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Thursday, July 24, 2014 4:18 AM


Reuters Debunked: Khodakovsky Denies Interview Aspects


As I suspected would happen, the exclusive Reuters interview in which "Commander Alexander Khodakovsky acknowledges rebel fighters had BUK missiles" has been challenged.

In my analysis of the Reuters article (see Ukraine Rebel Commander Admits Having BUK Missiles; Damning Contradictions?),  I point out considerable discrepancies in what Reuters author Anton Zverev wrote and actual quotes Reuters presented.

The discrepancies were so big I stated "It appears to me Reuters may have stretched this interview quite a bit."

Thus I am not surprised to discover Khodakovsky challenged huge aspects of that interview, in terms of things he stated, did not state, and even timing of events.

Reader Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks Russian and reads Ukrainian provides this translation from the Ria.Ru post "Khodakovsky Denies Talking About Buks"

"Мы рассуждали о версиях <…> но через все это красной линией проходила одна простая фраза, что я не располагаю сведениями о наличии у ополченцев подобного рода оружия", — заявил Александр Ходаковский в интервью телеканалу Russia Today.

"We discussed versions [different possibilities]... But through all of that, there ran a red line with one simple phrase:  That I don't have information on the presence of that type of weapon amongst the militia" declared Aleksandr Khodakovsky in an interview with the TV channel Russia Today.

Кроме того, он заявил телеканалу RT, что у него есть видеозапись интервью, которую он со своей стороны может предоставить, чтобы доказать, что не говорил агентству о наличии ЗРК у ополчения.

Additionally, he told the TV channel RT that he has a video recording of the interview which he can present from his end, in order to prove that he did not speak to the agency [Reuters] about the presence of air defense systems amongst the militia.

Что касается выложенных в интернет записей, где ополченцы якобы обсуждают наличие у них "Бука", то "эти записи датируются днем ранее до трагедии".

As far as the recordings presented on the internet, in which the militiamen supposedly discuss their possession of a "Buk", "These recordings are dated one day prior to the tragedy."

Пересказав обвинения Киева в адрес ополченцев, что у них есть "Буки", Ходаковский не подтверждает и не опровергает их. Он лишь отмечает, что если до катастрофы Киев знал, что у ополчения ДНР якобы есть "Буки", то власти Украины должны были запретить полеты над юго-востоком страны гражданских самолетов. Никаких других заявлений, сходных с тезисами материала агентства "Рейтер", Ходаковский не делал. "Странно было бы думать, что всего за сутки Ходаковский изменил свою позицию", — заметил источник в его окружении.

Recounting the charges the rebels have Buks, Khodakovsky neither confirms nor denies them. He [Khodakovsky] only adds that, if prior to the catastrophe, Kiev knew that the DNR [Donetsk Peoples' Republic] militia had a "Buk", then the Ukraine authorities should have prohibited civilian aircraft flights over the southeast of the country.  Khodakovsky made no other statements comparable to the points in the material presented by the Reuters agency. "It would be strange to think that Khodakovsky changed his position in just one day," - said a source close to him.

In a second Ria.Ru article "Subordinates doubt Khodakovsky Gave an Interview Regarding "Beech""

There is not much to the second article other than background information on the crash and a questioning of the Khodakovsky interview authenticity.

I asked Dreizin about the word "beech". The answer is Russia names military equipment after plants and trees. Buk is a beech tree.

Damning Contradictions

Khodakovsky neither admitted nor denied the rebels had Buks. Once again, here is the damning contradiction as I presented earlier.

"Khodakovsky said his unit had never possessed BUKs, but they may have been used by rebels from other units."

Now look back at the opening Reuters lead-in: "Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, acknowledged ... the rebels did possess the BUK missile system and said it could have been sent back subsequently to remove proof of its presence."

Here is the major contradiction: "What resources our partners have, we cannot be entirely certain. Was there (a BUK)? Wasn’t there? If there was proof that there was, then there can be no question."

Khodakovsky never saw a Buk. Here is the precise statement as reported by Reuters: "That BUK I know about. I heard about it."
This could be a translation issue by one side or another, accidentally, or on purpose.

My best guess is the Reuters quotes are reasonably accurate (except perhaps the last one, specifically the word "know"), and that Khodakovsky's denial now about not discussing Buks at all is a translation issue.

Regardless, it's pretty clear that writer Anton Zverev seriously overplayed the interview, stating something that Khodakovsky never admitted "the rebels did possess the BUK missile system".

As the interview quote shows, Khodakovsky doesn't know what equipment other units have. That message is consistent with his denial on RT.

