and could competently argue economics and government policy. Political factions were formed around councils that discussed all of these things.
On the other hand, the Maidan “revolutionary” structure wasn’t built around individual groups of thinkers. The organization included fighting units, the medical branch, the food&shelter branch, a transport/car branch… But no branch concerned with analysis and making decisions. Maidan was an animal with horns, stomach and legs, but no brain. And it was largely intentionally engineered that way – by outside forces, for their gain. The same is true of many other modern social movements [note 1].
<somewhat related video on the genesis and anatomy of Maidan, part of THIS larger article – ed.>
Today, ordinary Ukrainians and Maidan activists alike are finally finding out something I said way back in 2013, upon actually reading the EuroAssociation agreement: IT SUCKS.
While long-term merits of closer integration with EU are arguable, the specific measures listed in that 2013 deal make it a really bad choice for Ukraine, and it’s completely obvious if one simply bothers to check. Now, Ukrainian economy is ruined, even parts of it that are not affected by the subsequent conflict. …
n short, Ukrainians have been duped because they trusted the biased “news”, rather than trying to read the source material themselves.
If there is a document you think will affect your well-being (e.g. TPP) – read it.
If you want to find out the truth about some event – find the official reports and study them.
C) And with that, let’s go over the facts in the official report to the EU on the Maidan events (published a while ago, but largely ignored by mainstream news channels), and how they’re dramatically different from what the mass media showed us.
Please note that these differences shine through _despite_ the fact that the report was compiled post-Maidan, by a pro-EU panel, based on the testimony of “revolutionary” authorities. A little reading between the lines is all that’s required. Here is the link to the “Report of the International Advisory Panel on its review of the Maidan Investigations“, feel free to read the whole thing if you’re interested.
If we examine the report carefully, it’s obvious that the pivotal event of the entire Maidan – the mass shooting of 49 protesters on Institutskaya St. on Feb. 20th – happened very differently than the news channels showed [note 2].
First of all, the report officially acknowledges that some of the protesters were shot in the back, from their own side – something that has long been denied as a conspiracy theory by pro-coup mass media.
Quote: “[According to Prosecutor General Office], evidence suggested that at least three of the 49 persons shot in Instytutskaya Street on 20 February 2014 had been shot from the (protester-occupied – ed.) Hotel Ukraina or from the Conservatory building, and … some unconfirmed evidence of ten persons having been shot from rooftops.”
Second, the report also highlights that the shooting didn’t come out of the blue, but was preceded by a steady escalation of deadly violence and exchanges of gunfire over the previous two days, with dozens of law enforcement officers shot.
“207 officers had been injured on 18-20 February …. 79 of the injuries were caused by firearms.
– 7 officers were shot [and killed] on 18 February 2014 … in Khreshchatyk and Instytutska Streets;
– 2 officers … were shot [and killed] on 19 February 2014 at 2.00 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. in Instytutska Street;
– 4 officers … were shot [and killed] on 20 February 2014 between 8.00 and 9.25 a.m. in Khreshchatyk and Instytutska Streets.”
Remember that last sentence, it will come up again.
Of course, the protesters suffered as well. According to the report, “183 protesters sustained firearm wounds”, although this tally is compiled for the preceding month – Jan 19th to Feb 22nd. The report states 25 people died from firearms and other injuries during the clashes on 18th-19th (although several deaths were not caused by police, and it is not clear if this total includes employee murdered by protesters during their storming and burning of the Party of Regions building – ed.).
Overall, the report shows the fighting was anything but one-sided. In the course of the three-month Maidan protests, “992 law enforcement officers had sought medical assistance, including 280 persons with firearms injuries”, while protesters suffered somewhere between 991 and 1,525 injured, “including 183 persons with firearm injuries”. These numbers are all collected by different agencies using different methods (persons treated, versus hospitalized, versus entered as victims in criminal cases, etc.), so it’s hard to conclude which side actually suffered more, but total casualties certainly seem to be very comparable. Fewer fatalities on law enforcement side are likely explained by protesters being poor shots, police officers having body armor, being trained in first aid, and all being young and healthy [note 3].
Plus that final mass shooting of protesters skewing the numbers.
And with that, we’re back to Institutskaya street, February 20th. As I said, that quote above is important. “4 officers … were killed … between 8.00 and 9.25 a.m. in Khreshchatyk and Instytutska Streets.” Shooting of protesters happened in Institutskaya, AFTER 9 am.
In other words, protesters fired first, killed some officers and wounded many more, forcing them to retreat from Khreshchatyk (frontline police units were only armed with batons). Then protesters advanced on the armed Berkut units (two Berkut officers were among those killed). Then, several Berkut officers finally opened fire in return.
Not quite the picture we got on TV, huh?
