Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Who Shot Down MH17?

Killing Fields: The tragedy of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 is amplified by the Western news medias' refusal to either contextualise the airliner's destruction, or provide its global audience with any explanation other than Russian guilt and perfidy. As if historical events have no historical causes.

WHO SHOT DOWN MH17? While there is currently insufficient evidence to declare “Pro-Russian Separatists” guilty beyond reasonable doubt, the balance of probability strongly suggests that Russian-speaking militiamen were indeed responsible for blowing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 out of the sky.
 
Unfortunately, this is the point at which our shock and outrage at the destruction of nearly 300 innocent civilian lives causes our thought processes to stop.
 
For those who grew up during the Cold War, that single word, “Russian”, is enough. Of course “the Russians” are responsible. The Russians are always responsible.
 
For younger New Zealanders, “Russia” means “Putin”. He’s the dead-eyed, bare-chested, gay-bashing gargoyle who threw Pussy Riot and Greenpeace into prison. The President whose gun-toting, balaclava-wearing Spetsnaz stole Crimea from Ukraine. Of course Putin did it!
 
It is vitally important, however, to keep on thinking about the fate of MH17.
 
Is it really credible to suppose that either the armed supporters of the self-proclaimed Peoples Republic of Donetsk (PRD) or their military advisers from just across the border in the Russian Federation, deliberately targeted a civilian airliner? What motive could the PRD and its principal ally possibly have for bringing down upon their own heads the righteous wrath of the entire international community?
 
Isn’t it much more likely that the poorly-trained, fearful (and hence trigger-happy) operators of a surface-to-air missile battery mistook MH17 for a military transport plane belonging to the Ukrainian Air Force and treated it as a legitimate military target? It is certainly true that in the days immediately preceding the MH17 tragedy a PRD missile had brought down just such an aircraft flying above Donetsk at 21,000 feet.
 
And why were the armed forces of the PRD launching surface-to-air missiles at the Ukrainian Air Force in the first place? Could it be because the Ukrainian armed forces have, for several weeks, been bombing and shelling the rebel towns and cities of eastern Ukraine? Hundreds of civilians have been killed in these attacks. Something which the rest of the world, its eyes on the World Cup, failed to register.
 
Nor was the Western news media – whose blanket coverage of the MH17 tragedy is currently drawing the eyes of the world to the body-strewn fields of Donetsk – at all disposed to alert its global audience to the pain and suffering inflicted upon people the Ukrainian Government still insists upon calling its own citizens. Then again, considering the role the Western media played in bringing that government into being, its unwillingness to report the Ukrainian army’s butchery in cities like Slavyansk is understandable.
 
Cast your mind back to January of this year; to the deadly riots in the heart of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. Supported by both the United States and the European Union, the rioters (many of them outright fascists) were targeting the democratically-elected government of Victor Yanukovich. The ultimate success of their “revolution” was hailed by Western media as yet another victory for “freedom”. It was not perceived so in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking eastern provinces. The presence of fascists in the new government brought back bitter memories of the Second World War, when Ukrainian nationalists had fought alongside the Nazi invaders.
 
Context is everything in tragedies like the downing of Flight MH17.
 
Would it have happened if the cease-fire negotiated by President Vladimir Putin and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had been renewed by the Ukrainian Government?
 
Had the Ukrainian Air Force not been engaged in bombing “Russian Separatist Terrorists” and their civilian compatriots, would the operators of that rogue surface-to-air missile battery have been so quick to mistakenly identify a civilian airliner as a military transport plane?
 
If the Americans and the Europeans were not so eager to extend NATO’s reach to the very borders of the Russian Federation, would the latter’s intelligence officers and special forces now be moving back and forth across Ukraine’s borders with such deadly purpose?
 
And had the Ukrainian constitution not been shredded in Kiev’s Independence Square, and had President Yanukovich been allowed to serve out his term and stand for re-election in May, would there now even be a self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk – with airspace to defend?
 
Context is everything.
 
The victims of the USS Vincennes' surface-to-air missile strike which brought down an Iranian civilian airliner in July 1988. All 290 passengers were killed.
 
