Three news articles and commentaries on the state of journalism in Ukraine, along with weblinks to related news reports.
By Roger Annis, 4 Jun,2018.
Originally published on A Socialist in Canada
Interview with Igor Guschwa, Ukrainian journalist who fled to Austria seeking political asylum
Published in Jungewelt (Germany), June 2, 2018 (translation from original German to English by A Socialist In Canada)
Igor Guschwa is editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian Internet news publication Strana.ua. In February 2018, fearing for his life, he fled to Austria and applied for political asylum.
Jungewelt: About two years ago, you founded the Ukrainian anti-government website Strana.ua. What makes the portal special?
Igor Guschwa: When I launched the website Strana, the information landscape in Ukraine had been almost completely redesigned according to the needs of the administration of President Petro Poroshenko. Many topics were banned, from the corruption surrounding Poroshenko to the actual situation in the war zones in Donbass [Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine]. Therefore, there was a clear niche to occupy.
Strana is not anti-government. We are an objective medium that reflects the many views of the Ukrainian people. Yet under present circumstances, even such an approach needs courage and draws accusations by authorities of representing an “anti-patriotic” position and “working for the enemy”.
At the beginning of the year, you left for Vienna to apply for political asylum. Why?
In Ukraine, I have been charged in five cases. All of them are far-fetched, including alleged tax evasion and allegations of support for separatism. These date from 2014 when I reported in the magazine Westi.Reporter on different views of events in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Another case concerns alleged extortion. A man offered me money to withdraw an article. I refused. The man later testified that I had extorted from him money for the removal of the article. I was arrested and spent several days in prison.
As well, ultra-nationalists have constantly threatened me with violence. At the end of December 2017, at a rally on the Maidan, I was attacked by Evgeny Karas, head of the ultranationalist organization ‘C14’. The police refused to initiate criminal proceedings. After leaving for Austria, Igor Mossijtschuk, a member of the Radical Party, threatened me with the same fate as that of the murdered journalist Oles Buzina.
Are critical journalists in Ukraine generally exposed to serious danger?
Yes. Any journalist who works in influential media and criticizes the authorities must expect to be the victim of persecution, discrediting, slander, and imprisonment.
Why are people being tracked and by whom?
In addition to economically motivated persecution, there is a political motivation to prosecute those who criticize the government and are perceived as competitors. Finally, there are attacks by nationalists on persons who are considered as traitors. These attacks are sometimes carried out in the knowledge of the authorities. The organization ‘C14’ does not even hide that it works closely with the SBU.
How do you view the role of the European Union in this?
The EU points to human rights violations and restrictions on freedom of speech. Mostly, however, this remains expressions of concern. Similar procedure as in the days of the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych are not seen here. Then, Western countries immediately reacted very harshly to alleged rights violations. The Ukrainian government is viewed as an ally by the EU and the U.S. Recently, however, human rights violations have accumulated in such a way that it is no longer possible to ignore them. The criticism from Western countries sounds harder now.
Note by A Socialist In Canada:
Related news reports:
* Ransacking of residence of Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky (RIA Novoski-Ukraine) detained in Ukraine, Radio Free Europe, June 4, 2018
* Don’t be fooled: Ukraine is not a frozen conflict, by Lyle J. Goldstein, The National Interest, June 3, 2018
* The U.S. is arming and assisting neo-Nazis in Ukraine, while Congress debates prohibition, by Max Blumenthal, The Gray Zone Project, April 7, 2018
Reports related to Ukraine’s staging of the assassination of jounalist Arkady Babchenko on May 29, 2018:
* Prominent Ukrainian journalists targeted by ‘Russian hit list’ question its authenticity, by Christopher Miller, Radio Free Europe, June 5, 2018 [Christopher Miller is an anti-Russia journalist at Radio Free Europe and a former editor at the online Kyiv Post.] * Ukrainian reporter describes his faked slaying, by Yuras Karmanau and Nataliya Vasilyeva, Associated Press, June 1, 2018 … Arkady Babchenko’s faked death caused real shock in Ukraine, where other journalists have been killed in recent years. It also brought widespread criticism from press freedom groups…
* Kiev’s fake Babchenko murder erodes media and information credibility, charges International Federation of Journalists, RT, May 31, 2018
* Babchenko case: intolerable and unacceptable, statement by the International Federation of Journalists, May 31, 2018
* International Federation of Journalists condemns threats against journalists in Ukraine, statement by International Federation of Journalists, June 1, 2018
Ukrainian journalist applies for political asylum in Austria
Published in Kurier.at (Austria), Thursday, Feb 1, 2018 (translation from original German to English by A Socialist In Canada)
Igor Guschwa is editor-in-chief of an opposition Internet newspaper Strana.ua. Austria’s Ministry of the Interior has not confirmed his application for political asylum.
