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FTR #1024 Ukrainian Fascism, Maidan Snipers and Implications for the Syrian War, Part 2

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

[6]Intro­duc­tion: On the 17th anniver­sary of the Sep­tem­ber 11th attacks, we con­tin­ue with analy­sis of the Maid­an shootings–an appar­ent “false flag” operation–and muse about the impli­ca­tions of that for the con­flict in Syr­ia, as well as Russ­ian and Amer­i­can polit­i­cal life.

In the first part of the pro­gram, we fin­ish read­ing the poster pre­sen­ta­tion that pro­fes­sor Ivan Katchanovs­ki, PhD of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ottawa pre­sent­ed at The 2018 Con­fer­ence of Amer­i­can Polit­i­cal Sci­ence Asso­ciates.

Katchanovs­ki has done a deep, detailed foren­sic study of the evi­dence in the Maid­an sniper attacks. He has a rig­or­ous, suc­cinct dig­i­tal mul­ti­me­dia ‘poster’ (an ‘iPoster’) for his find­ing that the Maid­an sniper attacks were a false flag oper­a­tion. That poster was pre­sent­ed dur­ing the 2018 Amer­i­can Polit­i­cal Sci­ence Asso­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence in Boston [7]. It gives a high lev­el overview of his research and is heav­i­ly embed­ded with sub­stan­tive, doc­u­men­tary videos. Here are the con­tents of the poster [8]. Be sure to check out the numer­ous images and videos includ­ed in the actu­al iPoster online.

He con­cludes his pre­sen­ta­tion with: “ . . . . The puz­zling mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Maid­an mas­sacre, its inves­ti­ga­tion, and the tri­al by West­ern media and gov­ern­ments require fur­ther research con­cern­ing rea­sons for such mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion . . . . ”

In addi­tion to the sys­tem­at­ic manip­u­la­tion of evi­dence to sup­port the “Berkut/Yanukovych did it” hypoth­e­sis, the cov­er-up of con­trary find­ings and the West­ern media silence about the real­i­ties of the Maid­an killings are sig­nif­i­cant.

Note: Since FTR #1023 [9] was record­ed pro­fes­sor Katchanovs­ki has post­ed a 59-minute-long video [10] of the Maid­an shoot­ings. The video fea­tures TV footage from that day, with many clips clear­ly show­ing snipers oper­at­ing from Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings. It also includes Eng­lish sub­ti­tles and foren­sic descrip­tions of scenes. The footage includes a num­ber of peo­ple being shot and killed–a griz­zly 59-min­utes, but absolute­ly invalu­able in terms of estab­lish­ing what actu­al­ly hap­pened.

The pre­sen­ta­tion of pro­fes­sor Katchanovski’s research in this pro­gram begins with the sec­tion titled “Cov­er-Up and Stonewalling.”

Addi­tion­al per­spec­tive on the appar­ent non-inves­ti­ga­tion of the Maid­an sniper shoot­ings is pro­vid­ed by Ana­toliy Matios, Ukraine’s Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor and Chief Mil­i­tary Pros­e­cu­tor:

Matios, Ukraine’s chief mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor, gave an exten­sive inter­view where he said that Jews are behind all wars and want to “drown eth­nic Slavs in blood.”

Also recall the cryp­tic state­ment [11] Matios made back in 2016 about the iden­ti­ty of the peo­ple involved with the 2014 sniper attacks: “When pub­lic learns who is involved in this, peo­ple will be very sur­prised.” In FTR #‘s 982 [12]993, [13]  1004 [12], 1023 [9]we exam­ined evi­dence that Ukrain­ian fas­cists may well have exe­cut­ed those sniper attacks. It is omi­nous that the chief mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor who is involved in that inves­ti­ga­tion is a neo-Nazi [14]. ” . . . . In an exten­sive inter­view [15] with the Ukrain­ian news out­let Insid­er, Ana­toliy Matios, Ukraine’s chief mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor, espoused anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries in which he implied that Jews want to drown eth­nic Slavs in blood. . . .”

Return­ing to pro­fes­sor Katchanovski’s thought-pro­vok­ing con­clu­sion to his online poster: “ . . . . The puz­zling mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Maid­an mas­sacre, its inves­ti­ga­tion, and the tri­al by West­ern media and gov­ern­ments require fur­ther research con­cern­ing rea­sons for such mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion . . . . ”

[16]With the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment appar­ent­ly com­menc­ing an offen­sive to van­quish Al-Qae­da jihadis in Idlib province (with Russ­ian mil­i­tary sup­port), the stage is set [17] for a pos­si­ble Russian‑U.S./Western mil­i­tary con­flict.

Against the back­ground of the Maid­an snip­ing as a prob­a­ble false flag provo­ca­tion, the impend­ing Syr­i­an offen­sive to re-cap­ture the last ter­ri­to­r­i­al enclave of the Islamists in Syr­ia should be viewed with appre­hen­sion. As not­ed in the arti­cle we present [17], the so-called “rebels” are Al-Qae­da off­shoots. Omi­nous­ly, they have appar­ent­ly suc­cess­ful­ly exe­cut­ed false-flag chem­i­cal weapons attacks [18] before, includ­ing in Idlib province.

Rus­sia has warned that such a provo­ca­tion is in the wings–an unre­mark­able deduc­tion in light of past his­to­ry. In turn, the West has warned of retal­ia­to­ry action if such actions are under­tak­en.

The stage appears set for an Islamist/Al-Qae­da chem­i­cal weapons false flag/provocation, upon which U.S., British and French mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion will be pred­i­cat­ed.

In this con­text, one should not lose sight of the fact that Chech­nyan Islamist vet­er­ans of the Syr­i­an war have already made their appear­ance in the com­bat in East­ern Ukraine, part­ner­ing with Pravy Sek­tor in their deploy­ments. (The Chechen/Right Sector/Islamist link is dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 857 [19], 862 [20], 863 [21], 872 [22], 878 [23], 893 [24], 911 [25].)

We note pos­si­ble out­comes of U.S./Western Russ­ian com­bat:

  1. If the Western/U.S. forces are vic­to­ri­ous, this will cov­er Trump’s rump  with regard to the “Rus­sia-Gate” so-called inves­ti­ga­tion and bol­ster the GOP’s posi­tion in upcom­ing 2018 midterm elec­tions.
  2. If the Western/U.S. forces pre­vail, it will weak­en Putin polit­i­cal­ly, which is a goal of the West.

[26]The last part of the pro­gram con­sists of a par­tial read­ing of an arti­cle [27] by CFR mem­ber Bruce Hoff­man. Not­ing Al Qaeda’s resur­gence and Al Qaeda’s empha­sis on the Syr­i­an con­flict, Hoff­man cites the so-called “Arab Spring” as the key event in Al Qaeda’s resur­gence. ” . . . . The thou­sands of hard­ened al-Qae­da fight­ers freed from Egypt­ian pris­ons in 2012–2013 by Pres­i­dent Mohammed Mor­si gal­va­nized the move­ment at a crit­i­cal moment, when insta­bil­i­ty reigned and a hand­ful of men well-versed in ter­ror­ism and sub­ver­sion could plunge a coun­try or a region into chaos. Whether in Libya, Turkey, Syr­ia, or Yemen, their arrival was prov­i­den­tial in terms of advanc­ing al-Qaeda’s inter­ests or increas­ing its influ­ence. . . . It was Syr­ia where al-Qaeda’s inter­ven­tion proved most con­se­quen­tial. One of Zawahiri’s first offi­cial acts after suc­ceed­ing bin Laden as emir was to order a Syr­i­an vet­er­an of the Iraqi insur­gency named Abu Moham­mad al-Julani to return home and estab­lish the al-Qae­da fran­chise that would even­tu­al­ly become Jab­hat al-Nus­ra. . . .”

In FTR #‘s 733 [28] through 739 [29], we pre­sent­ed our view that the so-called Arab Spring was a U.S. intel­li­gence oper­a­tion, aimed at plac­ing the Broth­er­hood in pow­er in Mus­lim coun­tries dom­i­nat­ed either by a sec­u­lar dic­ta­tor or absolute monar­chy.

[30]

Ibn Khal­dun: Mus­lim Broth­er­hood eco­nom­ics role mod­el, regard­ed by the IMF as the first advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion

It is our view that the Broth­er­hood was seen as use­ful because of its mil­i­tary off­shoots (Al-Qae­da in par­tic­u­lar) were use­ful proxy war­riors in places like the Cau­ca­sus and the Balka­ns and because the Broth­er­hood’s cor­po­ratist, neo-lib­er­al eco­nom­ic doc­trine was in keep­ing with the desires and goals of the trans-nation­al cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ty.

In FTR #787 [31], we solid­i­fied our analy­sis with defin­i­tive con­fir­ma­tion of our work­ing hypoth­e­sis pre­sent­ed years ear­li­er.

About the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s eco­nom­ic doc­trine [32]” . . . . The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood hails 14th cen­tury philoso­pher Ibn Khal­dun as its eco­nomic guide. Antic­i­pat­ing sup­ply-side eco­nom­ics, Khal­dun argued that cut­ting tax­es rais­es pro­duc­tion and tax rev­enues, and that state con­trol should be lim­ited to pro­vid­ing water, fire and free graz­ing land, the util­i­ties of the ancient world. The World Bank has called Ibn Khal­dun the first advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion. [Empha­sis added.] His found­ing influ­ence is a sign of mod­er­a­tion. If Islamists in pow­er ever do clash with the West, it won’t be over com­merce. . . .”

Stephen Glain’s cita­tion of Ibn Khal­dun res­onates with Ronald Rea­gan’s pre­sen­ta­tion [33] of “sup­ply-side eco­nom­ics.” ” . . . . Respond­ing to a ques­tion about the effects of tax and spend­ing cuts that began tak­ing effect yes­ter­day, Mr. Rea­gan said the sup­ply-side prin­ci­ple dat­ed at least as far back as Ibn Khal­dun, who is gen­er­al­ly regard­ed as the great­est Arab his­to­ri­an to emerge from the high­ly devel­oped Ara­bic cul­ture of the Mid­dle Ages. . . .”

1. Cana­di­an aca­d­e­m­ic Ivan Katchanovs­ki has done a deep, detailed foren­sic study of the evi­dence in the Maid­an sniper attacks. He has a rig­or­ous, suc­cinct dig­i­tal mul­ti­me­dia ‘poster’ (an ‘iPoster’) for his find­ing that the Maid­an sniper attacks were a false flag oper­a­tion. That poster was pre­sent­ed dur­ing the 2018 Amer­i­can Polit­i­cal Sci­ence Asso­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence in Boston [7]. It gives a high lev­el overview of his research and is heav­i­ly embed­ded with sub­stan­tive, doc­u­men­tary videos. Here are the con­tents of the poster. [8]Be sure to check out the numer­ous images and videos includ­ed in the actu­al iPoster online.

“ . . . . Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al and inves­ti­ga­tion evi­dence have revealed var­i­ous evi­dence that at least the absolute major­i­ty of 49 killed and 157 wound­ed Maid­an pro­test­ers on Feb­ru­ary 20, 2014 were mas­sa­cred by snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings. Such evi­dence includes tes­ti­monies of the major­i­ty of wound­ed pro­test­ers and many wit­ness­es, foren­sic med­ical and bal­lisitic exam­i­na­tions, and inves­ti­ga­tion own find­ing that about half of Maid­an pro­test­ers were wound­ed from oth­er loca­tions than the Berkut police. Var­i­ous indi­ca­tions of stonewalling of the Maid­an mas­sacre inves­ti­ga­tions and the tri­als by the Maid­an gov­ern­ment offi­cials and by far right orga­ni­za­tions. Var­i­ous indi­ca­tions of the cov­er-up of much of the key evi­dence of the mas­sacre. Such rev­e­la­tions from the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­als and inves­ti­ga­tions cor­rob­o­rate pre­vi­ous stud­ies find­ings that this mas­sacre was a false flag mass killing with involve­ment of ele­ments of Maid­an lead­er­ship and the far right and that it includ­ed the mas­sacre of the police. The puz­zling mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Maid­an mas­sacre, its inves­ti­ga­tion, and the tri­al by West­ern media and gov­ern­ments require fur­ther research con­cern­ing rea­sons for such mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion . . . . ”

Note: Since FTR #1023 [9] was record­ed pro­fes­sor Katchanovs­ki has post­ed a 59-minute-long video [10] of the Maid­an shoot­ings. The video fea­tures TV footage from that day, with many clips clear­ly show­ing snipers oper­at­ing from Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings. It also includes Eng­lish sub­ti­tles and foren­sic descrip­tions of scenes. The footage includes a num­ber of peo­ple being shot and killed–a griz­zly 59-min­utes, but absolute­ly invalu­able in terms of estab­lish­ing what actu­al­ly hap­pened.

The pre­sen­ta­tion of pro­fes­sor Katchanovski’s research in this pro­gram begins with the sec­tion titled “Cov­er-Up and Stonewalling.”

“Ivan Katchanovs­ki, PhD. The Maid­an Mas­sacre in Ukraine: Rev­e­la­tions from Tri­als and Inves­ti­ga­tions.” Poster pre­sent­ed at: 2018 Con­fer­ence of the Amer­i­can Polit­i­cal Stud­ies Asso­ciates; 2018 Aug 30-Sept 1; Boston, MA [8]

Pre­vi­ous Stud­ies

The Maid­an mas­sacre in Ukraine in Feb­ru­ary 2014 led to or con­tributed to

* Vio­lent over­throw of the semi-demo­c­ra­t­ic pro-Russ­ian gov­ern­ment
* Russ­ian annex­a­tion of Crimea
* Civ­il war in Don­bas
* Russ­ian covert mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in Don­bas in sup­port of sep­a­ratists
* Con­flict between the West and Rus­sia

(See Black and Johns, 2016; Hahn, 2017; Katchanovs­ki, 2015a, 2015b, 2016a, 2016b, 2017; Kudelia, 2016, 2018)

Only a few pre­vi­ous schol­ar­ly stud­ies of this cru­cial case of polit­i­cal vio­lence

* All by polit­i­cal sci­en­tists

Most pre­vi­ous stud­ies find that this was a false flag mass killing involv­ing sec­tions of Maid­an lead­er­ship and far right and involved the mas­sacre of the police (Hahn, 2017; Katchanovs­ki, 2015, 2016)

Kudelia (2018) argues that the vio­lence was ini­ti­at­ed by the Maid­an pro­test­ers, who killed and wound­ed many police­men and that the Berkut police then mas­sa­cred unarmed pro­test­ers in turn

* But the pre­vi­ous stud­ies did not exam­ine sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly evi­dence revealed by Maid­an mas­sacre tri­als and inves­ti­ga­tions
* Many schol­ars uncrit­i­cal­ly cit­ed Maid­an politi­cians, gov­ern­ment offi­cials, and the media con­cern­ing this mas­sacre with­out exam­in­ing evi­dence, includ­ing from tri­al and inves­ti­ga­tions, for exam­ple, mis­at­tribut­ing the mas­sacre to gov­ern­ment snipers (See, for exam­ple, Marples and Mills, 2015; Wil­son, 2014).

Ukrain­ian and West­ern gov­ern­ments and media dom­i­nant nar­ra­tives

* Gov­ern­ment snipers and/or a Berkut anti-riot police unit mas­sa­cred peace­ful Maid­an pro­test­ers on a Yanukovych order
* Killed pro­test­ers com­mem­o­rat­ed by the gov­ern­ment and media in Ukraine as nation­al heroes
* Lim­it­ed media report­ing and offi­cial state­ments about the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al even though this is the tri­al of the cen­tu­ry in Ukraine
* Charges against Yanukovych, his inter­nal affairs and secu­ri­ty min­is­ters, and a spe­cial Berkut unit are gen­er­al­ly tak­en at face val­ue
* With some lim­it­ed excep­tions, no media report­ing or offi­cials state­ments about rev­e­la­tions of evi­dence at the tri­al regard­ing snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled loca­tions or such evi­dence is dis­missed as a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry or fake

Research Ques­tion & Data

Research Ques­tion

* What does evi­dence made pub­lic by the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­als and Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tions reveal about which of the par­ties of the con­flict was involved in this mass killing?

Data and Method­ol­o­gy

* Sev­er­al hun­dred hours of online video record­ings of Maid­an mas­sacre tri­als
* Over 2,000 court deci­sions con­cern­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of the mas­sacre from the offi­cial court deci­sions data­base in Ukraine
* Focus on the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al of 5 Berkut police­men charged with the mas­sacre on Feb­ru­ary 20, 2014

Qual­i­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive inter­views analy­sis

* Exam­ines tri­al and inves­ti­ga­tion tes­ti­monies of more than 100 wound­ed pro­test­ers and rel­a­tives of the killed pro­test­ers, Yanukovych, and his Inter­nal Troops com­man­der
* Tes­ti­monies by wit­ness­es at the tri­al, inves­ti­ga­tion, media, and social media

Con­tent analy­sis

* Analy­sis and syn­chro­niza­tion of videos, audio record­ings, and pho­tos of the Maid­an mas­sacre shown dur­ing the tri­al, in the media, and social media
* Com­par­isons of the tri­al and inves­ti­ga­tion data with oth­er evi­dence, such as syn­chro­nised videos of the mas­sacre and tes­ti­monies of wit­ness­es in the media and social media
* Com­par­i­son with results of foren­sic bal­lis­tic and med­ical exam­i­na­tions and inves­tiga­tive exper­i­ments made pub­lic at the tri­al
* Online video appen­dix­es with Eng­lish-lan­guage sub­ti­tles con­tain rel­e­vant video seg­ments from the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al, the media, and social media for analy­sis and repli­ca­tion pur­pos­es

Rev­e­la­tions about Snipers
The Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al & inves­ti­ga­tion revealed var­i­ous evi­dence that Maid­an pro­test­ers on Feb­ru­ary 20 were mas­sa­cred by snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings

* At least 25 out of 66 wound­ed Maid­an pro­test­ers, with whose shoot­ing Berkut police­men are charged, tes­ti­fied at the tri­al & inves­ti­ga­tion that they were shot from Maid­an-con­trolled buildings/ areas & 29 tes­ti­fied that they wit­nessed snipers there or were told about them by oth­er pro­test­ers (See Video Appen­dix D)
[see video [34]]
* Many wit­ness tes­ti­monies at the tri­al & inves­ti­ga­tion about snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings (Video Appen­dix E)
[see video [35]]

Such tes­ti­monies are con­sis­tent with some 200 wit­ness tes­ti­monies in media and social media about snipers in Maid­an areas, includ­ing over 70 video tes­ti­monies.

* Six Maid­an politi­cians and activists pub­licly tes­ti­fied that they wit­nessed involve­ment of spe­cif­ic top Maid­an lead­ers in the mas­sacre, such as their deploy­ment of snipers and evac­u­a­tion of snipers who were cap­tured by Maid­an-pro­test­ers
* An ex-spon­sor of the Right Sec­tor to tes­ti­fy at the tri­al

(See Video Appen­dix B).
[see video [36]]

They are also gen­er­al­ly con­sis­tent with tes­ti­monies of 5 Geor­gian ex-mil­i­tary in Ital­ian, Israeli, Mace­don­ian, & Russ­ian media and their depo­si­tions pro­vid­ed to Berkut lawyers for the tri­al. They tes­ti­fied that their groups received weapons, pay­ments, & orders to mas­sacre both police and pro­test­ers from spe­cif­ic Maid­an and Geor­gian politi­cians & instruc­tions from a far-right linked ex-US Army sniper and then saw Geor­gian, Baltic States, and spe­cif­ic far right Right Sec­tor-linked Ukrain­ian snipers shoot­ing from spe­cif­ic Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings (see Ital­ian & Israeli TV doc­u­men­taries (Eng­lish lan­guage ver­sions))
[see video [37]]
[see video [38]]
[see video [39]]

These Geor­gians revealed in the media their names, pass­port num­bers & bor­der stamps, copies of plane tick­ets, videos and pho­tos in Ukraine or Geor­gian mil­i­tary, and oth­er evi­dence in sup­port of their tes­ti­monies

* Iden­ti­ties, pres­ence in Ukraine, and Geor­gian mil­i­tary ser­vice of some of them cor­rob­o­rat­ed by evi­dence & oth­er sources
* Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al deci­sion autho­rised two of them tes­ti­fy at the tri­al via video link from Arme­nia

The Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Office inves­ti­ga­tion revealed in Octo­ber 2016 that one of the lead­ers of far right Svo­bo­da and its mem­ber of the par­lia­ment occu­pied a Hotel Ukraina room from which a sniper in report­ed Maid­an style green hel­met was filmed shoot­ing by BBC and ICTV in the direc­tion of the Maid­an pro­test­ers and the BBC jour­nal­ists. (See Video Appen­dix A)

Three Maid­an snipers admit­ted in BBC and Ukrain­ian media inter­views that the mas­sacre on Feb­ru­ary 20 start­ed with them and oth­er Maid­an snipers shoot­ing at the police from the Music Con­ser­va­to­ry and forc­ing the police units to flee the Maid­an square which they besieged (see BBC report and Katchanovs­ki, 2015b)
[see video [40]]