In July 1988, when Captain Will Rogers III of the USS Vincennes, fearing that his vessel was under attack from an Iranian fighter-aircraft, ordered the launch of the surface-to-air missile which sent Iran Air Flight 655 plummeting out of the sky, killing all of its 290 passengers, we in the West were remarkably restrained in our response.
 
In the fog of war, our editorialists opined, terrible things happen. Captain Rogers was responding to a perceived threat. He was, after all, operating in a war zone.
 
We grieve for the passengers of MH17 and their loved ones. Those responsible must be held accountable for their deaths.
 
All of those responsible.
 
This essay was originally published in The Press of Tuesday, 22 July 2014.

37 comments:

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Sort of missing the point here a bit Chris. Why was the plane flying over a war zone in the first place? I tell you what, if they told me before it took off that they were going to be flying over that particular area I would have stepped off the damned plane.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

"All of those responsible."

Which includes the management of Malaysian Airlines who had their aircraft flying though a known war zone to save a lousy $1,500 worth of fuel.

Who in their right minds ever would fly with this outfit?

JanM said...

Sorry, but I don't think it's Chris who's missing the point!

Davo Stevens said...

Commercial Airlines fly above war zones all the time. Even over Afganistan. War planes don't fly at 35,000ft so they are usually safe. Usually the attackers identify the planes they are shooting at.

The evidence points toward the Separatists doing the deed but we can't be sure.

Malaysian Airlines seems to have some serious bad luck!

Anonymous said...

"Which includes the management of Malaysian Airlines who had their aircraft flying though a known war zone to save a lousy $1,500 worth of fuel."

How do you know that this was the reason theywere there?

thesorrow&thepity said...

A bit sad that you've written an apology for Putin. Hundreds of planes fly over Syria every day & aren't shot down so lets stop blaming the airline.
A surface to air missile requires training & expertise to use, the separatists are augmented with Russian regulars as well as special forces. The SAM came across the border (so WAS Russian) & after the murder went back to Russia (who it belongs to). The Russians at the very least gave logistical support & training, at the most it was Russian regulars firing it. I can't understand why all you old socialists support Putin Chris? The Soviet Union but about the party elite lording over a state of worker slaves & was never about a fairer society. What Putin has created further proves this, a capitalistic society based on corruption & cronyism where an elite few plunder the nation & dissent is crushed & silenced by brute force. Face it, Putin's Russia is simply the KGB reinstating tyranny but doing it whilst wearing a Rolex with Dolce & Gabbana shoes.

Chris Trotter said...

To: The Sorrow and the Pity.

I'm not carrying a torch for Vladimir Putin, I'm carrying a torch for the Truth.

The Israelis are currently flying American fighter-bombers - does that make the USA responsible for what is happening in Gaza?

That argument is entirely specious.

And, surely, you cannot seriously be suggesting that the PRD intended to shoot down a passenger jet? How would that advance their cause? The only people to benefit from such a colossal blunder would be its enemies in Kiev.

Now, there's a thought.

Anonymous said...

This is shameless humbuggery and blame shifting. You should be ashamed of your nonsense.

Guerilla Surgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wayne Mapp said...

Chris, your last sentence of your comment says it all. That you would sooner believe the Russian conspiracy theories than the more plausible use of missiles by the separatists.
But more broadly I do agree that the West should not overplay its hand, since this will not have been a deliberate attack.
Ramping up tension between Europe and Russia just does not make sense. In fact it would make more sense for the Europeans (Merkel, now is the time to step up) to put a much bigger effort to stop the Ukrainian civil war, by facilitating negotiations, credits, and a new relationship with Russia. As you point out the war is actually bigger than the current Israel Palestine conflict.

Fossil said...

Context is important, but not everything. Conflict in eastern Ukraine explains the downing of a civilian airline but does not excuse it. And it is probably misleading to characterise the conflict as fascists against the people, although fascists and communists alike may be active in it.

