The prospect of unnecessary war has focused Ilargi’s mind. He starts with an important article in Handlesblatt that a record number of NC readers flagged, then turns to an issue we’ve focused on: what is the evidence behind US claims of Russian responsibility for the downing of MH17? After Colin Powell’s Iraq WMD canard, it’s remarkable that anyone accepts “trust me” from American officials, but remarkably, that’s where things stand.
One excuse offered for the failure of the US to support its claims is that the military apparatus does not want to expose its information-gathering capabilities. But there’s another, more obvious reason. The officialdom does not want to establish the precedent of being required to deliver the goods in order to foment war. That would mean they’d be expected to do so in the future, and the failure to be forthcoming would be seen as a sign that the officialdom was making stuff up. Needing to establish the legitimacy of their case would constrain their game.
By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth
A lot of people will be paying attention today to the open letter published in his own paper by Gabor Steingart, the publisher of Germany’s leading financial newspaper Handelsblatt. And it’s admittedly not an everyday occurrence when a man like Steingart writes a letter like that. But the content is not that big a deal. He doesn’t call out any lies.
Mind you, the Handelsblatt is not some small paper, it’s Germany’s major financial publication, and Germany is Europe’s largest economic power. For the proper perspective, think of the publisher of the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times writing a major article, in 3 languages, that denounces the politics of their respective governments and the coalitions they are part of.
Thing is, if either of the latter would write such a thing, our first thought would be, and rightly so, that there are political reasons behind it. Steingart’s letter seems to fit that pattern. He doesn’t go so far as to say what the western media are claiming about Ukraine and Russia is wrong, he merely says that ‘our’ politics vis à vis the situation, and Putin in particular, are. Because they harm German interests.
I don’t think that goes nearly far enough. I don’t think we should say that what our politicians and press have claimed over the past 23 days since MH17 crashed is fine, or acceptable, or even pardonable, and that we should simply only try and find a different approach towards Russia going forward, because that would be more constructive. It wouldn’t help us understand, let alone solve, what happened, and more importantly, what’s wrong with us that makes us blindly follow the lies (a.k.a. lack of evidence).
In my view, it’s time for every single one of us to take a few large strides back and look at what evidence there is, and what there is not. When we’re done looking at that, and we know right from wrong, we can assign blame, and perhaps punishment. With a clear conscience. Right now, we have done no such thing, and we risk not ever doing it.
We’re instead engaged in a shouting contest for assigning blame, and we shout so loud precisely because we have no evidence. The louder our screams, the less the evidence seems to matter. In the course of this, we risk doing things that we will not easily, or not at all, be able to take back. We risk doing serious and lasting damage without a shred of evidence. Because our politicians and media tell us that’s the thing to do. It obviously is not.
Since the crash that killed 298 people, I have, right here at The Automatic Earth, been through what evidence I think we should demand, at least the minimum amount of it, before we pass judgment.
Politicians and media tell us the MH17 was brought down with a BUK rocket, but not one square inch of such a rocket was found on the crash site. Which means the involvement of such a rocket is merely a theory, nothing more. Nothing.
We don’t know what information is on the black boxes, though they were handed over to a British lab two weeks or so ago. We don’t know what’s on the Air Traffic Control logs, because those were taken away by the Ukraine Secret Service the day of the crash, and no-one ever heard from them again.
We don’t know why there were Ukraine jets near the MH17 plane when it got hit, but ti’s getting hard to deny that they were there. We don’t know why Ukraine deployed BUK installations in the area not long before July 17.
Malaysia was obviously one of the main parties involved in the crash: it lost many people, and it pretty much lost its major airline, which was delisted and taken over by its government at a huge price. Malaysia’s no. 1 newspaper, The New Straits Times, maybe not quite as big as the Handelsblatt, but still, published this 3 days ago:
Intelligence analysts in the United States had already concluded that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by an air-to-air missile, and that the Ukrainian government had had something to do with it. This corroborates an emerging theory postulated by local investigators that the Boeing 777-200 was crippled by an air-to-air missile and finished off with cannon fire from a fighter that had been shadowing it as it plummeted to earth.
In a damning report dated Aug 3, headlined “Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts”, Associated Press reporter Robert Parry said “some US intelligence sources had concluded that the rebels and Russia were likely not at fault and that it appears Ukrainian government forces were to blame”.
