A new study on MH17 suggests that a trained crew of regular Russian forces operating on separatist territory shot down the aircraft. But doesn’t Putin tell us there are no such forces in Ukraine? The Kremlin can never tell the truth, and international investigators aren’t willing to interrogate separatists and Russian officials who allegedly pulled the trigger even though we know their names, addresses, and in some cases telephone numbers.
Criminal investigators routinely interrogate those they suspect of committing a crime. Under questioning, the suspects have the opportunity to deny evidence, counter allegations, and offer alibis to prove their innocence. For reasons relating to international politics, the investigation of the violent destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) at 4:20 PM on July 17, 2014 has not proceeded down this path, despite a long list of suspected perpetrators and accomplices: We know who and where the suspects are who may have killed 298 innocent civilians aboard the Boeing 777.
The newly-completed investigation of the MH17 disaster by a small German independent research organization, Correct!V, adds to and confirms the standard narrative that the plane was brought down by a surface-to-air missile operated by a crew in rebel territory of east Ukraine [see internal link]. Here are the basic findings:
Correct!V concludes that MH17 was shot down by a trained Russian crew that believed a hostile Ukrainian jet was approaching to attack the tanks they were protecting. Its screaming headline is that the shooters were trained Russian army specialists operating from separatist territory, which means that the Kremlin cannot confess to an accidental shooting. Putin’s propagandists have to offer alternative explanations no matter how outlandish -- the missile was meant for Putin’s plane; MH17 was tricked into the missile’s path by Ukrainian air control; or, most popularly, that a Ukrainian fighter did it to blame Russia.As I pointed out in the days following the MH17 tragedy, the first lead to be followed in any MH17 investigation should have been the cell phone conversations intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence between separatists, Russian army officers and Russian intelligence. These represent the real time exchanges of those who brought in, hid, and then positioned the missile launcher, reported the incoming MH17, boasted of downing an enemy plane, expressed surprise that the downed plane was civilian, and then ordered an immediate closure of the crash site. The released intercepts give the times, names, places and (often) telephone numbers of the suspected perpetrators.
I have summarized and quoted the calls in four separate accounts (Intercepted Transcripts, Russian Separatists Shot Down, Smoking Guns, and If Putin ‘Mans Up,’ His Regime Will Crumble). Here is a timeline of key calls leading up to and following the crash:
Interpol, Scotland Yard, BND or the FBI would salivate over such a real-time narrative of the commission of a major international crime, but none of these suspects have been interrogated about their roles in the tragedy, although we know their names, ranks and positions. The former commander of “Donetsk People’s Republic” forces, Strelkov, has recently given a number of interviews within Russia. After rumors that he had been assassinated by Russian security forces, Bezler emerged stating that he was living in Poltava. The Russian Facebook (vkontakte) account of Sergeant Ivan Kasnoproshin has been closed, but he could easily be located through the Russian military.
Kremlin dismissals of these intercepts as forgeries cannot be accepted. Ukrainian intelligence released the tapes within too short a time period to write the scripts, find actors who could replicate known voices (such as Strelkov and Bezler), and actually release their cell phone numbers. Let the evidence prove if they are fake.
Notably Putin has not denied the narrative that MH17 was brought down by a missile fired from separatist territory. He has let his propaganda team spin their yarns to cast doubt and confusion. Instead, he argues that “this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.”
In other words, Ukraine is responsible because it resisted his aggression in southeastern Ukraine. If Ukraine had capitulated, this would not have happened. But, if the Correct!V report proves to be correct, the Kremlin can never allow the truth to come out. If MH17 were shot down by a crew of Russian army specialists operating on separatist territory, Putin’s whole facade of Russian non-involvement collapses.
The alleged criminals and accomplices identified in this piece will never be questioned. The Kremlin will not allow this to happen. Western diplomacy probably prefers for the truth not to be clearly spelled out, but the victims cannot be ignored. They need to be told the truth, and the guilty party must admit responsibility and be prepared to pay for their incalculable losses.
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THE AUTHOR is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Kiev School of Economics. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of the school. Click here for information on his documentary film Women of the Gulag. Be sure to watch Putin’s Long Shadow on CBC and PBS.
This is going to be a long, rant-y post. Perhaps not my most eloquent but perhaps it doesn’t need to be to get my point across. I’m a Dutchman, you will understand that I have very strong feelings regarding this issue.
The investigation was delegated to the Dutch government because the Dutch lost the most lives on MH17.
Before the Incident
The Dutch government has always been one of the most cynical and cowardly in its dealings with Russia. Money is really the only consideration for the current Dutch government, diplomats may be beaten up, activists tortured, nothing mattered so long as investments of big Dutch companies and the royalty were secure.
After the Incident
Until the plane went down, the Dutch government was one of the more pro-Russia countries in Europe, with state media spewing Russian propaganda on Ukraine. When MH17 went down, the public turned against Russia, making a pro-Russia course politically unaffordable to the current government.
This did not change their priorities however, which are to restore business-as-usual on a commercial level, with Russia. Nothing Russian forces do in Ukraine gets reported in Dutch media. Everything Ukraine does is milked for all it is worth. Dutch news sites are also swamped with pro-Russia trolls spewing their propaganda. (And yes, those really ridiculous Russian stories like the magical SU25 shooting it down were aired here at first, until they were easily discredited and could no longer be used. My own grandmother believes that particular story now.)
The Dutch government tried blaming Ukraine for the incident, stating that they should have closed off the airspace to commercial travel. (With the dysfunctional state the Ukrainian government was in at the time, that would probably not even have been possible.)
When it was revealed that Ukraine actually *had* very explicitly, specifically, and officially warned the Dutch government of the dangers of flying over East Ukraine several days before MH17 was shot down, it became clear that the Dutch government had very deliberately chosen *themselves* not to instruct airliners to avoid the area. Dutch media asked some questions, and Dutch politicians stated that they had ‘followed the rules’ and those did not point to taking action at that time, and that Ukraine was merely using the warning as ‘anti-Russia propaganda’. By and large the Dutch public has accepted this explanation.
However, now that the public believes a Russian missile was what brought down MH17, the debate is deliberately shifted towards finding, and I quote, “the man who pushed the button”, to ensure that either no one is found (because how would you know who pushed the button) or that a low-ranking scapegoat can be found, avoiding any damage to business relations.
The Dutch government deliberately allowed airliners it had a measure of control over to continue flying over the Donbas because doing otherwise would have been admitting Russian involvement (in the form of anti-aircraft missiles). After it happened they made every attempt to make Ukraine the guilty party. During the investigation again ire was directed at the Ukraine, for example their emergency services (who risked their lives to collect dead foreigners from a warzone!) were accused of being sloppy. The Ukrainians had at one point loaded the plane debris onto a train, but the Dutch insisted on sending small groups of trucks to pick it up and truck it all across Europe, for maximum delay. Afterwards they tried blaming Ukraine for not closing their airspace, when in truth Ukraine very explicitly warned the Dutch government, and it was the Dutch who deliberately ignored it.
The Dutch government sacrificed hundreds of their own citizens to protect the business interests of key Dutch players. The charred corpses of hundreds of their citizens including eighty children came down raining from the sky, and it meant nothing to them. The parades, the speeches, it all meant *nothing*. They simply tried to move the blame to Ukraine, where they have no major business relations. The Dutch public is cynical enough to accept this, so long as they have money in their pocket. (I’m a Dutchman, and I’ve met very few people who cared about justice, and countless who cared about money.)
Do you believe a government so callous has any love for a truth that would make it complicit in mass murder of its own citizens?