* Inves­ti­ga­tion deter­mined that one of them killed two police­men dur­ing the mas­sacre from a hunt­ing ver­sion of Kalash­nikov assault rifle
* Kyiv court deci­sions revealed that the Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Office of Ukraine inves­ti­gat­ed lead­ers and mem­bers of the far right Right Sec­tor, neo-Nazi “War­riors of Nar­nia,” Sok­il, a youth affil­i­ate of far right Svo­bo­da par­ty, far right Brat­st­vo and oth­er uniden­ti­fied Maid­an activists for their sus­pect­ed involve­ment in the killing and wound­ing of the Inte­ri­or Troops ser­vice­men and the Berkut police on Feb­ru­ary 18–20 (see, for exam­ple, Ukhvala, 2016a).
* Right Sec­tor mem­bers match killers of two Inte­ri­or Troops mem­bers on Feb­ru­ary 18

The Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Office of Ukraine inves­ti­ga­tion deter­mined based on their tes­ti­monies and inves­tiga­tive exper­i­ments that almost half of pro­test­ers (77 out of 157) were wound­ed on Feb­ru­ary 20 from oth­er sec­tors than the Berkut police and did not charge Berkut with their shoot­ing

* Since the inves­ti­ga­tion deter­mined that gov­ern­ment snipers did not mas­sacre the Maid­an pro­test­ers this sug­gests that these pro­test­ers were wound­ed from the Maid­an-con­trolled buildings/areas
* E,g., a female #Maid­an medic, whose wound­ing on Maid­an was wide­ly blamed by West­ern & Ukrain­ian media and politi­cians on gov­ern­ment snipers
[see video [41]]

No such tes­ti­monies admit­ting involve­ment in the mas­sacre or knowl­edge of such involve­ment by the Berkut police­men, ex-police and secu­ri­ty ser­vices com­man­ders, and ex-Yanukovych gov­ern­ment offi­cials

* This includes both those charged with the mas­sacre and those not charged and serv­ing the new Maid­an gov­ern­ment or remain­ing in Ukraine
* Charged Berkut police­men denied that they mas­sa­cred pro­test­ers
Their lawyers argue at the tri­al that both pro­test­ers and police were mas­sa­cred by snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings
* Yanukovych and his com­man­der of Inter­nal Troops tes­ti­fied at the tri­al as wit­ness­es via video link from Rus­sia the same and that they did not give orders to mas­sacre pro­test­ers.
* They were only charged in 2017 in absen­tia with order­ing the mas­sacre
* Such tes­ti­monies of police­men and senior ex-gov­ern­ment offi­cials pub­licly accused or charged with the mass killing are in line with their per­son­al, polit­i­cal, and mon­e­tary incen­tives but they are gen­er­al­ly con­sis­tent with var­i­ous oth­er evi­dence

No spe­cif­ic evi­dence of orders by then pres­i­dent Yanukovych, his inter­nal affairs and secu­ri­ty ser­vice min­is­ters, or police and secu­ri­ty ser­vice com­man­ders to mas­sacre unarmed pro­test­ers has been revealed at the tri­als or made pub­lic by the pros­e­cu­tion or oth­er sources

A minor­i­ty of wound­ed pro­test­ers tes­ti­fied at the tri­al and inves­ti­ga­tion that they were shot by gov­ern­ment snipers or Berkut police

* Most of these tes­ti­monies are not con­sis­tent with foren­sic med­ical exam­i­na­tions, in par­tic­u­lar, about their steep/slope wound direc­tions and their posi­tions in videos, inves­ti­ga­tion find­ing that pro­test­ers were not mas­sa­cred by gov­ern­ment snipers
* There is lack of such foren­sic exam­i­na­tions, videos, and wit­ness tes­ti­monies is a many of these cas­es or the evi­dence is con­tra­dic­to­ry
* Such tes­ti­monies by wound­ed Maid­an pro­test­ers are much more like­ly to be biased because of per­son­al, mon­e­tary and polit­i­cal incen­tives to cor­rob­o­rate the dom­i­nant gov­ern­ment, media and pros­e­cu­tion nar­ra­tive of the mas­sacre com­pared to oppo­site incen­tive of tes­ti­monies by wound­ed Maid­an pro­test­ers about snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings and areas

Inves­ti­ga­tion by the Mil­i­tary Pros­e­cu­tor Office in Lviv found that the Maid­an pro­test­ers in Khmel­nyt­skyi were killed and wound­ed by uniden­ti­fied Maid­an shoot­er from the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine region­al head­quar­ters porch that was occu­pied by Maid­an pro­test­ers. This is con­sis­tent with the con­tent analy­sis of videos of this mas­sacre (see Video Appen­dix C).

Foren­sic Exam­i­na­tions

Offi­cial foren­sic med­ical exam­i­na­tions

* Absolute major­i­ty of pro­test­ers shot on Feb­ru­ary 20 from side & back direc­tions
* 40 out of 48 killed pro­test­ers, with whose mur­der Berkut police­men are charged, had slope wounds & 1 even
* 36 with slope wounds were killed when police was on sim­i­lar lev­el on the ground
* E.g. 3 pro­test­ers in US archi­tec­ture com­pa­ny 3‑D mod­el for Maid­an lawyers but their wounds made near­ly straight

Loca­tions & direc­tions of Dmytriv wounds in foren­sic med­ical reports (Report, 2015a) & Krovavyi (2014) & Tri­al (2016) videos & their & bul­let direc­tion mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions by SITU (2018), New York Times (2018), BBC (2014) & pros­e­cu­tion
[see image [42]]
They are con­sis­tent with bul­let tra­jec­to­ries in videos & pho­tos (see Video Appen­dix C)
[see video [43]]

Foren­sic exam­i­na­tions and a video of his shoot­ing sug­gest that one pro­test­er shot in his side at near­ly even lev­el was killed from a Maid­an direc­tion

Out of 7 killed pro­test­ers with no foren­sic infor­ma­tion about their wounds direc­tion made pub­lic:

* Three were shot by hunt­ing pel­lets before the Berkut spe­cial com­pa­ny appeared in the Maid­an area
* One was shot by an expand­ing hunt­ing bul­let of a US cal­iber which does not match cal­iber of gov­ern­ment units firearms
* One was killed, inter alia, by a hand­gun bul­let behind a wall that made it phys­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble to shoot him from Berkut posi­tions
* Two oth­er were killed at the same time and place as the many oth­er pro­test­ers

(See Video Appen­dix A)

Sim­i­lar­ly, 48 out of 51 wound­ed pro­test­ers, whose wound direc­tions were revealed at the tri­al and with whose shoot­ing on Feb­ru­ary 20th Berkut police­men were charged, had wounds at sig­nif­i­cant slopes.

* Com­mon sense and foren­sic text­books sug­gest that this is con­sis­tent with shoot­ing by snipers in/on build­ings.

Side­ways and back loca­tions and direc­tions of their wounds in the absolute major­i­ty of cas­es also point to shoot­ing from Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings locat­ed on both sides and in the back of advanc­ing pro­test­ers and not from their front by the Berkut police (see Map).

* One does not need to be a foren­sic expert to deter­mine whether over­all loca­tions and direc­tions of wounds at the times and spots iden­ti­fied at the tri­al and in syn­chro­nized videos of the mas­sacre point to the Berkut posi­tions on the ground in front of the pro­test­ers or to Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings on the pro­test­ers’ left and right sides and in the back of the pro­test­ers

Foren­sic bal­lis­tic exam­i­na­tions

* Report­ed that 19 pro­test­ers were killed on Feb­ru­ary 20 by 7.62x39mm cal­iber bul­lets
* Stat­ed that they could not deter­mine if the bul­lets were fired from Kalash­nikov assault rifles of this cal­iber, hunt­ing ver­sions of Kalash­nikov assault rifles, or oth­er weapons of this cal­iber, such as Simonov car­bine (SKS)
* They indi­cat­ed that one pro­test­er was killed from Vepr car­bine, a hunt­ing ver­sion of Kalash­nikov machine gun
* Three oth­er pro­test­ers were killed by pel­lets used in hunt­ing.
* Two pro­test­ers were killed by expand­ing hunt­ing bul­lets. Their cal­iber did not match cal­ibers of weapons used by the spe­cial Berkut com­pa­ny, whose mem­bers were charged with killing them.
* A foren­sic bal­lis­tic exam­i­na­tion con­duct­ed by gov­ern­ment insti­tute experts on the pros­e­cu­tion request with use of an auto­mat­ic com­put­er based IBIS-TAIS sys­tem in Jan­u­ary 2015 found that bul­lets extract­ed from killed pro­test­ers, trees, and the Hotel Ukraina rooms did not match police data­base of bul­let sam­ples from any 7.62×39 cal­iber Kalash­nikov assault rifles of mem­bers of the entire Kyiv Berkut reg­i­ment, includ­ing the spe­cial Berkut com­pa­ny charged with the mas­sacre of the pro­test­ers
* Find­ings of this com­put­er-based bal­lis­tic exam­i­na­tion and results of some 40 oth­er bal­lis­tic exam­i­na­tions were reversed in a cou­ple of bal­lis­tic exam­i­na­tions con­duct­ed man­u­al­ly in the very end of the inves­ti­ga­tion
* This sug­gests that these rever­sals are unre­li­able, and bal­lis­tic experts could not explain them at the tri­al

Foren­sic exam­i­na­tions along with tes­ti­monies of wound­ed pro­test­ers & wit­ness­es, loca­tions & posi­tions of the killed & wound­ed pro­test­ers in videos & pho­tos, & Google Earth map of the mas­sacre site sug­gest that at least absolute major­i­ty of pro­test­ers, includ­ing Dmytriv, were shot by snipers in the Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings (See map and Video Appen­dix A)

[see Map of the Maid­an mas­sacre on Feb­ru­ary 20 [42]]

Killing and wound­ing of a small minor­i­ty of pro­test­ers by the Berkut police, in par­tic­u­lar, by ric­o­chets or in cross-fire with snipers in the Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings, can­not be exclud­ed because of lack of data or con­tra­dic­to­ry data

* But their killing and wound­ing in the same loca­tions and at the same time as oth­er pro­test­ers sug­gest that most of them were also like­ly shot by the Maid­an snipers.

Gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tion deter­mined that most of pro­test­ers killed on Feb­ru­ary 18–19 were shot with hunt­ing pel­lets and smooth­bore rifles used in hunt­ing

The gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tion revealed that the absolute major­i­ty of 11 police­men killed on Feb­ru­ary 18–19, and all 4 police­men killed on Feb­ru­ary 20 were shot from sim­i­lar types and cal­ibers of hunt­ing pel­lets and bul­lets, hand­gun bul­lets, and 7,62×39 bul­lets as the pro­test­ers

Court rul­ings revealed that the weapons used by two wound­ed Right Sec­tor activists in a sep­a­ratist check­point attack in April 2014 were the same weapons from which two Inter­nal Troops ser­vice­men were killed and three oth­er police­men wound­ed on the Maid­an on Feb­ru­ary 18 (Ukhvala, 2016b).

