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

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by the fall of 2017. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more.)

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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. . . .