Posts Tagged ‘crime’

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White Hammer coordinator disappears – A who dunnit?

February 21, 2017

Among the small number of odious far right nationalist groups in Ukraine is the group “White Hammer”, an organisation coordinated by Vladislav Goranin.

If a reader hasn’t heard of Mr Goranin or White Hammer, well join almost the entirety of the Ukrainian constituency in that obliviousness.

According to the website of White Hammer (a link to which will deliberately not be provided, as needlessly promulgating extreme nationalist flapdoodle falls far outside the sensibilities of the blog), Mr Goranin was forcibly abducted at the junction of Vasilkovskaya and Stelmaha in Kyiv  on the night of 21st February.

White Hammer, later making public the apparent abduction stated “Most likely the work of the SBU“.

Hmm.

Extremist groups be they left or right or of a particular cause are going to appear as blips to be monitored (often no more) upon the radar by policing and intelligence agencies alike.  Such groups are by their extreme (and often paranoid) nature the most easily manipulated , open to infiltration, and are certainly not immune to the occasional agent provocateur.  Ever has it been thus and ever shall it be so

However, when it comes to the SBU deciding to forcibly abduct an almost entirely unknown coordinator of a more or less unknown nationalist movement rather than simply arrest him (on a pretext if necessary), it seems all rather unnecessary.

The SBU has unsurprisingly denied any involvement in the disappearance (or alleged abduction) of Mr Goranin, dismissing the statement of White Hammer as nothing more than spurious – “The Ukrainian Security Service did not perform and does not perform any operational or investigative action in relation to the coordinator of the “White Hammer” organisation, Vladislav Goranin.”

A statement that is unambiguous, and given the less than harmonious relationships between different extreme groups (of similar or opposed bias) Mr Goranin will probably not be short of a few adversaries that are equally like to abduct him, if not more so.

The SBU however, has publicly undertaken to investigate the disappearance of Mr Goranin – something that surely falls within the remit of the police rather than that of the SBU.

Why then has the SBU decided to investigate what is (possibly) a crime to which the police should deal?

Is it a matter of public relations after being accused of the crime to then be involved in solving it?

Is it that Mr Goranin – or White Hammer – is more than a blip of the SBU radar despite the SBU public statement?

Or is it perhaps that the circumstances of the alleged crime and the tactics employed by the apparent abductors display the traits and professionalism of those that the SBU would be interested in and who are capable of manipulation, infiltration and inserting the occasional agent provocateur with groups such as “White Hammer”?

Presumably the SBU has already dismissed this alleged incident as simply a publicity stunt by “White Hammer” to raise its otherwise almost entirely absent profile among the Ukrainian/Kyiv constituency.  How much publicity could be gained from waiting for this hammer to fall and then subsequently raised when he is found?

T’will be interesting to see how this incident concludes.

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Moldavian meetings

January 5, 2017

For the first time since 2008, a President of Moldova, Igor Dodon met with a “President of Transnistria” Vadim Krasnoselsky.

Whether it proves to be anything more than a symbolic gesture by pro-Kremlin Moldavian President Dodon remains to be seen, for his powers as president are extremely limited (which is perhaps a good thing being a robust supporter of federalising Moldova).

Moldova is a parliamentary democracy with the President having very little sway over policy or legislation.  (As such the Moldavian parliamentary elections of 2018 matter far more than the recent election of Mr Dodon as President of Moldova.)

What was known to be discussed appears to have been all rather sensible – and occurred outside of the longstanding 5+2 format which may or may not further frustrate an already frustrated process.  Nevertheless issues such as agriculture in the Dubasari district, education and diplomas, and the movement of citizens across the Dniester river were discussed.

It is said they will meet again soon with proposal to solving the issues discussed and to set timelines to implement agreed solutions.

Time, as it always does, will tell when it comes to results, particularly as President Dodon would have to have the Moldavian parliament “on side” to actually deliver much (if anything).

With regards to meetings, and perhaps worthy of note for those in Kyiv, on 26th December, 3 days after Mr Dodon’s election as president, the odious and criminal Mykola Skoryk MP (Oppo Block) quietly visited Moldova attending a Party of Socialists event to celebrate Mr Dodon’s success.

