Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1023 Ukrainian Fascism, The Maidan Snipers and Possible Implications for the Syrian War

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

Intro­duc­tion: In this pro­gram we con­tin­ue and expand analy­sis of the Euro­Maid­an sniper killings which led to the ouster of the Yanuukovych gov­ern­ment. A sto­ry from BNE Intellinews, since tak­en down but avail­able via the Way Back Machine, details Paul Man­afort’s net­work­ing with the Haps­burg Group milieu, pro­vid­ing more details that sup­ple­ment pre­vi­ous dis­cus­sion of the rela­tion­ship.

Most impor­tant­ly, how­ev­er, the arti­cle pro­vides impor­tant infor­ma­tion on Man­afort’s post-Maid­an doings in Ukraine! He spent more time in post-Maid­an Ukraine than before the coup.

Oleh Tihany­bok, leader of the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tion Svo­bo­da

Even more impor­tant­ly, the arti­cle pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant details on Man­afort’s pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tors in arrang­ing the vio­lence that led to Yanukovy­ch’s ouster.

Before dis­cussing the sig­nif­i­cant details of Man­afort and his asso­ciates’ pos­si­ble roles in the vio­lence that led to Yanukovy­ch’s ouster, we present the first part of the arti­cle, in order to flesh out the Man­afort-Haps­burg net­work­ing.

Key points of infor­ma­tion include:

  1. Man­afort’s close rela­tion­ship with Ser­hiy Lovochkin, a key aide to Vik­tor Yanukovich and own­er of a pre­mier Ukrain­ian TV sta­tion, and his sis­ter Yulia Lovochk­i­na, who owns an air­line whose planes fer­ried Man­afort in his deal­ings with the Haps­burg group.
  2. The impor­tant role of Ser­hiy Lovochkin and his sis­ter in pro­mot­ing the EU Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. It was Yanukovich’s even­tu­al rejec­tion of that agree­ment that led to the demon­stra­tions that led up to the Maid­an coup.
  3. The dual role played by Haps­burg Group mem­ber Alexan­der Kras­niews­ki, who was ran the EU’s Ukraine Obser­va­tion Group.
  4. The pro­found degree of involve­ment of Man­afort with the Haps­burg Group.

Of para­mount sig­nif­i­cance for our pur­pos­es, is the behav­ior of Man­afort, Lovochkin, Lovochk­i­na, Dmytro Fir­tash and Vic­to­ria Nuland.

Not­ing the pro­found rela­tion­ship between Man­afort, Ser­hii Lovochkin, Yulia Lovochk­i­na, the Haps­burg Group and the EU, it is impor­tant to eval­u­ate the Manafort/Lovochkin rela­tion­ship in the con­text of the Maid­an snipers. (In FTR #‘s 982, 993, we not­ed evi­dence that the Maid­an shoot­ings may have been a provo­ca­tion. This infor­ma­tion will be reviewed in our next pro­gram.)

  1. ” . . . . The pri­vate jet flights and per­son­al con­nec­tions show that Manafort’s part­ner in this lob­by­ing effort was Yanukovych’s chief of staff Lovochkin. . . . Manafort’s Ukraine engage­ments actu­al­ly increased fol­low­ing Yanukovych’s ouster in Feb­ru­ary 2014. In March to June 2014, he spent a total of 27 days in Ukraine, where­as dur­ing the four pre­ced­ing Euro­maid­an months, Novem­ber-Feb­ru­ary 2014, Man­afort only vis­it­ed Ukraine three times for a total of nine days. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Lovochkin is the junior part­ner of bil­lion­aire oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash . . . . Lovochkin and Fir­tash togeth­er also con­trol Ukraine’s largest TV chan­nel, Inter. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Manafort’s con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in post-Yanukovych Ukraine also points to his ties to Lovochkin and Fir­tash. While most mem­bers of the Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion fled to Rus­sia or were arrest­ed after Feb­ru­ary 2014, Lovochkin has con­tin­ued his polit­i­cal career with impuni­ty, despite hav­ing served at the heart of Yanukovych’s regime for four years. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Euro­maid­an was trig­gered by events in Kyiv on the night of Novem­ber 29, when police vio­lent­ly dis­persed a small demon­stra­tion of pro-EU stu­dents who were protest­ing after Yanukovych refused to sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. The vio­lence prompt­ed a huge demon­stra­tion occu­py­ing the heart of Kyiv on Decem­ber 1. . . .”
  5. ” . . . . Accord­ing to mes­sages between the sis­ters dis­cussing Manafort’s actions in Ukraine, it was Manafort’s idea ‘to send those peo­ple out and get them slaugh­tered. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that Revolts [sic] and what not […] As a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine.’ Manafort’s daugh­ter called her father’s mon­ey ‘blood mon­ey.’ . . .”
  6. ” . . . . The remarks were made by those privy to the deep­est secrets of Manafort’s per­son­al life. They evoke the sus­pi­cion that Man­afort manip­u­lat­ed the Maid­an protests and the police vio­lence to influ­ence inter­na­tion­al opin­ion. The appear­ance of the Man­afort mes­sages in 2016 reignit­ed spec­u­la­tion in Ukraine that none oth­er than Lovochkin insti­gat­ed the attack on the stu­dents’ demon­stra­tion on Novem­ber 29, 2013, to trig­ger out­rage against Yanukovych. . . .”
  7. ” . . . . Some of the time­line fits this inter­pre­ta­tion: On the day before the police attack, reporters not­ed Yulia Lovochk­i­na open­ly frater­nising with the stu­dents on the Maid­an. Lovochkin’s TV crews cov­ered the 4am events close­ly, and Lovochkin imme­di­ate­ly ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion in protest at the police vio­lence. . . .”
  8. ” . . . . The next day, Lovochkin’s TV chan­nel played footage of the worst of the police vio­lence on heavy rota­tion on prime time news. News anchors intoned that Yanukovych had ‘shed the blood of Ukrain­ian chil­dren.’ Where­as the stu­dent protests had attract­ed hun­dreds, protests on Sun­day Decem­ber 1 against the police vio­lence attract­ed hun­dreds of thou­sands. This was the start of Euro­maid­an. . . .”
  9. Nuland and Svo­bo­da’s Tihany­bok, left, and “Yats” Arsenyuk on the right.

    Of great sig­nif­i­cance as well, is the maneu­ver­ing around a war­rant for the arrest of Ukrain­ian oli­garch and Lovochkin part­ner Dmytro Fir­tash. The role of Vic­to­ria Nuland in this maneu­ver­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly sig­nif­i­cant: ” . . . . On Octo­ber 30 2013 — as Yanukovych was waver­ing over the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the EU — the US issued an arrest war­rant for Fir­tash. The US with­drew the arrest war­rant four days lat­er — after US deputy sec­re­tary of state Vic­to­ria Nuland met Yanukovych in Kyiv, and received assur­ances that Yanukovych would sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment, Fir­tash said dur­ing extra­di­tion hear­ings in Vien­na in 2015 that first revealed the details of the case. But come the Vil­nius Sum­mit, Yanukovych failed to sign. The arrest war­rant was reis­sued in March 2014, and Fir­tash was arrest­ed in Vien­na on March 12, 2014. . . . .”

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. It gives a high lev­el overview of his research and is heav­i­ly embed­ded with sub­stan­tive, doc­u­men­tary videos. Here are the con­tents of the poster. Be sure to check out the numer­ous images and videos includ­ed in the actu­al iPoster online.

Katchanovs­ki con­cludes: “ . . . . 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 was record­ed pro­fes­sor Katchanovs­ki has post­ed a 59-minute-long video 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.

This descrip­tion con­cludes with mate­r­i­al that will be dis­cussed in future pro­grams. It is pre­sent­ed here for perusal and con­sid­er­a­tion by the read­ers in light of con­tin­ued alarm­ing devel­op­ments in Syr­ia.

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, 862, 863, 872, 878, 893, 911.)

1. Not­ing the pro­found rela­tion­ship between Man­afort, Ser­hii Lovochkin, Yulia Lovochk­i­na, the Haps­burg Group and the EU, it is impor­tant to eval­u­ate the Manafort/Lovochkin rela­tion­ship in the con­text of the Maid­an snipers:

  1. ” . . . . The pri­vate jet flights and per­son­al con­nec­tions show that Manafort’s part­ner in this lob­by­ing effort was Yanukovych’s chief of staff Lovochkin. . . . Manafort’s Ukraine engage­ments actu­al­ly increased fol­low­ing Yanukovych’s ouster in Feb­ru­ary 2014. In March to June 2014, he spent a total of 27 days in Ukraine, where­as dur­ing the four pre­ced­ing Euro­maid­an months, Novem­ber-Feb­ru­ary 2014, Man­afort only vis­it­ed Ukraine three times for a total of nine days. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Lovochkin is the junior part­ner of bil­lion­aire oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash . . . . Lovochkin and Fir­tash togeth­er also con­trol Ukraine’s largest TV chan­nel, Inter. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Manafort’s con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in post-Yanukovych Ukraine also points to his ties to Lovochkin and Fir­tash. While most mem­bers of the Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion fled to Rus­sia or were arrest­ed after Feb­ru­ary 2014, Lovochkin has con­tin­ued his polit­i­cal career with impuni­ty, despite hav­ing served at the heart of Yanukovych’s regime for four years. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Euro­maid­an was trig­gered by events in Kyiv on the night of Novem­ber 29, when police vio­lent­ly dis­persed a small demon­stra­tion of pro-EU stu­dents who were protest­ing after Yanukovych refused to sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. The vio­lence prompt­ed a huge demon­stra­tion occu­py­ing the heart of Kyiv on Decem­ber 1. . . .”
  5. ” . . . . Accord­ing to mes­sages between the sis­ters dis­cussing Manafort’s actions in Ukraine, it was Manafort’s idea ‘to send those peo­ple out and get them slaugh­tered. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that Revolts [sic] and what not […] As a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine.’ Manafort’s daugh­ter called her father’s mon­ey ‘blood mon­ey.’ . . .”
  6. ” . . . . The remarks were made by those privy to the deep­est secrets of Manafort’s per­son­al life. They evoke the sus­pi­cion that Man­afort manip­u­lat­ed the Maid­an protests and the police vio­lence to influ­ence inter­na­tion­al opin­ion. The appear­ance of the Man­afort mes­sages in 2016 reignit­ed spec­u­la­tion in Ukraine that none oth­er than Lovochkin insti­gat­ed the attack on the stu­dents’ demon­stra­tion on Novem­ber 29, 2013, to trig­ger out­rage against Yanukovych. . . .”
  7. ” . . . . Some of the time­line fits this inter­pre­ta­tion: On the day before the police attack, reporters not­ed Yulia Lovochk­i­na open­ly frater­nising with the stu­dents on the Maid­an. Lovochkin’s TV crews cov­ered the 4am events close­ly, and Lovochkin imme­di­ate­ly ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion in protest at the police vio­lence. . . .”
  8. ” . . . . The next day, Lovochkin’s TV chan­nel played footage of the worst of the police vio­lence on heavy rota­tion on prime time news. News anchors intoned that Yanukovych had ‘shed the blood of Ukrain­ian chil­dren.’ Where­as the stu­dent protests had attract­ed hun­dreds, protests on Sun­day Decem­ber 1 against the police vio­lence attract­ed hun­dreds of thou­sands. This was the start of Euro­maid­an. . . .”
  9. Of great sig­nif­i­cance as well, is the maneu­ver­ing around a war­rant for the arrest of Ukrain­ian oli­garch and Lovochkin part­ner Dmytro Fir­tash. The role of Vic­to­ria Nuland in this maneu­ver­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly sig­nif­i­cant: ” . . . . On Octo­ber 30, 2013 — as Yanukovych was waver­ing over the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the EU — the US issued an arrest war­rant for Fir­tash. The US with­drew the arrest war­rant four days lat­er — after US deputy sec­re­tary of state Vic­to­ria Nuland met Yanukovych in Kyiv, and received assur­ances that Yanukovych would sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment, Fir­tash said dur­ing extra­di­tion hear­ings in Vien­na in 2015 that first revealed the details of the case. But come the Vil­nius Sum­mit, Yanukovych failed to sign. The arrest war­rant was reis­sued in March 2014, and Fir­tash was arrest­ed in Vien­na on March 12, 2014. . . . .”