Since independence, power in Ukraine has rested with the oligarchs. Corruption is endemic. It is a country with no democratic tradition and has had no chance to develop one. Its relationship with Russia is blood-stained – Stalin exterminated millions of Ukrainian peasants and opened their land to Russian settlement, the Tsars rooted out the Muslims of Crim Tatary. It must be hard for the inhabitants of the Ukraine to believe that Russia’s interest in them has matured into benevolence. Context here is unbelievably complex.

Victor said...

I'm not sure, Chris, that you haven't constructed a "Man of Straw".

I don't think that there are many people in the West who are saying either that a commercial passenger plane was deliberately brought down or the the Russians did it.

But, not incorrectly, they're saying that this awful and tragic incident highlights Russia's culpability in backing and (to a great extent) organising the seccesionist revolt in eastern Ukraine.

And this point remains valid even if you believe that the US and EU bear some culpability for the overthrow of the then constitutionally elected government of Ukraine.

I don't want to be flippant about so horrendous an event as the downing of this aircraft but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that vodka consumption played a role in whatever took place on the ground.

Meanwhile, I remain haunted by the image of a Dutch language kiddies' book amidst the Ukrainian sunflowers.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Victor.

I wish you were right, Victor. But a perusal of the local and international media makes it very clear that Putin and the Russian Federation are indeed being blamed for this event, and that a vocal minority of media commentators are treating the downing of MH17 as a deliberate act of terrorism.

To: Wayne Mapp.

Read the first two sentences again, Wayne. I am not accepting anybody's conspiracy theories - merely asking "Cui Bono?" (Who benefits?)

To: Anonymous@23:53PM

Identify the errors of fact in my posting, Anonymous, and then explain to Bowalley Road's readers how you have been able to definitively apportion blame before any serious investigation has taken place.

Victor said...

Chris

I agree there's a vocal minority directly blaming Putin for this tragedy as opposed to just blaming him for creating the conditions that led to it.

But, from what I've read, this seems to be a vocal but rather small minority.

As to the others, I wouldn't quarrel with the view that Putin bears considerable responsibility for the circumstances in which the tragedy took place.

Of course, this doesn't mean that nobody else bears any responsibility. In the real world, very little is ever that cut and dried.

Meanwhile, the secessionists' on-camera antics cast an interesting light on the kind of people Moscow is supporting.

Richard Christie said...

Don't worry folks.

Putin the Bad has been put in his place. After 3 days of trying, David Cameron finally got through to Putin on the phone and gave him a right bollocking for causing this disaster.

Then Downing St released a glossy press statement just to make sure everybody knew about this.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Davo, possibly like you I found out from national radio that "airlines fly over war zones all the time". But they don't publicise it to their passengers. And as far as I know there is nothing to prevent any warplane in the world just about, from flying at 35,000 feet. Unless there is some civilian height mentioned in the Geneva Convention? 35,000 feet isn't the level you can casually point a stinger at summat and let fly however it takes a number of vehicles and much training. So someone made a HUGE mistake. And if you going to say someone is missing the point Jan you should say how - as I did. You'll notice I said missing the point A BIT.

manfred said...

As an extremely sophisticated leftist, Chris, you should be embarrassed to be using standard vulgar leftist anti-impie whataboutism logic. Albeit logic dressed up somewhat in clever phrasing.

The democratically elected president, the western support, nato, pro-western domestic opponents of the regime on one side and the opponents of unipolarity on the other.

Why, it must be a 'colour revolution'! It must be western warmongering arrogance yet again!

It's not as it seems.

The west is bad in 85% of cases. But sometimes it rides to the rescue.

Ukraine had been pillaged by the gangster-oligarchs that run Russia, the maidan uprising was a genuine peoples revolt against imperialism and oligarchy.

If you want far right, go look at Russia. Look at the thousands of far right nationalists marching for the russian empire. Among those are people like Alexandr Dugin who is very close Putin and has been championing a Christian 'eurasianist' empire since the collapse of the USSR.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/22/mh17-five-bizarre-conspiracy-theories-zionist-plots-illuminati-russian-tv

Anonymous said...