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President Dodon had been a long serving Chairman of the Party of Socialists after leaving the Communist Party.  Needless to say the Party of Socialists is a robustly Russophile political entity.

That the obnoxious Mykola Skoryk would surround himself with russophiles is in keeping with his personal views (as inferred in the above link).  As regular readers will note however, it is not his russophile views that make Mykola Skoryk obnoxious.  Quite simply there is nothing about his political history, business activities, or egocentric personality that make him likable – russophile or not.

Time will tell whether Prosecutor General Lutsenko will actually get around to trying to strip Mykola Skoryk of his parliamentary immunity and prosecute him as he stated he would in September – but as yet hasn’t.  Perhaps he has forgotten, perhaps he opened his mouth before gathering sufficient evidence, or perhaps a grubby deal has been struck that he won’t now go after Mr Skoryk.  Neither Messrs Lutsenko or Skoryk have been adverse to grubby (and criminal) little deals throughout their political careers.

The question however is what was Mykola Skoryk doing at a Party of Socialists gathering for, and with, the newly invested President Dodon?  A shared russophilia is unlikely to be the answer in and of itself.  There will be more to it.

Perhaps it is a matter of insuring any cross-border “business” is not interrupted under a new presidency.  Perhaps there are now opportunities to expand “business”.  Maybe an arrangement made for an immediate “bolt hole” from Odessa should Prosecutor General Lutsenko actually put action where his rhetoric already exists.  Per chance some plotting and scheming regarding stirring up matters in “Bessarabia” occurred – as one domestic result of a Trump victory in the USA will probably be an emboldened pro-Russian political voice within Ukraine from those that have generally kept a low profile over the past 2 years – those like Mykola Skoryk.

Whatever the case, Mykola Skoryk did not become the first Ukrainian MP to personally congratulate Mr Dodon on his election simply because of a shared russophilia and as Odessa shares a border with Moldova he thought he’d “drop by”.  He is hardly otherwise a regular face at the Party of Socialists gatherings.

That Mr Skoryk has said very little about his trip probably means that more questions should be asked.

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SBU claims Ukrainian State IT systems received 247 cyber attacks in 2016

December 23, 2016

According to the SBU, Ukrainian State information systems were subjected to 247 cyber attacks during 2016 (which is 2 weeks from ending at the time of writing – so there will be more before the year is through).  As a result 64 criminal proceedings are apparently under way – “proceedings” however is not defined as being arrests, or charged, or convicted.

As it appears only 64 instances have resulted in criminal proceedings with 5 convictions and 4 “wanted” circulations, it may be “proceedings” amounts to little more than “under investigation”.

Thus according to the SBU, if allocating 1 attack per day, 2 of every 3 days witnessed Ukrainian State IT systems under cyber attack throughout the entirety of 2016.  Naturally that is not how matters occurred on such an evenly spaced timeline – neither does it account for the cyber ops that are and have been on-going undetected daily for months, or perhaps years, against the Ukrainian State.

Were there peaks and troughs in cyber attacks?  Did those peaks and troughs align to peaks and troughs of Ukrainian allies?  If there is any correlation does that provide some form of guide to the capabilities of hostile cyber foes?

cyber

Nevertheless 247 is the number of cyber attacks the SBU states the Ukraine State IT system has been subjected to.

It is however unclear what classification of cyber attacks have occurred and in what number under any sub-classifications of cyber attack.  Such attacks may vary from DDoS, to data hacks, to actually taking control of the systems themselves.

Further the SBU is not the only Ukrainian institution charged with looking after and monitoring cyber naughtiness to which Ukraine is subjected.   The Ministry of Interior also has a very similar statutory  obligation.  There is then the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection, notwithstanding the Ukrainian Computer Emergency Response Team.

Quite whether each would measure and/or count the cyber attacks to which the Ukrainian State IT systems have been subjected to in the same way as the SBU is unknown.  Are the definitions the same?  Is the ability to monitor (and prevent/mitigate) such attacks the same?  Which is the lead agency?  Is there a lead agency?

Of the 247 attacks, which have been attributed and to whom?  Specifically what was the attack?  State (and/or State infrastructure)?  Business (State Owned Enterprises)?  Banking (State owned banks and/or the NBU)?  Others?