Thus, we are still precisely where we started: Did the rebels have Buks?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 11:18 PM


EU "Red Tape Hell"; Dust Settles on Appointment of Juncker; Time for an Up-Down Vote


Jean Claude Juncker (Mr. "Lie When It's Serious") is already accused of sending the UK down the drain.

Please consider British firms fear red tape hell as EU orders equality and green energy reports.

British companies will be forced to publish details of their environmental impact and efforts to improve “gender equality” under a diktat from Brussels.

Bureaucrats want all large firms in the European Union to include details of their policies on “environment, diversity and human rights” in their annual financial statements, it emerged last night.

The “corporate governance” directive has been drawn up by EU internal market commissioner Michel Barnier, a close ally of new European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Under the plan, any company with 500-plus employees will be expected to make an annual “corporate social responsibility statement”.

Simon Rose, of the anti-Brussels campaign group Get Britain Out, said: “The dust has only just begun to settle on Juncker’s appointment and already we have a proposal to burden British business. It’s just another example of excessive Brussels interference.”

The campaign group claims each firm hit by the Brussels legislation will face an extra £4,000 a year in administration costs.

The directive requires firms to detail any “current and foreseeable” impact from their business on the environment, including “health and safety, the use of renewable and non-renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions...and air pollution”.

They will also have to list action taken to ensure gender balance in the workforce, respect for workers’ rights and talks with trade unions.

Firms will be expected to outline their “diversity policy” in employing and promoting staff of different ages, genders and “educational and professional backgrounds”. They should also “include information on the prevention of human rights abuses and instruments in place in order to fight corruption”.
Only £4,000?

If this absurd ruling only costs £4,000 ($6814 at current rates) I will be amazed. Regardless, there is no indication madness will stop there.

  • What about financial transaction costs?
  • What about nonsensical UK subsidies for French farmers?
  • What about inane energy rulings?

The list is actually endless.

Does Cameron Have Any Credibility Remaining?

UK Prime minister David Cameron staked his credibility on a pledge to stop Juncker from becoming the next European Commission president. In doing so, Cameron made a fool out of himself.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel dumped Cameron like a hot potato once political winds shifted in Germany. (see Merkel Tosses Cameron Like Hot Potato; Cameron to Go Down in Flames Over Juncker).

Time for an Up-Down Vote

If Cameron had the same political sense as Merkel, he would put the up-down decision on UK membership in the EU to a vote right now. And if UK voters had any common sense, they would reject membership.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

4:56 PM


Ukraine Rebel Commander Admits Having BUK Missiles; Damning Contradictions?


Wednesday, at 2:28 EST Reuters published an exclusive interview with Alexander Khodakovsky of the so-called Vostok battalion - or eastern battalion: Khodakovsky Acknowledges Rebels had BUK Missiles.

In an interview with Reuters, Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, acknowledged for the first time since the airliner was brought down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday that the rebels did possess the BUK missile system and said it could have been sent back subsequently to remove proof of its presence.

Khodakovsky blamed the Kiev authorities for provoking what may have been the missile strike that destroyed the doomed airliner, saying Kiev had deliberately launched air strikes in the area, knowing the missiles were in place.

"I knew that a BUK came from Luhansk. At the time I was told that a BUK from Luhansk was coming under the flag of the LNR," he said, referring to the Luhansk People’s Republic, the main rebel group operating in Luhansk, one of two rebel provinces along with Donetsk, the province where the crash took place.

"That BUK I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence," Khodakovsky told Reuters on Tuesday.

"The question is this: Ukraine received timely evidence that the volunteers have this technology, through the fault of Russia. It not only did nothing to protect security, but provoked the use of this type of weapon against a plane that was flying with peaceful civilians," he said.

"They knew that this BUK existed; that the BUK was heading  for Snezhnoye," he said, referring to a village 10 km (six miles) west of the crash site. "They knew that it would be deployed there, and provoked the use of this BUK by starting an air strike on a target they didn’t need, that their planes hadn’t touched for a week."

"And that day, they were intensively flying, and exactly at the moment of the shooting, at the moment the civilian plane flew overhead, they launched air strikes. Even if there was a BUK, and even if the BUK was used, Ukraine did everything to ensure that a civilian aircraft was shot down."

Khodakovsky is a former head of the "Alpha" anti-terrorism unit of the security service in Donetsk, and one of the few major rebel commanders in Donetsk who actually hails from Ukraine rather than Russia.

There has been friction in the past between him and rebel leaders from outside the region, such as Igor Strelkov, the Muscovite who has declared himself commander of all rebel forces in Donetsk province.

Khodakovsky said his unit had never possessed BUKs, but they may have been used by rebels from other units.

"What resources our partners have, we cannot be entirely certain. Was there (a BUK)? Wasn’t there? If there was proof that there was, then there can be no question."