I agree with Chris, in the responses I see 'separatists' and 'seccesionists' as per the bias of western media to tell stories of goodies (US) and baddies to make people feel good about themselves and fill the space between ads. An objective student of history would see the US/EU atrocities as well as the Russian and identify their pointless power struggle as the root cause of so much suffering. Simply labelling one side as 'terrorist' doesn't make it so, no-one is arguing the military in donetsk deliberately attacked civilians. The tragedy occurred because of weapons making their error a fatal one.

Peggy Klimenko said...

Once again,people who want a more nuanced account of what's happening in the Ukraine must come to Bowalley Road.

Having read the comments thread, it looks as if many of you need a reminder as to the timeline of events which have brought the Ukraine to the current situation. Context indeed.

November 2013:
- Yanukovich (Regions Party) rejects AA, considers terms unfavourable, wants to renegotiate.
- Small crowds appear in protest on Independence square (Maidan)
December 2013-January 2014
- Protests grow in size and militancy, receiving moral and financial support from Ukrainian oligarchs such as Viktor Pinchuk; various American and EU officials visit and declare their support, despite prominence of violent ultra-nationalists among crowds, and increasing violence toward police and public officials.
Feburary 2014:
- Unknown persons release audio recording of Victoria Nuland and ambassador Pyatt planning future composition of Ukrainian government.
- Major outbreak of lethal violence, both police and rioters among the dead, unknown snipers shooting at both sides, EU and USA place blame solely upon the government.
- Yanukovich agrees to unity government, early elections and withdrawal of police in an effort to end the bloodshed.
- Maidan militants including Right Sector reject agreement and force Yanukovich to flee for his life.
- Parliament, with armed mob camped outside, holds illegal vote removing Yanukovich as president.
- New government formed including many ultranationalists.
- Law allowing for the official use of minority languages, including Russian, repealed by Parliament.
- Ultranationalist thugs attack regional parliaments and town councils all across western and central Ukraine, expelling officials of the Regions Party.
- Efforts by Yanukovich and other members of his party to resist the coup are thwarted by SBU intimidation.
- Crimea erupts in protest at coup, Crimean Parliament and executive agree to hold referendum on the status of Crimea.
- Ultranationalists threaten to attack Crimea.
- Russian Black Sea Fleet marines take up positions at airports and other transport arteries.

Events in March and April to follow in next comment.

Peggy Klimenko said...

March 2014
- Protests against the coup continue in eastern Ukraine. Violent attacks against protestors by ultranationalist militants and arrests of protest leaders by the SBU occur.
- With Ukrainian forces massing on the border, Crimea votes overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia.
- Most Ukrainian troops in Crimea defect to Russia before, during and after the referendum, including the commander of the Ukrainian navy.
- Remaining Ukrainian troops depart the peninsula after referendum. The Ukrainian defence minister, an ultranationalist named Ihor Tenyukh, is blamed for the disaster and forced to resign.
- Ukrainian troops all the while continue to be moved into eastern Ukraine, ostensibly to guard against a Russian invasion.
- The population of eastern Ukraine does not welcome the military deployment: military convoys and transport trains are repeatedly blocked and turned back by civilian crowds. Ukrainian troops frequently exhibit sympathy with the protestors’ position.
April 2014
- Protests in eastern Ukraine continue, repression intensifies.
- Protestors in Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov, begin to occupy government buildings.
- Kiev persists in using repressive force against the protestors and refuses to hold negotiations with the protestors.
- Protestors in Donetsk and Lugansk begin to arm themselves. They are joined by former members of the Berkut special police unit that bore the brunt of the Maidan violence.
- Kiev regime troops and police move to secure Kharkov. The protestors there are unarmed and the Kiev forces are able to secure the city and arrest most known anti-coup activists.
- A small group of armed rebels seize control of the towns of Kramatorsk and Slavyansk near the border between the Donetsk and Kharkov regions. Crowds in Slavyansk are initially hostile toward them, believing them to be Right Sector gunmen. When this misapprehension is corrected, the crowd hails them as heroes.
- Ukraine sends armed troops into the Donetsk region.