“Wheels up: Paul Manafort’s flight records show how he super­vised EU top brass in the run-up to Ukraine rev­o­lu­tion” by Gra­ham Stack in Berlin; BNE Intellinews; 07/02/2018

. . . . The Fir­tash con­nec­tion

The pri­vate jet flights and per­son­al con­nec­tions show that Manafort’s part­ner in this lob­by­ing effort was Yanukovych’s chief of staff Lovochkin.

Lovochkin said that he had also “always been a strong sup­port­er of the Euro­pean inte­gra­tion of Ukraine,” but denied that he had super­vised Manafort’s lob­by­ing. Kwas­niews­ki con­firmed that Lovochkin was in the pro-EU camp.

Lovochkin is the junior part­ner of bil­lion­aire oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash who made his for­tune trad­ing gas via noto­ri­ous com­pa­ny Rosukren­er­go, who had made his for­tune trad­ing gas via noto­ri­ous com­pa­ny Rosukren­er­go, that alleged­ly skimmed off hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars for the Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian elite. Lovochkin and Fir­tash togeth­er also con­trol Ukraine’s largest TV chan­nel, Inter.

Manafort’s con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pa­tion in post-Yanukovych Ukraine also points to his ties to Lovochkin and Fir­tash. While most mem­bers of the Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion fled to Rus­sia or were arrest­ed after Feb­ru­ary 2014, Lovochkin has con­tin­ued his polit­i­cal career with impuni­ty, despite hav­ing served at the heart of Yanukovych’s regime for four years.

Post Yanukovych’s oust­ing, Man­afort may have attend­ed top-lev­el Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal meet­ings where the oli­garchs decid­ed who would gov­ern.

On March 25 he flew out of Vien­na to Kyiv. His vis­it to Vien­na had coin­cid­ed with a cru­cial meet­ing between Petro Poroshenko and Vien­na-based Fir­tash in that city. Lovochkin had also attend­ed the meet­ing at which Fir­tash agreed to back Poroshenko for the post of pres­i­dent, rather than for­mer box­er Vitaly Klichko, effec­tive­ly crown­ing Poroshenko pres­i­dent.

In Novem­ber 13, 2014, as details of a new gov­ern­ment were being ham­mered out after the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, the flight data records that Man­afort flew from Kyiv to Nice, France, on a pri­vate jet with Ihor Tara­siuk, the busi­ness part­ner of Poroshenko’s first deputy chief of staff, Yuri Kosiuk. Tara­siuk denied tak­ing the flight to bne IntelliNews, although he con­firmed the per­son­al data pro­vid­ed was cor­rect.

Manafort’s Ukraine engage­ments actu­al­ly increased fol­low­ing Yanukovych’s ouster in Feb­ru­ary 2014. In March to June 2014, he spent a total of 27 days in Ukraine, where­as dur­ing the four pre­ced­ing Euro­maid­an months, Novem­ber-Feb­ru­ary 2014, Man­afort only vis­it­ed Ukraine three times for a total of nine days.

Accord­ing to the Mueller indict­ment, Man­afort was engaged as lob­by­ist for Lovochkin’s new par­ty Oppo­si­tion Bloc, wide­ly regard­ed as fund­ed by Fir­tash. This explains Manafort’s long stays in Ukraine dur­ing the post-Maid­an elec­tion cam­paigns, accord­ing to the flight data: one week pri­or to the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in May 2014, and one month pri­or to the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Octo­ber 2014.

Manafort’s flight data con­cludes with a four-week stay in Ukraine through to Octo­ber 27, 2015. This peri­od coin­cides with the cam­paign for region­al elec­tions, which cement­ed Lovochkin’s Oppo­si­tion Bloc as a dom­i­nant force across south and east Ukraine. Only months after the close of elec­tion­eer­ing in con­flict-wracked Ukraine, Man­afort was elec­tion­eer­ing in the US, on behalf of the con­tro­ver­sial can­di­date for the world’s most pow­er­ful office.

Maid­an mys­tery

Manafort’s flight data sheds no light how­ev­er on his rela­tion­ship, if any, to the Euro­maid­an rev­o­lu­tion. Euro­maid­an was trig­gered by events in Kyiv on the night of Novem­ber 29, when police vio­lent­ly dis­persed a small demon­stra­tion of pro-EU stu­dents who were protest­ing after Yanukovych refused to sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment. The vio­lence prompt­ed a huge demon­stra­tion occu­py­ing the heart of Kyiv on Decem­ber 1.

All we have are cryp­tic mes­sages exchanged between Manafort’s daugh­ters, one of whose phones was hacked in 2016. Man­afort con­firmed the hack and cor­rob­o­rat­ed some of the mes­sages to Politi­co.

Accord­ing to mes­sages between the sis­ters dis­cussing Manafort’s actions in Ukraine, it was Manafort’s idea “to send those peo­ple out and get them slaugh­tered. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that Revolts [sic] and what not […] As a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine.” Manafort’s daugh­ter called her father’s mon­ey “blood mon­ey.”

The remarks were made by those privy to the deep­est secrets of Manafort’s per­son­al life. They evoke the sus­pi­cion that Man­afort manip­u­lat­ed the Maid­an protests and the police vio­lence to influ­ence inter­na­tion­al opin­ion.

The appear­ance of the Man­afort mes­sages in 2016 reignit­ed spec­u­la­tion in Ukraine that none oth­er than Lovochkin insti­gat­ed the attack on the stu­dents’ demon­stra­tion on Novem­ber 29, 2013, to trig­ger out­rage against Yanukovych.

Some of the time­line fits this inter­pre­ta­tion: On the day before the police attack, reporters not­ed Yulia Lovochk­i­na open­ly frater­nising with the stu­dents on the Maid­an. Lovochkin’s TV crews cov­ered the 4am events close­ly, and Lovochkin imme­di­ate­ly ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion in protest at the police vio­lence.

The next day, Lovochkin’s TV chan­nel played footage of the worst of the police vio­lence on heavy rota­tion on prime time news. News anchors intoned that Yanukovych had “shed the blood of Ukrain­ian chil­dren.” Where­as the stu­dent protests had attract­ed hun­dreds, protests on Sun­day Decem­ber 1 against the police vio­lence attract­ed hun­dreds of thou­sands. This was the start of Euro­maid­an.

Author­i­ta­tive chron­i­cler of the Euro­maid­an rev­o­lu­tion Sonya Koshk­i­na, as well as Ukrain­ian pros­e­cu­tors, have argued it was anti-EU hard­lin­ers who were respon­si­ble for attack­ing the stu­dents.

But on the third anniver­sary of events, Novem­ber 29, 2016, Ukraine’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter Arsen Avakov told the BBC that “Lovochkin was the author of the dis­per­sal of the [stu­dents’] Maid­an, and should be in prison, not in par­lia­ment.”

Lovochkin denies any role in the attack on the stu­dents. “I sub­mit­ted my res­ig­na­tion because of Pres­i­dent Yanukovych’s deci­sion to decline sign­ing the Deep and Com­pre­hen­sive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) […] and the use of force against peace­ful pro­test­ers in Kyiv fol­low­ing it,” he said.

What was Lovochkin’s moti­va­tion to break with Yanukovych so abrupt­ly over Europe, whether or not he was involved in the vio­lence? Accord­ing to Koshk­i­na, Lovochkin was “a place­man of Fir­tash and one of the archi­tects of the regime,” hard­ly a nation­al­ist or free­dom-lov­ing lib­er­al. But in June 2013 the US had indict­ed Fir­tash for alleged bribery in India. On Octo­ber 30 2013 — as Yanukovych was waver­ing over the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with the EU — the US issued an arrest war­rant for Fir­tash.

The US with­drew the arrest war­rant four days lat­er — after US deputy sec­re­tary of state Vic­to­ria Nuland met Yanukovych in Kyiv, and received assur­ances that Yanukovych would sign the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment, Fir­tash said dur­ing extra­di­tion hear­ings in Vien­na in 2015 that first revealed the details of the case. But come the Vil­nius Sum­mit, Yanukovych failed to sign. The arrest war­rant was reis­sued in March 2014, and Fir­tash was arrest­ed in Vien­na on March 12, 2014. . . . .

Vic­to­ria Nuland and Ukrain­ian fas­cist and pos­si­ble “snip­ing con­spir­a­tor Andriy Paru­biy, “The Cap­tain of the Maid­an.”

2. 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. It gives a high lev­el overview of his research and is heav­i­ly embed­ded with sub­stan­tive, doc­u­men­tary videos. Here are the con­tents of the poster. Be sure to check out the numer­ous images and videos includ­ed in the actu­al iPoster online.

“ . . . . 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.

Dis­cus­sion of this pre­sen­ta­tion will be con­tin­ued and expand­ed upon in our next pro­gram.

“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

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]
* Many wit­ness tes­ti­monies at the tri­al & inves­ti­ga­tion about snipers in Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings (Video Appen­dix E)
[see video]

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]

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]
[see video]
[see video]

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]

* 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]

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]
They are con­sis­tent with bul­let tra­jec­to­ries in videos & pho­tos (see Video Appen­dix C)
[see video]

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]

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

* 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]

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]

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.

3. 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, 862, 863, 872, 878, 893, 911.)

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

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).

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

[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.