In a statement released by the Ukrainian embassy on Tuesday, Kiev denied that its fighters were airborne during the time MH17 was shot down. This follows a statement released by the Russian Defence Ministry that its air traffic control had detected Ukrainian Air Force activity in the area on the same day .[..]
Yesterday, the New Straits Times quoted experts who had said that photographs of the blast fragmentation patterns on the fuselage of the airliner showed two distinct shapes – the shredding pattern associated with a warhead packed with “flechettes”, and the more uniform, round-type penetration holes consistent with that of cannon rounds. [..]
Parry also cited a July 29 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interview with Michael Bociurkiw, one of the first Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) investigators to arrive at the scene of the disaster, near Donetsk. Bociurkiw is a Ukrainian-Canadian monitor with OSCE who, along with another colleague, were the first international monitors to reach the wreckage after flight MH17 was brought down over eastern Ukraine. In the CBC interview, the reporter in the video preceded it with: “The wreckage was still smouldering when a small team from the OSCE got there. No other officials arrived for days”.
That rhymes with the video of a rebel leader saying nobody came to pick up the bodies, and after 3 days they themselves started doing it – with respect -, because it seemed the right thing to do, and because leaving dead bodies in 3 days of 35ºC heat is a really bad idea. Nobody ever came in the first days.
“There have been two or three pieces of fuselage that have been really pockmarked with what almost looks like machinegun fire; very, very strong machinegun fire,” Bociurkiw said in the interview. Parry had said that Bociurkiw’s testimony is “as close to virgin, untouched evidence and testimony as we’ll ever get. Unlike a black-box interpretation-analysis long afterward by the Russian, British or Ukrainian governments, each of which has a horse in this race, this testimony from Bociurkiw is raw, independent and comes from one of the two earliest witnesses to the physical evidence. [..]
Retired Lufthansa pilot Peter Haisenko had also weighed in on the new shootdown theory with Parry and pointed to the entry and exit holes centred around the cockpit. “You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely that of a 30mm caliber projectile. [..]
“It had to have been a hail of bullets from both sides that brought the plane down. This is Haisenko’s main discovery. You can’t have projectiles going in both directions — into the left-hand-side fuselage panel from both its left and right sides — unless they are coming at the panel from different directions. “Nobody before Haisenko had noticed that the projectiles had ripped through that panel from both its left side and its right side. This is what rules out any ground-fired missile,” Parry had said.
Ironclad evidence? Certainly not. But no less credible than what we’ve heard thus far, and what nigh all western opinion is based on, much of which, especially in the first days, came from the US repeating what Kiev government social media said, information that has since all been torn to bits, or 99% of it: no source has less reliable than Kiev.
Come to think of it, if ever you needed proof that the Ukraine government consists of a set of handpuppets, you can now be satisfied. PM Yatsenyuk announced on Friday that the country considers shutting off the Russian pipelines under its territory, so no gas can be delivered to Europe.
Ukraine would not dare say any such thing of its own accord. The Ukraine ‘leaders’ are handpuppets to US and EU interests. In turn, EU leaders are US handpuppets, or they would have never accepted a list of sanctions that hurt them, but not America. It spells ‘follow the money’ all the way to the next war. They all sing the same tune, and as long as they can get the majority of their people to go along, they can take it further. And risk doing serious and lasting damage. Without a shred of evidence.
Do read Steingart’s The Escalation of Politics: The West Has Lost Direction , and do read Dmitry Orlov’s reaction to it, but don’t forget, it’s important you make up your own mind about all this.
To that end, may I suggest y’all write to your Congressmen and MPs or whatever they’re called where you are, and your newspapers and TV outlets, and ask them to provide you the proof that either the east Ukrainians or the Russians, or all of the above, those parties that everyone today lays the blame on, are responsible for the crash of flight MH17. And that they crashed it on purpose, which is not a minor detail.
If you don’t receive- detailed – proof from anyone, that should tell you a lot. Don’t accept some ‘trust us’ line, that won’t do. Go for actual evidence. I for one would like to see some, any, evidence. I’d like to know what happened. And nobody wants to tell me.
I’d like to know so I can stop thinking about it, and writing about it, but most of all so I no longer have to listen to all the lies my ‘own people’ tell me 24/7.
Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m some kind of second class citizen, just because I don’t like war party talk, and I want to see with my own eyes, and judge with my own brain.
I should never have to feel like that just for asking questions. And if I do have to, that means there’s something wrong with ‘my people’.
Or, sure, with me.