And this is worth a read:

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/22/the-mystery-of-a-ukrainian-army-defector/

thesorrow&thepity said...

To: Chris. That analogy of comparing it with Israel's military folly is that Israeli military aircraft are flown by Israelis'. The glaring elephant in the room is how likely is it that a bunch of thugs could be trained up to use a high tech mobile SAM in the space of a couple of hours? The so called PRD is augmented with local goons along with Russian regulars, spetsnatz, as well as some very nasty nationalists who've been involved in the Chechan war. A bunch of armed thugs who halt ballots being cast for a presidential election are not for the people, by the people, they're just simply Putin's proxy army.
In 1989 Poland & Ukraine had roughly the same GDP, now Poland's is over twice that of Ukraine. Viktor Yanukovych was a corrupt mini despot, & simply a puppet of his master in Moscow. Just because a government is elected doesn't give it carte blanche to act above the law which is what Yanukovich did.
From the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko to the present Russian pseudo invasion of Eastern Ukrainian, Vladimir Putin has continually interfered in a neighboring country, the majority of whose populace don't wish to be slaves in a new Soviet union, but rather wish to have a better life as their neighbors do in Poland.

Ennui said...

I think that most comments above are jumping the gun: show me the hard evidence before you assert anything. I suggest that any of you who put principle before prejudice read Illargi on Theautomaticearth who comments that we have forgotten the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
http://www.theautomaticearth.com/the-day-god-looked-away/

Guerilla Surgeon said...

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2014/07/the_vincennes_downing_of_iran_air_flight_655_the_united_states_tried_to.html

Loz said...

In 1988, Vice President Bush stated that the primary responsibility for the downing of flight 655 was not with the officer who fired upon the plane, but with Iran, as "they allowed a civilian aircraft loaded with passengers to proceed on a path over a warship engaged in active battle". "That was irresponsible and a tragic error".


Arguably, the downing of flight 655 was more culpable than the latest tragedy as the United States was not at war with Iran, the USS Vincennes had not been under air attack and the vessel was equipped with the some of the most sophisticated radar in the world so was in a far better position of identifying that it was targeting a commercial air liner. Although the loss of civilian life was regretted by Western nations, the principle adopted by the United States and Britain was stated by Margaret Thatcher in saying "We fully accept the right of forces to defend themselves" The threat didn't need to be real, only perceived.


The downing of Malaysian Airlines in East Ukraine is in the midst of (as the Red Cross now suggests) is a true war zone. There is no suggestion from the Ukraine, Russia or the United States that the event was deliberate. We also know that Eastern Ukraine has been under ongoing aerial attack from Kiev forces for two months. We also can see from the conflict in Gaza where 155 children have been killed (amongst an estimated 75% civilian casualty rate) that the justification of self defence is readily accepted as a justification for "collateral damage".


This ethical divergence suggests the demands for retribution and "justice" in East Ukraine have more to do with Geo-politics than the tragedy itself.


Calls for sanctions and demands appear to be related to assisting Kiev in crushing the revolts of the Eastern parts of the country and have almost nothing to do with MH17.


Terrifying elements within the government of Kiev have been unable to crush resistance in the East. This tragedy is being leveraged to cut off support for the rebel areas so that they may be quelled by Kiev forces.


We are getting a very sanitised view of the conflict in Ukraine. We don't hear of the stiff-armed, Nazi Party modelled leaders dominating the western supported government of Kiev. We aren't hearing of the known 5 1/2 billion dollars spent by the United States on the grass roots organisations in Western Ukraine (who then overthrew the elected government after a campaign of violence against the police).

Scouser said...

I do love conspirancy theories as they generally epitomise stupidity. Conspirancies require immense skill, plannng and capability but real life is much messier than that. Hanlons' Razor.

