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Echoes of Maidan: Yugoslavia (Yesterday); Ukraine (Today)

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COMMENT: We’ve been cov­er­ing infor­ma­tion point­ing to the sniper fire that ignit­ed the Maid­an coup as hav­ing come from the anti-gov­ern­ment forces. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, per­son­nel from Svo­bo­da and the fas­cist “pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions” crop up repeat­edy in the unfold­ing nar­ra­tive.

German-Foreign-Policy.com fea­tures a com­par­i­son with the “cook­ing” of jour­nal­is­tic infor­ma­tion about Ukraine with what took place in the for­mer Yugoslavia, the NATO oper­a­tion against Koso­vo, in par­tic­u­lar. (German-Foreign-Policy.com feeds along the low­er right-hand side of the front page of this web­site.)

As we have not­ed in the past, the Koso­vo Lib­er­a­tion Army and oth­er “free­dom fight­ers” were direct­ly evolved from the 21st Waf­fen SS Divi­sion (“Skan­der­beg”) and oth­er Axis com­bat­ant forces from World War II.

We have not­ed, also, that Karl von Hab­s­burg’s UNPO views Koso­vo as their first major suc­cess. The Hab­s­burgs, Karl in par­tic­u­lar, are active in Ukraine, today.

Pre­vi­ous pro­grams cov­er­ing the Ukraine cri­sis are: FTR #‘s 777778779780781782, 783784794800803804, 808811817818824826829832, 833.

“From Racak to Maid­an;” german-foreign-policy.com; 2/23/2015.

A year after Berlin helped insti­gate the putsch in Ukraine, new infor­ma­tion is com­ing to light about the Feb­ru­ary 20, 2014 Kiev Mas­sacre. That blood­bath, of more than 50 peo­ple killed, accel­er­at­ed the over­throw of Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych and was also used — even in Ger­many — to jus­ti­fy the putsch. As has now been con­firmed by wit­ness­es, armed demon­stra­tors were the first to open fire on police, and only then, did repres­sive forces return fire, when they were caught in a hail of bul­lets while retreat­ing. If this proves to be true, it could not have been a gov­ern­ment-planned mas­sacre. Fur­ther­more, evi­dence indi­cates that also the snipers, who had shot to kill, were on the side of the gov­ern­men­t’s oppo­nents. Today, the respon­si­bil­i­ty for that blood­bath is as unsolved as that for the deaths of more than 40 Koso­vo Alba­ni­ans in Račak in mid-Jan­u­ary 1999, which the West labeled a mass exe­cu­tion — in spite of all con­tra­dict­ing evi­dence. Račak served as a deci­sive jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the mil­i­tary aggres­sion on Yugoslavia. The polit­i­cal and media estab­lish­ments’ oth­er forg­eries and lies pre­ced­ing and dur­ing the war on Yugoslavia demon­strate that manip­u­la­tions, such as the ones we are cur­rent­ly see­ing in the Ukraine con­flict, are noth­ing new. They are rather con­sis­tent props in the Ger­man estab­lish­men­t’s stan­dard reper­toire for esca­lat­ing con­flicts.

The Mas­sacre of Feb­ru­ary 20, 2014

A year after the putsch in Ukraine, two reports in lead­ing west­ern news organs are — inde­pen­dent­ly from one anoth­er — shed­ding a new light on the fatal shots in Kiev on Feb­ru­ary 20, 2014. That day more than 50 peo­ple were shot to death in down­town Kiev. This blood­bath accel­er­at­ed the over­throw of Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych. In Berlin this was also used as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the putsch: a pres­i­dent, who delib­er­ate­ly orders the mas­sacre of demon­stra­tors, has for­feit­ed his right to office.

The First Shots

Since a few days, new wit­ness tes­ti­monies on the mas­sacre have been made avail­able. Accord­ing to wit­ness­es, on Feb­ru­ary 20, armed gov­ern­ment oppo­nents con­tin­ued the dead­ly esca­la­tion strat­e­gy, they had start­ed just a few days ear­li­er. Already Feb­ru­ary 18, vio­lent fas­cists had bro­ken away from a “peace offen­sive” protest demon­stra­tion attack­ing police with Molo­tov cock­tails, and stormed the office of Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovy­ch’s “Regions Par­ty,” killing a guard and two par­ty mem­bers. The police retal­i­at­ed bru­tal­ly. On the evening of the same day — Feb­ru­ary 18 — there were reports of around 25 peo­ple killed, one third of the casu­al­ties were police offi­cers, of whom sev­er­al had died of gun­shot wounds. Feb­ru­ary 19, prepa­ra­tions were made to esca­late the con­flict. A Maid­an demon­stra­tor just con­firmed to the BBC that he was giv­en a Saiga hunt­ing rifle on the evening of Feb­ru­ary 19 and had gone to Kiev’s Con­ser­va­to­ry, adja­cent to the Maid­an, on Feb­ru­ary 20, which was under the con­trol of the demon­stra­tors. From there, as pho­tos sug­gest, and as the demon­stra­tor and an oppo­si­tion politi­cian’s report con­firm, shots were fired at police, killing the first three police officers.[1]

