last edits (major) Nov. 2
I don't intend many posts on this subject here, but at least two to start, plus this overview page. This appalling case and its details are being explored in much detail at the research wiki A Closer Look On Syria (ACLOS) on these pages and sub-pages (Talk pages are more active and full - front pages largely waiting to be filled in)
Posts here:* Stairwell Victims - Murdered and Burned Later
* The Red Tape Behind Odessa Police Purge
By way of an intro, I cite Stephen F. Cohen's description from The Nation, June 30, 2014
On May 2 ... a horrific event occurred in the southern city of Odessa, awakening memories of Nazi German extermination squads in Ukraine and other Soviet republics during World War II. An organized pro-Kiev mob chased protesters into a building, set it on fire and tried to block the exits. Some forty people, perhaps more, perished in the flames or were murdered as they fled the inferno. A still unknown number of other victims were seriously injured. ... Kiev alleged that the victims had themselves accidentally started the fire, but eyewitnesses, television footage and social media videos told the true story, as they have about subsequent atrocities.Not everyone realizes, after they surrounded the building with hate and lit up some windowsills with molotov cocktails, the "rally for a United Ukraine" then entered the building. Hundreds of people armed with clubs are seen lining up at two forced-open doors on the building's un-policed south end. From there, they were reported all over the building, roving the halls in aggressive packs. Numerous witnesses describe parts of the MO employed - the invaders smashed in locked doors and barricades to take over occupied rooms, even spraying some debilitating gas at the defenders. Once in control they would either shoot or beat to death all the men (to be quieter about it?) and take the women, in some cases apparently to rape (see witnesses). Victims' bodies show signs of gunshots and other violent death, and of being re-arranged and deliberately burned after death (detailed post here - based on ACLOS analysis).
The scene, oriented to regular north.
The two corners where hundreds of armed Euromaidan militants visibly entered the building are best called south (first, prior to 7:45) and southeast (after 7:46, both calculated from given video start times)
(note: back stairwell fires might have been a bit earlier than indicated - the first might be the blaze mentioned in a 7:45 call about fire inside on floor 2, "above the entrance")
What About the First Half where "They Started It?"
The above makes it sound like everything happened at Kulikovo with no preceding events. And in contrast, according to Kiev and sympathetic sources, this massacre stuff doesn't matter compared to the all-important preceding events. To them, the fire and bulk of the death was all accidents and "unknowns" and stuff, and was "probably inevitable," after people dressed as anti-Maidan militants first opened fire. This escalation of the clashes with no adequate reason, killed a few people on both sides and injured many more on both sides and among the police. These "pro-Russian Fascists" and they alone "orchestrated" anything that could be called a "massacre." They and the police who failed to stop the provocation (or the resulting massacre!) bear full responsibility, the massacre absolvers claim. The Maidan-Right Sector hate machine here was just a blameless slave of the "probably inevitable" - that still didn't kill anybody.
There are extremely valid issues worth considering in the early clashes set-up, the provocateurs, and the police inaction. And we do cover this at the ACLOS Clashes page, and in the red armbands post here. But we're all sick of hearing about this one lesser half of events as if it could possibly explain away the kind of unhinged brutality that marks this act of state-sponsored political terrorism.
State and Allied Response:
Kiev's new NSDC (security) chief Andriy Parubiy was in Odessa three days before the pogrom, meeting with local deputized criminal Mykola Volkov, delivering body armor for anti-terrorism use. Volkov and many others were seen wearing this body armor as they assaulted the Trade Union hall (Mykola seen firing a pistol, replica apparently). Parubiy's deputy in Odessa, Sergei Gutsalyuk, was seen monitorin the attack and working with police as they did nothing.
The police at first only stood in formation some distance from the building, with no effort to slow the mob's invasion and ignition of the building. Later they somewhat shielded the survivors as they arrested almost every one of them - and no one from the attacking mob - for their protection and also on terrorism and related charges (or, one could say, on charges of surviving). It took the fire department nearly an hour to respond from the first flames, with operators apparently ordered to ignore emergency calls on the basis there was and could be no fire emergency (calls analysis). Someone turned off the building's water prior to the fire's outbreak. The fire response units finally sent between 8:09 and 8:16 PM were inadequate, the rescue process painfully slow (see Fire Response). It's reported that authorities refused to accept missing person reports- leaving an unknown number of (probably dead) people simply written off as mysteries that never came home that day.
The current Ukrainian government has launched six official investigations, five being insider whitewashes, one a compromised parliamentary investigation that reached a few relevant conclusions, the most important of which were edited out after everyone signed (at least one committee member withdrew her signature after seeing the edits). Kiev blames only "pro-Russian terrorists" and allies in the police and general society for sparking events, the massacre part of which was just an accident (unless, as they sometimes hint, the terrorists gassed and burned themselves on purpose!)
Somehow, this basic view carries over to at least one public "independent" investigation ("Group 2 May") and apparently another (Information Center). Governments that support Kiev, and the Western mass media, have virtually ignored the story past their initial reports of a murky fire that apparently never seemed worth figuring out.
It's been six bleak months for truth and justice in Odessa. Time for action. Many others are already working on this case. (For example, the May 2 Committee) I plan to start networking with them for best effect. Below I will gather some useful links and pointers for spreading the word, the best word, and the best way. Also, ideas and tips are more than welcome in the comments section.
Things we support:
* Anti-fascists massacred in Odessa to be remembered, honored
On the six-month anniversary, activists around the world will remember this crime and honor the victims with memorials, rallies, meetings and photo exhibits.
In New York, the International Action Center has called for a protest at the U.S. military recruiting station in Times Square on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 1 p.m., to remember the murdered anti-fascists. Participants will tell Washington, Kiev and the corporate media to stop the cover-up of those responsible for the massacre.
* Events in Lugansk People's Republic, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, elsewhere plus some links to info resources, etc. at the new Facebook page Odessa Massacre: Six Months Later