It seems immensely likely that

- Russia are busy supplying arms, personnel, funds and training to aid the pro Russian separatists
- the pro Russian separatists are by definition Russian proxies
- The West have encouraged and supported the Ukraine to choose to be part of the EU and not Russia
- Russia was not going to lose its base for military ships if it could at all avoid it
- The Ukraine has not used western arms and materiel in their fight with the separatists ie they are not being actively supported out of the west.
- its unlikely that the rockets are stolen from Ukraine as it's piss easy to disable them in about 5 minutes
- the subsequent behaviour of the pro Russian separatists over the bodies, their belongings and the plane itself is highly representative of disorganised, armed thugs many of whom spend the bulk of their time pissed and stupid - Many also hate the West and obviously don't really give a shit that they probably accidentally killed 300 innocents
- A plane was flying 10 kilometres high on a regular route used by other airlines - it was shot down through stupidity combined with malice
- no-one sensible believes it was deliberate

We're going to have to wait to see whether this is all confirmed but it seems highly likely it will be IMHO

Is this all Russia's fault? Of course not. Has Russia behaved really badly and deserve opprobrium - yes

Do we see Russia as the old communist foe? Of course not? They are just a powerful, corrupt Eastern European capitalist Nation.

Are you apologising somehow for this in some fashion that it's the West's fault? It seems so. Shame on you.

Peggy Klimenko said...

@ Loz: "We are getting a very sanitised view of the conflict in Ukraine. We don't hear of the stiff-armed, Nazi Party modelled leaders dominating the western supported government of Kiev. We aren't hearing of the known 5 1/2 billion dollars spent by the United States on the grass roots organisations in Western Ukraine (who then overthrew the elected government after a campaign of violence against the police)."

Exactly so. As a matter of interest, there seems to be minimal reportage of what's happening now in Kiev, and nothing at all out of Western Ukraine - aside from the occasional clip (eg, women protesting at their sons being conscripted) filmed on somebody's phone and uploaded to Youtube.

We speculate that it's probably too dangerous for reporters to be out and about.

It's illuminating to note the rush to assign blame for this awful tragedy, and the shouts for justice and sanctions on Russia.

Remember the 1988 shooting down of an Iran Air plane over the Persian Gulf by sailors on the USS Vincennes?

And remember the sanctions imposed on the US as a result?
And the perpetrators being brought to trial? Can't recall those events? That'd be because they didn't happen.

On rule for the US and one for everybody else,it seems.

CarbonGuilty said...

Scouser makes perfect sense and you just hate the US Peggy so your view is correspondingly bent out of shape.
The key feature here is the US did not deny accidentally shooting down that plane. Russia has and still is trying to say others did it when we can see footage of the launcher entering Ukraine then leaving it less a couple of missiles. And we can listen to phone conversations in Russian about it and I read, the accents are Russian Russians not Ukrainian Russians. So not even proxies, it's Putin's military.
And the relevance of the Kiev lot being right wing is? Zero. Putin's lot are exactly as nasty so your whole thesis Chris is bull, and has led you to some romantic defence of the glorious Russian nation who incompetently pushed to slaughter their own poor foot soldiers by the millions to defeat the Germans. Sad sad country.

Davo Stevens said...

Yes Surgeon the airlines don't tell the passengers when they are zipping over a warzone. In fact it's hard to get any info about the flight from anyone.

The BUK missiles take considerable training to use, not just popping off a skyrocket. So that indicates to me anyway, that it was either Kiev or the Separatists backed by Russia. All commercial Airliners send an ID ping that shows up on radar and identifies them. So it's probable that it was the Separatists who did the deed. They don't have sophisticated radar available.

Putin is a nasty bit of goods and is still in KGB mode. I was there last year and saw it myself. How he controls the media in Russia and wants to resurrect the old Soviet Empire.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Your trouble carbonguilty is that you are in love with the United States. It is true that they didn't deny shooting the plane down, it was sort of difficult to do that. But they did lie like flatfish about the circumstances surrounding the shoot down in an effort to blame the pilot. Luckily the U.S. is a more open society than Russia so it all came out. But there was definitely a discrepancy between the computer tapes on the ship, and what was actually said about what was going on by U.S. spokespeople. They lied about the speed and altitude of the plane, and claimed it was descending when in fact it wasn't. They also lied about where the ship was, in fact it was in Iranian waters, where it had no right to be. The captain was later given a metal. And George Bush said “I will never apologize for the United States—I don’t care what the facts are.”