In a Hail of Bul­lets

A for­mer “Dnipro” Bat­tal­ion com­bat­ant, the cur­rent par­lia­men­tar­i­an, Volodymyr Parasyuk, has recount­ed what hap­pened next to Ger­many’s Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung. Parasyuk, at the time, was a com­man­der of one of the “Hun­dertschaften” [a mil­i­tary for­ma­tion of 100 men, approx. the size of a U.S. mil­i­tary com­pa­ny] at the Maid­an. He describes how, after the first police were killed, they began to retreat — “going along Insti­tut­ska Street, up the Pech­er­sk hill cross­ing the Maid­an,” accord­ing to the dai­ly. Parasyuk then recounts that his Hun­der­schaft pur­sued the police imme­di­ate­ly: “Every­one, who had been at the bar­ri­cades, began to storm Insti­tut­ska Street.”[2] “Many,” by this time, were already armed; and they “used” their rifles, “as they made the assault.” Police in more secure posi­tions pro­vid­ed cov­er fire for their col­leagues, with­draw­ing in a hail of bul­lets, killing a num­ber of the attack­ing demon­stra­tors. If this ver­sion of events is true, it could not have been Pres­i­dent Yanukovych, who had planned a mas­sacre of the oppo­si­tion.

Under Oppo­si­tion Con­trol

It is still not clear, under whose com­mand the obvi­ous­ly pro­fes­sion­al snipers had then pro­ceed­ed to gun down numer­ous peo­ple at the Maid­an. Back in the spring of 2014, research made by a Ger­man tele­vi­sion team had revealed that the snipers were fir­ing from the upper floors of the “Ukraina” Hotel at the Maidan.[3] A BBC cor­re­spon­dent, who was an eye­wit­ness to the events of Feb­ru­ary 20, had spot­ted a sniper in a win­dow high up in the build­ing. At the time in ques­tion, the hotel was under the con­trol of the oppo­si­tion, who strict­ly reg­u­lat­ed entry onto the premis­es. The sus­pi­cion “that Yanukovych was not behind the snipers, but rather some­one from the new coali­tion,” had also been expressed by the Eston­ian For­eign Min­is­ter, Urmas Paet to the head of the EU’s for­eign pol­i­cy, Cather­ine Ash­ton, already in ear­ly March. He quot­ed Yanukovy­ch’s oppo­nents as his source.[4] The objec­tive would have been to esca­late the vio­lence to pro­voke the ulti­mate over­throw of the gov­ern­ment. Attor­neys for the vic­tims are still com­plain­ing that an offi­cial inves­ti­ga­tion of the mas­sacre has been stag­nat­ing and not seri­ous­ly pur­sued. Ini­tial­ly, an inves­ti­ga­tion of the blood­bath by inter­na­tion­al experts had been demand­ed, how­ev­er that also nev­er mate­ri­al­ized.

Ger­man Instruc­tions

That, in spite of all the unsolved mys­ter­ies sur­round­ing it, this mas­sacre is still today used to jus­ti­fy Yanukovy­ch’s over­throw, brings to mind sim­i­lar meth­ods used in ear­li­er con­flicts — for exam­ple to jus­ti­fy the mil­i­tary aggres­sion against Yugoslavia. At the time, the “Račak Mas­sacre” was giv­en the most atten­tion. On Jan­u­ary 16, 1999, more than 40 Koso­vo-Alban­ian bod­ies were dis­cov­ered in that south Ser­bian vil­lage. At the time, the claims by west­ern politi­cians and the media that Ser­bian forces of repres­sion had exe­cut­ed them have nev­er been fol­lowed up with tan­gi­ble evi­dence. Numer­ous indi­ca­tions point to the pos­si­bil­i­ty that they had been killed in com­bat between Yugoslav gov­ern­ment units and the UÇK ter­ror­ist mili­tia. The Finnish foren­sics spe­cial­ist, Hele­na Ranta, lat­er com­plained, she had been put under pres­sure, and was giv­en “instruc­tions” by Ger­many’s “spe­cial emis­sary” for Koso­vo, Chris­t­ian Pauls: It had been clear “that a whole group of gov­ern­ments had an inter­est in a ver­sion of what had hap­pened in Račak,” which “placed respon­si­bil­i­ty on the Ser­bian side.”[5] Like the dead­ly sniper fire at the Maid­an on Feb­ru­ary 20, 2014, the caus­es of these deaths have nev­er been solved.