 

 

Discussion

5 comments for “FTR #1023 Ukrainian Fascism, The Maidan Snipers and Possible Implications for the Syrian War”

  1. You have to won­der what’s under this rock: Sam Pat­ten — the long-time asso­ciate of Paul Man­afort and Kon­stan­tin Kil­imnik who just plead­ed guilty to a series a crimes includ­ing help­ing Sergii Lovochkin (Vik­tor Yanukovy­ch’s for­mer chief of staff) secret­ly donate $50,000 to Trump’s inau­gu­ra­tion fund in exc­ah­nge for tick­ets to the inau­gu­ra­tion — appar­ent­ly issued some sort of cryp­tic threat against Mikhail Saakashvili over Face­book two days after plead­ing guilty. The threat was sent to Saakashvil­i’s for­mer chief of staff George Arve­ladze over Face­book mes­sen­ger, but Pat­ten appeared to be direct­ing the threat at Saakashvili and using Arve­ladze as a mid­dle-man. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, Pat­ten worked as a polit­i­cal oper­a­tive for Saakashvil­i’s par­ty in 2008. In 2012, how­ev­er, he was

    Specif­i­cal­ly, Pat­ten told Arve­ladze over Face­book, “Call of [sic] your trolls now or I’ll start releas­ing things about Misha he’d pre­fer I didn’t.” After not hear­ing back, Pat­ten sent anoth­er mes­sage a few hours lat­er. “Misha knows what I’m talk­ing about but frankly I have big­ger prob­lems these days, maybe you two are no longer as tight as you used to be.” Keep in mind that these mes­sages were sent over Face­book mes­sen­ger so it’s not like all of Arve­ladze’s friends could see it. In oth­er words, they were intend­ed to be pri­vate messages/threats.

    But the threats did­n’t stay pri­vate for long. Saakashvili just hap­pened to con­tact Arve­ladze a few min­utes after the sec­ond mes­sage was sent, which also hap­pened to be right before Saakashvili was about go go live on CNN. And Saakashvili appar­ent­ly called Arve­ladze specif­i­cal­ly to refresh his mem­o­ry about Pat­ten. Accord­ing to Arve­ladze, “Misha called me and said, ‘In five min­utes I have an inter­view on CNN, remind me of some things about this guy.’” Saakashvili then went on CNN and read Pat­ten’s threats live on the air.

    Arve­ladze also claims that he had no idea why Pat­ten sent out these mes­sages and what exact­ly Pat­ten was refer­ring to regard­ing the thing that he said Saakashvili “knows what I’m talk­ing about.” Saakashvili sug­gest­ed that it may have been prompt­ed by a Face­book post Saakashvili made ear­li­er in the day com­ment­ing on Patten’s guilty plea, which would have drawn the atten­tion of Saakashvil­i’s fol­low­ers and may have result­ed in a wave of trolls tar­get­ing Pat­ten.

    Who knows what exact­ly prompt­ed this and what dark secrets Pat­ten was refer­ring to, but as Jonathan Tur­ley, who appeared on CNN after Sakkashvili, point out, Pat­tent may have just got caught engag­ing in the same kind of wit­ness tam­per­ing that Paul Man­afort did, except in a wild­ly more bla­tant and stu­pid way. It’s one thing to tam­per with a poten­tial­ly friend­ly wit­ness, but send­ing out threats is just ask­ing for legal trou­ble. Inter­est­ing­ly, it was Saakashvil­i’s US rep­re­sen­ta­tive who noti­fied Talk­ing Points Memo about these mes­sages and said they were for­ward­ed to the FBI and Depart­ment of Jus­tice, which was rather redun­dant after the CNN piece but still indi­cates that Saakashvili is plan­ning on max­i­miz­ing the legal dam­age to Pat­ten over these threats:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    News

    After Guilty Plea, Sam Pat­ten Feud­ed With For­mer Geor­gian Offi­cials On Face­book

    By Matt Shuham
    Sep­tem­ber 7, 2018 6:00 am

    Just two days after plead­ing guilty to fail­ing to reg­is­ter as a for­eign agent and act­ing as a straw pur­chas­er of pres­i­den­tial inau­gu­ra­tion tick­ets for a Ukrain­ian oli­garch, Amer­i­can lob­by­ist Sam Pat­ten sent a pair of angry Face­book mes­sages to Georgia’s for­mer econ­o­my min­is­ter on Face­book mes­sen­ger.

    “Call of [sic] your trolls now or I’ll start releas­ing things about Misha he’d pre­fer I didn’t,” Pat­ten wrote to George Arve­ladze, the Geor­gian for­mer min­is­ter and par­lia­men­tar­i­an, who had also served as chief of staff to then-Geor­gian Pres­i­dent Mikheil “Misha” Saakashvili.

    “Like now,” Pat­ten con­tin­ued, “and have them go back and erase their com­ments.”

    More than three hours lat­er, hav­ing not heard back from Arve­ladze, Pat­ten wrote to him again.

    “Misha knows what I’m talk­ing about but frankly I have big­ger prob­lems these days, maybe you two are no longer as tight as you used to be.”

    It was a sur­pris­ing move from the lob­by­ist, whose unde­clared work for a pro-Russ­ian oli­garch in Ukraine earned him the scruti­ny of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s team.

    Mueller even­tu­al­ly hand­ed Patten’s case off to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., but as part of his plea deal, Pat­ten pledged his coop­er­a­tion on Mueller’s probe. Pat­ten and for­mer Trump cam­paign chair­man Paul Man­afort share a num­ber of asso­ciates — includ­ing Kon­stan­tin Kil­imnik, who, like Man­afort, is charged with wit­ness tam­per­ing — and Pat­ten could be a valu­able wit­ness for the Mueller team.

    In a fur­ther sign that the spe­cial counsel’s office is watch­ing Pat­ten close­ly, lawyers for Mueller’s team attend­ed Patten’s appear­ance in court last Fri­day. A jury ques­tion­naire released Wednes­day for Manafort’s upcom­ing tri­al in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. asks poten­tial jurors if they have any con­nec­tion to Pat­ten, Kil­imnik or the com­pa­ny they found­ed togeth­er, Bege­mot Ven­tures Inter­na­tion­al — part of a long list of indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions “whose names may come up in con­nec­tion with this case.”

    But Pat­ten also worked as a polit­i­cal oper­a­tive in Geor­gia. After work­ing briefly with Saakashvili’s par­ty in 2008, he worked on the par­lia­men­tary cam­paign of Saakashvili’s rivals in 2012. In that elec­tion, Patten’s clients suc­ceed­ed in win­ning a par­lia­men­tary major­i­ty, trans­fer­ring pow­er from Saakashvili’s Unit­ed Nation­al Move­ment to the Geor­gian Dream alliance, backed by the bil­lion­aire Bidz­i­na Ivan­ishvili.

    Arve­ladze, the for­mer econ­o­my min­is­ter and advis­er to Saakashvili, told TPM he had no idea what Pat­ten was threat­en­ing to release about his for­mer boss, and it is unclear why Pat­ten reached out to Arve­ladze on Sun­day. One pos­si­bil­i­ty sug­gest­ed by allies of Saakashvili is that, ear­li­er that day, Saakashvili had pub­lished a Face­book post com­ment­ing on Patten’s guilty plea, draw­ing the col­lec­tive atten­tion of the mil­lion-plus peo­ple who fol­low the for­mer president’s account to Patten’s case — and undoubt­ed­ly draw­ing out some trolls unhap­py with Patten’s past polit­i­cal work in Geor­gia.

    Arve­ladze told TPM over the phone Wednes­day that he and Saakashvili were in con­tact just a few min­utes after Patten’s sec­ond Face­book mes­sage on Sun­day. Saakashvili was prepar­ing for a CNN inter­view, Arve­ladze said, and want­ed to refresh his mem­o­ry on Pat­ten, who had plead­ed guilty on Fri­day.

    “Misha called me and said, ‘In five min­utes I have an inter­view on CNN, remind me of some things about this guy,’” Arve­ladze told TPM.

    “So I told him, look, this is what I just got from him, and of course I sent the screen­shot.”

    With­in min­utes, Saakashvili was read­ing the mes­sages from Pat­ten to Arve­ladze live on CNN. CNN anchor Ana Cabr­era did the equiv­a­lent of a dou­ble take: “Samuel Pat­ten is writ­ing to your for­mer chief of staff?” she asked. Both Arve­ladze and Saakashvili have since claimed the mes­sages were an attempt at “black­mail.” Saakashvili post­ed the mes­sages on his Face­book page the same day. (Arve­ladze pro­vid­ed TPM with his past exchanges with Pat­ten on Face­book in order to cor­rob­o­rate that it was Patten’s real Face­book account — though the account was delet­ed short­ly after Saakashvili’s CNN appear­ance.)

    Last week­end, Saakashvili was in the Unit­ed States fol­low­ing the death of Sen. John McCain, who received quite a bit of atten­tion for his sup­port of Geor­gia dur­ing its 2008 war with Rus­sia. “Today, we are all Geor­gians,” McCain famous­ly said dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign that year.

    TPM heard about Patten’s mes­sages to Arve­ladze from Christi­na Pushaw, who iden­ti­fied her­self in an email as Saakashvili’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the U.S. In a phone inter­view, she said she’d for­ward­ed Patten’s mes­sages to the FBI and Depart­ment of Jus­tice, and lat­er pro­vid­ed screen­shots of her call logs to TPM.

    ...

    Patten’s Sun­day mes­sages to Arve­ladze were first not­ed by the law pro­fes­sor Jonathan Tur­ley, who fol­lowed Saakashvili as a guest on CNN that day and was tak­en aback by the mes­sages he read on-air.

    In a sub­se­quent post on his blog, Tur­ley pub­lished the same screen­shots that Pushaw would lat­er sup­ply TPM, and argued the mes­sages, if legit­i­mate, could spell trou­ble for Pat­ten. Tur­ley not­ed the par­al­lels to Paul Man­afort, who’s now fac­ing addi­tion­al charges for alleged wit­ness tam­per­ing, and said Patten’s mes­sages to Saakashvili’s for­mer chief of staff could be inter­pret­ed as poten­tial wit­ness tam­per­ing them­selves.

    “Man­afort was a cer­ti­fi­able moron to reach out to poten­tial wit­ness­es while on house arrest — and most cer­tain­ly under sur­veil­lance by the FBI,” Tur­ley wrote. “If the alle­ga­tions are true, Pat­ten would rival the lev­el of reck­less­ness in the alleged text to the chief of state of Saakashvili.”

    ———-

    “After Guilty Plea, Sam Pat­ten Feud­ed With For­mer Geor­gian Offi­cials On Face­book” by Matt Shuham; Talk­ing Points Memo; 09/07/2018

    “But Pat­ten also worked as a polit­i­cal oper­a­tive in Geor­gia. After work­ing briefly with Saakashvili’s par­ty in 2008, he worked on the par­lia­men­tary cam­paign of Saakashvili’s rivals in 2012. In that elec­tion, Patten’s clients suc­ceed­ed in win­ning a par­lia­men­tary major­i­ty, trans­fer­ring pow­er from Saakashvili’s Unit­ed Nation­al Move­ment to the Geor­gian Dream alliance, backed by the bil­lion­aire Bidz­i­na Ivan­ishvili.”