The controversial editor-in-chief of the oppositional Ukrainian online media Strana.ua, Igor Guschwa, applied for political asylum in Austria on January 26. The journalist, who was targeted by the Ukrainian judiciary, told the Austria Press Agency (APA) on Thursday. The Ministry of the Interior in Vienna did not want to confirm Guschwa’s data for privacy reasons.
“I applied for political asylum last Friday in Austria and this week I received a so-called ‘white card’ which allows me to stay in Austria during the asylum procedure,” Guschwa said in a telephone conversation with the APA. The reason for this step: Austria attaches great importance to human rights and takes a neutral position in relation to Ukraine.
The application for asylum, Guschwa emphasized, is in no way related to the working visit by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to take place in Vienna in one week’s time (on February 8). Current Austrian domestic policy and government participation of the Russia-friendly Freedom Party of Austria did not play a role in his choice of asylum location. Gushwa is considered controversial in the Ukrainian media landscape. He is repeatedly accused of acting as a Russian propagandist.
In addition, the journalist was recently targeted by the judiciary. In the summer of 2017, Guschwa was arrested first for alleged extortion of a deputy, according to the German Press Agency. In addition, the editorial offices of his Internet newspaper have been searched by the secret service for alleged treason of state secrets. Guschwa was released on bail. The journalist describes the allegations as politically motivated and as revenge for the Poroshenko-critical reporting of his online medium.
“At some point in time, I assumed that I could legally defend myself in Ukraine, but now the pressure has grown so much and courts are so dependent on the powerful that I cannot hope for more just judgments in court,” he explained to the APA on Thursday. The online medium Strana.ua will continue to be operated from exile in Vienna.
New York Times pushes ‘citizen investigation’ report of Feb 20, 2014 sniper massacre in Kyiv’s Maidan Square blaming ousted president
Commentary by University of Ottawa researcher Ivan Katchanovski, published on his Facebook page on June 1, 2018, regarding a May 30, 2018 report in the New York Times titled ‘Who killed the protesters in Kyiv in February 2014?: A 3-D model holds the clues’.
Ivan Katchanovksi presented a 79-page academic paper to the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco in September 2015. Access the paper online here or by clicking on this pdf attachment: Katchanovski, Snipers Massacre Maidan Sept 2015, APA text. A video appendix file in pdf format is here: Katchanovski The Maidan Massacre May 2017, video appendix.
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The New York Times has published openly fabricated 3-D analysis of the Maidan massacre by a U.S. architecture company without any fact check. The NYT deliberately ignores my extensive academic studies of the Maidan massacre and studies by two other political scientists with similar findings. It relies instead on a Ukrainian graduate student, Maidan lawyers and easily verifiable fabrications by the architecture company. Since all information cited by the NYT is available on the architecture company website, anyone who is able and wants to see videos and graphics, read forensic medical examinations in English or Ukrainian from the official investigation and has common knowledge of 3 dimensions can replicate this fabrication and similar fabrication by the official investigation and replicate my analysis showing that the protesters were killed not by the Berkut police but “snipers” from the Maidan-controlled buildings.