Fis­cher’s “Auschwitz”

Oth­er inci­dents pri­or to and dur­ing the war on Yugoslavia also demon­strate how, long before the Ukraine con­flict, news report­ing in the “free West” was being mas­sive­ly manip­u­lat­ed. For exam­ple, one can see this from the account fur­nished by Ger­man mil­i­tary experts, who, on behalf of the OSCE and an EU mis­sion, had observed the sit­u­a­tion in the south Ser­bian province at the turn of the year 1998/1999. Brig. Gen. Heinz Loquai, was sta­tioned at the Ger­man OSCE rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Vien­na, in ear­ly 1999. In his con­ver­sa­tion with german-foreign-policy.com, he recalls that on March 18/19 he had read in an OSCE report on Koso­vo, “the sit­u­a­tion through­out the province remains tense, but qui­et.” Even experts at the Min­istry of Defense had drawn the con­clu­sion on March 23, “still no trends toward eth­nic cleans­ing are dis­cernible.” This was “the sit­u­a­tion,” says Loquai, that Rudolf Scharp­ing, Defense Min­is­ter at the time, and his col­league, For­eign Min­is­ter Josef Fis­ch­er had “com­pared to the Holo­caust, with its mur­der of six mil­lion Jews,” to jus­ti­fy the aggres­sion on March 24, 1999.[6]

Noth­ing to do with Real­i­ty

Diet­mar Hartwig, a for­mer Bun­deswehr offi­cer, who had been sta­tioned in Koso­vo as an observ­er for the EU, in 1999 up until the war, made sim­i­lar obser­va­tions. Hartwig explains, he had had no knowl­edge of “large-scale, or even state-ordered crimes against the pop­u­la­tion” — “nei­ther from the reports of his fel­low observers, nor from his con­ver­sa­tions with lead­ing Koso­vo Alban­ian politi­cians.” Yet the media was con­stant­ly claim­ing that Ser­bian secu­ri­ty forces were using sense­less bru­tal­i­ty on the pop­u­la­tion.” Hartwig notes that “media infor­ma­tion that I encoun­tered dur­ing and since I was in Koso­vo, gave a pic­ture that had noth­ing to do with the reality.”[7] This is also the case of the alleged “Oper­a­tion Horse­shoe,” cob­bled togeth­er from dubi­ous, intel­li­gence ser­vice files and pan­han­dled by the Ger­man Defense Min­is­ter, Rudolf Scharp­ing (SPD) and the Ger­man gov­ern­ment as a Yugoslav gov­ern­ment plan. Accord­ing to what SPD Whip, at the time, Peter Struck, told the Bun­destag April 15, 1999, the paper sup­pos­ed­ly depict­ed the plan “to depop­u­late Koso­vo of eth­nic Albanians.”[8] This alle­ga­tion was then trum­pet­ed, with­out hes­i­ta­tion, by all the lead­ing media organs in Ger­many, seri­ous­ly weak­en­ing oppo­si­tion to the war.

Date­less Tanks

With this in mind, the cur­rent anti-Russ­ian report­ing in Ger­man media and recur­ring proof of media forg­eries can be con­sid­ered a nor­mal­cy in times of con­flict esca­la­tion. Most recent­ly, the Sec­ond Ger­man Pub­lic TV Chan­nel (ZDF) had to admit that its news report alleg­ing that more than 50 Russ­ian tanks had entered Ukraine, had been illus­trat­ed with the pho­to of a Geor­gian tank from 2009. A graph­ic design­er had “inad­ver­tent­ly trans­formed 2009 Geor­gian tanks into date­less Russ­ian tanks.” “The ‘Heute.de’ pro­gram edi­tor in charge” had been inca­pable of “rec­og­niz­ing ... the mis­take,” explained ZDF.[9] Last year, sim­i­lar “mis­takes” had har­vest­ed mas­sive crit­i­cism. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[10]) From the expe­ri­ence dur­ing the war on Yugoslavia, it seems unlike­ly that before an — at the moment unfore­see­able — end of the con­flict, there will be no change in the news report­ing of major media organs nor in the lack of seri­ous inves­ti­ga­tions of who was real­ly respon­si­ble for those con­flict-jus­ti­fy­ing mas­sacres.


Oth­er reports and back­ground infor­ma­tion on the medi­a’s role in the Ukrain­ian con­flict can be found here: The Free World and Cri­sis of Legit­i­ma­cy.

[1] Gabriel Gate­house: The untold sto­ry of the Maid­an mas­sacre. www.bbc.co.uk 12.02.2015.

[2] Kon­rad Schuller: Die Hun­dertschaften und die dritte Kraft. Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung 07.02.2014.

[3] “Mon­i­tor” vom 11.04.2014. S. auch Legit­i­ma­tion­skrise.

[4] S. dazu Die Kiew­er Eskala­tion­sstrate­gie.

[5] Markus Bick­el: Kein Inter­esse an gefal­l­enen Ser­ben. www.berliner-zeitung.de 17.01.2004.

[6] S. dazu Inter­view mit Heinz Loquai.

[7] Cathrin Schütz: “Medi­en­bild hat­te mit der Real­ität nichts zu tun”. junge Welt 26.02.2008.

[8] Deutsch­er Bun­destag: Ple­narpro­tokoll 14/32, 15.04.1999.

[9] Mar­vin Schade: Immer wieder Panz­er-Prob­leme: ZDFheute.de zeigt falsche Russen­panz­er zu Ukraine-Tick­er. meedia.de 16.02.2015.

[10] See Moskaus Drang nach West­en.




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