Today was a chaotic day in Ukraine, and there were riots in its southern city of Odessa, but whatever the Western media megaphone tells you, it’s pretty clear that

“39 die in Odessa as pro-regime rioters set trade union building ablaze”

But with the honorable exception of the UK’s Guardian, that’s not what you’ll read in the news. The Western media avoids telling the truth when it violates the narrative that only the ‘other side’ has bad guys and does bad things. So you’re gonna get faux confusion and ‘both sides equally responsible’ sentences such as the following (apologies for not correcting ‘pro-Russian’ to ‘pro-federalist’ or ‘pro-autonomy’):

  • CNN:It is unclear how the fire began, but it comes amid ongoing clashes between pro-Kiev and pro-Russian protesters.
  • Globe & Mail:most caught in a building set on fire after pro-Russian activists and supporters of Ukrainian unity fought running battles across the southern port city.
  • BBC: At least 31 people have been killed in a fire in an official building amid violence in Odessa in south-west Ukraine, the interior ministry says. The deaths came as pro-Russian protesters clashed with Ukrainian government supporters in the city.
  • Global Post: At least 30 people died in the port city of Odessa on Friday, most of them from smoke inhalation after a building caught fire amid violent protests.
  • USA Today:Police in the Black Sea port of Odessa said late Friday that 31 people died when a union hall was set ablaze as pro-Russia demonstrators battled in the streets with Ukrainian loyalists.

In fact the building was surrounded by pro-Kiev protesters, who had already set a pro-federalist encampment on fire, and there are photos of guys throwing molotov cocktails into the trade union building. Here’s how the Guardian reports the story:

More than 30 people were reported to have been killed in violent and chaotic clashes in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa on Friday as pro-Ukrainian activists stormed a building defended by protesters opposed to the current government in Kiev and in favour of closer ties with Russia.

Odessa’s large Soviet-era trade union building was set alight as pro-Ukrainian activists mounted an assault as dusk fell. Police said at least 31 people choked to death on smoke or were killed when jumping out of windows after the trade union building was set on fire.

The notorious Right Sector was definitely among those rioting on the pro-Kiev side, by the way:

At first we broke through the side, and then we came through the main entrance,” said one pro-Ukrainian fighter, 20, who said he was a member of the extreme nationalist group Right Sector. …

Riot police arrived on the scene as hand-to-hand fighting was already underway inside, but did not enter the building and stood formed up in ranks outside. …

‘The aim is to completely clear Odessa [of pro-Russians],’ said Dmitry Rogovsky, another activist from Right Sector whose hand had been injured during the fighting. ‘They are all paid Russian separatists.’

Just a reminder, but these folks are U.S. allies in the struggle to impose IMF austerity and NATO on Ukraine. Once again we’re siding with the worst people we can find in a country: neo-Nazi thugs to carry out ‘pro-U.S.’ violence, and abject puppets to do what we say in Kiev.

P.S. Another place to find fairly unbiased reporting on this tragedy is RT.com.

P.S.2 The new column by Pepe Escobar is perfectly timed: ‘Sooner or later Kiev’s army, Right Sector will attack civilians.’

UPDATED at 4:12 a.m. ET to ’39 Die’ based on this RT source.