Cov­er-up & Stonewalling NB–We began this week’s pre­sen­ta­tion with a read­ing of Pro­fes­sor Katchanovski’s pre­sen­ta­tion from this point.

* Inves­ti­ga­tion denies that there were snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings & not inves­ti­gates them in spite of over­whelm­ing evi­dence revealed by inves­ti­ga­tion & tri­al & pub­licly avail­able evi­dence, such as tes­ti­monies by over 100 wound­ed pro­test­ers & over 200 wit­ness­es, & videos, pho­tos & audio of snipers in/on these build­ings, includ­ing their shoot­ing at pro­test­ers & police (Video Appen­dix A).
[see video [44]]

The Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al of Ukraine, who was one of the top Maid­an politi­cians, declared that the inves­ti­ga­tion of the Maid­an mas­sacre is de fac­to com­plet­ed

* Pub­lic state­ments by 6 Maid­an politi­cians and activists and 5 Geor­gians about involve­ment of snipers and Maid­an lead­ers in the mas­sacre and its cov­er-up have not been inves­ti­gat­ed
* Ex-pres­i­dent of Geor­gia hasti­ly detained and expelled from Ukraine a day before his tes­ti­mo­ny con­cern­ing “Geor­gian snipers” at the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al
* Sim­i­lar­ly, a pub­lic state­ment by a Maid­an mem­ber of the par­lia­ment that one of titusky lead­ers, who was involved in killing of a jour­nal­ist on Feb­ru­ary 19, worked for a busi­ness of lead­ing Maid­an activists and that they knew about the mas­sacar in advance also has not been inves­ti­gat­ed

Fail­ure by the inves­ti­ga­tion to deter­mine bul­let tra­jec­to­ries with help of foren­sic bal­lis­tic experts even after the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al ordered such exam­i­na­tions, specif­i­cal­ly to deter­mine if these tra­jec­to­ries were from the Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings

* The inves­ti­ga­tion instead of bal­lis­tic experts used com­plex foren­sic exam­i­na­tions by medics to deter­mine sec­tors of fire with­out on-site vis­its and any mea­sure­ments and expla­na­tions pro­vid­ed
* At least sev­er­al dozens of such exam­i­na­tions were con­duct­ed by the same three med­ical experts dur­ing the last weeks of the inves­ti­ga­tion
* Not bal­lis­tic experts but archi­tects from a US archi­tec­ture com­pa­ny were hired by Maid­an vic­tims lawyers with involve­ment of the pros­e­cu­tion to deter­mine bul­let tra­jec­to­ries of 3 select­ed killed pro­test­ers out of 49 killed and 157 wound­ed pro­test­ers for the tri­al con­cern­ing Feb­ru­ary 20th Maid­an mas­sacre
* Both these com­plex med­ical exam­i­na­tions and the 3‑D mod­el by New York archi­tec­ture com­pa­ny pro­vid­ed prac­ti­cal­ly iden­ti­cal bul­let trajectories/sectors of fire from Berkut bar­ri­cades on the ground in cas­es of these 3 killed pro­test­ers.
* But wounds loca­tions and steep slopes of the entry and exit wounds in foren­sic med­ical exam­i­na­tions used both by the med­ical and archi­tec­tur­al experts in deter­min­ing these bal­lis­tic tra­jec­to­ries dif­fer sig­nif­i­cant­ly from their loca­tions and near­ly hor­i­zon­tal lev­els in the 3‑D mod­el by SITU Research
* This con­cerns not only Dmytriv wounds but also Dyh­dalovych and Parashchuk wounds
(See images con­cern­ing Dmyriv above and Dyh­dalovych below, Report (2015a, 2015b); SITU (2018)).
[see image of Dyh­dalovych wounds loca­tions and direc­tions and their mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion in SITU mod­el [45]]

Bul­let wounds loca­tions and their steep slopes along with bul­let holes appear­ing in shields right after their killings in the same spot with­in 2 min­utes and a tes­ti­mo­ny of a pro­test­er who was in the same spot that he saw Dyh­dalovych shot by a sniper on the Bank Arka­da point to the top of this build­ing as a loca­tion of snipers who killed both Dyh­dalovych and Dmytriv.

(See Map, Video Appen­dix A).

* These bul­let holes and the tes­ti­monies of two pro­test­ers, who wit­nessed their killings, about snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings shoot­ing Dyh­dalovych and Dmytriv were not men­tioned at the tri­al
* Similarly,videos and audio record­ings of snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings and pub­licly avail­able tes­ti­monies of numer­ous oth­er Maid­an pro­test­ers about such snipers were not men­tioned by the inves­ti­ga­tion and at the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al

The land­scape, the street, & trees on the site of the mas­sacre would be almost com­plete­ly changed into a park and a new Maid­an mas­sacre muse­um by Feb­ru­ary 2019 and it would be phys­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble to con­duct on-site inves­tiga­tive exper­i­ments to deter­mine bul­let tra­jec­to­ries.

A new bal­lis­tic expert exam­i­na­tions of bul­lets that was ordered by the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al has not start­ed for more than 1 year after the court deci­sion.

No foren­sic video and audio exam­i­na­tions were con­duct­ed by the inves­ti­ga­tion.

The Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Office reversed with­out any expla­na­tions their own pre­vi­ous inves­ti­ga­tion find­ings.

* Admis­sions that pro­test­ers were mas­sa­cred by snipers from the Hotel Ukraina from SKS car­bines and that at least 3 pro­test­ers were killed from this hotel and 10 oth­ers were also killed from sig­nif­i­cant heights
* Inves­ti­ga­tions of the mas­sacres of the police and the pro­test­ers were sep­a­rat­ed even though they hap­pened on the same days and in the same places
* No foren­sic exam­i­na­tions com­par­isons of bul­lets extract­ed from bod­ies of the police and the pro­test­ers in spite of var­i­ous evi­dence that they were shot by same groups of snipers
* Sim­i­lar unex­plained rever­sals of foren­sic exam­i­na­tions of bul­lets and direc­tions of wounds of pro­test­ers a few weeks before the inves­ti­ga­tion sub­mit­ted the case to a court for tri­al
* Sim­i­lar unex­plained rever­sals at the tri­al tes­ti­monies of many wound­ed pro­test­ers pre­vi­ous­ly pro­vid­ed to the inves­ti­ga­tion

The Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Office has been head­ed by Maid­an politi­cians or close allies of the cur­rent pres­i­dent of Ukraine and the inves­ti­ga­tion of the mas­sacre has been under con­trol of Maid­an gov­ern­ment lead­ers from the start.

Two fac­tions of main rul­ing Maid­an par­ties blocked cre­ation of a par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion con­cern­ing Maid­an mas­sacre inves­ti­ga­tion.

Key pieces of foren­sic evi­dence of the mas­sacre on Feb­ru­ary 20 dis­ap­peared when it was under the Maid­an oppo­si­tion or Maid­an gov­ern­ment con­trol or when it was in the pos­ses­sion of the Maid­an gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tion with­out any­one respon­si­ble iden­ti­fied and pros­e­cut­ed.

* Almost all shields and hel­mets of killed and wound­ed pro­test­ers since bul­let holes in them or their absence could iden­ti­fy loca­tions of the shoot­ers
* Many bul­lets extract­ed from bod­ies of the pro­test­ers and the police, trees, soil, a flower box, and the Maid­an build­ings
* Some trees with bul­lets and/or bul­let holes were cut soon after the mas­sacre, and the pros­e­cu­tion admit­ted this three years after­wards
* Record­ings of live online streams and oth­er videos from the time of shoot­ing at the police from the Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings in the ear­ly morn­ing of Feb­ru­ary 20
* Secu­ri­ty cam­eras record­ings from the Hotel Ukraina, the Bank Arka­da, and oth­er Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings at the time when snipers were locat­ed there
* Bul­lets extract­ed from bod­ies of pro­test­ers in Khmel­nyt­skyi
* A leader of a Maid­an orga­ni­za­tion and its mem­bers were revealed and inves­ti­gat­ed by the Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Office for evac­u­at­ing and hid­ing firearms of the spe­cial Berkut com­pa­ny charged with the mas­sacre of the pro­test­ers on Feb­ru­ary 20

No one was charged with killing and wound­ing the major­i­ty of Maid­an pro­test­ers on Feb­ru­ary 18–19.

* Berkut police­men charged with killing the first 3 pro­test­ers and wound­ing 33 pro­test­ers on Feb­ru­ary 18 were released by the courts and allowed by the law enforce­ment to flee Ukraine
* The same con­cerns a Berkut com­man­der whose com­pa­ny was charged with killing of 48 pro­test­ers on Feb­ru­ary 20
* Foren­sic evi­dence in killings pro­test­ers and the police on Feb­ru­ary 18–19 has not been made pub­lic
* A pro­test­er who killed anoth­er pro­test­er by dri­ving him over in a seized truck and was tried was released under an amnesty law for crimes com­mit­ted by Maid­an pro­test­ers dur­ing the “Euro­maid­an”

Nobody is charged with killing of a Geor­gian pro­test­er on Feb­ru­ary 20 and cir­cum­stances of his killing and its inves­ti­ga­tion are not made pub­lic.

Nobody is charged and tried for killing and wound­ing police­men on Feb­ru­ary 18–20.

* Charges of killing two police­men against one Maid­an sniper who pub­licly admit­ted in the Ukrain­ian media this were dropped and replaced by milder charges by the Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al of Ukraine

The Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al was restart­ed from the begin­ning, has not com­plet­ed tes­ti­monies of rel­a­tives of killed and wound­ed pro­test­ers, and it would not pro­duce a ver­dict before the 2019 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions

Sev­er­al attacks by the neo-Nazi C14 and oth­er far right groups dis­rupt­ed and threat­ened the tri­al.

* C14 took refuge in the Cana­di­an Embassy short­ly before the Maid­an mas­sacre, and one of its ex-lead­ers stat­ed that the C14 knew about the mas­sacre in advance.

No such evi­dence of sys­tem­at­ic cov­er-up by the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment lead­ers and Berkut mem­bers.

* Yanukovych trea­son tri­al revealed var­i­ous evi­dence that he fled Ukraine fol­low­ing sev­er­al assas­si­na­tion attempts by Maid­an forces, includ­ing far right.
* He, his min­is­ters and Inter­nal Troops ex-com­man­der vol­un­teered to tes­ti­fy via video links about the mas­sacre at the tri­als.
* Absolute major­i­ty of Berkut mem­bers, who were charged with the mas­sacre did not flee Ukraine until they were to be charged with the mas­sacre or after they were charged.