    Like many of the fig­ures in the larg­er #TrumpRus­sia mess, Sam Pat­ten is turn­ing out to be anoth­er inter­na­tion­al man of mys­tery. He worked for Saakashvili in 2008, and then Saakashvil­i’s oppo­nent four years lat­er. So he pre­sum­ably knows where a lot of the Geor­gian bod­ies are buried. And one of those ‘buried bod­ies’ is pre­sum­ably what Pat­ten was refer­ring to in his cryp­tic threats:

    ...
    “Call of [sic] your trolls now or I’ll start releas­ing things about Misha he’d pre­fer I didn’t,” Pat­ten wrote to George Arve­ladze, the Geor­gian for­mer min­is­ter and par­lia­men­tar­i­an, who had also served as chief of staff to then-Geor­gian Pres­i­dent Mikheil “Misha” Saakashvili.

    “Like now,” Pat­ten con­tin­ued, “and have them go back and erase their com­ments.”

    More than three hours lat­er, hav­ing not heard back from Arve­ladze, Pat­ten wrote to him again.

    “Misha knows what I’m talk­ing about but frankly I have big­ger prob­lems these days, maybe you two are no longer as tight as you used to be.”
    ...

    Remark­ably, Saakashvili had appar­ent­ly con­tact Arve­ladze just min­utes after the sec­ond text specif­i­cal­ly to refresh his mem­o­ry about Pat­ten before appear­ing on CNN, at which point Saakashvili read the mes­sages on the air:

    ...
    Arve­ladze told TPM over the phone Wednes­day that he and Saakashvili were in con­tact just a few min­utes after Patten’s sec­ond Face­book mes­sage on Sun­day. Saakashvili was prepar­ing for a CNN inter­view, Arve­ladze said, and want­ed to refresh his mem­o­ry on Pat­ten, who had plead­ed guilty on Fri­day.

    “Misha called me and said, ‘In five min­utes I have an inter­view on CNN, remind me of some things about this guy,’” Arve­ladze told TPM.

    “So I told him, look, this is what I just got from him, and of course I sent the screen­shot.”

    With­in min­utes, Saakashvili was read­ing the mes­sages from Pat­ten to Arve­ladze live on CNN. CNN anchor Ana Cabr­era did the equiv­a­lent of a dou­ble take: “Samuel Pat­ten is writ­ing to your for­mer chief of staff?” she asked. Both Arve­ladze and Saakashvili have since claimed the mes­sages were an attempt at “black­mail.” Saakashvili post­ed the mes­sages on his Face­book page the same day. (Arve­ladze pro­vid­ed TPM with his past exchanges with Pat­ten on Face­book in order to cor­rob­o­rate that it was Patten’s real Face­book account — though the account was delet­ed short­ly after Saakashvili’s CNN appear­ance.)
    ...

    Saakashvili sug­gest­ed the threat was brought about as a result of Saakashvili post­ing on his Face­book page about Pat­ten’s guilty plea ear­li­er that day, pos­si­bly prompt­ing a wave of trolling Saakashvili sup­port­ers:

    ...
    Arve­ladze, the for­mer econ­o­my min­is­ter and advis­er to Saakashvili, told TPM he had no idea what Pat­ten was threat­en­ing to release about his for­mer boss, and it is unclear why Pat­ten reached out to Arve­ladze on Sun­day. One pos­si­bil­i­ty sug­gest­ed by allies of Saakashvili is that, ear­li­er that day, Saakashvili had pub­lished a Face­book post com­ment­ing on Patten’s guilty plea, draw­ing the col­lec­tive atten­tion of the mil­lion-plus peo­ple who fol­low the for­mer president’s account to Patten’s case — and undoubt­ed­ly draw­ing out some trolls unhap­py with Patten’s past polit­i­cal work in Geor­gia.
    ...

    And that’s all part of why Jonathan Tur­ley, who appeared on CNN lat­er that day, referred to this act by Pat­ten is rival­ing the stu­pid­i­ty of Man­afort’s attempt­ed wit­ness tam­per­ing:

    ...
    Patten’s Sun­day mes­sages to Arve­ladze were first not­ed by the law pro­fes­sor Jonathan Tur­ley, who fol­lowed Saakashvili as a guest on CNN that day and was tak­en aback by the mes­sages he read on-air.

    In a sub­se­quent post on his blog, Tur­ley pub­lished the same screen­shots that Pushaw would lat­er sup­ply TPM, and argued the mes­sages, if legit­i­mate, could spell trou­ble for Pat­ten. Tur­ley not­ed the par­al­lels to Paul Man­afort, who’s now fac­ing addi­tion­al charges for alleged wit­ness tam­per­ing, and said Patten’s mes­sages to Saakashvili’s for­mer chief of staff could be inter­pret­ed as poten­tial wit­ness tam­per­ing them­selves.

    “Man­afort was a cer­ti­fi­able moron to reach out to poten­tial wit­ness­es while on house arrest — and most cer­tain­ly under sur­veil­lance by the FBI,” Tur­ley wrote. “If the alle­ga­tions are true, Pat­ten would rival the lev­el of reck­less­ness in the alleged text to the chief of state of Saakashvili.”
    ...

    Inter­est­ing­ly, it was Saakashvil­i’s US rep­re­sen­ta­tive who told TPM about the mes­sages in the first place. So he’s try­ing to push this sto­ry in the media as much as he can:

    ...
    TPM heard about Patten’s mes­sages to Arve­ladze from Christi­na Pushaw, who iden­ti­fied her­self in an email as Saakashvili’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the U.S. In a phone inter­view, she said she’d for­ward­ed Patten’s mes­sages to the FBI and Depart­ment of Jus­tice, and lat­er pro­vid­ed screen­shots of her call logs to TPM.
    ...

    And that rais­es the ques­tion as to whether or not Saakashvili was actu­al­ly con­cerned about what Pat­ten threat­ened to release. While it’s pos­si­ble Pat­ten was issu­ing a weak threat and does­n’t actu­al­ly have much dirt on Saakashvili to dish out, that would just make the whole thing even more remark­ably stu­pid on Pat­ten’s part. It’s also pos­si­ble that Saakashvili is wor­ried about Pat­ten’s threat and deter­mined that going pub­lic is the best strat­e­gy. We’ll see. It’s not like we should­n’t expect some­one like Saakashvili to have a clos­et full of polit­i­cal skele­tons so it would­n’t be at all sur­pris­ing if Pat­ten’s threat was real.

    We also should­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly assume that the dirt Pat­ten claimed to have on Saakashvili was nec­es­sar­i­ly relat­ed to his time in Geor­gia. Both Pat­ten and Saakashvili were oper­at­ing in Ukraine in in the post-Maid­an peri­od, after all, and it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble Pat­ten learned about a bunch of dirty stuff Saakashvili was engag­ing in while he was gov­er­nor Odessa or some­thing like that.

    We also should­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly assume that the dirt involves the post-Maid­an peri­od. Because one of the poten­tial­ly most scan­dalous things Pat­ten may have been refer­ring to could have had to do with the alleged involve­ment of Geor­gian snipers dur­ing the Maid­an sniper attacks. As we saw with Ivan Katchanovski’s aca­d­e­m­ic foren­sic exam­i­na­tion of evi­dence col­lect­ed on those attacks, there is are indi­ca­tion that gun­men from out­side of Ukraine, includ­ing Geor­gians, were part of some sort of sniper team. And Saakashvili was very much an active boost­er of the Maid­an protests when they were hap­pen­ing. For instance, here’s a Politi­co arti­cle from Feb­ru­ary 23, 2014 (days after the sniper attacks) authored by Saakashvili giv­ing advice on how to keep the protests going. Giv­en the cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence sug­gest­ing Paul Man­afort and Sergii Lovochkin may have been involved in orches­trat­ing that attack, and Pat­ten’s close­ness to both of them, it would­n’t be too sur­pris­ing if Pat­ten has insid­er knowl­edge of what took place dur­ing those events.

    Might that have been at the core of Pat­ten’s threats against Saakashvili? Per­haps, although it would be one hel­lu­va move of Pat­ten’s part since leak­ing that kind of infor­ma­tion would simul­ta­ne­ous­ly put peo­ple like Man­afort and Lovochkin in big trou­ble. Then against, giv­en that Pat­ten is already a coop­er­at­ing with the Mueller inves­ti­ga­tion maybe he’s already turned on his for­mer asso­ciates. At this point we have no idea. We just know that Pat­ten’s legal trou­bles are like­ly much, much worse now.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 7, 2018, 2:40 pm
  2. Just a quick note: Ivan Katchanovk­si made avail­able a 59-minute long video appen­dix of his work on the Maid­an sniper attacks that was pre­sent­ed at the 2018 Annu­al Meet­ing of the Amer­i­can Polit­i­cal Sci­ence Asso­ci­a­tion. The video is filled with TV footage from that day, with a num­ber of clips mak­ing it clear that snipers were oper­at­ing from Maid­an-con­trolled build­ings. It also includes Eng­lish sub­ti­tles and foren­sic descrip­tions of scenes. The footage obvi­ous­ly includes a num­ber of peo­ple being shot and killed, so it’s a griz­zly 59-min­utes to watch, but absolute­ly invalu­able in terms of estab­lish­ing what actu­al­ly hap­pened.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 10, 2018, 7:03 pm
  3. The author of that cru­cial BNE Intellinews arti­cle about Paul Man­afort’s flight records, Gra­ham Stack, just pub­lished an arti­cle in the Kyiv Post. The arti­cle more or less sum­ma­rizes much of what was in the BNE Intellinews arti­cle, but it con­tains a remark­able twist/admission: Gra­ham Stack was an employ­ee at Fusion GPS who researched Man­afort as part of the Steele Dossier! And his new arti­cle in the Kyiv Post is basi­cal­ly a mea cul­pa from Gra­ham about how they com­plete­ly mis­un­der­stood the nature of Paul Man­afort’s work in Ukraine:

    Kyiv Post

    Gra­ham Stack: Every­thing you know about Paul Man­afort is wrong

    By Gra­ham Stack.
    Pub­lished Sept. 17. Updat­ed Sept. 17 at 12:16 pm

    It is a huge irony of U.S. spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into alleged col­lu­sion between U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump’s 2016 elec­tion cam­paign and the Krem­lin, that the biggest fish caught to date is charged with the doing the oppo­site of col­lud­ing with Rus­sia: Paul Man­afort, Trump’s for­mer cam­paign man­ag­er, has pled guilty to charges of (unde­clared) lob­by­ing for Ukraine in 2012–2013 to sign a polit­i­cal and trade asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment with the Euro­pean Union that would res­cue it once and for all from the Kremlin’s grasp.

    ...

    There have been scores of media arti­cles about Man­afort – and 90 per­cent regur­gi­tate the sim­plis­tic nar­ra­tive of Man­afort as a Krem­lin tro­jan horse. This nar­ra­tive was devel­oped by Wash­ing­ton com­mer­cial intel­li­gence firm Fusion GPS in 2016, as part of their now famous dossier on Trump, dis­trib­uted wide­ly among major media out­lets.

    As a con­trib­u­tor to the Fusion GPS research on Man­afort, I share the blame. Because we got Man­afort almost com­plete­ly wrong.

