Saturday, July 19, 2014

Who shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17? New Cold War, same old propaganda

East Ukrainian rebels inspect the crash site of MH17
Sott.net | Jul 18, 2014 | Joe Quinn

Is everyone enjoying the show? The ridiculously transparent attempt by the entire Western media and political establishment to use the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 as part of their 'asymmetric' warfare against Russia and Vladimir Putin. Even the supposedly 'leftist' UK Guardian newspaper has been running headlines like World demands answers from Russia after Malaysia Airlines plane's destruction over Ukraine and Hilary Clinton (wasn't she fired?) wasted no time in declaring authoritatively that Russian rebels were responsible for the downing of the plane and that "Putin has gone too far". Clinton's statement clearly exposes her own and her former government's complete lack of respect for due process, truth, and the extreme prejudice with which they both view the Russian Federation. It's also clearly complete and utter BS because no one could possibly know who was responsible for the shooting down of Flight MH17 just a few hours after it fell out of the sky.

Then again, the US government never did let the facts get in the way of a good dose of propaganda, and to be fair, from the point of view of Clinton and her ilk, Putin has gone 'too far', but it has nothing to do with any Malaysian aircraft.

Context is Everything

Despite how the Western media would like us all to think about this attack, the shooting down of Flight 17 over the Donetsk region of Ukraine, just 60 kms from the Russian border, has to be considered in the context of events in the region over the course of the last 9 months.

In late 2013 anti-government protests in Ukraine were hijacked by the US government's phony NGOs and, with the help of US- and EU-trained and funded neo-Nazi thugs known as the the 'Right Sector', President Yanukovych was violently forced out of power and a client regime, hand-picked by the US State Department and including several neo-Nazi types, was installed.

East Ukrainian rebels inspect
the crash site of MH17
The intent of the coup was clear to the Russian government: to kick Russia's Black Sea fleet out of Crimea and remove all of Ukraine (along with its large Russian population) from the Russian Federation's 'sphere of influence'. In response to this obvious imperial aggression, Russia acted quickly to secure Crimea and provide support for the millions of ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine. When Eastern Ukrainians subsequently held a referendum to explore the possibility of seceding from Ukraine, the puppet government in Kiev sent their neo-Nazi thugs and ill-trained stooge conscripts to beat the Eastern Ukrainians back into line. It hasn't worked out too well for Kiev on that score, and since then, "civil war" has been raging in select parts of Eastern Ukraine, or so we're told. In reality, Eastern Ukrainian citizens are fighting and dying in defense of their right not to live under the dictates of a US/NATO-funded and inspired fascist central government.

Russia has undoubtedly been aiding the East Ukrainian rebels in various ways, but there has been no evidence of direct Russian participation in the conflict, despite repeated claims to that effect by the Kiev regime and the US. In any case, the US is hardly in a position to complain about Russian funding rebels in a foreign country to achieve political objectives, having practiced that form of proxy warfare for decades in dozens of countries around the world, albeit on the side of brutal dictators and warlords. The thing that really sticks in the craw of the US government is that other major powers are meant to do what they have always done, i.e. what America says, not what it does, especially when, in this case, the rebels are fighting against US imperial hegemony over Eastern Europe and greater Eurasia.

The fact is that the US's stint as as the world's richest and most powerful nation is coming to a close because there's only so long a bully can exploit the playground before other kids either grow up, or gang up on the bully and, at the very least, say 'no'. In many cases, the bully gets the shit kicked out of him as payback. In the real world global political playground, the US has taken a series of beatings at the hands of Russia over the past few months, and they're really unhappy about it. No one is allowed to question US exceptionalism.

This image from just last week of the leaders of the BRICS nations and the heads of just about every other Latin American government all happily grouped around a smiling Vladimir Putin is an example of what I mean:


I can imagine that image (and the message it sent) caused blood pressures in the US State Department to go through the roof... then again, the US State Dept. has been gunning for Putin ever since he quietly and efficiently said "No" to the US over Crimea and Ukraine. Just ask your friends in Western nations what they think of Putin and you'll understand the extent of the massive media campaign that has been going on for the past 3-4 months to attack and discredit him and all things Russian.

As much as the NATO war-lovers would have liked to deal with Russia in the same way as they dealt with Gaddafi, Russia is just too economically and militarily potent and globally interconnected for them to risk an open war that would also jeopardize their own economic interests. For once, globalization appears to have prevented a US attack on another country rather than serving as the impetus for one. Deprived of their big stick, the US empire builders fell back on a propaganda offensive, ramping up the 'cold war' rhetoric and slapping a series of ineffective sanctions on Russian industry and banking.

The result? Not much. Russians laughed, Europe cringed and fretted and asked for exemptions from US-mandated sanctions on doing business with Russian companies, gas pipelines between Russia and the EU continue to be laid. So much for Europe's 'energy independence' from Russia and dependence on the US. Sometimes (not often) reality gets in the way of the 'reality creators' and the cold war commie boogeyman tactic wasn't cutting it in the burgeoning brave new multi-polar world.