Not a sin­gle per­son is con­vict­ed for killing and wound­ing some 100 pro­test­ers and the police on Feb­ru­ary 18–20, 2014.

Con­clu­sion

Maid­an mas­sacre tri­al and inves­ti­ga­tion evi­dence have revealed var­i­ous evi­dence that at least the absolute major­i­ty of 49 killed and 157 wound­ed Maid­an pro­test­ers on Feb­ru­ary 20, 2014 were mas­sa­cred by snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings.

* Such evi­dence includes tes­ti­monies of the major­i­ty of wound­ed pro­test­ers and many wit­ness­es, foren­sic med­ical and bal­lisitic exam­i­na­tions, and inves­ti­ga­tion own find­ing that about half of Maid­an pro­test­ers were wound­ed from oth­er loca­tions than the Berkut police.

Var­i­ous indi­ca­tions of stonewalling of the Maid­an mas­sacre inves­ti­ga­tions and the tri­als by the Maid­an gov­ern­ment offi­cials and by far right orga­ni­za­tions.

Var­i­ous indi­ca­tions of the cov­er-up of much of the key evi­dence of the mas­sacre.

Such rev­e­la­tions from the Maid­an mas­sacre tri­als and inves­ti­ga­tions cor­rob­o­rate pre­vi­ous stud­ies find­ings that this mas­sacre was a false flag mass killing with involve­ment of ele­ments of Maid­an lead­er­ship and the far right and that it includ­ed the mas­sacre of the police.

The puz­zling mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Maid­an mas­sacre, its inves­ti­ga­tion, and the tri­al by West­ern media and gov­ern­ments require fur­ther research con­cern­ing rea­sons for such mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

2a. Of sig­nif­i­cance for our pur­pos­es is the cryp­tic state­ment of Chief Mil­i­tary Pro­s­ec­tu­tor Ana­toliy Matios: ” . . . . Ear­li­er, Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al of Ukraine, Chief Mil­i­tary Pros­e­cu­tor Ana­toliy Matios said: ‘When pub­lic learns who is involved in this, peo­ple will be very sur­prised.’ Accord­ing to him, infor­ma­tion to be pub­lished may cause rejec­tion, ‘but the truth is the truth.” . . . .

“Pros­e­cu­tors say pub­lic to face unpleas­ant sur­prise in Maid­an killings probe”; Unian.info; 07/24/2016 [46]

Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko says that the man who helped so-called “black hun­dred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shoot­ing at pro­test­ers dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty, flee Kyiv and delib­er­ate­ly drowned their weapons to con­ceal evi­dence, was him­self one of the par­tic­i­pants of the Maid­an protests.

“With the help of mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, we have found weapons of the “black hun­dred,” includ­ing a sniper rifle, which the entire coun­try saw on footage show­ing the shoot­ing at the pro­test­ers from out­side the Octo­ber Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV chan­nel.

“We found it with a large num­ber of auto­mat­ic rifles on the bot­tom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a sin­gle group, whose leader is one of the tar­gets of our inves­ti­ga­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this man who, accord­ing to our ver­sion, upon the orders of [for­mer Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the “black hun­dred” flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, him­self, was with us on the Maid­an,” Lut­senko said.

As UNIAN report­ed ear­li­er, the Pros­e­cu­tor General’s Office July 14 con­duct­ed search­es at the hous­es of per­sons involved in assist­ing the troops from Berkut police spe­cial forces’ “black hun­dred” in flee­ing Kyiv after the bloody killings of the Maid­an activists and sub­se­quent destruc­tion of their weapons.

Ear­li­er, Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al of Ukraine, Chief Mil­i­tary Pros­e­cu­tor Ana­toliy Matios said: “When pub­lic learns who is involved in this, peo­ple will be very sur­prised.” Accord­ing to him, infor­ma­tion to be pub­lished may cause rejec­tion, “but the truth is the truth.” . . . .

2b. Ana­toliy Matios, Ukraine’s chief mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor, gave an exten­sive inter­view where he said that Jews are behind all wars and want to “drown eth­nic Slavs in blood.”

Also recall the cryp­tic state­ment [11] Matios made back in 2016 about the iden­ti­ty of the peo­ple involved with the 2014 sniper attacks: “When pub­lic learns who is involved in this, peo­ple will be very sur­prised.” In FTR #‘s 982 [12]993, [13] 1004 [12]1023 [9]we exam­ined evi­dence that Ukrain­ian fas­cists may well have exe­cut­ed those sniper attacks. It is omi­nous that the chief mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor who is involved in that inves­ti­ga­tion is a neo-Nazi [14].

“Jews Want to Drown Ukraine in Blood, Ukraine’s Mil­i­tary Pros­e­cu­tor Says Amid Wave of Racist and Anti-Semit­ic Attacks” by Cristi­na Maza; Newsweek; 06/27/2018 [14]

In an exten­sive inter­view [15] with the Ukrain­ian news out­let Insid­er, Ana­toliy Matios, Ukraine’s chief mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor, espoused anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries in which he implied that Jews want to drown eth­nic Slavs in blood.

Refer­ring to Alexan­der Parvus, a Belaruss­ian-born Marx­ist the­o­reti­cian who was active in Germany’s Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in the late 19th cen­tu­ry, and who also hap­pened to be Jew­ish, Matios claimed that Jews can be found financ­ing all great con­flicts.

“In each war, there is always a Parvus, who brought Lenin mon­ey for a rev­o­lu­tion which flood­ed Slavs with blood for decades. Parvus was also Jew­ish. In this case, they want to do the same to Ukraine,” Matios told the Insid­er. . . .

3. Note that the Azov’s num­ber two man–Ihor Mosiychuk–was sen­tenced to prison for a planned bomb­ing in Jan­u­ary 2014. His sup­port­ers demon­strat­ed on his behalf on the Maid­an, help­ing to cre­ate the tur­moil that led to Yanukovich’s over­throw.

” . . . [On] Jan­u­ary 10, 2014, Mosiy­chuk and two oth­er fas­cists had been found guilty and sen­tenced to sev­er­al years in prison for a planned August 2011 bomb­ing attack. On the evening of Jan­u­ary 10, ultra-right-wingers staged demon­stra­tions protest­ing the sen­tence. The demon­stra­tions degen­er­at­ed into vio­lent con­fronta­tions with the police. These con­fronta­tions, in turn, were then used by Berlin, Brus­sels and Wash­ing­ton to accuse Yanukovych of exces­sive use of force on the ‘move­ment fight­ing for democ­ra­cy.’ . . .”  

“Ukrain­ian Patri­ots”; german-foreign-policy.com; 7/30/2014. [47]

. . . .He [Oleh Lyashko] is also co-founder and sup­port­er of the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a mili­tia of over one hun­dred — main­ly fas­cist — com­bat­ants, includ­ing a Swedish Neo-Nazi sniper. He has report­ed that oth­er snipers had already been in action for the oppo­si­tion dur­ing the Maid­an protests.It has nev­er been revealed, who fired the fatal shots on Feb­ru­ary 20. In this high­ly charged atmos­phere, the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment is tak­ing steps that indi­cate a polit­i­cal cul­tur­al devel­op­ment even fur­ther to the right. It is plan­ning to cen­sure films and books from Rus­sia or to restrict their sales. . . .

. . . .  The Swedish neo-Nazi Mikael Skillt is a mem­ber of the Azov Bat­tal­ion. Skillt, a mem­ber of the fas­cist Sven­skar­nas Par­ti (Par­ty of the Swedes), says that he has “at least” three pur­pos­es in the unit: com­man­der of “a small recon­nais­sance unit,” a “sniper” and some­times he works “as a spe­cial coor­di­na­tor for clear­ing hous­es and going into civil­ian areas.” The per­son, who is rumored to have been cap­tured by East Ukrain­ian insur­gents, had been a sniper for six years in the Swedish mil­i­tary. He says, he has only been engaged in the Ukrain­ian con­flict since March. He admits, how­ev­er, to hav­ing spo­ken to at least two snipers, who, dur­ing the Maid­an protests had shot at police from the Trade Union House in Kiev — at the time, the head­quar­ters of the pro­tes­tors. “Their mis­sion was to take out Berkut’s snipers,” explained Skillt.[7] The dead­ly shots from the Maid­an, which in West­ern pro­pa­gan­da had been used to legit­imize the over­throw of Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, have nev­er been inves­ti­gat­ed by the putsch regime, and Berlin has nev­er applied pres­sure for an inves­ti­ga­tion.

Polit­i­cal Pris­on­ers

The Azov Bat­tal­ion has close ties to Oleh Lyashko, whose “Rad­i­cal Par­ty,” would cur­rent­ly be able to poll a fourth of the votes if elec­tions were held. Lyashko is con­sid­ered to be one of the Azov’s founders. For inter­net videos, he allows him­self to be filmed at joint actions with Asov com­bat­ants. The Azov Bat­tal­ion’s sec­ond in com­mand, Ihor Mosiy­chuk, had been elect­ed to Kiev’s Munic­i­pal Coun­cil on the elec­toral list of Lyashko’s Rad­i­cal Par­ty. This was not the first time Lyashko had inter­vened on his behalf. Jan­u­ary 10, 2014, Mosiy­chuk and two oth­er fas­cists had been found guilty and sen­tenced to sev­er­al years in prison for a planned August 2011 bomb­ing attack. On the evening of Jan­u­ary 10, ultra-right-wingers staged demon­stra­tions protest­ing the sen­tence. The demon­stra­tions degen­er­at­ed into vio­lent con­fronta­tions with the police. These con­fronta­tions, in turn, were then used by Berlin, Brus­sels and Wash­ing­ton to accuse Yanukovych of exces­sive use of force on the “move­ment fight­ing for democ­ra­cy.” The protests were unsuc­cess­ful. How­ev­er, imme­di­ate­ly after the Kiev coup, Mosiy­chuk and his accom­plices prof­it­ed from the amnesty, the pro-west­ern Ukrain­ian par­lia­ment grant­ed on Feb­ru­ary 24, 2014 to “polit­i­cal pris­on­ers”. Due to Lyashko’s deci­sive engage­ment, Mosiy­chuk prof­it­ed from the amnesty, was lib­er­at­ed from prison and could par­tic­i­pate in the orga­ni­za­tion the Azov Bat­tal­ion. . . .

. . . . . [1] Jakov Dev­cic: Jazen­juks Rück­trittsver­such. www.kas.de 29.07.2014.
[2] Ukraine will rus­sis­che Kul­tur zurück­drän­gen. www.n‑tv.de 29.07.2014.
[3] S. dazu Ter­min beim Botschafter.
[4] Dina New­man: Ukraine con­flict: “White pow­er” war­rior from Swe­den. www.bbc.co.uk 16.07.2014.
[5] Daniel McLaugh­lin: For­eign­ers join far-right mili­tias in Ukraine’s fight against rebels. www.irishtimes.com 17.07.2014.
[6] Hal Fos­ter: A spe­cial-forces unit, start­ed from scratch, wins a key bat­tle in Ukraine. en.tengrinews.kz 21.06.2014.