    What we got wrong about Man­afort – and what Mueller has got part­ly right in his indict­ment – is that Man­afort was noth­ing like a pro-Krem­lin influ­ence on the for­mer Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, as the dossier alleged. Instead, Man­afort was one of the dri­ving forces push­ing Yanukovych towards sign­ing the agree­ment with the EU. The Krem­lin has every rea­son to hate him.

    An army of arm­chair experts pro­nounces on Manafort’s ‘pro-Russ­ian’ role in Ukraine – with a copy of the Fusion GPS report close to hand. None of them ask why the sup­pos­ed­ly “pro-Russ­ian: Yanukovych had tak­en Ukraine to the verge of sign­ing a far-reach­ing agree­ment with the EU in Novem­ber 2013 – an asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment that would see Ukraine removed from the fate­ful Russ­ian orbit for good?

    The road to Vil­nius

    Large­ly thanks to Man­afort, in Novem­ber 2013, Ukraine was one step away from sign­ing the his­toric Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment at the sum­mit of the EU’s East­ern Part­ner­ship held in the Lithuan­ian cap­i­tal of Vil­nius.

    Manafort’s ally in the pro-EU push was the Ukrain­ian president’s chief of staff Ser­hiy Lovochkin. Accord­ing to Yanukovych con­fi­dante Nestor Shufrich, for­mer deputy head of Ukraine’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty and Defense Coun­cil, the pro-EU course had been “Lovochkin’s and Manafort’s game, it was them who foist­ed the idea on Yanukovych that it was achiev­able.” For­mer Poland Pres­i­dent Alek­san­dr Kwas­nwiews­ki has also con­firmed that Lovochkin and Man­afort togeth­er com­prised the pro-EU heart of the Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion.

    Man­afort was amaz­ing­ly suc­cess­ful in bring­ing Ukraine into the West­ern fold. After the jail­ing by Yanukovych of oppo­si­tion leader and ex-Prime Min­is­ter Yulia Tymoshenko in 2011, it seemed any attempt by Ukraine to pur­sue clos­er ties with the West were dead in the water. But only two years lat­er, Kyiv was a step away from sign­ing the asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment with Brus­sels that would cre­ate a Deep and Com­pre­hen­sive Free Trade Area between EU and Ukraine.

    But any men­tion that Man­afort was a dri­ving force behind Ukraine’s move to sign up with the EU instead of with Rus­sia – a key part of the Mueller indict­ment – was miss­ing from the Fusion GPS dossier, and as a result, has been miss­ing from most main­stream media cov­er­age.

    This does not mean Man­afort was a good guy: He had lots of rea­sons to be pro-EU, and all of them had a dol­lar sign. He received $42mn pay­ments received for his pro-EU lob­by­ing from Lyovochkin, accord­ing to his for­mer employ­ee Rick Gates’s tes­ti­mo­ny at the first tri­al in August. This was twice as much as Man­afort received from all oth­er Ukrain­ian sources tak­en togeth­er. Lyovochin denies the pay­ments.

    Manafort’s rela­tion­ship to Lovochkin explains why he nev­er pushed Yanukovych to do the most obvi­ous thing to clinch the deal with the EU – to release oppo­si­tion leader Yulia Tymoshenko from jail: Lovochkin was not just a gov­ern­ment offi­cial, but also the junior part­ner in busi­ness of noto­ri­ous gas oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash. Fir­tash and Tymoshenko were sworn ene­mies. Yanukovych had jailed Tymoshenko in 2011 for hav­ing destroyed Firtash’s gas trad­ing busi­ness dur­ing her time as prime min­is­ter.

    Manafort’s pitch to the EU was that EU should sign the agree­ment with Ukraine despite Tymoshenko’s jail­ing. Accord­ing to Mueller’s indict­ment, Man­afort retained a raft of EU emi­nence gris­es argu­ing the same, while also pay­ing a U.S. law firm to argue that the Tymoshenko con­vic­tion was legit­i­mate.

    Large­ly due to Manafort’s lob­by­ing effort by Novem­ber 2013, the EU had caved in, giv­ing Ukraine the all-clear to sign the agree­ment in Novem­ber. It was only Yanukovych’s craven­ness in the face of Krem­lin fury that pre­vent­ed Ukraine sign­ing in 2013.

    Man­afort for all sea­sons

    Manafort’s pro-EU role 2012–2013 accounts for his Ukrain­ian career con­tin­u­ing unin­ter­rupt­ed into the post-Yanukovych years – and even his help­ing set up a new pro-EU gov­ern­ment in Kyiv in 2014.

    These activ­i­ties were also omit­ted by the Fusion GPS dossier.

    Manafort’s role in the post-Maid­an set­tle­ment in 2014 was a key rev­e­la­tion of the Gates tes­ti­mo­ny in August. The pros­e­cu­tion pro­duced doc­u­ments show­ing Man­afort to have con­sult­ed both box­er-turned-politi­cian Vitali Klitschko and choco­late king Petro Poroshenko in May 2014 as they cam­paigned for the respec­tive posts of may­or of Kyiv and pres­i­dent of Ukraine. Both men won. (They now deny hav­ing hired Man­afort for their cam­paigns).

    Man­afort may have been more than mere con­sul­tant to the new pow­ers in Kyiv. Flight records show that Man­afort was in Vien­na on March 25, 2014. This was the date of a cru­cial “king­mak­er” meet­ing in Vien­na between Lyovochkin, Fir­tash, Poroshenko and Klichko, where it was decid­ed that Klichko would not run for pres­i­dent against Poroshenko, effec­tive­ly crown­ing Poroshenko.

    Indeed far from being per­sona non-gra­ta fol­low­ing Yanukovych’s ouster, dur­ing the post-rev­o­lu­tion elec­tion cam­paigns in April and May 2014, Man­afort spent a total of 27 days in Kyiv.

    And his last engage­ment in Ukraine were the region­al elec­tions of late Octo­ber 2015, this time work­ing for Lyovochkin’s new pup­pet oppo­si­tion par­ty. He stayed in Ukraine four weeks in the run-up to the vote – only months before sign­ing on for Trump.

    Manafort’s Euro­maid­an?

    The biggest unan­swered ques­tion regard­ing Man­afort is not – was he a Krem­lin agent, but: just how far did Man­afort and Lyovochkin go in try­ing to push Yanukovych back towards the EU, after he backed out of the EU agree­ment in late Novem­ber 2013 under Krem­lin pres­sure? What was their rela­tion­ship to the pro-EU protests that broke out and the police vio­lence in response?

    Accord­ing to a cryp­tic mes­sag­ing exchange between Manafort’s daugh­ters, which was hacked in 2016, it was none oth­er than the arch spin doc­tor who hatched a plan to “to send those peo­ple [pro­tes­tors] out and get them slaugh­tered.” “Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that Revolts and what not […] As a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine.” Manafort’s mil­lions for Ukraine lob­by­ing were called “blood mon­ey”.

    Accord­ing to the daugh­ters, for secre­cy Man­afort and his co-con­spir­a­tors wrote the mes­sages in the drafts of a shared email account – and Mueller has not found it.

    Those mes­sages seen by Manafort’s fam­i­ly may con­firm oth­er high-lev­el alle­ga­tions that Lyovochkin and his team were behind the wan­ton­ly vio­lent – and high­ly tele­vised – dis­per­sal by riot police of a small pick­et of pro-EU stu­dents protests on the night of Novem­ber 29. The aim: to “out­rage the world” and thus gen­er­ate polit­i­cal pres­sure on Yanukovych to stay with the West.

    “Lyovochkin was the author of the dis­per­sal of the [stu­dents’] Maid­an and should be in prison, not in par­lia­ment,” Ukraine’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter Arsen Avakov said on its third anniver­sary in 2016. But Ukrain­ian pros­e­cu­tors have ignored the alle­ga­tions, and Lyovochkin him­self fierce­ly denies any involve­ment.

    This sud­den out­break of police vio­lence trig­gered Ukraine – and spi­raled into the mass demos of the Euro­maid­an two days lat­er, and ulti­mate­ly the shoot­ing of scores of demon­stra­tors on Feb­ru­ary 22, 2014, and the flight of Yanukovych

    Was Manafort’s real crime not push­ing Yanukovych into the Kremlin’s embrace, but stag­ing vio­lence against demon­stra­tors to achieve the oppo­site – a ruse that then spi­raled out of con­trol? Was this what the Man­afort daugh­ters were refer­ring to in their texts? This is one of the secrets that Mueller has not asked about – and nor did the mis­guid­ed Fusion GPS dossier.

    ———-

    “Gra­ham Stack: Every­thing you know about Paul Man­afort is wrong” by Gra­ham Stack; Kyiv Post; 09/17/2018

    “As a con­trib­u­tor to the Fusion GPS research on Man­afort, I share the blame. Because we got Man­afort almost com­plete­ly wrong.”

    One of the Fusion GPS researchers on Man­afort just pub­lished a piece in the Kyiv Post about how they com­plete­ly got Man­afort wrong and almost no one cares. It’s kind of amaz­ing.

    As Stack point­ed out in his ear­li­er BNE Intellinews piece on Man­afort, it was large­ly thanks to Man­afort that Ukraine got just one step away from sign­ing the EU Associ­tion Agree­ment. And his key part­ner in this pro-EU effort was Vik­tor Yanukovy­ch’s chief of staff Sehiy Lovochkin:

    ...
    The road to Vil­nius

    Large­ly thanks to Man­afort, in Novem­ber 2013, Ukraine was one step away from sign­ing the his­toric Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment at the sum­mit of the EU’s East­ern Part­ner­ship held in the Lithuan­ian cap­i­tal of Vil­nius.

    Manafort’s ally in the pro-EU push was the Ukrain­ian president’s chief of staff Ser­hiy Lovochkin. Accord­ing to Yanukovych con­fi­dante Nestor Shufrich, for­mer deputy head of Ukraine’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty and Defense Coun­cil, the pro-EU course had been “Lovochkin’s and Manafort’s game, it was them who foist­ed the idea on Yanukovych that it was achiev­able.” For­mer Poland Pres­i­dent Alek­san­dr Kwas­nwiews­ki has also con­firmed that Lovochkin and Man­afort togeth­er com­prised the pro-EU heart of the Yanukovych admin­is­tra­tion.

    Man­afort was amaz­ing­ly suc­cess­ful in bring­ing Ukraine into the West­ern fold. After the jail­ing by Yanukovych of oppo­si­tion leader and ex-Prime Min­is­ter Yulia Tymoshenko in 2011, it seemed any attempt by Ukraine to pur­sue clos­er ties with the West were dead in the water. But only two years lat­er, Kyiv was a step away from sign­ing the asso­ci­a­tion agree­ment with Brus­sels that would cre­ate a Deep and Com­pre­hen­sive Free Trade Area between EU and Ukraine.
    ...