Victor said...

The notion that all Ukrainian nationalists are fascists is as flawed as the notion that no pro-Russian separatists are fascists or that there's no fascist element in Russia's government-sponsored national revival movement.

And (surprise, surprise!)there's a potential for fascism in all nationalisms. Look hard enough and you'll even find it in New Zealand nationalism!

Meanwhile, I note that Putin's current and recent spear carriers include Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage, Forza Italia, the Vlaams Belang, Hungary's far right Jobbik movement and Greece's "Golden Dawn".

Whatever the rights or wrongs of this issue, throwing the "F" word around tells us nothing.

Loz said...

Victor: Russia has some extremely ugly nationalist currents & it would be foolish for anyone to believe that Putin is acting out of a greater sense of altruism.

What makes Right Sector and Svoboda worse than their European nationalist counterparts is that they have been actively using violence as a method for achieving goals and since Maidan their members have ended up in controlling positions of the nation's police, military and courts systems.

Andriy Parubiy was founder of the Social National party and it's paramilitary "Patriots of Ukraine" wing, openly based on the Hitler's National Socialists - right down to the stiff arm salutes & flaming torch processions. He is now heading the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council that's responsible for "Homeland Security". Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh was appointed deputy secretary for the Council. Svoboda also initially took the Minister of Defence position with Ihor Tenyukh while Oleksandr Sych became Vice Prime Minister. Oleh Makhnitsky (Svoboda) became Attorney General. Not too bad for a party that was only suggested to just break the 5% threshold in the last election!

It was Svoboda's MPs that beat up the head of the state broadcaster in his office and forced him to resign. Right Sector and Svoboda activists are recognised as being responsible for the petrol bombing of Police during Maidan and are almost certainly responsible for the burning alive of the 31 demonstrators within the Trade Union building in Odessa.

The interim government outlawed the Russian sympathising Ukrainian Communist Party (which gained 13% of the popular vote). At a regional level, Svoboda and Fatherland dominated regional councils of Ternopil, Poltava and Ivano-Frankivsk have banned both the activity and display of symbols of the Ukrainian Communist Party and the toppled (and highest polling) Party of Regions! Immediately after Maidan the parliament revoked Russian as an official language of the country (hurriedly repealed) but the message was sent to the Eastern, Russian speaking half of the nation as to their status.

In response to an unwillingness of police in East Ukraine to oppose protests against the new Kiev government, the interior minister dismissed en masse eastern Police commanders and deployed the "Kiev-1 police battalion" from deputised "citizen activists". Positions of authority within the state have been systematically politicised by a group that is using state power to denigrate the culture and people of the East.

I wouldn't use the "F" word lightly but it seems completely relevant in this case!

Peggy Klimenko said...

@ CarbonGuilty: "you hate the US...."

Ah, the great debate-ending epithets: anti-American; anti-West; anti-Semite; self-hating Jew; n***er-lover - from the civil rights era of my youth. It seems to me that people resort to name-calling of this sort because they don't have an argument to counter the one with which they disagree.

Don't presume to know my feelings about the US - or about Russia, come to that. And don't conflate critique with hostility. I have enormous respect for American intellectual firepower, and I'm a great fan of much American film and television, the best of which is just superb. On the other hand, I think that American foreign policy is, by and large. contemptible. There isn't room here to go into why I think that, but I note that I have quite a bit of company in that view, a not inconsiderable number of them being Americans.

The "Kiev lot" - as you call them - aren't just right-wing (like the ACT party): they're violent, neo-nazi ultra-nationalists. they are to right-wingery as the Mongrel Mob is to Rotary. Why do you think that the citizens of the Crimea were in such a rush to get the hell out of the Ukraine? They know these people and their history, even if you don't. The same applies to people in Eastern Ukraine.

