I shall continue with the Africa story tomorrow, but had to fit in this breaking news that everybody is talking about. Around 2:00 AM (middle of the night) on Friday July 29, the detainment center in the town of Elenovka (Donetsk Peoples Republic) was blasted by HIMARS. The facility housed 193 Ukrainian POWs, these were some really important prisoners from the Azov Battalion, those who had surrendered from AzovSteel, Mariupol. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD), the latest tally of casualties is 52 dead, 73 seriously wounded, Should we mourn these guys? To be sure, these were Nazis who had done some very unpleasant things in the past. But they were POWs. When one surrenders to the enemy, one’s status changes instantaneously, one is now a helpless kitten who must be cherished and taken care of, by his captors. Most human societies consider it beyond the pale to harm, especially kill, soldiers who have already surrendered. Some people are saying that a war crime of this magnitude has never been seen before, in human history. I don’t know if that is true or not, but the second it happened, the internet erupted with the usual screams and finger-pointing.
SPOILER: Moby Dick Swallows the Boat, Only Ishmael Survives
“Ye gods,” one thought, “are we going to be debating and litigating this for the next 10 years, like every other horrible event that ever happened in the Ukraine?” With the usual keyboard warriors à la Bellingcat, those 16-year-old armchair soldiers who are instant experts in explosives: “Judging by the photo of the hole in the ceiling, the explosion came from within…” I even saw some pro-Ukraine internet jockey opining that “Eye witnesses claim they did not hear the whistle of the approaching rocket, which they would have heard if this had been a HIMARS…” What?! What eye witnesses, you idiot?
SPOILERS: Long story short, and I know that my readers are busy people who don’t have time to read lengthy detective novels or dig through all the clues of various conspiracy theories, so I shall give away the ending right now, and then we shall circle back and start over again. So, the Americans (for all intents and purposes — you’ll see, below) already admitted that they dunnit. And yes, it was a HIMARS, not a bomb placed within the floorboards. Hence, the keyboard warriors can lay down their fingers, for now.
Fact: The HIMARS are known for their precision. American military brass are very proud of this weapon, and rightfully so. It is said that, with the assistance of satellite and GPS guiding, they can land a rocket on a dime. Which is why the strike destroyed just the one barracks that held the sleeping prisoners; and spared the barracks of the guards, although it is said that a few guards were injured as well. And, by the way, this is not really relevant, but I couldn’t help noticing from the photos of the prisoners barracks, it does not look at all as nice as those initial photos we saw, when the Russians were trying to lure the Azovites out of the Steel Factory; those photos where the little Nazi soldiers had been tucked into cozy beds with pillowcases and duvets. This more like, they were piled on top of each other, on metal frames and thin mattresses. Oh well, in the final analysis, these were still human beings, and life is still worth living. It is said that some of the prisoners were adapting well, making friends, I had seen photos on the internet of prisoners tending little gardens and even walking dogs. Enjoying whatever moments they could from their now more diminished lives… and then BOOM! and it’s over.
He Said, She Said, They Said…
The official Russian announcement by MOD spokersperson Igor Konashenkov: “As a result of a deliberate rocket attack on 29 July, using the American HIMARS system, on the isolation facility in the region of Elenovka, the Kiev regime has killed and wounded the larger part of the 193 Ukrainian POW’s who were located there.”
As the blogosphere lit up in rage, pro-Ukrainian internet warriors responded immediately with their own theory, which can be summarized as: “Interrogators had been torturing the living sh*t out of the prisoners and decided to get rid of the evidence. By destroying the prisoners with a fake HIMARS attack.” Most pro-Ukrainians felt they had to deny that any HIMARS was involved, because only the Ukrainians have HIMARS, right? [A subversive part of my brain thought of a loophole for them: They could claim that this was the very HIMARS that the Russians had bought/stolen, right?] And Pro-Russians responded with their own debating points…
And then this bombshell from the Pentagon [sorry for poor choice of words], which put an end (or should have put an end) to all the speculation:
The actual Pentagon wording was quite odd:
The US Department of Defense today recognized that the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked the pre-trial detention center in Yelenovka, where the fighters of the neo-Nazi Azov regiment were kept. “If it was a blow from the Ukrainian side, I assure you they didn’t want to do it“, the Pentagon said.
That last sentence sounds queer to my ears, when I first saw it I thought it must be something google-translated back from Russian into English. Americans would not say, “They didn’t want to do it.” They would say: “They didn’t intend to do it.”