Some EU politicians are cringing
over hysterical US Russia-hating.
But the psychos in the US government are nothing if they aren't creative, if only in a destructive sort of way. What was needed was a little 'shock and awe', a 'spectacular' to bring the world to its 'senses' and drive home the message that Russians are the epitome of all evil. Traditionally, the US government has approached this kind of problem by way of the most brutal and cynical kind of emotional manipulation of the masses (politicos included): the mass murder of civilians, preferably while they're in a vulnerable position, doing something we can all easily identify with, like flying on a commercial airliner.

Cold War Boogeyman Redux

On August 31st 1983, Korean Airlines Flight 007 with its 269 passengers and crew, strayed off course over a Soviet missile installation in the far Pacific and was shot out of the sky by Maj. Gennady Osipovich, in his Sukhoi-15 fighter. The then US government capitalized on the event with then president Reagan's nationally televised address to the nation on Sept. 5th, which was full of strong rhetorical condemnation: Reagan called the Soviet action "monstrous," "murderous," and "born of a society which wantonly disregards individual rights and the value of human life."

At a subsequent UN security council meeting, taped comments made by the Soviet fighter pilots to controllers made it appear that the Soviet pilot had not attempted to signal KAL 007 to land, had fired no warning shots and had callously destroyed what he knew to be a passenger plane. The video became a key factor in what Secretary of State George Shultz promised in a memo to President Reagan would be a massive public relations effort "to exploit the incident." In a 1996 New York Post article Alvin Synder wrote:
The intent was to link the incident to nuclear disarmament issues. Raising concerns about Soviet integrity could do serious damage to the Kremlin's peace campaign to dissuade NATO allies in Europe from placing upgraded American nuclear weapons on their soil.
The actual Time Magazine cover from 12th September 1983
As you might have guessed, this was pretty far from the whole truth and Secretary Schultz was aware of it, as was revealed in two National Security Planning Group documents released under a freedom of information request.

Flight KAL 007 was actually 587km off course, a fact that the pilot could not possibly have been unaware of. In his book Shootdown: The Verdict on KAL 007, Oxford political scientist R.W. Johnson states that the pilot of KAL 007:
  • fiddled his fuel papers to take on five extra tons of fuel; inexplicably left paying cargo behind at Anchorage;
  • left behind notes (reproduced in Johnson's book) in which he appears to have been planning the route he actually took (587 km off his proper course);
  • executed at least three navigational turns which could only have been conscious;
  • systematically misreported his position at every waypoint and flew at widely varying speeds quite outside the scheduled speed envelope;
  • mysteriously used the wrong transponder code;
  • carried ground-mapping weather radar which would have clearly shown it was over Soviet territory;
In an interview with the Moscow journal Nedelya in April 1986, Col. Gen. of Aviation Nikolay Moskvitelev, Deputy Commander in Chief for Aviation of Air Defence Forces, said that the Boeing was clearly a reconnaissance plane.
"The aircraft's takeoff from Anchorage was held up 40 minutes in order to synchronise the time of the Boeing's approach to the shores of Kamchatka and Sakhalin with the flight of the Ferret reconnaissance satellite," Moskvitelev said. "That satellite is designed for conducting radiotechnical reconnaissance over the broad range of frequencies on which the Soviet Union's radioelectronic facilities operate.

Just prior to the violation of USSR air space by the South Korean aircraft, there were two US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, an Orion aircraft, an E-3A AWACS aircraft and a Badger frigate in the area. Nor does the assertion the Boeing 'became lost' or 'strayed' stand up to criticism. The entire flight of the intruding aircraft was carried out not just in a zone accessible to air traffic control facilities, but also within the effective zone of the American LORANS-C radio navigational system, which makes it possible to determine an aircraft's true coordinates with great precision at any time."
In addition to these factors that led the Soviet pilot to suspect that KAL 007 was not what it appeared to be, it was subsequently revealed that the pilot had fired warning shots and attempted to establish both radio and visual communication (which was ignored) with the captain of the Korean airliner.

The growing Soviet Naval presence in the Far East, and in particular the Typhoon submarine base at Petropavlovsk, were of great interest to the United States at the time, as were the Soviet air defense, radar, command, communications, control and intelligence systems in the area which provided the necessary and interlocking protective network over and around these key installations.

While the American military's advanced spy satellites and wide range of reconnaissance aircraft were useful for spying on Soviet installations, it was not possible to directly probe Soviet radar defenses without sending in an aircraft. So that's what the American military did, with the help of a compliant Korean Airlines pilot who was most likely working for US (military) intelligence. There is, however, no evidence that the 269 people on board KAL 007 were informed of the plan to risk, and ultimately sacrifice, their lives in the 'national interest'.