Khodakovsky said it was widely known that rebels had obtained BUKs from Ukrainian forces in the past, including three captured at a checkpoint in April and another captured near the airport in Donetsk. He said none of the BUKs captured from Ukrainian forces were operational.
Another Side

I asked Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks Russian and reads Ukrainian to comment. Jacob responded ...
Interesting Mish

At least one part of the story is not credible: "Khodakovsky said it was widely known that rebels had obtained BUKs from Ukrainian forces in the past, including three captured at a checkpoint in April and another captured near the airport in Donetsk. He said none of the BUKs captured from Ukrainian forces were operational."

Three "BUKs" captured at a checkpoint in April? The war was was only starting in April, and the Ukrainians would have made a huge fuss of losing an air defense battery at that time.  The takeover of three BUK launchers with the attendant command-control vehicles, radar trucks, and other associated vehicles, operational or not, would have been front-page news here in the States, especially back in April when  news reports covered the takeover of police stations. Is there is a translation issue regarding the specific meaning of BUK?

Khodakovsky has been locked in a power struggle with Igor Strelkov and the other Russian transplants, especially after Strelkov evacuated Slaviansk and moved in to his turf in Donetsk city. He is not too popular in the movement, as he was responsible for the failed attack on the Donetsk airport on May 26th, which cost the lives of 60-70 militia and achieved nothing. In a subsequent interview, he admitted having MANPADS in advance of that attack, but said he made a decision not to field them as he did not think the Ukrainians would use helicopters. (They did, leading to the 60-70 deaths.)

He also stated that he does not care for the governments set up by the separatists in Donetsk and Lugansk. And, he claims to have good ties with his old friends in the Ukrainian security forces, and that he wants to cut deals with them rather than kill anybody. It is, in fact, unclear if he is a true "separatist" at all, or merely someone with warlord aspirations. But at the same time, as you can see in Reuters' last paragraph, he likes to promote himself as the intellectual alternative to the other rebels.

Curiously, Khodakovsky is getting further out ahead on this issue than US intelligence and the Ukrainian Security Service. Without a doubt, he is aiming for something
Misgivings

The conclusion of the Reuters article is interesting. Khodakovsky clearly has misgiving about his role, and the war in general.
"I’m not going to say Russia gave these things or didn’t give them. Russia could have offered this BUK under some entirely local initiative. I want a BUK, and if someone offered me one, I wouldn’t turn it down. But I wouldn’t use it against something that did not threaten me. I would use it only under circumstances when there was an air attack on my positions, to protect people’s lives."

He added: "I am an interested party. I am a ‘terrorist’, a ‘separatist’, a volunteer ... In any event, I am required to promote the side I represent, even if I might think otherwise, say otherwise or have an alternative view. This causes real discomfort to my soul."
Forgiveness?

Is Khodakovsky seeking forgiveness for his role and deaths in the conflict?

Damning Contradictions

Please note that the Reuters article contains various contradictions.

For example: "Khodakovsky said his unit had never possessed BUKs, but they may have been used by rebels from other units."

Now look back at the opening Reuters lead-in: "Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, acknowledged ... the rebels did possess the BUK missile system and said it could have been sent back subsequently to remove proof of its presence."

Nowhere does Khodakovsky state an "operational" system. In fact, he denies his unit has one, while questioning if other units did.

Here is the major contradiction: "What resources our partners have, we cannot be entirely certain. Was there (a BUK)? Wasn’t there? If there was proof that there was, then there can be no question."

Khodakovsky never saw a Buk. Here is the precise statement as reported by Reuters: "That BUK I know about. I heard about it."

Question of the Moment

I am racking up questions of the day faster than there are days. Here is the question of the moment: 

If  Khodakovsky's unit did not have a Buk and if he wonders whether or not his partners have them, then how can he possibly tell Reuters "rebels did possess the BUK missile system"?

He can't. It appears to me Reuters may have stretched this interview quite a bit.

Yet, if one takes the interview entirely at face value, with quotes exactly as reported, while ignoring hearsay, the most damning allegation is this entirely believable snip, captured on Russian radar as well:

"And that day, they were intensively flying, and exactly at the moment of the shooting, at the moment the civilian plane flew overhead, they launched air strikes. Even if there was a BUK, and even if the BUK was used, Ukraine did everything to ensure that a civilian aircraft was shot down."

Once again, I am looking at all sides, hoping the truth finally emerges from disingenuous statements, outright lies, suppositions, and accusations from every corner.

If that interview was supposed to make the rebels look bad, closer analysis suggests it makes Ukraine look far worse.

As for Reuters, you be the judge.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

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