[7] Swede Patrols Ukraine’s Streets with Right-wing Para­mil­i­taries. www.friatider.se 26.03.2014.

4. Against the back­ground of the Maid­an snip­ing as a prob­a­ble false flag provo­ca­tion, the impend­ing Syr­i­an offen­sive to re-cap­ture the last ter­ri­to­r­i­al enclave of the Islamists in Syr­ia should be viewed with appre­hen­sion. As not­ed in the arti­cle below, the so-called “rebels” are Al-Qae­da off­shoots. Omi­nous­ly, they have appar­ent­ly suc­cess­ful­ly exe­cut­ed false-flag chem­i­cal weapons attacks before, includ­ing in Idlib province.

Rus­sia has warned that such a provo­ca­tion is in the wings–an unre­mark­able deduc­tion in light of past his­to­ry. In turn, the West has warned of retal­ia­to­ry action if such actions are under­tak­en.

The stage appears set for an Islamist/Al-Qae­da chem­i­cal weapons false flag/provocation, upon which U.S., British and French mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion will be pred­i­cat­ed.

In this con­text, one should not lose sight of the fact that Chech­nyan Islamist vet­er­ans of the Syr­i­an war have already made their appear­ance in the com­bat in East­ern Ukraine, part­ner­ing with Pravy Sek­tor in their deploy­ments. (The Chechen/Right Sector/Islamist link is dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 857 [19], 862 [20], 863 [21], 872 [22], 878 [23], 893 [24], 911 [25].)

“Rebels;” Ger­man For­eign Pol­i­cy; 9/03/2018. [17]

Berlin and the EU are inten­si­fy­ing pres­sure on Dam­as­cus in view of the Syr­i­an troops’ pre­sumed immi­nent offen­sive in Idlib against the jiha­di mili­tias, includ­ing al-Qaeda’s Syr­i­an off­shoot. Accord­ing to a Ger­man gov­ern­ment spokesper­son, it is “antic­i­pat­ed” that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment will “restrain the Syr­i­an regime’s esca­la­tion.” Wash­ing­ton is threat­en­ing with an unspec­i­fied inter­ven­tion, should chem­i­cals weapons be used. Syr­i­an jihadists have used chem­i­cal weapons in the past, and would be in a posi­tion to pro­voke this US inter­ven­tion. Since last sum­mer, the Syr­i­an al-Qae­da off­shoot Hay­at Tahrir al-Sham is in con­trol of Idlib Province, with some 30,000 com­bat­ants. Addi­tion­al small­er, most­ly salafist jiha­di mili­tias are also ready to bat­tle the Syr­i­an army. By refer­ring to them as “rebels,” politi­cians and media are down­play­ing the jihadists — includ­ing al-Qae­da — as the 17th Anniver­sary of the 9/11 attacks approach­es.

The Jiha­di Emi­rate Idlib

Already in the sum­mer of 2017, the Syr­i­an off­shoot of al-Qae­da, Hay­at Tahrir al-Sham (for­mer­ly al-Nus­ra) had pre­vailed over rival insur­gent mili­tias in fierce bat­tles in Idlib Province. Hay­at Tahrir al-Sham was tol­er­at­ing some oth­er armed cliques — as long as they were essen­tial­ly sub­mit­ting to its rule. “But there is no longer any ques­tion, who is ulti­mate­ly in charge” in Idlib Province, the Syr­i­an expert Aron Lund wrote in August 2017, call­ing Idlib a de fac­to “jiha­di emirate.”[1] At the time experts on the region assessed that the west­ern pow­ers could have no inter­est in defend­ing the al-Qae­da regime. Al-Qae­da is tem­porar­i­ly refrain­ing from large-scale ter­ror­ism in the West, because it pri­or­i­tizes the sta­bi­liza­tion of its struc­tures, the US Amer­i­can Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions wrote in March. The ter­ror attack against the French satir­i­cal mag­a­zine Char­lie Heb­do and the St. Peters­burg Metro bomb­ing — both being ascribed to al-Qae­da — prove that the orga­ni­za­tion has not giv­en up its old strategy.[2] The Syr­i­an expert Sam Heller, who, today, is work­ing for the Inter­na­tion­al Cri­sis Group, spec­u­lat­ed in Mai 2017 that “some­one” will most like­ly put an end to those activ­i­ties in Idlib soon. It could be either the West or the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment with sup­port from Moscow because for both “a big jihadist safe haven is intolerable.”[3]

Under al-Qae­da Con­trol

Slight­ly more than a year lat­er, it is unclear whether this assess­ment still holds true. The sit­u­a­tion in Idlib has not fun­da­men­tal­ly changed, in spite of some shifts in pow­er while the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment is prepar­ing to recap­ture the province, with Russ­ian sup­port. The al-Qae­da off­shoot Hay­at Tahrir al-Sham suf­fered minor set­backs for two rea­sons. On the one hand, small frac­tions have split off because of inter­nal dis­sention. After invad­ing parts of Idlib, Ankara, on the oth­er hand, has begun to strength­en mili­tias, which had been mar­gin­al­ized by Hay­at Tahrir al-Sham and merge them into a new alliance. Its mem­bers are, to a large part — such as Ahrar al-Sham or Jaysh al Ahrar — salafist jiha­di ori­ent­ed like the Hay­at Tahrir al-Sham’s split-offs. Mili­tias who are ori­ent­ed oth­er­wise — such as those close to the Mus­lim Broth­ers — are in the minority.[4] Experts report that the al-Qae­da off­shoot now con­trols near­ly 60 per­cent of Idlib province and con­sists of about 30,000 fight­ers, accord­ing to the Lon­don based Syr­i­an Obser­va­to­ry for Human Rights , which west­ern media and gov­ern­ment agen­cies often quote as their source of infor­ma­tion on Syria.[5] Thus, al-Qae­da has about one per­cent of Idlib’s cur­rent pop­u­la­tion under arms — short­ly before the 17th anniver­sary of the attacks on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001.

“Very Wor­ried”

And yet, cur­rent­ly west­ern politi­cians and media are against Syr­ia and Rus­sia much more than al-Qae­da. Thus, al-Qae­da-pre­dom­i­nat­ed jiha­di mili­tias in Idlib are reg­u­lar­ly euphem­ized as “rebels,” and the province, itself, as a “rebel strong­hold.” If one goes along with this ter­mi­nol­o­gy — which comes quite close to the way the jihadis see them­selves — then al-Qae­da leader Ayman al Zawahiri and his pre­de­ces­sor Osama bin Laden must be “rebel lead­ers,” and the ter­ror­ists of Paris and St. Peters­burg would have been act­ing in the name of a “rebel orga­ni­za­tion.” Oth­er­wise, this pat­tern of argu­men­ta­tion resem­bles that dur­ing the com­bat waged by the Syr­i­an army against Salafist and jihadis for East Allep­po, for East Ghou­ta and more recent­ly for Daraa. Warn­ings of mas­sacres at the hands of Syr­i­an troops and the sup­port­ing Russ­ian mil­i­tary are already being prop­a­gat­ed in advance. Accord­ing to a Ger­man gov­ern­ment spokesper­son, who expressed that the gov­ern­ment is “very wor­ried about the esca­la­tion of the sit­u­a­tion in north­west Syr­ia” and “antic­i­pates” that Moscow “will restrain the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment from an esca­la­tion there­by avert­ing a human­i­tar­i­an catastrophe.”[6] “We must pre­vent mil­i­tary engage­ments in Idlib that could lead to a human­i­tar­i­an cat­a­stro­phe,” announced Fed­er­i­ca Mogheri­ni, EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty.

“Worse than Auschwitz”

Fur­ther esca­la­tion of this argu­men­ta­tion is eas­i­ly pos­si­ble. For exam­ple, in Ger­man media, it was claimed dur­ing the bat­tle over East Alep­po that the Syr­i­an mil­i­tary was com­mit­ting “geno­cide” in the city. What was hap­pen­ing there was “worse than Auschwitz.” (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[7]) On the oth­er hand, Ger­man politi­cians and media, have had no crit­i­cism of the bloody bat­tles waged for Fal­lu­ja, Mossul, and Raqqa, which had been car­ried out by west­ern mil­i­tary forces. Aside from regrets at the loss of civil­ian lives, these bat­tles are still today being cel­e­brat­ed as hero­ic vic­to­ries over jihadis. But in fact, the bat­tles waged by the West have dif­fered lit­tle from those waged by Syr­ia and Rus­sia, in terms of the num­ber of deaths and the extent of destruc­tion. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8]) A team of the UN High Com­mis­sion for Refugees (UNHCR) even declared in the spring, that the extent of destruc­tion in Raqqa had “exceed­ed any­thing” they had “ever seen before.”[9] Raqqa had not been dev­as­tat­ed by Syr­i­ans and Rus­sians in the course of the war against the IS but rather by west­ern air strikes using recon­nais­sance data pro­vid­ed by the Bun­deswehr in col­lab­o­ra­tion with pro-west­ern troops on the ground.

Ready for Inter­ven­tion

Whether this will sim­ply remain a case of neg­a­tive cov­er­age of the upcom­ing bat­tle for Idlib or whether indi­vid­ual west­ern pow­ers will inter­vene, remains uncer­tain. A few days ago, the USA, Great Britain and France pub­lished a state­ment, where­in they expressed their “seri­ous con­cern over reports,” accord­ing to which, “the Syr­i­an regime is prepar­ing a mil­i­tary offen­sive against civil­ians and the civil­ian infra­struc­ture in Idlib.” They are also “wor­ried” that the Syr­i­an mil­i­tary forces will prob­a­bly use chem­i­cal weapons. If this hap­pens, the three coun­tries are “deter­mined to take action.”[10] Sub­se­quent­ly, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, John Bolton affirmed that the USA would react “very strong­ly” should there be a chem­i­cal weapons attack.[11] In fact, the west­ern pow­ers are giv­ing jiha­di mili­tias in Idlib an option: should they not be able to van­quish the Syr­i­an mil­i­tary, they can feign a chem­i­cal weapons attack and the West will inter­vene on their side. That Syr­i­an jihadis have already used chem­i­cal weapons and, there­fore, know how to do it, is well known. A west­ern attack against Syr­i­an forces in or around Idlib would, in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, help the Syr­i­an off­shoot of al-Qae­da.

[1] Aron Lund: New order on the bor­der: Can for­eign aid get past Syr­i­a’s jihadis? irinnews.org 15.08.2018.

