Archive for May 1st, 2017

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2nd May Odessa and a spy in the sky

May 1, 2017

2nd May witnesses the 3rd anniversary of the tragic events that unfolded in Odessa.  Events that 3 years on, the Ukrainian authorities have unquestionably failed to investigate thoroughly or with any institutional integrity.

For more than 2 years Kyiv led the investigation and then dumped it upon Odessa.

Odessa has managed to make more progress in a short time than Kyiv made in over 2 years, yet a reader will understand that many of those suspected of serious acts upon that day have long since fled.  Yet others that stayed of political and institutional influence remain untouched.

It is an undeniable disgrace and one that has yet to produce an outcome.

When, or perhaps it is a question of “if” an official investigative outcome ever arrives, so clearly compromised are evidence chains, so opaque and poorly conducted were the initial investigative efforts, few will have much faith in the integrity of that outcome.

However flawed investigations aside, there are policing issues relating to public safety and public disorder to address upon the 3rd anniversary.

Of the nostalgic Soviets, pro Russians both ideological and paid by the hour, “visiting foreigners” and members of the bereaved families, approximately 1000 are expected to arrive at Kulikova Pol where there fire at Trade Union House occurred.  This approximate number according to Moris Ibragim and Vasyl Polishchuk who lead this group of people.  Naturally politicians from the Oppo Block will also be present, including some that had more than a passing input into the planned events that were behind an eventual unplanned tragedy.

What number of nationalists and significantly less swivel-eyed patriotic attendees there will be is far more difficult to predict.

Approximately 3000 police and National Guard will be there to attempt to keep the peace, albeit a few skirmishes may well occur as tempers fray – either spontaneously or orchestrated.

So far so predictable based upon preceding anniversary/commemoration gatherings.  To expect a somber day of remembrance without any violent incident is wishful thinking.

What is different this year, and is consistent with a very promising and rapidly developing Ukrainian military-tech/security-tech sector, is a drone fed facial recognition and database compiling system that has been under development.   The existing database is divided between those persons of interest to the police and security services and those of interesting persons – “Professional Russians” who consistently turn out for pro-Russia and/or anti-Ukraine rallies for cash.

Naturally a few new faces for the database will be captured at both the 2nd May gathering and also the 9th May Victor Day ceremonies which also offers the opportunity for either spontaneous or orchestrated violence for the camera propaganda.

The National Police for the past few days have been trialing the system over Kulikova Pol and seem quite pleased with the test results.  The 2nd May will be the system’s first “live Beta testing” however.

Clearly it will do little to reduce the potential (and probable) violent skirmishes, and in reality it will perhaps do little by way of increasing faces for databases – for the majority of persons of interest, “professional Russians”, and local provocateurs are already known.

Further as of the time of writing, Kulikova Pol is now sealed off by the police and National Guard with the intention of controlling entry via metal detectors – thus providing ample opportunity to take mug shots of those entering and providing an excuse to request the removal of sunglasses and hats during a scan on what will be a sunny and warm (24 degrees) day in Odessa.

Nevertheless new faces will appear and the chance of capturing their image via the new system is improved.

More generally however, the system will undoubtedly assist in placing known faces in places at certain times, for not every “face” is always seen by the authority’s spotters within a crowd.

Whether it brings about any arrests of those wanted by the security services or police by spotting them in the crowd remains to be seen – but it is perhaps the successful operational use in a “live environment” that matters.

The potential general policing use is quite obvious – as is the potential use for the security services.

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