What damage was done?  What losses were incurred?  What was stolen?  Has the “how” been shared with allies and/or applicable regional/international treaty bound institutions?

How many can be publicly attributed to Russia and/or the known Russian proxies?  If they could be attributed, were they?  (Just because they can be, for either political and/or operational reasons they may not be.)

How many can be publicly attributed to organised crime – both that interconnected with Russia, that of domestic origin, and also others?

How many can be publicly attributed to those that are neither State actors (or known State associated actors), or organised (criminal) groups, but that are simply lone actors with either criminal intent or a curiosity that defies legal boundaries?

What is behind the SBU numbers?  Are the numbers of the other statutory monitoring agencies similar to those of the SBU?  If not, what are the discrepancies and where and why do they exist?

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A Granovsky false flag in defence of Kononenko?

December 17, 2016

The name of Ihor Kononenko has appeared fairly frequently in the blog – usually annotated with “President Poroshenko’s leg breaker in the Verhovna Rada” or “the mere mention of his name has diplomats eyes rolling” or “to whom the presidential leash should be applied”.

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To be absolutely blunt, Mr Kononenko is an old and loyal friend of President Poroshenko and is being allowed to run amok with all the worst possible parallels to the Yanukovych regime approach to business and state owned enterprises, whilst also acting as parliamentary enforcer for the president.

Certain readers known to this blog have first hand experience of Mr Kononenko.  To be charitable he is a predator.  To be less so, he can go beyond “dubious” and “nefarious” when it comes to the boundaries of the law.

There is no doubt that President Poroshenko is aware of at least some of the deeds of his friend – even if he doesn’t read the media (and he is probably the most PR aware Ukrainian president ever) there is no way some deeds will not have been raised directly by the diplomatic community with the president on occasion.

Sooner or later, should the presidential leash not be placed upon Mr Kononenko and thus his appetites somewhat reduced, a reader may foresee a situation similar to that of Viktor Shokin whereby the international pressure from “friends of Ukraine” will continue to build surrounding him to the point of ultimatums.

Also occasionally mentioned by the blog is Alexander Granovsky usually annotated with “rising star in Kyiv” or “whose political star is in the ascendancy” (or similar).

Although from Uman originally, Mr Granovsky since his (Mechnikov) university days in Odessa, has been a permanent business/public persona in the city – perhaps best known for his activities with business partner from Boris Kaufman (also from Odessa).  That said both also have business interests that do not involve the other.

Mr Granovsky’s business history is as a reader would expect – he had owned more than a dozen companies between 1997 and 2006 (which could be, but won’t be listed here), almost all with “colourful” reputations or occasional scandals.  Some have since been sold, some have been retained, and new enterprises continue to appear.  Suffice to say those interests cover everything from port dredging, to banking, to fertilizer, to hotels, to airports, media, alcohol, tobacco, and more.

Mr Granovsky is also a man inclined to be generous with the synagogue in Odessa being a major beneficiary.

Regardless of interesting histories (worthy of entries of their own) both Mr Granovsky and Mr Kononenko are Block Poroshenko parliamentarians will significant gravitas within both the party, faction and the parliament itself – albeit with different and distinct roles in controlling events.

The past few days have seen some interesting entries on Mr Granovsky’s Facebook. – a photograph of a text conversation on Telegram was uploaded.

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A conversation prime facie appealing to Mr Granovsky for help to fend off the unwanted attentions of the predatory Ihor Kononenko.

“Хочу обратиться ко всем симпатикам моего коллеги по залу Игоря Кононенко, чтоб сообщить о том, что лично он, обращаясь ко мне в мессенджере телеграмм, пытается втянуть меня в преступный сговор с не до конца попятной для меня целью. Что-то мне подсказывает, что дело не чистое.
Доказательство ниже.

P.S.
Конечно же, какой-то “озорник” таким образом пытается выманить деньги. Половина фракции тоже получила подобные сообщения. Примитивно, но в каких-то случаях эффективно:(((“

Mr Granovsky accompanied that photograph with a statement appealing to his parliamentary colleagues to give Mr Kononenko a sympathetic audience, for he suspected intrigue of a nefarious kind, stating that half of the Poroshenko faction had received similar texts attempting to obtain money.  His post insinuated that some had indeed complied, paying off an unknown party.

