NYC Photo Exhibition “Material Evidence” Vandalized, Curator Attacked

A photograph from the ‘Material Evidence’ exhibition partially cleaned up after being defaced earlier today (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

A photograph from the ‘Material Evidence’ exhibition partially cleaned up after being defaced earlier today (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

 

Three individuals were involved in an attack on an exhibition in Chelsea this morning in which photographs were defaced, neo-Nazi leaflets dispersed, and a curator assaulted with pepper spray, Hyperallergic has learned. The assailants objected to the Ukraine-focused section of a photojournalistic show on recent unrest in that country and Syria called Material Evidence held at 540 West 21st Street (formerly home of the Eyebeam Art & Technology Center).

A little after 10am, two older individuals, a man and a woman, entered the gallery and headed to the Ukrainian section, where security guards and exhibition staff told Hyperallergic they are suspected to have distributed leaflets containing anti-Putin and neo-Nazi slogans and emblems along the ground. They did not interact with gallery staff or security beyond asking the curator, Benjamin Hiller, if he spoke Russian (he does not). The exhibition’s labyrinthine layout covers two countries — Syria and Ukraine — with visitors instructed to begin in the Syria section, though after the brief exchange with Hiller the duo headed directly for the Ukraine section.

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Shortly thereafter, a younger male between 25 and 30 entered into the gallery space, heading directly for the table near the entrance where Hiller was seated.

“He asked me if I am the guy responsible for the exhibition, that we have brought shame on the Ukraine people. I tried to explain that we show also the killed [Euromaidan] protesters, but then he pulled out pepper spray, sprayed it in my face and kicked against the table and my laptop fell on the ground,” Hiller told Hyperallergic.

The female member of the original duo left around the same time the younger man entered, according to security guards at the gallery who spoke to Hyperallergic on condition of anonymity, while the older gentleman allegedly defaced one photograph with what appears to be black ink and wrote “LIE” on a gallery wall. Pamphlets containing anti-Putin and neo-Nazi slogans were also distributed throughout the Ukraine-focused section. Hiller notes that angry messages had been posted on a Facebook group for the exhibition, but he has no clues beyond that as to the individual identities of the perpetrators.

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The exhibition was organized by and contains work from a group of Russian, Ukrainian, French, and Spanish photojournalists alongside physical artifacts from those conflict zones. A collaborative effort, it was, according to Hiller, backed by crowdfunding and private fundraising efforts. Hiller, a freelance photojournalist and writer, was appointed curator by the group due to his prior involvement with the Browse Fotofestival in Berlin. The Chelsea exhibition will continue, with increased security, through October 11.

 

EVIL HAS NAME: PETRO POROSHENKO

‘Taped hands, gun wounds’:

RT witnesses exhumation of mass graves in E. Ukraine

 

Villain, not my hero
Twisted, infectious man
Somehow you always fail again
Fake heart, not for healing
False hope, trick the brain
Deep down I believe you’re insane

Your soldiers run
To cauterize the victims pain, this evil has a name
Hell behind the sun
  You consecrate the blame, evil has name

Promise, not for keeping
Conscience, out of mind
We drift through life believing you’re a fake
Smile, gracious waving
Wave back, cheer and kill

Take the sun right from the sky
Fill it with clouds and bitter lies
As long as you’can

Go running through the fields of death
and your own people mass graves
You got your conscience, to walk you through

Evil has name

Screenshot from RT video

Screenshot from RT video

Galina was waiting for him to be exchanged and brought home, but he never returned to his mother.

“No one exchanged anybody for anybody. They just shot them dead here outside the village and threw them into the ground… like dogs,” she added, sobbing.

Russia calls for int’l probe into Ukraine burials with signs of execution

According to Konstantin Gerasimenko, chief medical examiner, “all four victims – they are all male – have multiple gunshot wounds to head and body.”

“Their hands were taped behind their backs. Some of them were only in their underwear,” he said.

RT’s crew also visited another burial area that the OSCE monitors discovered, located just 3 kilometers from the first site.

Initially the grave looked like a mound, with five names written on a plaque on top of it, all in Russian. The officials were not able to reach the area as it was mined. They have only started the exhumation now.

One of those who took part in the exhumation told RT that they have found five bodies, which have already started decomposing.

The plaque on top of the grave had four names on it, and a space for a fifth name, which was blank, with only a number there.

All four names had the victims’ dates of birth and death. The dates of death were all the same – August 27. An inscription on the plague reads: “Died for Putin’s lies.”

12

European countries chose ‘destruction tactics for Ukraine’ from outset – Duma speaker

Russia's Speaker of the State Duma Sergei Naryshkin pauses before the opening session at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Autumn meeting in Geneva October 3, 2014. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

Russia’s Speaker of the State Duma Sergei Naryshkin pauses before the opening session at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Autumn meeting in Geneva October 3, 2014. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

RT News

At the Autumn Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA), Russian official Sergey Naryshkin made the Ukrainian crisis a top European security issue, while speaking at a conference on new security challenges in the region.

At a meeting on “New Security Challenges: The Role of Parliaments” on Friday, Naryshkin, the Head of the Lower House of Russian Parliament, who leads the Moscow delegation, delivered a speech in the debate on such topics as the threat of extremism, and the protection of human rights.

Naryshkin said he was under an impression that some European countries had chosen “tactics of destruction for Ukraine” from the very beginning of the conflict. He also pointed out that Kiev authorities make it clear that certain recent agreements, including the peace plan reached in Minsk on September 5, “are non-essential and can be easily disrupted.”

Speaking at the conference, he highlighted the fact of the mass graves discoveries near Donetsk, and called for an international investigation. “We demand an international tribunal for those involved in crimes against humanity,” Russian parliamentarian said.