    So why did­n’t Man­afort and Lovochkin just encour­age Yanukovych to release Yulia Tymoshenko if that was the main stick­ing point in Ukraine join­ing the EU Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment? Well, as Stack notes, Lovochkin was the junior part­ner of Dmytro Fir­tash. And Fir­tash and Tymoshenko are ene­mies after Tymoshenko nego­ti­at­ed an agree­ment with Vladimir Putin in 2008 while she was prime min­is­ter that would have elim­i­nat­ed Fir­tash’s com­pa­ny, RosUkrEn­er­go, as a mid­dle-man in the Rus­sia-Ukraine nat­ur­al gas trade. So while Lovochkin was clear­ly pro-EU, he was also like­ly very anti-Tymoshenko. Hence the need for the whole Haps­burg Group lob­by­ing effort to con­vince the EU to let Ukraine into the Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment with­out first free­ing Tymoshenko:

    ...
    But any men­tion that Man­afort was a dri­ving force behind Ukraine’s move to sign up with the EU instead of with Rus­sia – a key part of the Mueller indict­ment – was miss­ing from the Fusion GPS dossier, and as a result, has been miss­ing from most main­stream media cov­er­age.

    This does not mean Man­afort was a good guy: He had lots of rea­sons to be pro-EU, and all of them had a dol­lar sign. He received $42mn pay­ments received for his pro-EU lob­by­ing from Lyovochkin, accord­ing to his for­mer employ­ee Rick Gates’s tes­ti­mo­ny at the first tri­al in August. This was twice as much as Man­afort received from all oth­er Ukrain­ian sources tak­en togeth­er. Lyovochin denies the pay­ments.

    Manafort’s rela­tion­ship to Lovochkin explains why he nev­er pushed Yanukovych to do the most obvi­ous thing to clinch the deal with the EU – to release oppo­si­tion leader Yulia Tymoshenko from jail: Lovochkin was not just a gov­ern­ment offi­cial, but also the junior part­ner in busi­ness of noto­ri­ous gas oli­garch Dmytro Fir­tash. Fir­tash and Tymoshenko were sworn ene­mies. Yanukovych had jailed Tymoshenko in 2011 for hav­ing destroyed Firtash’s gas trad­ing busi­ness dur­ing her time as prime min­is­ter.

    Manafort’s pitch to the EU was that EU should sign the agree­ment with Ukraine despite Tymoshenko’s jail­ing. Accord­ing to Mueller’s indict­ment, Man­afort retained a raft of EU emi­nence gris­es argu­ing the same, while also pay­ing a U.S. law firm to argue that the Tymoshenko con­vic­tion was legit­i­mate.

    Large­ly due to Manafort’s lob­by­ing effort by Novem­ber 2013, the EU had caved in, giv­ing Ukraine the all-clear to sign the agree­ment in Novem­ber. It was only Yanukovych’s craven­ness in the face of Krem­lin fury that pre­vent­ed Ukraine sign­ing in 2013.
    ...

    It’s also work recall­ing that the Meduza.io pro­file on Kon­stan­tine Kil­imnik stat­ed that both Man­afort and Kil­imnik were firm­ly opposed to the jail­ing of Tymoshenko but Yanukovych went ahead with it any­way. So it sounds like Man­afort was indeed advis­ing Yanukovych against jail­ing Tymoshenko and just got over­ruled.

    Then Stack recounts Man­afort’s exten­sive work in the post-Maid­an peri­od. This despite the fact that he was one of the chief advi­sors to Yanukovych, some­one who was deemed a want­ed crim­i­nal at that point. Flight records even show that Man­afort was in Vien­na on March 25, 2014, the date of a cru­cial “King­mak­er” meet­ing in Vien­na between Lovochkin, Fir­tash, Poroshenko, and Klichko. All of this was left out of the Fusion GPS dossier, but it came out dur­ing the tes­ti­mo­ny of Rick Gates:

    ...
    Man­afort for all sea­sons

    Manafort’s pro-EU role 2012–2013 accounts for his Ukrain­ian career con­tin­u­ing unin­ter­rupt­ed into the post-Yanukovych years – and even his help­ing set up a new pro-EU gov­ern­ment in Kyiv in 2014.

    These activ­i­ties were also omit­ted by the Fusion GPS dossier.

    Manafort’s role in the post-Maid­an set­tle­ment in 2014 was a key rev­e­la­tion of the Gates tes­ti­mo­ny in August. The pros­e­cu­tion pro­duced doc­u­ments show­ing Man­afort to have con­sult­ed both box­er-turned-politi­cian Vitali Klitschko and choco­late king Petro Poroshenko in May 2014 as they cam­paigned for the respec­tive posts of may­or of Kyiv and pres­i­dent of Ukraine. Both men won. (They now deny hav­ing hired Man­afort for their cam­paigns).

    Man­afort may have been more than mere con­sul­tant to the new pow­ers in Kyiv. Flight records show that Man­afort was in Vien­na on March 25, 2014. This was the date of a cru­cial “king­mak­er” meet­ing in Vien­na between Lyovochkin, Fir­tash, Poroshenko and Klichko, where it was decid­ed that Klichko would not run for pres­i­dent against Poroshenko, effec­tive­ly crown­ing Poroshenko.

    Indeed far from being per­sona non-gra­ta fol­low­ing Yanukovych’s ouster, dur­ing the post-rev­o­lu­tion elec­tion cam­paigns in April and May 2014, Man­afort spent a total of 27 days in Kyiv.

    And his last engage­ment in Ukraine were the region­al elec­tions of late Octo­ber 2015, this time work­ing for Lyovochkin’s new pup­pet oppo­si­tion par­ty. He stayed in Ukraine four weeks in the run-up to the vote – only months before sign­ing on for Trump.
    ...

    Final­ly, Stack rais­es the ques­tion about what Man­afort’s involve­ment may have been with either ini­tial police crack­down on pro­tes­tors in Novem­ber of 2013 that sparked the Maid­an protest or the even­tu­al sniper attacks a few months lat­er:

    ...
    Manafort’s Euro­maid­an?

    The biggest unan­swered ques­tion regard­ing Man­afort is not – was he a Krem­lin agent, but: just how far did Man­afort and Lyovochkin go in try­ing to push Yanukovych back towards the EU, after he backed out of the EU agree­ment in late Novem­ber 2013 under Krem­lin pres­sure? What was their rela­tion­ship to the pro-EU protests that broke out and the police vio­lence in response?

    Accord­ing to a cryp­tic mes­sag­ing exchange between Manafort’s daugh­ters, which was hacked in 2016, it was none oth­er than the arch spin doc­tor who hatched a plan to “to send those peo­ple [pro­tes­tors] out and get them slaugh­tered.” “Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that Revolts and what not […] As a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine.” Manafort’s mil­lions for Ukraine lob­by­ing were called “blood mon­ey”.

    Accord­ing to the daugh­ters, for secre­cy Man­afort and his co-con­spir­a­tors wrote the mes­sages in the drafts of a shared email account – and Mueller has not found it.

    Those mes­sages seen by Manafort’s fam­i­ly may con­firm oth­er high-lev­el alle­ga­tions that Lyovochkin and his team were behind the wan­ton­ly vio­lent – and high­ly tele­vised – dis­per­sal by riot police of a small pick­et of pro-EU stu­dents protests on the night of Novem­ber 29. The aim: to “out­rage the world” and thus gen­er­ate polit­i­cal pres­sure on Yanukovych to stay with the West.

    “Lyovochkin was the author of the dis­per­sal of the [stu­dents’] Maid­an and should be in prison, not in par­lia­ment,” Ukraine’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter Arsen Avakov said on its third anniver­sary in 2016. But Ukrain­ian pros­e­cu­tors have ignored the alle­ga­tions, and Lyovochkin him­self fierce­ly denies any involve­ment.

    This sud­den out­break of police vio­lence trig­gered Ukraine – and spi­raled into the mass demos of the Euro­maid­an two days lat­er, and ulti­mate­ly the shoot­ing of scores of demon­stra­tors on Feb­ru­ary 22, 2014, and the flight of Yanukovych

    Was Manafort’s real crime not push­ing Yanukovych into the Kremlin’s embrace, but stag­ing vio­lence against demon­stra­tors to achieve the oppo­site – a ruse that then spi­raled out of con­trol? Was this what the Man­afort daugh­ters were refer­ring to in their texts? This is one of the secrets that Mueller has not asked about – and nor did the mis­guid­ed Fusion GPS dossier.

    “Was Manafort’s real crime not push­ing Yanukovych into the Kremlin’s embrace, but stag­ing vio­lence against demon­stra­tors to achieve the oppo­site – a ruse that then spi­raled out of con­trol? Was this what the Man­afort daugh­ters were refer­ring to in their texts? This is one of the secrets that Mueller has not asked about – and nor did the mis­guid­ed Fusion GPS dossier.”

    So one of the Fusion GPS researchers who researched Man­afort just pub­lished a piece in the Kyiv Post about how Fusion GPS’s dossier was almost com­plete­ly wrong when it came to Man­afort. And this is sev­er­al months after he pub­lished a more detailed report in BNE Intellinews (a reports that’s only avail­able on the Way­back Machine at this point). Just imag­ine what a block­buster report this should be. And yet it isn’t. At all. Even the right-wing media in the US has almost entire­ly ignored this, which should raise big ques­tions as to why? What’s under this rock and why is does even the right-wing media appear scared to turn it over? Is there an aware­ness that the sit­u­a­tion for Trump and the broad­er GOP might actu­al­ly become worse if the truth about Man­afort became wide­ly known? Keep in mind that, oth­er than Trump’s quip about how maybe a 400 pound hack­er sit­ting in bed actu­al­ly did that hacks, there’s been almost no real attempt by the right-wing to make the case that maybe it was­n’t Russ­ian hack­ers but instead hack­ers try­ing to leave ‘Russ­ian hack­er’ clues behind the hacks of the Democ­rats. There’s been a heavy pro­mo­tion of the Seth Rich nar­ra­tive — that there was­n’t a hack at all — and yet a near com­plete lack of any attempt on the right-wing to raise the pos­si­bil­i­ty that there were non-Russ­ian hack­ers behind the hacks. Might this reflect a con­cern that any seri­ous inves­ti­ga­tion into non-Russ­ian hack­ers might expose some­thing they would rather keep hid­den?

    And that seem­ing­ly intense refusal on all sides to even acknowl­edge this report from Gra­ham Stack exists leaves us with two big ques­tions: will this Gra­ham Stack piece be entire­ly ignored or almost entire­ly ignored? And why is this going to be almost entire­ly ignored by almost all sides? It would be nice if this report was actu­al­ly paid atten­tion to because there’s all sorts of oth­er big ques­tions raised by it, but since it will large­ly be ignored the only real ques­tions we’re left with is just how exten­sive­ly will this be ignored and why.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 19, 2018, 1:41 pm
  4. @Pterrafractyl–

    A spec­tac­u­lar find! Although it does­n’t state Man­afort was a U.S. spook, it absolute­ly destroys the pre­vail­ing nar­ra­tive and the author says as much!