It is without a shadow of a doubt that Mr Granovsky has the telephone number of Mr Kononenko and can authenticate (or not)  the demands for money.  Such faux intuition of intrigue and public (Facebook) disclosure is quite unnecessary for a man capable of getting immediate responses from Mr Kononenko.

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“Короткий апдейт на тему хулигана, который прикрывался именем Игоря Кононенко с целью выманить деньги у коллег по фракции и не только.

Следующие несколько лет, судя по всему, он будет шлифовать свои навыки в 4 стенах. Отдельное спасибо сотрудникам спецподразделения “Альфа” СБУ.”

On 17th December, a few days after setting the scene on Facebook, Mr Granovsky via Facebook once more, gave public thanks to a SBU Alfa Unit for arresting somebody – (as yet unidentified and as of the time of writing the detention has not been confirmed by the SBU) – using Ihor Kononenko’s name to extort money from his parliamentary colleagues.

Naturally questions arise.

Firstly just how subservient to and/or scared of Ihor Kononenko are his parliamentary colleagues to have simply paid this unknown offender acting under Mr Kononenko’s name apparently without his knowledge?

As always, the questions have to be asked as to who benefits, and why are things being done this way?

In publicly announcing this affair on Facebook, does Mr Granovsky do more or less harm to the “parliamentary leg breaker” and predatory image that Ihor Kononeko already has among his parliamentary colleagues and the business community?

Although probably not the case, if designed to do more damage, what motivates Mr Granovsky to make such a bold move?  Why now?

If designed to mitigate Mr Kononenko’s image, is this a false flag incident created to deflect some near horizon allegations against Mr Kononenko insofar as it will be held up as evidence that his name is misused and/or spuriously attacked over events he will claim he has no involvement in (whether he does or not)?

If it be the latter and this is a preparatory false flag, what scandal is upon the immediate Kononeko horizon that requires such theatre?

It is of course possible that Mr Granovsky thinks it is simply a fun story that people should know about – but Mr Granovsky is a clever man and is simply not that oblivious to the perceptions and the questions that arise by making this affair public.

Something about this just doesn’t seem right.  Perhaps all will become clearer fairly soon.

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A hiatus or a halt to organised criminality in Zatoka?

December 10, 2016

Over the past 12 months, several times has the blog mentioned the organised criminality running amok in Zatoka, Odessa.

Everything from voter fraud on a large scale, to criminal land deals, conspiracy to murder, arson, grievous assaults, forgery, and protection rackets have managed to get a mention due to the complete absence of the rule of law.

As previously explained, that complete absence of the rule of law was due to the fact that all constituent parts of the rule of law were actively engaged in the organised criminality – “For those wishing to acquire occupation of much sought after beach-side territory and/or property at the expense of the longstanding legitimate leaseholders, the following outlines the bureaucratic illegalities/standard criminal schemes.

Those with nefarious intent with the assistance and collusion of the local prosecutors create concocted and imaginary events and incidents that in some way manage to breach a technicality in the lease.  Those with nefarious intent can either do so directly with the local prosecutors, or by first approaching the Belgorod-Dneister court who then contact the local prosecutors with instructions to create and/or find a technicality that can eventually be ruled as being a breach of lease by the Belogorod-Dneister court.

The subsequent court ruling then allows the nefarious interests to bribe, coerce or act in cahoots with the  Zatoka Village Council to cancel the existing lease and issue a new lease to the new and distinctly criminal tenants.

At some point a few years into the lease those then holding the lease will buy the territory and all properties thereon relatively cheaply from the local Village Council – even after accounting for the bribes necessarily involved.

Naturally there is no possible recourse for the legitimate tenants through the local prosecutors, local courts, or Village Council – all of whom are involved.”

All such information was hardly secret – at least it could be easily obtained for those that wanted to lift the stone and see what horrors lurked beneath.  Such is the depth of organised criminality in Zatoka the last blog entry concluded – “If the regional rule of law institutions cannot (for whatever reason) implement the rule of law swiftly, why not bring in a team from another region – Lviv or Dnipro for example – that have no connection to Odessa to investigate?  There is an audit/documented trail for this scheme to operate after all – and for each and every attempt.