‘Taped hands, gun wounds’: RT witnesses exhumation of mass graves in E. Ukraine

He added that the grave discoveries raise concerns of “genocide,” and that representatives of the Russian-speaking populace have been killed “only for the fact of belonging to this group.”

 ‘Taped hands, gun wounds’: RT witnesses exhumation of mass graves in E. Ukraine He added that the grave discoveries raise concerns of "genocide," and that representatives of the Russian-speaking populace have been killed "only for the fact of belonging to this group."

‘Taped hands, gun wounds’: RT witnesses exhumation of mass graves in E. Ukraine
He added that the grave discoveries raise concerns of “genocide,” and that representatives of the Russian-speaking populace have been killed “only for the fact of belonging to this group.”

Another meeting of inter-parliamentary contact group on Ukraine was planned within the OSCE PA session, based on earlier agreement reached at the Assembly’s summer gathering. But the meeting had to be postponed, after American participants, followed by Polish and Ukrainian officials, said they would not take part in the meeting.

Looks like our oversea partners resent the very fact of the initiation of this contact group,” Naryshkin said upon arrival to Switzerland, as quoted by Interfax agency, adding that such attitude “makes it even more obvious who is really aiming for restoration of peace in Ukraine, and who opposes the process.”

Ukraine peace plan: Withdraw military hardware, exchange POWs, open corridors

According to the Russian parliamentarian, some Ukrainian deputies, who decided not to come to Geneva, are just busy preparing for parliamentary elections in Ukraine, scheduled for October 26, and do not want hold responsibility for “crimes, violations of human rights, violence and unlawful acts, currenеly observed” in the country.

Despite the cancelled meeting, Russian delegation will keep working at the Assembly as planned, taking part in various discussions.

At a conference on Saturday, Russian participants plan to call OSCE to properly study not only the mass graves discoveries near Donetsk and the Odessa massacre, but also “the use of prohibited weapons by Ukrainian army,” including ballistic missiles and phosphorous ammunition, MP Aleksey Pushkov, who chairs the State Duma Committee for International Relations, told Tass agency.

The head of the delegation Sergey Naryshkin will also hold a number of meetings, including talks with the OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva and Swiss politicians.

Organized to establish and facilitate inter-parliamentary dialogue, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) PA meetings are held regularly throughout the year. The Autumn Meeting, the final major gathering of the Assembly this year, is taking place in Geneva until October 5, with over 450 officials from more than 50 countries participating in its sessions.

Biden says US ’embarrassed’ EU into sanctioning Russia over Ukraine

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

 

RT news

America’s leadership had to embarrass Europe to impose economic hits on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine – even though the EU was opposed to such a motion, US Vice President Joe Biden revealed during a speech at Harvard.

“We’ve given Putin a simple choice: Respect Ukraine’s sovereignty or face increasing consequences,” Biden told a gathering at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics on Thursday.

The consequences were the sanctions which the EU imposed on Russia, first targeting individual politicians and businessmen deemed responsible for the crisis in Ukraine, then switching to the energy, defense, and economic sectors.

“It is true they did not want to do that,” Biden admitted.

“It was America’s leadership and the president of the United States insisting, oft times almost having to embarrass Europe to stand up and take economic hits to impose costs,” the US vice president declared.

EU parliament.  AFP Photo / Patrick Hertzog

EU parliament.
AFP Photo / Patrick Hertzog

Those costs deemed behind the ruble’s historic plunge not only forced America’s ExxonMobil to retreat from Russia’s Arctic shelf, but also provoked counter-measures from Moscow, which suspended certain food imports from the EU.

Russia’s counter-sanctions have hit many of the EU’s agricultural states. EU members, particularly those close to Russia, were the most affected by the loss of the Russian market.

For instance, the Netherlands – the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products – is set to lose 300 million euro annually from canceled business with Russia, as it accounts for roughly 10 percent of Dutch exports of vegetables, fruit, and meat.

At the same time, Poland was hit hard by the Kremlin’s sanctions, as its food exports to Russia totaled $1.5 billion in 2013.

Spain, a large exporter of oranges to Russia, is estimated to miss out on 337 million euro ($421 million) in food and agriculture sales, while Italy has estimated its losses at nearly 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion).

Following pressure from local farmers, a 125 million euro EU Commission Common Agricultural Policy fund was established, from which the growers are expected to get some cash, while Amsterdam is willing to cover the cost of transporting excess produce to eight food banks across Holland.

Overall, Moscow’s one-year food embargo against the EU, the US, Norway, Australia, and Canada will block an estimated $9 billion worth of agricultural exports to Russia.

With European countries now at a loss with apple and dairy surplus, it is not exactly clear whether EU producers will be able to return to the Russian markets after the one-year ban expires.

However, this is no secret to the US, as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland remarked on Thursday.

“Implementing sanctions isn’t easy and many countries are paying a steep price. We know that. But history shows that the cost of inaction and disunity in the face of a determined aggressor will be higher,” Nuland said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)

Nuland’s reference to necessary action against the “aggressor” might be taken with a grain of salt by the Europeans, as the “F**k the EU” leak is still fresh in their memory.

The four-minute video – titled ‘Maidan puppets,’ referring to Independence Square in Ukraine’s capital – was uploaded by an anonymous user to YouTube.

Nuland was recorded as saying the notoriously known phrase during a phone call with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, as the two were seemingly discussing a US-preferred line-up of the Ukrainian government. It apparently referred to Washington’s policy differences with those of the EU on ways of handling the Ukrainian political crisis, with Nuland suggesting to “glue this thing” with the help of the UN and ignore Brussels.

The US State Department did not deny the authenticity of the video and stressed that Nuland had apologized for the “reported comments.”