[2] Bruce Hoff­man: Al Qaeda’s Res­ur­rec­tion. cfr.org 06.03.2018.

[3] twitter.com/AbuJamajem/status/864575114511253504

[4] Bruce Hoff­man: Al Qaeda’s Res­ur­rec­tion. cfr.org 06.03.2018.

[5] Hay­at Tahrir al-Sham: Syr­ia Regime’s Tough­est Foe in Idlib. military.com 01.09.2018.

[6] EU warnt vor Katas­tro­phe in Idlib. handelsblatt.com 31.08.2018.

[7] See also Die Schlacht um Mossul (IV) [48].

[8] See also Dou­ble Stan­dards [49] and Die präzisen Luftan­griffe des West­ens [50].

[9] Zitiert nach: Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al: “War of Anni­hi­la­tion”. Dev­as­tat­ing Toll on Civil­ians, Raqqa — Syr­ia. Lon­don 2018.

[10] US, UK, France state­ment on the chem­i­cal weapons attack in Syr­ia. reliefweb.int 21.08.2018.

[11] Som­mer Brokaw: Bolton: U.S. will act ‘strong­ly’ if Syr­ia uses chem­i­cal weapons again. upi.com 22.08.2018.

5. The last part of the pro­gram con­sists of a par­tial read­ing of an arti­cle [27] by CFR mem­ber Bruce Hoff­man. Not­ing Al Qaeda’s resur­gence and Al Qaeda’s empha­sis on the Syr­i­an con­flict, Hoff­man cites the so-called “Arab Spring” as the key event in Al Qaeda’s resur­gence. ” . . . . The thou­sands of hard­ened al-Qae­da fight­ers freed from Egypt­ian pris­ons in 2012–2013 by Pres­i­dent Mohammed Mor­si gal­va­nized the move­ment at a crit­i­cal moment, when insta­bil­i­ty reigned and a hand­ful of men well-versed in ter­ror­ism and sub­ver­sion could plunge a coun­try or a region into chaos. Whether in Libya, Turkey, Syr­ia, or Yemen, their arrival was prov­i­den­tial in terms of advanc­ing al-Qaeda’s inter­ests or increas­ing its influ­ence. . . . It was Syr­ia where al-Qaeda’s inter­ven­tion proved most con­se­quen­tial. One of Zawahiri’s first offi­cial acts after suc­ceed­ing bin Laden as emir was to order a Syr­i­an vet­er­an of the Iraqi insur­gency named Abu Moham­mad al-Julani to return home and estab­lish the al-Qae­da fran­chise that would even­tu­al­ly become Jab­hat al-Nus­ra. . . .”

In FTR #‘s 733 [28] through 739 [29], we pre­sent­ed our view that the so-called Arab Spring was a U.S. intel­li­gence oper­a­tion, aimed at plac­ing the Broth­er­hood in pow­er in Mus­lim coun­tries dom­i­nat­ed either by a sec­u­lar dic­ta­tor or absolute monar­chy.

It is our view that the Broth­er­hood was seen as use­ful because of its mil­i­tary off­shoots (Al-Qae­da in par­tic­u­lar) were use­ful proxy war­riors in places like the Cau­ca­sus and the Balka­ns and because the Broth­er­hood’s cor­po­ratist, neo-lib­er­al eco­nom­ic doc­trine was in keep­ing with the desires and goals of the trans-nation­al cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ty.

In FTR #787 [31], we solid­i­fied our analy­sis with defin­i­tive con­fir­ma­tion of our work­ing hypoth­e­sis pre­sent­ed years ear­li­er.

“Al Qaeda’s Res­ur­rec­tion” by Bruce Hoff­man; Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions; 3/6/2018. [27]

While the self-pro­claimed Islam­ic State has dom­i­nat­ed the head­lines and pre­oc­cu­pied nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cials for the past four years, al-Qae­da has been qui­et­ly rebuild­ing. Its announce­ment last sum­mer of anoth­er affiliate—this one ded­i­cat­ed to the lib­er­a­tion of Kashmir—coupled with the res­ur­rec­tion of its pres­ence in Afghanistan and the solid­i­fi­ca­tion of its influ­ence in Syr­ia, Yemen, and Soma­lia, under­scores the resilien­cy and con­tin­ued vital­i­ty of the Unit­ed States’ pre­em­i­nent ter­ror­ist ene­my.

Although al-Qaeda’s rebuild­ing and reor­ga­ni­za­tion pre­dates the 2011 Arab Spring, the upheaval that fol­lowed helped the move­ment revive itself. At the time, an unbri­dled opti­mism among local and region­al rights activists and West­ern gov­ern­ments held that a com­bi­na­tion of pop­u­lar protest, civ­il dis­obe­di­ence, and social media had ren­dered ter­ror­ism an irrel­e­vant anachro­nism. The long­ing for democ­ra­cy and eco­nom­ic reform, it was argued, had deci­sive­ly trumped repres­sion and vio­lence. How­ev­er, where the opti­mists saw irre­versible pos­i­tive change, al-Qae­da dis­cerned new and invit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties.

The suc­ces­sive killings in 2011 and 2012 of Osama bin Laden; Anwar al-Awla­ki, the movement’s chief pro­pa­gan­dist; and Abu Yahya al-Libi, its sec­ond-in-com­mand, lent new weight to the opti­mists’ pre­dic­tions that al-Qae­da was a spent force. In ret­ro­spect, how­ev­er, it appears that al-Qae­da was among the region­al forces that ben­e­fit­ed most from the Arab Spring’s tumult. Sev­en years lat­er, Ayman al-Zawahiri has emerged as a pow­er­ful leader, with a strate­gic vision that he has sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly imple­ment­ed. Forces loy­al to al-Qae­da and its affil­i­ates now num­ber in the tens of thou­sands, with a capac­i­ty to dis­rupt local and region­al sta­bil­i­ty, as well as launch attacks against their declared ene­mies in the Mid­dle East, Africa, South Asia, South­east Asia, Europe, and Rus­sia. Indeed, from north­west­ern Africa to South Asia, al-Qae­da has knit togeth­er a glob­al move­ment of more than two dozen fran­chis­es.* In Syr­ia alone, al-Qae­da now has upwards of twen­ty thou­sand men under arms, and it has per­haps anoth­er four thou­sand in Yemen and about sev­en thou­sand in Soma­lia.

The Arab Spring’s Big Win­ner

The thou­sands of hard­ened al-Qae­da fight­ers freed from Egypt­ian pris­ons in 2012–2013 by Pres­i­dent Mohammed Mor­si gal­va­nized the move­ment at a crit­i­cal moment, when insta­bil­i­ty reigned and a hand­ful of men well-versed in ter­ror­ism and sub­ver­sion could plunge a coun­try or a region into chaos. Whether in Libya, Turkey, Syr­ia, or Yemen, their arrival was prov­i­den­tial in terms of advanc­ing al-Qaeda’s inter­ests or increas­ing its influ­ence. The mil­i­tary coup that sub­se­quent­ly top­pled Mor­si val­i­dat­ed Zawahiri’s repeat­ed warn­ings not to believe West­ern promis­es about either the fruits of democ­ra­cy or the sanc­ti­ty of free and fair elec­tions.

It was Syr­ia where al-Qaeda’s inter­ven­tion proved most con­se­quen­tial. One of Zawahiri’s first offi­cial acts after suc­ceed­ing bin Laden as emir was to order a Syr­i­an vet­er­an of the Iraqi insur­gency named Abu Moham­mad al-Julani to return home and estab­lish the al-Qae­da fran­chise that would even­tu­al­ly become Jab­hat al-Nus­ra.

Al-Qaeda’s bla­tant­ly sec­tar­i­an mes­sag­ing over social media fur­ther sharp­ened the his­tor­i­cal fric­tions between Sun­nis and Shias and gave the move­ment the entrée into inter­nal Syr­i­an pol­i­tics that it need­ed to solid­i­fy its pres­ence in that coun­try. Al-Qaeda’s cho­sen instru­ment was Jab­hat al-Nus­ra, the prod­uct of a joint ini­tia­tive with al-Qaeda’s Iraqi branch, which had rebrand­ed itself as the Islam­ic State of Iraq (ISI). But as Nus­ra grew in both strength and impact, a dis­pute erupt­ed between ISI and al-Qae­da over con­trol of the group. In a bold pow­er grab, ISI’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Bagh­da­di, announced the forcible amal­ga­ma­tion [51] of al-Nus­ra with ISI in a new orga­ni­za­tion to be called the Islam­ic State of Iraq and Syr­ia (ISIS). Julani refused to accede to the uni­lat­er­al merg­er and appealed to Zawahiri. The quar­rel inten­si­fied, and after Zawahiri’s attempts to medi­ate it col­lapsed, he expelled ISIS from the al-Qae­da net­work.

Although ISIS—which has since rebrand­ed itself the Islam­ic State—has com­mand­ed the world’s atten­tion since then, al-Qae­da has been qui­et­ly rebuild­ing and for­ti­fy­ing its var­i­ous branch­es. Al-Qae­da has sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly imple­ment­ed an ambi­tious strat­e­gy designed to pro­tect its remain­ing senior lead­er­ship and dis­creet­ly con­sol­i­date its influ­ence wher­ev­er the move­ment has a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence. Accord­ing­ly, its lead­ers have been dis­persed to Syr­ia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, and Yemen, with only a hard-core rem­nant of top com­man­ders still in Afghanistan and Pak­istan. Advances in com­mer­cial dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools, along­side suc­ces­sive pub­lic rev­e­la­tions of U.S. and allied intel­li­gence ser­vices’ eaves­drop­ping capa­bil­i­ties, have enabled al-Qaeda’s lead­ers and com­man­ders to main­tain con­tact via secure end-to-end encryp­tion tech­nol­o­gy [52].

The Importance of Syria

The num­ber of top al-Qae­da lead­ers sent to Syr­ia over the past half-dozen years under­scores the high pri­or­i­ty that the move­ment attach­es to that coun­try. Among them was Muhsin al-Fadhli, a bin Laden inti­mate who, until his death in a 2015 U.S. air strike, com­mand­ed the movement’s elite for­ward-based oper­a­tional arm in that coun­try, known as the Kho­rasan Group. He also func­tioned as Zawahiri’s local emis­sary, charged with attempt­ing to heal the rift between al-Qae­da and ISIS. Hay­dar Kirkan, a Turk­ish nation­al and long-stand­ing senior oper­a­tive, was sent by bin Laden him­self to Turkey in 2010 to lay the ground­work for the movement’s expan­sion into the Lev­ant, before the Arab Spring cre­at­ed pre­cise­ly that oppor­tu­ni­ty. Kirkan was also respon­si­ble for facil­i­tat­ing the move­ment of oth­er senior al-Qae­da per­son­nel from Pak­istan to Syr­ia to escape the esca­lat­ing drone strike cam­paign ordered by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma. He was killed in 2016 in a U.S. bomb­ing raid.