The NYT falsely equates the Maidan massacre as a false flag finding with “pro-Russia sources” and de facto dismisses independent and academic studies not funded by external sources by Western scholars specializing in research of conflicts and political violence in post-Soviet states. Specifically, my content analysis presented in online video appendixes of my papers shows “snipers” or spotters on the roofs and top floors of various Maidan-controlled buildings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9o-XTOVDgA The latent content analysis of well-known videos of the massacre in slow motion shows bullets flying into direction of the protesters from the back and side from top to bottom directions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqopz1xKyFw
My video appendixes and papers contain or cite testimonies of more than 200 direct and indirect witnesses, primarily Maidan protesters, including some 40 wounded Maidan protesters about “snipers” in the Maidan-controlled buildings, in particular, massacring the Maidan protesters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU0jxKJ4LaY They were accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association and a joint conference by the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University and the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies.
The NYT did not report admissions by the Prosecutor General of Ukraine on his Facebook page that his GPU funded the “volunteer” work of this graduate student concerning the Maidan massacre and that this person collaborated with an outlet of the Peoples Front party on this. My study found that the ‘Fatherland’ predecessor party of the Peoples Front was involved in the Maidan massacre, and Peoples Front leaders were accused by various Ukrainian politicians, including Savchenko, and by five Georgians of organizing the massacre. The NYT accepts at face value analysis by a politically-motivated and GPU-funded Ukrainian graduate student in an unknown field, and ballistic trajectory analysis done by anonymous experts of the architectural firm on Maidan lawyers’ orders and by Ukrainian government medical experts. It not only has no problem that such analysis by non-experts is used by the GPU investigation and Maidan lawyers as key evidence in the Maidan massacre trial but lauds this fact.
The same concerns failure by the GPU investigation for more than four years to conduct such analysis by ballistic experts, specifically even after an explicit court order more than a year ago, and the failure of the architecture firm to use any forensic ballistic expert to determine the bullets trajectory. It is noteworthy that a U.S. ballistic expert, used by the architecture firm, only conducted forensic audio analysis of bullet gunshots that killed three protesters from video fragments and he was not given locations of bullets in forensic medical examinations. The failure to do such simple ballistic analysis by ballistic experts is the dog that did not bark because ballistic experts would determine that the protesters could not have been physically shot by the Berkut police from the police barricades but “snipers” from Maidan-controlled buildings. One does not need to be a ballistics expert to see that locations of wounds in the back and on the sides and top to bottom directions of wounds specified in forensic medical reports and positions of killed protesters facing Berkut in the videos cannot physically match with Berkut police positions located on similar horizontal level on the ground in front of them.
The wound locations and directions of in all three cases of killed protesters included in the 3-D analysis by anonymous experts of this architecture company are changed significantly from the wound locations and directions in the official forensic medical examinations. Both NYT video and the architecture company video show that they moved torso wounds of ‘Dmytriv’ from his right and left sides to front and back areas of the body and reduced a large vertical top to bottom angle of these wounds to a slight angle in 3d image of this protester body. They separately showed his straight sitting vertical position in BBC and Belgian VTM videos at the moment of his killing and separately showed practically horizontal ballistic trajectory pointing to a Berkut barricade on the same horizontal level match without any calculation or measurement provided. They omitted this 3-d image of his body and even fabricated wounds locations, since these wounds locations and his position still would not fit a gunshot trajectory from Berkut positions. This ballistic trajectory matches a sector of fire reported without any calculations or explanations by other medical experts for the official investigation. http://maidan.situplatform.com/report/23
The forensic medical examinations precisely specify that Dmytriv was shot between front and middle lines of the right side of his body with bullet exiting slightly to the back of the middle line in the left side 20.5cm lower from top to bottom direction and with 33 cm long straight wound channel. Elementary calculation, which can be done by entering this data in any online right angle triangle calculation tool, shows that this wound height difference corresponds to 38 vertical degrees angle. This angle in the same calculation using 75m approximate distance from the Dmytriv location to the Berkut barricade location in Google Earth Professional would correspond to an invisible shooter located in the air almost 60m over the Berkut barricade if he or she shot this protester. This is clearly and with 100 per cent probability physically impossible unless one were to believe that there were invisible Berkut policemen shooting from dozens meters in the air above their barricade or that bullets do not fly at such relatively short ranges at basically straight line but change their directions, like guided missiles.