Unless events in Zatoka are tackled immediately, robustly and vigorously then they are going to continue as was unfortunately predicted in the tweet above – and that will do little for public confidence with regard to the perceived sanctity of property rights under the current national leadership, let alone attempts at creating the perception of reformed governance and the institutions of State.”

It appears that the rule of law has finally arrived in what appears prima facie to be a robust and vigorous fashion.

k

On 10th December, 18 months after a persistent and barely hidden issue became an acute and blatant issue, Directorate K of the SBU, the PGO and National Police descended upon Zakota conducting searches and making numerous arrests.

Considering the outline of organised criminality above, a reader will not be surprised to learn that among the arrests were local government officials, prosecutors, police, SBU and judges with 50 crimes now under investigation ranging from voter fraud to conspiracy to murder (according to Interior Minister Facebook) – indeed all criminality described above that was guaranteed to be found once the political/institutional will to look under the Zatoka rock was found.

It remains to be seen what charges will be brought and against who.

Thereafter it remains to be seen how a justice system yet to see reform convincingly manifest will actually deliver justice for those in Zatoka that have suffered increasingly blatant organised criminality for years.  They are long overdue both justice and restitution.

Just as importantly, it remains to be seen whether the rule of law will effectively fill the void created by its actions taken on 10th December – or whether organised criminality will once again fill the void it may have temporarily left if this proves to be nothing more than a hit and run by the institutions of the rule of law.

Minister Avakov would be well advised to remember that in any battle it is one thing to take the ground, but quite another to hold it.

Time will tell whether the Minister and his ministry have a plan to consolidate and defend any rule of law gain that will come as a result of their operational efforts in Zatoka of 10th December.

As of yet, the job is not even half done.

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Personnel clashes within the Ministry of Infrastructure – Ukraine

December 5, 2016

All is currently not well within the Ministry of Infrastructure.  The Minister, Vladimir Omeljan on a matter of principle point blank refuses to work with the winner of the “competition” to become the State Secretary of the Ministry, Andrei Galushchak.

Regular readers will be aware, there are Ukrainian competitions and there are “Ukrainian competitions” when it comes to filling political and civil service positions.  With “Ukrainian competitions” a reader armed with a little knowledge of loyalties, and/or personal understandings with “the power”, and/or history with those at the top, can normally be successfully tipped to emerge the winner of a “competition”.

min-inf

With regard to the “competition” for State Secretary of the Infrastructure Ministry, the results were as follows:  The successful Andrei Galushchak 12.14 points.  In second place with 11.18 points was (former acting Deputy Minister, Chief of Staff Dmitry Romensky, with third place occupied by Oleh Mironenko with 9.46 points.  The “competition” based upon examinations, situational taskings and interviews.

Why would a Minister state “We will not work with him” when the winning candidate came first in the “competition”?  Upon what grounds would he publicly voice such an objection?

Mr Galushchak previously has held positions as Deputy Chief of Lviv Railways and Director of Air Express (a SOE).  Does experience in rail and air management not lend itself toward the Infrastructure Ministry?

The matter of any (proven or unproven) nefariousness and graft synonymous with holding lofty positions within Ukrainian SOEs is perhaps not the issue at hand – rather it is the very close association Mr Galushchak has with Vladislav Kaskiv – who is currently seeking to prevent his extradition from Panama to Ukraine, being wanted for the theft and embezzlement of $ hundreds of millions during the time of the Yanukovych regime.

As an aside,it is perhaps perverse that Yuri Lutsenko as Prosecutor General now seeks to extradite Mr Kaskiv, when historically he could have insured his prosecution as Interior Minister in 2005 following the “Orange Revolution” – prison time for which Mr Kaskiv could still have been serving instead of stealing far greater sums under the Yanukovych system.

For those readers interested, Criminal Case Number 1-337/05 relates to Mr Kaskiv’s involvement in kidnapping, assault, protection rackets and conning UAH millions from the 2004/5 “Orange” protesters when heading a “civil organisation” called “Time” and the “Wild Division of the UNA-UNSO” – whose fund he (with others) also stole.  Despite testimony of victims etc.,  then Interior Minister Lutsenko officially suspended the turning of the wheels of justice for the case.  As there is no record the the case ever being heard or closed, presumably in a dusty box long forgotten in a court or prosecutor’s basement sits this case in suspended animation.  No doubt now Prosecutor General Lutsenko would prefer the decision of then Interior Minister Lutsenko to be long forgotten – for if he had done his job the first time instead of striking whatever grubby little deal he struck, the vastly greater criminal activities of Mr Kaskiv may never have occurred.

