Continuing their propaganda in their whitewash piece of January 4, 2015, Mr. Higgins and Mr. Kramer attempted to persuade their readers that President Yanukovych "was not so much overthrown as cast adrift by his own allies." Supposedly, political allies deserted him because they had been spooked by a rumor that the so-called protesters were now heavily armed by weapons seized from an arsenal in L'viv. Supposedly, those guns never reached Kiev.
Supposedly, Yanukovych's allies were shocked and repulsed by the bloodshed resulting from the massacre of protesters by government snipers on February 20. Supposedly, security forces began deserting Yanukovych after: (1) Parliament issued a resolution on the evening of the 20th ordering all Interior Ministry Troops and police to return to their barracks and (2) Yanukovych entered negotiations on the 21st in which the matter of investigating the sniper massacre was put on the table. Supposedly, the government snipers were not about to wait around for such an investigation.
Mr. Higgins and Mr. Kramer assert that their conclusions were based upon 'interviews with prominent players, including former commanders of the Berkut riot police and other security units. Yet, they apparently did not interview the former commandant of Ukraine's Security Service (SBU), Major-General Oleksandr Yakymenko.
Why? Presumably, because, during a 12 March 2014 interview with Eugenie Popov on Rossiya 1 TV, Mr. Yakymenko claimed that his "counter-intelligence forces were monitoring the CIA in Ukraine during the protests" [T]he CIA was active on the ground in Kiev and collaborating with a small circle of opposition figures" (Flashpoint in Ukraine, p. 93).
Mr. Higgins and Mr. Kramer have nothing to say about CIA involvement. But, as James Carden recently asked in the pages of The National Interest, "Can anyone imagine, for an instant, that the Times would publish a purported piece of news analysis of, say, the last hours of the Allende and Mossadegh regimes, without so much as a mention of possible CIA involvement? Of course not."
Mr. Yakymenko also said that "it was not the police or government forces that fired on protesters, but snipers from the Philharmonic Building [Music Conservatory Building?] that was controlled by opposition leader Andriy Parubiy," who was "interacting with the CIA." He said that "twenty men wearing 'special combat clothes' and carrying 'sniper rifle cases, as well as AKMs with scopes' ran out of the opposition-controlled Philharmonic Building [Music Conservatory Building?] and split into two groups of ten people, with one taking position at the Ukraine hotel" (Nazemroaya, Flashpoint in Ukraine, pp. 93-94). The other half moved in the direction of the Dnipro hotel near Muzeinyi Lane. (Katchanovski)
This is the same Mr. Parubiy who Mr. Higgins and Mr. Kramer found credible, when he asserted that the guns stolen from L'viv were not used by protesters in Kiev. Had they been more competent, Mr. Higgins and Mr. Kramer would have recalled an earlier article in the Times by Alison Smale -- titled "Tending Their Wounds, Vowing to Fight On" -- that would have cast suspicion on Parubiy's assertion.
On April 6, 2014, Ms. Smale quoted one wounded protester who asserted: "I knew this time we would need force and that there would be blood if we wanted to break free."
Another wounded protester, Yuri Kravchuk, was the leader of a sotni and a close friend of the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda party. According to Ms. Smale, he carefully skirted "questions about the arrival of guns stolen from a government depot in the western Ukraine city of L'viv," but did assert that fresh new arrivals from L'viv and two other cities in western Ukraine were able to carry the fight to the police on that fateful February 20.
Thus, in order to buy into the whitewash propagated by Mr. Higgins and Mr. Kramer, a reader must believe that the men came from L'viv, but not the guns. Yet, according to another source, "Maidan eyewitnesses among the protesters said that organized groups from L'viv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions in Western Ukraine arrived on the Maidan and moved into the Music Conservatory at the night of the February 20th massacre, and that some of them were armed with rifles" (Katchanovski, p. 24).
The inclusion of Parubiy's lie is simply part of their whitewash sob story about the poor protesters who, on the morning of February 20, were "bedraggled" and occupying but a "few hundred square yards, at best, of scorched and soot-smeared pavement in central Kiev," before many were cut down by "a hail of gunfire," from Yanukovych's forces.
One of the few assertions that Mr. Higgins and Mr. Kramer get "right" about February 20 is: "[T]he shock created by the bloodshed, the worst in the Ukrainian capital since World War II, had prompted a mass defection by the president's allies in Parliament and prodded Mr. Yanukovych to join negotiations with a trio of opposition politicians." Yet, logically, if the sniper fire created the bloodshed that prompted a mass defection by Yanukovych's allies, whether Yanukovych "was not so much overthrown as cast adrift" or whether he was indeed overthrown in a slow-moving, multi-stage, violent coup, largely depends upon which side caused the sniper massacre.
One of the major flaws in the whitewash perpetrated by Mr. Higgins and Mr. Kramer on January 4th is their failure to explain who killed the policemen. "At least 17 of them were killed and 196 wounded from gunshots on February 18-20, including three killed and more than 20 wounded on February 20" (Katchanovski, p. 22).
Is it a coincidence that Kiev's coup regime also has failed to investigate the killing of the police? After all, "A parliament member from the Maidan opposition stated that he had received a phone call from a Berkut commander shortly after 7:00 AM that 11 members of his police unit were wounded by shooters from the Music Conservatory building." After the parliament member notified Mr. Parubiy, a Maidan Self-Defense search was conducted, but no shooters were found. However, within 30 minutes after Parubiy's supposed inspection, the Berkut commander called again to report that his casualties had increased to 21 wounded and three killed" (Katchanovski p. 21).
Actually, there is plenty of evidence that Mr. Higgins and Mr. Kramer might have considered, were they competent and unbiased journalists. First, on March 5, 2014, the world learned of the first unbiased suggestion that the snipers who shot people on the Maidan were not government snipers, but came from the ranks of the protesters. EUBusiness.com reported that "Estonia's top diplomat told EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in an audio leaked Wednesday about allegations that Ukraine's pro-Western leaders may have had a hand in the February 20-21 bloodbath in Kiev."
"'There is now a stronger and stronger understanding (in Kiev) that behind the snipers, it was not (ousted president Viktor) Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition,' Urmas Paet tells Ashton in the audio leaked on YouTube."