The pre­vi­ous fall marked the arrival of Saif al-Adl, who is arguably the move­men­t’s most bat­tle-hard­ened com­man­der. Adl is a for­mer Egypt­ian Army com­man­do whose ter­ror­ist pedi­gree, dat­ing to the late 1970s, includes assas­si­na­tion plots against Egypt­ian Pres­i­dent Anwar al-Sadat, the 1998 bomb­ings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tan­za­nia, and al-Qaeda’s post‑9/11 ter­ror­ist cam­paigns in Sau­di Ara­bia and South Asia. He also served as men­tor to bin Laden’s pre­sump­tive heir, his son Hamza, after both Adl and the boy sought sanc­tu­ary in Iran fol­low­ing the com­mence­ment of U.S. and coali­tion mil­i­tary oper­a­tions in Afghanistan  in late 2001. The younger bin Laden’s own report­ed appear­ance in Syr­ia this past sum­mer pro­vides fresh evi­dence of the movement’s fix­a­tion with a coun­try that has become the most pop­u­lar venue to wage holy war since the sem­i­nal Afghan jihad of the 1980s.

Indeed, al-Qaeda’s pres­ence in Syr­ia is far more per­ni­cious than that of ISIS. Hay­at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the lat­est name adopt­ed by al-Qaeda’s local affil­i­ate, is now the largest rebel group in the coun­try, hav­ing extend­ed its con­trol last year over all of Idlib Province, along the Syr­i­an-Turk­ish bor­der. This is the cul­mi­na­tion of a process al-Qae­da began more than three years ago to anni­hi­late the Free Syr­i­an Army and any oth­er group that chal­lenges al-Qaeda’s region­al aspi­ra­tions.

Filling the ISIS Vacuum

ISIS can no longer com­pete with al-Qae­da in terms of influ­ence, reach, man­pow­er, or cohe­sion. In only two domains is ISIS cur­rent­ly stronger than its rival: the pow­er of its brand and its pre­sumed abil­i­ty to mount spec­tac­u­lar ter­ror­ist strikes in Europe. But the lat­ter is a prod­uct of Zawahiri’s strate­gic deci­sion to pro­hib­it exter­nal oper­a­tions in the West so that al-Qaeda’s rebuild­ing can con­tin­ue with­out inter­fer­ence. The hand­ful of excep­tions to this policy—such as the 2015 Char­lie Heb­do attacks in Paris and the 2017 St. Peters­burg Metro bomb­ing in Russia—provide com­pelling evi­dence that al-Qaeda’s exter­nal oper­a­tions capa­bil­i­ties can eas­i­ly be rean­i­mat­ed. Yemen-based al-Qae­da in the Ara­bi­an Peninsula’s capac­i­ty to com­mit acts of inter­na­tion­al terrorism—especially the tar­get­ing of com­mer­cial aviation—was recent­ly the sub­ject of a reveal­ing New York Times sto­ry [53].

Al-Qaeda’s suc­cess in res­ur­rect­ing its glob­al net­work is the result of three strate­gic moves made by Zawahiri. The first was to strength­en the decen­tral­ized fran­chise approach that has facil­i­tat­ed the movement’s sur­vival. Over the years, the lead­ers and deputies of al-Qaeda’s far-flung fran­chis­es have been inte­grat­ed into the movement’s delib­er­a­tive and con­sul­ta­tive process­es. Today, al-Qae­da is tru­ly “glo­cal,” hav­ing effec­tive­ly incor­po­rat­ed local griev­ances and con­cerns into a glob­al nar­ra­tive that forms the foun­da­tion of an all-encom­pass­ing grand strat­e­gy.

The sec­ond major move was the order issued by Zawahiri in 2013 to avoid mass casu­al­ty oper­a­tions, espe­cial­ly those that might kill Mus­lim civil­ians. Al-Qae­da has thus been able to present itself through social media, para­dox­i­cal­ly, as “mod­er­ate extrem­ists,” osten­si­bly more palat­able than ISIS.

This devel­op­ment reflects Zawahiri’s third strate­gic deci­sion, let­ting ISIS absorb all the blows from the coali­tion arrayed against it while al-Qae­da unob­tru­sive­ly rebuilds its mil­i­tary strength. Any­one inclined to be tak­en in by this ruse would do well to heed the admo­ni­tion of Theo Pad­nos (née Peter Theo Cur­tis), the Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist who spent two years in Syr­ia as a Nus­ra hostage. Pad­nos relat­ed in 2014 [54] how the group’s senior com­man­ders “were invit­ing West­ern­ers to the jihad in Syr­ia not so much because they need­ed more foot soldiers—they didn’t—but because they want to teach the West­ern­ers to take the strug­gle into every neigh­bor­hood and sub­way sta­tion back home.”

A par­al­lel thus exists between the U.S. direc­tor of nation­al intelligence’s depic­tion of the al-Qae­da threat today [55] [PDF] as main­ly lim­it­ed to its affil­i­ates and the so-called Phoney War in west­ern Europe between Sep­tem­ber 1939 and May 1940, when there was a strange lull in seri­ous fight­ing fol­low­ing the Ger­man inva­sion of Poland and the British and French dec­la­ra­tions of war against Ger­many. Prime Min­is­ter Neville Cham­ber­lain vis­it­ed British forces arrayed along the Fran­co-Bel­gian bor­der that Christ­mas. “I don’t think the Ger­mans have any inten­tion of attack­ing us, do you?” he asked Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Bernard Law Mont­gomery, the com­man­der of an infantry divi­sion defend­ing the front. The Ger­mans would attack when it suit­ed them, Mont­gomery brusque­ly replied [56]. It is a point worth keep­ing in mind as al-Qae­da busi­ly rebuilds and mar­shals its forces to con­tin­ue the war against the Unit­ed States it declared twen­ty-two years ago.

6. About the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s eco­nom­ic doc­trine:

“Islam in Office” by Stephen Glain; Newsweek; 7/3–10/2006. [32]

Judeo-Chris­t­ian scrip­ture offers lit­tle eco­nomic instruc­tion. The Book of Deuteron­omy, for exam­ple, is loaded with edicts on how the faith­ful should pray, eat, bequeath, keep the holy fes­ti­vals and treat slaves and spous­es, but it is silent on trade and com­merce. In Matthew, when Christ admon­ishes his fol­low­ers to ‘give to the emper­or the things that are the emperor’s,’ he is effec­tively con­ced­ing fis­cal and mon­e­tary author­ity to pagan Rome. Islam is dif­fer­ent. The prophet Muhammad—himself a trader—preached mer­chant hon­or, the only reg­u­la­tion that the bor­der­less Lev­an­tine mar­ket knew. . . .

. . . In Mus­lim litur­gy, the deals cut in the souk become a metaphor for the con­tract between God and the faith­ful. And the busi­ness mod­el Muham­mad pre­scribed, accord­ing to Mus­lim schol­ars and econ­o­mists, is very much in the lais­sez-faire tra­di­tion lat­er embraced by the West. Prices were to be set by God alone—anticipating by more than a mil­len­nium Adam Smith’s ref­er­ence to the ‘invis­i­ble hand’ of mar­ket-based pric­ing. Mer­chants were not to cut deals out­side the souk, an ear­ly attempt to thwart insid­er trad­ing. . . . In the days of the caliphate, Islam devel­oped the most sophis­ti­cated mon­e­tary sys­tem the world had yet known. Today, some econ­o­mists cite Islam­ic bank­ing as fur­ther evi­dence of an intrin­sic Islam­ic prag­ma­tism. Though still guid­ed by a Qur’anic ban on riba, or inter­est, Islam­ic bank­ing has adapt­ed to the needs of a boom­ing oil region for liq­uid­ity. In recent years, some 500 Islam­ic banks and invest­ment firms hold­ing $2 tril­lion in assets have emerged in the Gulf States, with more in Islam­ic com­mu­ni­ties of the West.

British Chan­cel­lor of the Exche­quer Gor­don Brown wants to make Lon­don a glob­al cen­ter for Islam­ic finance—and elic­its no howl of protest from fun­da­men­tal­ists. How Islamists might run a cen­tral bank is more prob­lem­atic: schol­ars say they would manip­u­late cur­rency reserves, not inter­est rates.

The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood hails 14th cen­tury philoso­pher Ibn Khal­dun as its eco­nomic guide. Antic­i­pat­ing sup­ply-side eco­nom­ics, Khal­dun argued that cut­ting tax­es rais­es pro­duc­tion and tax rev­enues, and that state con­trol should be lim­ited to pro­vid­ing water, fire and free graz­ing land, the util­i­ties of the ancient world. The World Bank has called Ibn Khal­dun the first advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion. [Empha­sis added.] His found­ing influ­ence is a sign of mod­er­a­tion. If Islamists in pow­er ever do clash with the West, it won’t be over com­merce. . . .

7. Stephen Glain’s cita­tion of Ibn Khal­dun res­onates with Ronald Rea­gan’s pre­sen­ta­tion [33] of “sup­ply-side eco­nom­ics.” ” . . . . Respond­ing to a ques­tion about the effects of tax and spend­ing cuts that began tak­ing effect yes­ter­day, Mr. Rea­gan said the sup­ply-side prin­ci­ple dat­ed at least as far back as Ibn Khal­dun, who is gen­er­al­ly regard­ed as the great­est Arab his­to­ri­an to emerge from the high­ly devel­oped Ara­bic cul­ture of the Mid­dle Ages. . . .”

“Rea­gan Cites Islam­ic Schol­ar” by Robert D. McFad­den; The New York Times; 10/02/1981 [33]

Pres­i­dent Rea­gan, in his news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, cit­ed a 14thcentury Islam­ic schol­ar as an ear­ly expo­nent of the ”sup­ply-side” eco­nom­ic the­o­ry on which his Admin­is­tra­tion bases many of its poli­cies. An author­i­ty on the schol­ar lat­er said that the ref­er­ence seemed accu­rate.

Sup­ply-side the­o­ry, among oth­er things, holds that a cut in tax rates will stim­u­late the econ­o­my and thus gen­er­ate even greater tax rev­enues.

Respond­ing to a ques­tion about the effects of tax and spend­ing cuts that began tak­ing effect yes­ter­day, Mr. Rea­gan said the sup­ply-side prin­ci­ple dat­ed at least as far back as Ibn Khal­dun, who is gen­er­al­ly regard­ed as the great­est Arab his­to­ri­an to emerge from the high­ly devel­oped Ara­bic cul­ture of the Mid­dle Ages. . . .