Whatever the case, prima facie it seems not a matter of what Mr Galushchak may or may not have historically stolen when in various senior SOE positions, but a case of (probable) guilt by (very close) association with the internationally wanted Vladislav Kaskiv (who is closely associated with MP/oligarchSergei Liovochkin) that is the cause of ministerial angst.

It remains to be seen whether the Cabinet of Ministers will heed the cry of one of their number and refuse to nominate Mr Galushchak for President Poroshenko to ultimately appoint – or indeed whether President Poroshenko would appoint Mr Galushchak upon the Cabinet’s nomination.

Should Mr Galushchak not be given the position having “won” the “competition”, then a reader may expect some form of court proceedings ahead.  In the meantime if Dmitry Romensky is not otherwise committed, as he would have been where “the smart money” placed their bets in this “competition”, it may well be that he will fill the appointment (as many expected).

A cynical reader may therefore consider there to be more than an element of stage managed political theatre to the entire event should it unfold with Mr Galushchak ultimately being unsuccessful.  The question of course – to whose benefit (if beyond a PR stunt) would it have been staged this way?

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Command & Control – or criminality? A policing tragedy Ukraine

December 4, 2016

The early hours of 4th December witnessed what prima facie appears to be the worst self-inflicted policing tragedy that has resulted in loss of life in Ukraine since the beginning of policing reforms.

6 law enforcement officers from various units are dead – and the official statements thus far indicate that they managed to shoot each other, whilst those they went to arrest for serious crimes were eventually arrested having fled the scene.

The media space, both main stream and social is rapidly filling up with legitimate questions as well as the usual “experts” of the armchair variety despite internal MIA, National Police and Prosecutor’s Office inquiries having only just begun and having released little information publicly.

Ergo, much of what is written thus far is supposition, informed guesswork or in most cases complete nonsense.

The President has called for a full investigation and for those responsible to be held to criminal account.  A murder investigation is under way.  Whether murder ultimately proves to be the correct and most fitting criminal charge remains to be seen – and to be blunt be it murder, manslaughter, or criminal negligence in operational planning does not have any effect upon how the investigation should be carried out.  Such serious crime is systemic in how it is investigated.

It is currently unclear how CORD, CID and police protection units all managed to be shooting at each other – or whether in fact the criminals CORD went after did any shooting either.  They were arrested having fled the scene with firearms.

Naturally most attention is upon apportioning blame – yet just as important for the future is identifying what went wrong and insuring that procedures for operational planning are amended to prevent any re-occurrence.  Even if the SOPs are proven to be first rate and yet have been ignored either negligently and/or recklessly, there is still a need to reappraise protocols and perhaps insert additional “authorities” required to launch such an operation.

Thus it is a matter of reassessing “text book” operational protocol, the “authorities” required to execute one, notwithstanding the briefing, recording and debriefing of every officer from every operation.

To be honest the “text book” varies from nation to nation, and all provide for operational circumstances allowing for a certain limited amount of discretion.  Some things however remain (fairly) constant.

Having made an operational decision to make arrests in a certain manner – on the street, a “hard stop” in vehicle, or at a premises thereafter every operation begins with a briefing.

The briefing includes all of those that need to be briefed – even if they are not directly involved in a firearms operation.  The local police commanders from all policing branches who may have their rank and file inadvertently wandering “on plot”, or who may be running an operation of their own and/or have good reason to be “on” or very close to “the plot”, or who may have to provide an outer cordon to keep the public out or deal with a concerned citizenry when guns are heard being discharged etc.  Obviously the control room of the local police station has to be managed to deal with all such local issues.  Ambulance and perhaps fire chiefs too.

Many an operation has been blown by differing agencies inadvertently getting in each others way and many hundreds of man hours wasted – yet when armed personnel are anticipating coming up against known violent and armed suspects the potential consequences clearly can result in a loss of more than surveillance hours.