But no, this is the original statement, in English. What does it mean? I read it as a joke, a play on words: The Ukrainians literally didn’t want to do this, to kill their own heroes. But it’s the Americans who control and operate the HIMARS, so this was their decision. That is how I read this. But why would the Americans admit to this, instead of just blaming the Russians, like they usually do? Ah, that is the $64 question! My theory: This was a hasty and imperfect crime, and the Americans knew they couldn’t get away with it cleanly (somebody would find the HIMARS fragments, obviously), but felt like they just had to do it anyhow, and then joke it away. I’ll explain my theory further, below.
No, no! The Russians Dunnit!
I’m not sure if Alexei Arestovich saw the Pentagon “admission” before he voiced his own version of the events. Alexei is paid to lie, of course. About Bucha. About Snake Island. About everything. That’s his job. And he had his ducks in a row on this one as well: On his nightly propaganda show that he does with Feigin, he put forth his own conspiracy theory, namely that the Russians had been planning this attack for the past 2 months, ever since they captured the Azovites, you can click on this video to watch this talented actor do his shtick with his “controlled righteous anger” face put on:
Alexei’s “proof” consists of a screenshot allegedly showing how he (=Arestovich) had received Intel to this effect a couple of months ago; that is, that the Russians believed that the Ukrainians might use the HIMARS to attack the Elenovka camp; and somehow this proves that the Russians actually did it themselves. [I confess, I don’t follow his logic fully.]
Alexei gets skewered in the comments section of his own youtube video. One pro-Russian commenter named Zhanna Tikhanova, even accuses Arestovich himself of masterminding the murder of the Ukrainian POWs:
Арестович, когда вы узнали, что Азовцы стали тебя сливать, что ты отдавал приказ фотографировать казни русских пленных еще в начале войны, (вы несколько потом выложили в сеть, и которые видел весь мир), Зеленский и отдал приказ уничтожить их. Мы уже опубликовали снаряд от хаймерса в казарме.
TRANSLATION: Arestovich, once you learned that the Azovites were started to give you up, they were starting to divulge how you (yourself) had given the order to film the torture of Russian prisoners at the beginning of the war (those videos were uploaded to the internet, where the whole world could see them), and then Zelensky gave the order to destroy those videos.
This is a serious accusation against Arestovich, and one that, if proved, would expose him as a horrendous criminal. Not just a liar, not just the amusing Baghdad Bob of the Ukraine War, but somebody who actually ordered torturers to perform their evil craft.
Personally, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe that Arestovich has that kind of power within Zelensky’s inner circle. However, one person who subscribes to that theory, as laid out in this piece, is legendary Russian reporter Alexander Kots. Kots went to Elenovka where he saw with his own eyes the charred remains of the Azovites.
Kots: The Azovites were giving a lot of interviews and starting to talk a lot. About their crimes against the civilian population. About their extra-judicial executions, torture… And they were starting to point the finger at the highest level of the Ukrainian government, those who had ordered them to conduct such terror tactics.
For example, Military Correspondent Andrei Rudenko had published an interview with the imprisoned neo-Nazi Dmitry Kozatsky, who had served as the Press Secretary for the Regiment. Those under his command would drive around Mariupol and film atrocities committed by his own brothers-in-arms, the shellings and the killings of innocent civilians; later they would pass these images off as Russian crimes.
It was Kozatsky who received orders from the Office of the President to film some of the cruelest tortures committed upon Russian prisoners, including their murder; the goal was to [use these videos to] scare Russians into not wanting to join the army. Kozatsky even divulged the name of the man who devised this plan: Alexei Arestovich. No, no! Say it ain’t so, Shoeless Joe!
Darker And Deeper
I admit that all of this is getting way too dark for the likes of me. But wait, it gets even darker. Exactly one day before the Elenovka attack, the internet was shocked by a grisly video depicting a horrific war crime allegedly committed by a Russian soldier against a Ukrainian soldier. I didn’t see the video, I only know the description of it from watching Anatoly Shariy’s take on it, you can click on this video to listen to Shariy:
According to Shariy, the video (which he could not watch either, being too squeamish) depicts a Russian soldier (or a man wearing a Russian uniform) torturing a Ukrainian soldier. He cuts off the latter’s genitalia, holds it up to show him, then shoots him in the head, then cuts off the guy’s head and hands. Pro-Ukrainians say: The video is authentic, it depicts an actual war crime, this probably took place in the Elenovka camp, and after it was published, seeing the unexpected outrage of the world public, the Russians decided they had better just blow up the whole place, in order to conceal their crimes. [as opposed to calmly just poisoning everyone by putting a drug in their borsht?]
