Robert Parry’s ‘Blaming Russia as ‘Flat Fact’
“The Times reached what was arguably a new low on Sunday when it accepted as flat fact the still unproven point of how Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down. The Times dropped all attribution despite what appear to be growing – rather than diminishing – doubts about Official Washington’s narrative that Ukrainian rebels shot down the plane by using a powerful Russian-supplied Buk missile battery.
U.S. and Ukrainian government officials began pushing this narrative immediately after the plane went down on July 17 killing 298 people onboard. But the only evidence has been citations of “social media” and the snippet of an intercepted phone call containing possibly confused comments by Ukrainian rebels after the crash, suggesting that some rebels initially believed they had shot the plane down but later reversed that judgment.
A major problem with this evidence is that it assumes the rebels – or for that matter the Ukrainian armed forces – operate with precise command and control when the reality is that the soldiers on both sides are not very professional and function in even a deeper fog of war than might exist in other circumstances.
But an even bigger core problem for the U.S. narrative is that it is virtually inconceivable that American intelligence did not have satellite and other surveillance on eastern Ukraine at the time of the shoot-down. Yet the U.S. government has been unable (or unwilling) to supply a single piece of imagery showing the Russians supplying a Buk anti-aircraft missile battery to the rebels; the rebels transporting the missiles around eastern Ukraine; the rebels firing the fateful missile that allegedly brought down the Malaysian airliner; or the rebels then returning the missiles to Russia.
To accept Official Washington’s certainty about what it “knows” happened, you would have to believe that American spy satellites – considered the best in the world – could not detect 16-feet-tall missiles during their odyssey around Russia and eastern Ukraine. If that is indeed the case, the U.S. taxpayers should demand their billions upon billions of dollars back.
However, the failure of U.S. intelligence to release its satellite images of Buk missile batteries in eastern Ukraine is the “dog-not-barking” evidence that this crucial evidence to support the U.S. government’s allegations doesn’t exist. Can anyone believe that if U.S. satellite images showed the missiles crossing the border, being deployed by the rebels and then returning to Russia, that those images would not have been immediately declassified and shown to the world? In this case, the absence of evidence is evidence of absence – absence of U.S. evidence.
The U.S. government’s case also must overcome public remarks by senior U.S. military personnel at variance with the Obama administration’s claims of certainty. For instance, the Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock reported last Saturday that Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, U.S. commander of NATO forces in Europe, said last month that “We have not seen any of the [Russian] air-defense vehicles across the border yet.”
Whitlock also reported that “Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said defense officials could not point to specific evidence that an SA-11 [Buk] surface-to-air missile system had been transported from Russia into eastern Ukraine.”.….etc.
A letter from nine intelligence specialists to the president to that effect.
Wolf Richter’s: ‘Sanction Spiral Successful – German Exports to Russia Plunge’
Without characterizing Putin’s ‘schemes for Ukraine’, he describes how the sanctions my bite back at the EU in many ways. Blowback equaling ‘unintended consequences’.
First comment nails it with irony and humor, imo:
Gerard Pierce: “It seems that our neo-cons have solved a classic Sufi teaching problem: “Cut a hole in the fence of your back yard that is just large enough for your chickens to get through and eat in your neighbor’s garden – and just small enough that your neighbors chickens cannot get get through to eat in your garden”.
Once one has listened to Cohen and Mearsheimer, and heard that the US via NATO believes it is a ‘benign hegemon’, and ruing the fact that instead of having multi-faceted debates about US foreign policy, there is none of that happening as there was when they were active in FP circles.
Couple that with the fact that during the Clinton era, as he was busting his buns to expand NATO and contain Russia, no one asked ‘How will Russia react?’ The manifest muscular pride on the NATO twitter account is almost too much to bear, but today there is a whole series of these NATO Russian myth-busters.