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | September 19, 2018, 7:36 pm
  5. Sur­prise! Ukraine’s high court just ruled that the 2015 anti-cor­rup­tion law required pub­lic offi­cials to explain the sources of at least $35,000 worth of assets (or face 2 to 10 years in prison) is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. The court deter­mined that the law vio­lat­ed the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence and shift­ed the bur­den of proof from pros­e­cu­tors to defen­dants. And now dozens of pub­lic offi­cials who were under inves­ti­ga­tion for cor­rup­tion are going to have their cas­es thrown out, includ­ing a case against Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko. The law was require­ment for con­tin­ued IMF lend­ing and visa-free trav­el with the EU, so it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how the EU responds to this.

    Pres­i­dent Poroshenko has already intro­duced a replace­ment law for a vote, but his ver­sion of the law is already rais­ing eye­brows. Under Poroshenko’s ver­sion of the law, unlaw­ful enrich­ment is defined as “ille­gal acqui­si­tion of sig­nif­i­cant assets” that doesn’t have signs of abuse of office or bribery. So in order to pros­e­cute some­one it would have to be proven that they did­n’t take a bribe.:

    Kyiv Post

    Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court rul­ing ends cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions

    By Oksana Gryt­senko, Bermet Talant.
    Pub­lished March 1, 2019 at 11:01 am

    Ukraine suf­fered a major roll­back in its anti-cor­rup­tion cru­sade when the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court abol­ished crim­i­nal respon­si­bil­i­ty under an ille­gal enrich­ment law.

    The judges ruled on Feb. 26 that the law vio­lat­ed the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence and wrong­ly shift­ed the bur­den of proof to defen­dants instead of state pros­e­cu­tors.

    The arti­cle of the Crim­i­nal Code which the court found uncon­sti­tu­tion­al envis­aged that pub­lic offi­cials who can­not explain sources of hav­ing at least $35,000 worth of assets may face impris­on­ment from two to 10 years.

    Par­lia­ment passed the law in Feb­ru­ary 2015 as one of the anti-cor­rup­tion demands of the Euro­Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion that oust­ed Krem­lin-backed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014.

    The law, as part of a big­ger anti-cor­rup­tion dri­ve, was also a require­ment for con­tin­ued Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund lend­ing and for the cov­et­ed visa-free trav­el regime with the nations of the Euro­pean Union, which was intro­duced in 2017.

    After the rul­ing, the Nation­al Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau of Ukraine, or NABU, said it will have to close 65 crim­i­nal probes for ille­gal enrich­ment and four more cas­es that have already been filed in court.

    They include the inves­ti­ga­tions against Infra­struc­ture Min­is­ter Volodymyr Omelyan, Deputy Head of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine Pavlo Dem­chy­na, pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and leader of Rad­i­cal Par­ty Oleh Lyashko, and Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko.

    “Now we have legal­iza­tion of ill-got­ten assets,” Artem Syt­nyk, head of NABU said on Feb. 28.

    The court rul­ing took place five years after the Euro­Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion and one month before the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on March 31. It out­raged many in the coun­try that is ranked as both one of the poor­est and one of the most cor­rupt in Europe.

    Law­mak­er Sergii Leshchenko, who co-spon­sored the anti-cor­rup­tion leg­is­la­tion that includ­ed the ille­gal enrich­ment clause in 2015, blamed Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko for using the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court to get immu­ni­ty from crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion for him­self and his cronies in case he fails to be re-elect­ed.

    Along with two oth­er law­mak­ers, Leshchenko left Poroshenko’s par­ty fac­tion in protest against the court rul­ing and called the judges who passed the deci­sion “hook­ers on call.”

    ‘Tough deci­sion’

    In its moti­va­tion part, the deci­sion of the Grand Cham­ber of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court says that apart from vio­la­tion of the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence, the Crim­i­nal Code arti­cle on ille­gal enrich­ment also vio­lat­ed the norms on “legal cer­tain­ty” and the right of any per­son not to tes­ti­fy against him or her­self.

    The court’s chief judge, Stanislav Shevchuk, said that the abol­ished norm was in fact “oblig­ing a defen­dant to col­lect evi­dence to prove his inno­cence,” which vio­lates the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    “It is a tough deci­sion but it is total­ly jus­ti­fied because the fight against cor­rup­tion should be real, not a pre­tend one,” Shevchuk wrote on Face­book.

    Although the deci­sion was tak­en behind closed doors, insid­ers say that four judges out of 18 refused to sup­port it.

    They include Vik­tor Kolis­nyk, Vasyl Lemak and Ser­hiy Holo­vaty, who were appoint­ed to the court through the president’s appoint­ment quo­ta, and Ihor Sli­denko, appoint­ed with­in parliament’s quo­ta. This infor­ma­tion was report­ed by Liga.net, which cit­ed its own sources, and by lawyer and ex-coor­di­na­tor of judi­cia­ry watch­dog Pub­lic Integri­ty Coun­cil Vitaliy Tytych.

    Holo­vaty pub­lished a dis­sent­ing opin­ion, call­ing the court deci­sion wrong. He said he believes the Crim­i­nal Code arti­cle “doesn’t give grounds to pre­sume that a sus­pect or defen­dant bears the respon­si­bil­i­ty to prove his inno­cence or refute charges.”

    In fact, con­cerns about this aspect of the now-void leg­is­la­tion aren’t new. Legal experts crit­i­cized this arti­cle back in 2015 when it was passed in par­lia­ment. The main legal depart­ment of the Verk­hov­na Rada filed a note that warned that it may vio­late the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence.

    Nev­er­the­less, the Euro­pean experts found in June 2018 that this Crim­i­nal Court arti­cle didn’t vio­late Ukraine’s con­sti­tu­tion. And the con­cerns of the parliament’s legal depart­ment weren’t dis­cussed in par­lia­ment dur­ing the vot­ing.

    Crim­i­nal lawyer Tytych, who rep­re­sents rel­a­tives of slain Euro­Maid­an pro­test­ers, said the abol­ished arti­cle was “not ide­al.” But he said its effi­cien­cy could have been checked by the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Court that is expect­ed to start its work this sum­mer.

    But now, even if par­lia­ment swift­ly pass­es a new law on ille­gal enrich­ment as Poroshenko has offered, cor­rupt offi­cials will man­age to avoid respon­si­bil­i­ty.

    “Now this crim­i­nal gang will man­age to cre­ate for­mal grounds to legal­ize their assets,” Tytych said.

    Strange replace­ment

    On Feb. 28, Poroshenko filed a draft bill to replace the unlaw­ful enrich­ment arti­cle that the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court struck down.

    But Poroshenko’s bill appeared to be no less con­tro­ver­sial. It changes the def­i­n­i­tion of unlaw­ful enrich­ment dras­ti­cal­ly.

    In the pre­vi­ous ver­sion, an offi­cial would be pun­ished if he “didn’t have proof of legit­i­mate acqui­si­tion of sig­nif­i­cant assets.” In Poroshenko’s ver­sion, unlaw­ful enrich­ment is defined as “ille­gal acqui­si­tion of sig­nif­i­cant assets” that doesn’t have signs of abuse of office or bribery.

    Poroshenko on Feb. 28 said in a state­ment on his web­site: “This morn­ing I signed and I am order­ing now to sub­mit the bill. The key issue remains the same — the inevitable pun­ish­ment of ille­gal enrich­ment.”

    Such a law would make it impos­si­ble to pun­ish any­one for illic­it enrich­ment, accord­ing to experts at the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Action Cen­ter watch­dog. They point­ed out that to pros­e­cute any offi­cial for unlaw­ful enrich­ment under this law a pros­e­cu­tor would have to prove the defen­dant didn’t take bribes.

    The president’s bill has not been dis­cussed in the par­lia­ment yet.

    Reper­cus­sions

    The can­ce­la­tion of the unlaw­ful enrich­ment clause in the Crim­i­nal Code ruins many of the ongo­ing cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions. De fac­to, it is an amnesty: even when it is replaced with a new law, it will be impos­si­ble to pros­e­cute any­one for ille­gal­ly enrich­ing them­selves in the past sev­er­al years.

    Over near­ly four years that the law on unlaw­ful enrich­ment was enforced, the NABU opened 106 crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions into alleged unlaw­ful enrich­ment by law­mak­ers, judges, pros­e­cu­tors, and cur­rent and for­mer pub­lic offi­cials. In four cas­es, anti-cor­rup­tion pros­e­cu­tors sent indict­ments to court.

    No one has been con­vict­ed yet.

    NABU said that it would have to close 65 ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tions into a total sum of Hr 1.5 bil­lion ($55.6 mil­lion). It also won’t be able to reopen those cas­es in the future.

    NABU called the deci­sion polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed and “a step back in the fight against cor­rup­tion” in a state­ment from Feb. 27.

    “We are talk­ing about the vest­ed inter­ests of law­mak­ers who real­ize that they might not have a chance to stay in the par­lia­ment after the par­lia­men­tary elec­tion in the fall and want to pro­tect them­selves,” said Daria Kale­niuk, head of the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Action Cen­ter.

    One of those who ben­e­fit from the amnesty of ille­gal gains is a law­mak­er with the People’s Front Par­ty, Yevhen Dei­dei. He was among 59 law­mak­ers who filed an appeal to the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court and he had been pre­vi­ous­ly inves­ti­gat­ed by NABU. In 2016, detec­tives found that Deydey and his wife had bought a flat and two cars whose val­ue exceed­ed the couple’s declared income by four times. NABU claimed that it had suf­fi­cient evi­dence to have Dei­dei stripped of his par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty.

    NABU also inves­ti­gat­ed Rad­i­cal Par­ty leader and pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Lyashko, who doesn’t own any busi­ness yet could afford a 550-square-meter house in Kozyn, an elite town out­side of Kyiv; a 0.6‑hectare land plot; and two cars for a total sum of Hr 20 mil­lion ($744,000).

    Kale­niuk says that now NABU won’t inves­ti­gate how anoth­er law­mak­er and pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Yulia Tymoshenko, could afford lob­by­ists in the Unit­ed States, whom she denied hir­ing but whose ser­vices she used any­way.

    Not only mem­bers of the par­lia­ment are now off the hook. So are judges, pros­e­cu­tors, and gov­ern­ment offi­cials whom NABU has probed for liv­ing beyond their offi­cial­ly declared means and sources of income.

    In 2017, NABU inves­ti­gat­ed the head of the Kyiv Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tive Court, Pavlo Vovk, who lived in an elite man­sion that offi­cial­ly belonged to his ex-wife and there­fore wasn’t men­tioned in his elec­tron­ic dec­la­ra­tion. He also main­tained a col­lec­tion of expen­sive watch­es and trav­eled abroad 33 times between 2012 and 2015 on char­ter flights — more than his judge salary could afford.

    NABU pros­e­cu­tors had a notice of sus­pi­cion of unlaw­ful enrich­ment for deputy head of the State Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice, Pavlo Dem­chy­na, who in 2015–2016 spent Hr 6.4 mil­lion ($238,000) on cars, land plots, and an apart­ment while hav­ing an accu­mu­lat­ed fam­i­ly income of Hr 2.8 mil­lion ($104,000).