Pro-Russians say: The video is possibly fake. Or it could be real, but has nothing to do with the war, with the Ukrainian uniform being photoshopped in, pixel by pixel. They say that the perp calls the vic a “pederast”, and some say it depicts an extra-judicial punishment against a man who allegedly raped a 5-year-old girl. Then was uploaded to the internet. Whereupon Arestovich and the people in his Hollywood-quality production studio doctored it and brought it into the mix to (1) prove Russians were torturing people at Elenovka; and (2) realizing the gig was up with their torture, the Russians decided to blow up the prison camp to destroy the evidence; and (3) this comes at a convenient time when the U.S. Congress is debating whether or not to deem Russia as a “state which sponsors terrorism.”
Reiterating that most of this dark matter is moot when it comes to the Elenova event, given that the Pentagon practically raised their hands and said, “It was me!” Which also gets Lusya off the hook as a potential suspect, in the Elenovka crime at least. We won’t know for sure exactly what he did or didn’t do until/unless the Russians eventually catch him and put him on trial, along with Zelensky.
In the podcast in which Arestovich was laying out his theory of the Castration Video, one eagle-eyed commenter noticed an interesting moment. Something that confirms my long-held suspicion that Arestovich cannot stand Feigin and only pretends to be his friend. Alexei was chattering on about war crimes, and then, out of the blue, brought up the topic of Yugoslavia, how the raping of women was used as a form of genocide. The commenter noticed that Feigin started to sweat and look very uncomfortable, and reminded us that Feigin himself fought as a volunteer soldier in that conflict.
Feigin’s English-language wiki does not mention that chapter in his biography; but I checked his Russian wiki, and sure enough “По данным интернет-газеты Lenta.ru, вместе с друзьями из НТС ездил участвовать в Боснийской войне в составе Армии боснийских сербов под командованием Ратко Младича.” [According to the internet newspaper Lenta.ru, alongside his friends from the Peoples Labor Party of Russian Solidarity, he went to participate in the Bosnian War, on the side of the Army of Bosnian Serbs under the command of Ratko Mladić.]
Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather! Given Feigin’s political views, his hatred of Russia, and his unending support for NATO, I would never have guessed that was pro-Serbian. If I had to bet money, I would have put him with the Kosovans. But just goes to show, you think you got someone figured out, a Jew who is also a Banderite, fine, whatever, but pro-Serbian?? That does not compute…
Anyhow, the “funny” thing here (if you can use such a word when discussing such a dark topic), as he is talking about sexual crimes committed in Yugoslavia (presumably by the Serbs, since this is Arestovich talking), Alexei points his finger directly at Feigin. (It’s a split screen, they are on Zoom, but it still looks like he is pointing right at Feigin.) And Feigin looks like he wants to be someplace else. Another one of Alexei’s manipulative little tricks? That Lusya the Candy-Girl is a trickster for sure. But is she a torturer and a murderer?
In conclusion: here is my theory, what seems most plausible to me:
Recall back in April, when the Azov guys were still holed up in the Steel Plant: There were mucho, mucho kamikaze attempts (on the part of the Ukrainians, sacrificing helicopter after helicopter) to extract some very important person or persons. Let’s say it’s mainly one guy, and we shall call him “The Whale“. These extraction attempts failed. Eventually the Azovs surrendered to the Russians. Including The Whale, maybe in disguise, pretending to be somebody else. (Russian MOD said 52 guys died, but they only published 50 names, that’s suspicious!)
With no realistic way to rescue The Whale, he needed to be liquidated before he could spill the beans about all the American crimes, especially in Mariupol. Everybody knew that the Azovites had been taken to the town of Elenovka, in the DPR. It had to be DPR, because Russia itself doesn’t have the death penalty any more. (In response to those internet sleuths who keep on yammering: “Why did they keep them so close to the front line?” Because in Donetsk, everything is close to the front line, dummies.)
As Shariy points out in his podcast, the Ukrainians kept shelling Elenovka over and over again in the next couple of months, he documents every single attempt. But Ukrainian artillery was never accurate enough to do what needed to be done. And then the Americans brought in their HIMARS. And the job got done. The Whale was silenced once and for all. Everybody else on those bunk beds was just collateral damage.