A BBC investigation came to similar conclusions independently (a leaked conversation between Estonian foreign minister and EU foreign affairs chief also pointed in the same direction). BBC even talked to one of the snipers. Although, as I mentioned above, news reports tend to be less reliable, the BBC investigation does match up well with the report above. Here are some quotes:
“The protest leaders, some of whom now hold positions of power in the new Ukraine, insist full responsibility for the shootings lies with the security forces, acting on behalf of the previous government. But one year on, some witnesses are beginning to paint a different picture.
A man we will call Sergei … tells me he took up position in the Kiev Conservatory, a music academy on the south-west corner of the square.
[On the morning of Feb 20th, he] spent some 20 minutes before 07:00 firing on police, alongside a second gunman.
Sergei says … that his shots at police on the square and on the roof of an underground shopping mall, caused them to retreat.
That morning, Andriy Shevchenko, then an opposition MP and part of the Maidan movement, had received a phone call from the head of the riot police on the square.
Shevchenko contacted the man in charge of security for the protesters, Andriy Parubiy, known as the Commandant of the Maidan.
“I sent a group of my best men to go through the entire Conservatory building and determine whether there were any firing positions,” Parubiy says.
[Shevchenko says] “I kept getting calls from the police officer, who said: ‘I have three people wounded, I have five people wounded, I have one person dead.’ And at some point he says, ‘I am pulling out.’ [riot police at the square were reportedly armed only with shields and batons – ed.]
And he says, ‘Andriy I do not know what will be next.’ But I clearly felt that something really bad was about to happen.”
Parubiy, [currently Speaker of Parliament – ed.], says his men found no gunmen in the Conservatory building.
But a photographer who gained access to the Conservatory later in the morning – shortly after 08:00 – took pictures there of men with guns, although he did not see them fire.
Sergei’s account also differs from Parubiy’s.
“I was just reloading,” he told me. “They ran up to me and one put his foot on top of me, and said, ‘They want a word with you, everything is OK, but stop doing what you’re doing.'”
Lawyers for the victims and sources in the general prosecutor’s office have told the BBC that when it comes to investigating deaths that could not have been caused by the riot police, they have found their efforts blocked by the courts.”
[map of the area from BBC’s report. Clearly shows which side was attacking]
D) There are plenty of other interesting parts to the Panel’s conclusions, most of them having to deal with the ineptitude and sabotage in the Maidan investigations, essentially finding them biased and unsatisfactory:
“… in certain important respects, the investigations into the Maidan cases lacked practical independence.”
“Mr Bahanets was … the hands-on leader of the Maidan investigations. He was removed from those investigations by the Prosecutor General, Mr Yarema
Mr Scherbyna was Mr Bahanets’ subordinate, … He received a redundancy notice on 11 September 2014, immediately following his meeting with the Panel
Thus, six months into the management of the investigations …. when continuity and leadership would have been vital, the two leaders of the Maidan investigations in the PGO were removed from the investigations within weeks of each other. No concerns or reservations had been expressed to either of them about their work and both considered that their removal had had a negative impact on the investigations. The submissions of the PGO to the Panel contained no explanation for these senior staffing changes.
The Panel concludes that the number of PGO investigators involved in the Maidan investigations during 2014 was wholly inadequate.
All save one of the senior prosecutors [initially assigned to the investigation] appear to have been dismissed or removed from the Maidan investigations by October 2014″
“… the authorities undermined the role of public scrutiny in securing accountability and, in addition, failed to satisfy the public’s right to know what happened during the Maidan demonstrations.”
“The Panel considers that substantial progress has not been made in the investigations into the violent incidents during the Maidan demonstrations. “
Oh, and here’s one final quote. 992 officers injured, 13 dead… “According to the information before the Panel, no one has been notified of suspicion of killing or injuring a law enforcement officer. … The Panel obtained no information from the MoI about the nature or progress of those investigations.” A BBC journalist can find the snipers, but the government is oblivious to their existence.
[note 1] Ahem…
“Make America Great Again”…
“Hands up don’t shoot”…
Hillary 2016 …
Hardly anyone in these movements reads any official documents, either.
[note 2] For example, one can also examine the sections of the report pertaining to the supposed brutal mass beating of young students by the riot police on Nov 30th (the event that really started the Maidan). The facts of the report show that students made fewer than 10% of people injured that night (6 of 70+), and in fact fewer students were injured than law enforcement officers. Also, the injuries from the so-called “brutal mass beating” included one suspected fracture and one concussion, the rest being simple bruises and scratches.
[note 3] We can also compare the actions of the “brutal dictator’s goons” at the Maidan to the democratic glory of the US police force.
According to the database at killedbypolice.net, law enforcement officers in the US killed 434 people in the first 137 days of 2016, while 22 law enforcement officers were murdered in the same period (according to database at www.odmp.org). Simple math (85/13 in Ukraine versus 434/22 in USA) shows that US police are roughly 3 times more likely to use deadly force than Yanukovich’s “brutes”.
I wonder, why didn’t Nuland and Co. denounce Obama’s brutality, like they did with Yanukovich? Maybe issue some travel bans to the persons responsible?