    For­mer mil­i­tary pros­e­cu­tor Kostyan­tyn Kulyk was indict­ed for ille­gal enrich­ment after NABU detec­tives found in 2016 that his expen­di­tures, most­ly on restau­rants, shop­ping, and petrol, exceed­ed his income by two times.

    Head of the State Audit Ser­vice Lidiya Havrylo­va was accused of buy­ing prop­er­ty for near­ly Hr 10 mil­lion ($370,800) in 2015–2017. She couldn’t explain where this mon­ey came from, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly exceed­ed her offi­cial income. NABU deter­mined it to be ille­gal enrich­ment and sent the mate­ri­als to court.

    The court was also going to con­sid­er the case of Infra­struc­ture Min­is­ter Omelyan, who had failed to prove the legal­i­ty of buy­ing BMW X5 for Hr 1.4 mil­lion as well as hav­ing $90,000 and 25,000 euros in cash.

    Anoth­er for­mer gov­ern­ment offi­cial, for­mer head of the State Fis­cal Ser­vice, Myroslav Pro­dan, was charged with embez­zle­ment after anti-cor­rup­tion detec­tives found he bought lux­u­ry cars and real estate in Kyiv and Turkey for Hr 89 mil­lion ($3.2 mil­lion).

    Under the now-void law, unlaw­ful enrich­ment was a felony that entailed up to 10 years in prison and for­fei­ture of prop­er­ty.

    The Spe­cial­ized Anti-Cor­rup­tion Prosecutor’s Office said that since the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court deemed the statute on ille­gal enrich­ment uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, the evi­dence col­lect­ed in the course of those inves­ti­ga­tions becomes inad­mis­si­ble too.

    In the cas­es of Kulyk, Omelyan, and Havrylo­va, which are already in court, the anti-cor­rup­tion pros­e­cu­tors will have to review the evi­dence and decide whether it will be pos­si­ble to pros­e­cute them for lying on their elec­tron­ic dec­la­ra­tions, which falls under the mis­de­meanor cat­e­go­ry and doesn’t require a seri­ous penal­ty.

    Gen­er­al Pros­e­cu­tor Lut­senko, said that the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court deci­sion wasn’t unex­pect­ed and the annulled statute was unen­force­able any­way.

    “Lawyers call such arti­cles ‘dead,’ or sim­ply impos­si­ble to enforce in prac­tice. The norms of a poor­ly writ­ten law didn’t work,” he said.

    How­ev­er, back in 2015, when Lut­senko was a law­mak­er, he co-authored the anti-cor­rup­tion bill that includ­ed the very arti­cle he now crit­i­cizes.

    ...

    ———-

    “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court rul­ing ends cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions” by Oksana Gryt­senko, Bermet Talant; Kyiv Post; 03/01/2019

    “The arti­cle of the Crim­i­nal Code which the court found uncon­sti­tu­tion­al envis­aged that pub­lic offi­cials who can­not explain sources of hav­ing at least $35,000 worth of assets may face impris­on­ment from two to 10 years.”

    So there’s going to be no more need for Ukrain­ian pub­lic offi­cials to explain how that expen­sive car or man­sion that they could­n’t pos­si­ble afford on their pub­lic salary was paid for after Ukraine’s high court ruled that the 2015 law shift­ed the bur­den of proof onto the accused. Inter­est­ing­ly, this uncon­sti­tu­tion­al law was also a man­date by the IMF and EU for lend­ing and visa-free trav­el:

    ...
    The judges ruled on Feb. 26 that the law vio­lat­ed the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence and wrong­ly shift­ed the bur­den of proof to defen­dants instead of state pros­e­cu­tors.

    ...

    Par­lia­ment passed the law in Feb­ru­ary 2015 as one of the anti-cor­rup­tion demands of the Euro­Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion that oust­ed Krem­lin-backed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, 2014.

    The law, as part of a big­ger anti-cor­rup­tion dri­ve, was also a require­ment for con­tin­ued Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund lend­ing and for the cov­et­ed visa-free trav­el regime with the nations of the Euro­pean Union, which was intro­duced in 2017.
    ...

    And note that four out of the 18 judges dis­sent­ed, so it does­n’t appear to be the case that this law was bla­tant­ly uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. But as the arti­cle notes, there were con­cerns about its con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty back when it passed so this isn’t entire­ly a sur­prise:

    ...
    ‘Tough deci­sion’

    In its moti­va­tion part, the deci­sion of the Grand Cham­ber of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court says that apart from vio­la­tion of the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence, the Crim­i­nal Code arti­cle on ille­gal enrich­ment also vio­lat­ed the norms on “legal cer­tain­ty” and the right of any per­son not to tes­ti­fy against him or her­self.

    The court’s chief judge, Stanislav Shevchuk, said that the abol­ished norm was in fact “oblig­ing a defen­dant to col­lect evi­dence to prove his inno­cence,” which vio­lates the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    “It is a tough deci­sion but it is total­ly jus­ti­fied because the fight against cor­rup­tion should be real, not a pre­tend one,” Shevchuk wrote on Face­book.

    Although the deci­sion was tak­en behind closed doors, insid­ers say that four judges out of 18 refused to sup­port it.

    ...

    In fact, con­cerns about this aspect of the now-void leg­is­la­tion aren’t new. Legal experts crit­i­cized this arti­cle back in 2015 when it was passed in par­lia­ment. The main legal depart­ment of the Verk­hov­na Rada filed a note that warned that it may vio­late the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence.

    Nev­er­the­less, the Euro­pean experts found in June 2018 that this Crim­i­nal Court arti­cle didn’t vio­late Ukraine’s con­sti­tu­tion. And the con­cerns of the parliament’s legal depart­ment weren’t dis­cussed in par­lia­ment dur­ing the vot­ing.
    ...

    Now we have Pres­i­dent Poroshenko push­ing a replace­ment bill, but this replace­ment would actu­al­ly require pros­e­cu­tors prove that offi­cials did NOT take a bribe in order to pros­e­cute them:

    ...
    Strange replace­ment

    On Feb. 28, Poroshenko filed a draft bill to replace the unlaw­ful enrich­ment arti­cle that the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court struck down.

    But Poroshenko’s bill appeared to be no less con­tro­ver­sial. It changes the def­i­n­i­tion of unlaw­ful enrich­ment dras­ti­cal­ly.

    In the pre­vi­ous ver­sion, an offi­cial would be pun­ished if he “didn’t have proof of legit­i­mate acqui­si­tion of sig­nif­i­cant assets.” In Poroshenko’s ver­sion, unlaw­ful enrich­ment is defined as “ille­gal acqui­si­tion of sig­nif­i­cant assets” that doesn’t have signs of abuse of office or bribery.

    Poroshenko on Feb. 28 said in a state­ment on his web­site: “This morn­ing I signed and I am order­ing now to sub­mit the bill. The key issue remains the same — the inevitable pun­ish­ment of ille­gal enrich­ment.”

    Such a law would make it impos­si­ble to pun­ish any­one for illic­it enrich­ment, accord­ing to experts at the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Action Cen­ter watch­dog. They point­ed out that to pros­e­cute any offi­cial for unlaw­ful enrich­ment under this law a pros­e­cu­tor would have to prove the defen­dant didn’t take bribes.

    The president’s bill has not been dis­cussed in the par­lia­ment yet.
    ...

    And even of Poroshenko’s replace­ment law is passed by the par­lia­ment, it sounds like all of the exist­ing cor­rup­tion cas­es from the past five years are still going to have to be shut down:

    ...
    Reper­cus­sions

    The can­ce­la­tion of the unlaw­ful enrich­ment clause in the Crim­i­nal Code ruins many of the ongo­ing cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions. De fac­to, it is an amnesty: even when it is replaced with a new law, it will be impos­si­ble to pros­e­cute any­one for ille­gal­ly enrich­ing them­selves in the past sev­er­al years.

    Over near­ly four years that the law on unlaw­ful enrich­ment was enforced, the NABU opened 106 crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions into alleged unlaw­ful enrich­ment by law­mak­ers, judges, pros­e­cu­tors, and cur­rent and for­mer pub­lic offi­cials. In four cas­es, anti-cor­rup­tion pros­e­cu­tors sent indict­ments to court.

    No one has been con­vict­ed yet.

    NABU said that it would have to close 65 ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tions into a total sum of Hr 1.5 bil­lion ($55.6 mil­lion). It also won’t be able to reopen those cas­es in the future.

    ...

    And note how the repealed law did­n’t just cov­er cor­rup­tion by mem­bers of par­lia­ment. It also includ­ed judges, pros­e­cu­tors, and gov­ern­ment offi­cials. And one of those pros­e­cu­tors cur­rent­ly under inves­ti­ga­tion is the Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko:

    ...
    Not only mem­bers of the par­lia­ment are now off the hook. So are judges, pros­e­cu­tors, and gov­ern­ment offi­cials whom NABU has probed for liv­ing beyond their offi­cial­ly declared means and sources of income.

    ...

    After the rul­ing, the Nation­al Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau of Ukraine, or NABU, said it will have to close 65 crim­i­nal probes for ille­gal enrich­ment and four more cas­es that have already been filed in court.

    They include the inves­ti­ga­tions against Infra­struc­ture Min­is­ter Volodymyr Omelyan, Deputy Head of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine Pavlo Dem­chy­na, pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and leader of Rad­i­cal Par­ty Oleh Lyashko, and Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko.

    “Now we have legal­iza­tion of ill-got­ten assets,” Artem Syt­nyk, head of NABU said on Feb. 28.

    ...

    Gen­er­al Pros­e­cu­tor Lut­senko, said that the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court deci­sion wasn’t unex­pect­ed and the annulled statute was unen­force­able any­way.

    “Lawyers call such arti­cles ‘dead,’ or sim­ply impos­si­ble to enforce in prac­tice. The norms of a poor­ly writ­ten law didn’t work,” he said.

    How­ev­er, back in 2015, when Lut­senko was a law­mak­er, he co-authored the anti-cor­rup­tion bill that includ­ed the very arti­cle he now crit­i­cizes.
    ...

    Yep, Ukraine’s chief pros­e­cu­tor was under inves­ti­ga­tion for cor­rup­tion but now that’s all going away. It’s worth recall­ing that it was Lut­senko who warned Ukraine’s pub­lic back in 2016 that they were in for a big sur­prise regard­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion into the Maid­an sniper attacks and the role of one of the Maid­an lead­ers in that attack.

    It’s also worth recall­ing how the “Black Ledger” that alleged­ly showed the Yanukovych gov­ern­men­t’s kick­back net­work and revealed a num­ber of pay­ments to Paul Man­afort report­ed­ly also includ­ed a large num­ber of names across the Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal spec­trum, not just Par­ty of Regions mem­bers. And those inves­ti­ga­tions large­ly came to a halt and were passed from the Nation­al Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to Lut­senko’s office to inves­ti­gate fur­ther. So it’s unclear if this rul­ing would impact the black ledger inves­ti­ga­tions. But since it sounds like those inves­ti­ga­tions have large­ly stalled any­way it might be moot.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 1, 2019, 5:16 pm

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