This BBC video at 0:56 shows the Dmytriv shooting and his position versus the Berkut barricade. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz9FwtFI5Kw
The forensic medical reports also state that Dmytriv was wounded in his right shoulder from bottom to top direction with this entry wound is 5 cm lower than the entry wound, but the 3d animation also misrepresents this direction. It is also clear that architects cannot make such basic mistakes. http://maidan.situplatform.com/report/23
But matching the exact wound locations in the forensic medical reports and their directions with his location in this 3d analysis and his position in the videos corresponds both in horizontal and vertical directions to a bullet trajectory from a top of the Bank Arkada. These buildings were located to the right of the Berkut barricade and their roofs were identified by my analysis in the Maidan massacre APSA paper, in particular, by testimonies of both Maidan protesters and an SBU Alfa commanders and snipers, as locations of Maidan snipers.
Similar fabrications of wounds locations and directions and the ballistic trajectories concerned the 3-d analysis of killings of ‘Dyhdalovych’ and ‘Parashchuk’. The 3-d architecture model moved the exit wound location from around the middle line of the back of Dyhdalovych body in forensic medical and clothing examinations significantly to the right and changed similar large vertical angle from a top and bottom direction and 17 cm difference in height of entry and exit wounds to a small angle and then to de facto horizontal level angle. In case of the Parashchuk killing, his entry and exit wounds were reported in forensic medical examinations in the back of his head on the left side with front to back direction and somewhat top to bottom direction, but the 3d analysis changed the direction to right to left and the vertical angle to practically horizontal. In these two cases, the 3-d models of their bodies and their positions were also omitted in the ballistic trajectory projection. http://maidan.situplatform.com/report/23
Dyhdalovych’s wife stated in her recent Ukrainian media interview that Ivan Kulish told her that he saw that Dyhdalovych was killed by a sniper on the roof of the Bank Arkada. https://censor.net.ua/r462080 Kulish is seen in the videos following Dyhdalovych when they both went to evacuate the just-shot Dmytriv. This video at 1:54 shows the Dyhdalovych shooting in the same spot when he and Kulish went to evacuate Dmytriv. Kulish, who testified that he saw that Dyhdalovych was killed by a sniper on the Bank Arkada roof, is in the video near him at that moment. He was killed during the war in Donbas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2zZiZhajzw
During the examination of the Parashchuk case at the Maidan massacre trial April 26, 2018, Berkut lawyers also stated that his position and wound location suggest that he was shot from the Bank Arkada. (3m) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbmr0WWBJDE
The 3-D analysis uses incorrect locations and timing of many videos because of clear difference between the Maidan Square and Instututska Street and timing of the Berkut police on the Maidan square after the police fled this square.
These Maidan-controlled buildings are within the range estimated by the U.S. ballistic expert, based on audio analysis of gunshots in the videos, of the distance between the shooters and these three killed protesters provided that sound of other weapons, such SKS carbine as hunting versions of Kalashnikov, which were not examined by this expert would produce similar ranges. In another dog that did not bark, the GPU investigation failed to do similar forensic audio analysis of gunshots under the pretext of poor sound quality in videos of the massacre.
Like in the cases of the Maidan massacre and staged Bulatov kidnapping during the Maidan protests, the recent admission that the highly publicized killing of a Russian journalist living in Ukraine [Arkady Babchenko] was staged by top Ukraine leaders and law enforcement agencies, and acceptance at the face value initial claims by Ukrainian officials concerning this killing, show how easily the Western media and politicians can be fooled and propagate fake news, especially when it is politically convenient.