The point of this little trip down memory lane is to show that there is a precedent for the US government (the one that doesn't change every four or eight years) using the shooting down of a commercial airliner as part of a strategy to 'contain' Russia. The shooting down of Flight KAL 007 was aggressively exploited by the US government to internationally condemn the Soviets and set the clock back on Soviet attempts at a rapprochement with the West. And yet, the official truth of that story was a lie. The US government was in fact more culpable for the loss of KAL 007 than the Soviets.

Cui Bono?

A cover of Time Magazine they're
probably going to publish
any day now
At the time of writing, accurate details on what exactly happened to Malaysia Flight MH17 and who did it are scarce. While there has been lots of finger-pointing, even before the flames of the wreckage had been extinguished, no hard evidence has been presented, only biased speculation and hubris. Yet hard evidence isn't really necessary for us to come to a tentative conclusion, as long as we remember our actual history rather than the manufactured variety spun in Washington, DC. As usual, asking the question 'cui bono?' serves us well.

Assuming that the East Ukrainian rebels actually had a missile system capable of shooting down a plane at 33,000ft, there is no rational explanation as to why they would deliberately carry out such an act that would provide them with no tangible benefit and, on the contrary, result in massive international condemnation and, very likely, an end to their campaign for independence. Then there is the 'mistaken identity' argument, yet the same logic applies in this case. If the rebels were even remotely unsure of the plane's identity, why would they take the risk? In any case, there is NO evidence that the Ukrainian rebels possess a surface-to-air missile system capable of reaching 33,000ft, so we can dismiss the allegation as Western propaganda.

That just leaves us with the even more spurious 'Russia did it' idea. Fact: the Russian military has a modern military capability that allows for the clear identification of aircraft, including transponder signals, in which case, we must conclude that, if the Russian government gave an order to shoot down MH17, it did so because the massive amount of negative attention it has been receiving from the US of late is not nearly enough, or sufficiently severe, to satisfy Putin's masochistic tendencies.

Unusual Flight Path

As far as I can tell, MH17 followed a flight path that it had never followed before. Using the Flightaware website, I checked dozens of previous flights by this aircraft from Schipol to Kuala Lumpur and all of them took a path that crossed the Sea of Azov. More to the point, every other airline that follows the same general flight path also flew over the Sea of Azov. Yesterday's flight path by MH17 was the only one I could find that crossed a couple of hundred kms further north, putting it directly between Donetsk and Luhansk, the perfect place for it to be shot down and the East Ukrainian rebels/Russia to be blamed.

As an example, the image below shows the flight path of MH17 a few weeks ago:

 The below image shows the flight path of MH17 on July 17th.


That's where the similarities between the minutia of the shooting down of KAL 007 and MH17 end (at least for now). I have no idea why the pilot chose (if he chose) to fly further north or why Ukrainian air traffic control may have directed him to change his flight path. I am aware of Twitter posts by an alleged Spanish 'air traffic controller' in Ukraine named 'Carlos' who claims to have overheard a "conflict between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior" and that he claimed that there were Ukrainian military jets alongside MH17 before it was shot down, and that eyewitnesses also claim to have seen military jets in the area at the time. Until there is more concrete proof of the truth, or possible truth, of these allegations, I prefer to stick to the available facts. In any case, the precise details of how MH17 was destroyed are, in my opinion, not necessary to approach a tentative conclusion about who is to blame: those with eyes to See, or those with one eye on political history and the other on the recent geopolitical climate and the immediate and hysterical accusations leveled by the US government against Russia and the East Ukrainian rebels, can probably figure it out.

In the meantime, watch and listen to statements coming from the politicos and see if you can tell which party is most heavily invested in this incident being portrayed in a very particular way. First up, Hillary Clinton:
"Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this. It was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals."
Specifically, Clinton implies, there should be outrage in Europe directed at Russia. Is there? Here's the EU's official statement:
"We are shocked by reports of the circumstances surrounding the tragic loss of a Malaysian Airlines flight on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Ukrainian territory and the loss of so many lives. The circumstances must be clarified without delay and the international investigation must shed full light on this tragedy. This is another stark illustration of why it is so urgent to bring this conflict to an end. Without prejudging the facts behind the crash, we call on all parties to stop the senseless loss of life in Eastern Ukraine, to refrain from any escalatory acts, and to agree to an immediate ceasefire."
No spleen vented at Russia there. Instead there's an echoing of Putin's call yesterday for an end to the conflict: "We reiterate the need for the immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities by both parties in the south-east of Ukraine."

Expect any 'investigation' into this disaster to be a drawn-out affair, thwarted at every turn by the culprits. Other events in the fast-changing geopolitical landscape will soon eclipse it as the US elite grow increasingly desperate in their attempts to retain control of an Empire that should never have been and, if providence permits (sadly unlikely), will never again afflict the face of the planet.

Recent articles by Joe Quinn

Joe Quinn is an established web-based essayist and print author, Joe has been writing hard-hitting editorials for Sott.net for 10 years and is the author of Sott.net's The Sott Report Videos. His articles have appeared on many alternative news sites and he has been interviewed on several internet radio shows. His articles can also be found on his personal blog JoeQuinn.net

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