This particular incident prima facie displays a spectacular failure in planning and/or the resulting operational briefing.  If there is a reason not to include some in an operational briefing, then reason need be given to justify it and be recorded.

All those briefed are recorded in the operation log – even if they are not subject to the entire operational briefing when it comes to the intricacies of  the plan for tactical firearms execution.

In the case of this tragic incident, the “plot” is a house and would/should have an armed cordon put around it, generally as covertly in its insertion as possible, so that the armed observing officers forming the cordon can “feature off”.

What is “featuring off”?

feature

The sides of a structure (in this case a house) are given a colour.  White for the front, black for the back, green for the left and red for the right – or whatever colours are standard for “featuring off” in any particular nation.

White is generally associated with being the front of the premises.

“Featuring off” then commences.  For example, White 1.1 is the front door.  White 1.2 is a bay window to the left of the front door.  White 1.3 is a bay window to the right of the front door.  White 1.4 is the garage door etc.

Upstairs, White 2.1 is a large window on the left.  White 2.2 is a large window to the right.  White 3.1 is the next floor and so on.

So it goes on around the entire building until all colours have identified all features on their side.

The point of this is so that everybody knows what is on each side of the house and if an officer calls “Light on Black 2.2” – everybody, be they in the containment cordon but cannot see Black 2.2, or the commander who may not even see the house but be sat in a control room, also knows where a light has just come on.  Likewise “Curtains closed White 1.2” lets all know somebody has just closed the curtains downstairs in the room to the left of the front door.

Further “Female, red hair Black 2.2”, lets all know that either a suspect (if identified) or a known resident, or an unknown, is upstairs in the room to the right if the door is about to be put through.  The door and internal searches and/or arrests are not carried out by those in the cordon, for the cordon exists to (hopefully) catch those escaping.

The result is anybody should be able to draw a basic elevation of any side of a structure based upon “featuring off” and track occurrences seen through any windows etc.

A reader gets the point.

Further such “featuring off” is recorded in the operation log together with any observations of movement, and the ID of the officer “featuring off” and/or observing on that side.  The operation log also records any decisions (and by whom) made during the execution of the operation.

“Featuring off” also helps when it comes to not shooting your own, for those on the cordon will identify their location to all via “the clock”.  Thus 7 o’clock is White slightly left of centre.  11 o’clock is Black slightly left of centre.  3’o’clock is centre of red and 8 o’clock is green slightly lower than centre etc.

Having scribbled down the featuring off as a cordon officer, it is not difficult to thereafter plot the location of your colleagues.   “Officer 1234, 1 o’clock, Black 1.1 60 meters”  would tell all that Officer 1234 is at 1’oclack, which is on the Black elevation and that he/she is 60 meters from feature Black 1.1.

Once every operation is completed, there is a “hot debrief” immediately afterward and a cold debrief some time later – both involving all in the initial briefing.

Lessons are still to be learned even from the seemingly most successful and slick operations.  Those lessons are shared across all regions.  And so it goes on.  Every success and every failure has something to teach those charged with the arrest and detention of the most violent of criminality – and also those that support their operations.

Naturally there are incidents that do not provide for the best of preparation – however the protocol is the protocol and even if ad hoc to begin with, sufficient resources should be activated to adopt the “text book” as swiftly as possible – if possible.  Those with the level of “authorities” within protocols are generally far harder to convince that something needs to be done “today” without sufficient planning if nothing is to be lost by way of life and/or the loss of significant evidence by taking the time to plan properly.  Careers ending and/or criminal responsibility that may result is meant to concentrate the mind.

This very brief (standard) outline of something that will probably have a reasonable resemblance to Ukrainian protocols (albeit it will not be exact).  It is therefore likely to be close to the benchmark that this tragic operational outcome will have to be measured.  Errors have most certainly been made.  There are definitely lessons to be learned.  Most certainly a full review of protocols and the “authorities” within will have to occur.  There may well be disciplinary matters regardless of any criminal culpability at the end of internal reviews and the prosecutor’s investigation.  It is vital that placing the blame on somebody does not prevent all of this from happening if such a seemingly self-inflicted tragedy is to be avoided again.

For now, given the currently limited official discourse a reader is left to ponder whether this tragedy is a result of poor command and control, criminality – or both.

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