"...we can see footage of the launcher entering Ukraine then leaving it less a couple of missiles." I note that the US has gone quiet on this, because it's been debunked in the last couple of days. There isn't any footage of a launcher entering Ukraine, and the launcher shown on the move was actually heading toward a Ukrainian-controlled border post. So not likely to have been Russians, then.

It's much too soon, and there's far too little evidence at this stage, for any party or parties to be fitted up for this awful shooting-down. And the US - of all polities - ought not to be demanding sanctions on Russia, or shouting about perpetrators being brought to justice. It has blood on its hands over the Iran Airlines incident in the Persian Gulf. It faced no sanctions as a result, and the perpetrators have never been brought to justice. They didn't even have the excuse of it having been a war zone.

Chris Trotter said...

I am grateful to Loz for fleshing out the "Fascist" charge against the Ukrainian regime.

There are times, Victor, when people do use "fascist" as an all-purpose political swearword.

But serious discussions about the ideological complexion of the Ukrainian regime is not one of those times.

Any suggestion that the regime in Kiev is just another "normal" East European right-wing government is not only wrong, it contributes to the relentless anti-Russian propaganda narrative currently destabilising the whole of Europe and endangering the peace of the world.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but since early 2013 the consistent call of even the rather liberal by USA standards, CNN has been that were in a 1913 or 1914 again in the cyclical story of history and that maybe the generals, admirals, air marshalls, intelligence chiefs and executive leadership in Russia, China, Japan, India and a few other places have very little time for the post WW2 liberal settlement that dismisses war as unthinkable as a solution and favours the shadow military that the British forces have become and Beazley and the pre Abott Liberals created for Australia, ie a military and navy that looks potent and powerful but is really no more than a surveillance and tracking and trailing force with little real firepower, beyond that of a utility frigate, below the nuclear threshold and remember Defence Sec Gates of the USA was never able to get approval from W43 or Obama to develop new sustainable nuclear warheads or replace the small tactical warheads in the MIRVs of the Tridents that won't wear out.
The idea that there is a connection between the loss of the two Malaysian airliners over three months was dismissed as balmy on last nights media watch, 10.15pm 27/7/2014- but can not dismissed out of hand. Malaysia is an increasingly unstable state like its neighbour, Thailand and of strategic interest to China and Russia and even Islamists. The loss of the two airliners will add to SE Asian racial and political instability and noone has found the reason why the first Malaysian airliner was lost apparently in the Indian Ocean, flying in the wrong direction. Could Australia's Jindalee survaillance radar actually track a modern Chinese or Russian cruiser or destroyer anti aircraft or anti missile missile flying at say Mach 3 to Mach 6 with a flight time over 160km of 2 minutes or even less. Possibly the track of the fate of the first Malaysian airliner and its fate was only discovered in the analysis of the Malaysian radar data 2 weeks. Possibly at that point the west ceased to be interested in investigating the reason for the disappearance, just as the idea of ever incorporating Ukraine into Nato was rejected and I think Winston Churchill unlike McCain would always have realised that Ukraine is indefensible and that the very reason that Yeltsin backed Putin as his successor is that he strongly favoured reincorporation of Crimea and Donstsk.

Robert Miles said...

Wayne Mapp shows what a pathetic weak, MOD he was. He cut defence and the naval fuel allowance to the limit.
My view is that Russia is heavily implicated in the loss of both Malaysian airliners. Malaysia is an unstable nation and like Chile and Singapore has the sort of modern French diesel submarines that Russia and India regard as an interesting aid to the development of their own submarines.
No plausible explanation has been made for the loss of the first Malaysian airliner supposedly flying from KL to Shangahi. Modern Russian and Chinese cruisers and destroyers like USN Vietnam era cruisers can be assumed as capable of striking aircraft at ranges of 120km to 200km at Mach 2-6. Study the performance capability of the Russian cruiser Vayark's missiles S-300 and S-21 or just study the wiki for USS Chicago during Operation Linebacker in 1972 ( not one written by me).
Putin was backed by Yeltsin into power because he shared the passion for a unified Slav nation of Russia and Ukraine.

Peggy Klimenko said...

@ Robert Miles: "My view is that Russia is heavily implicated in the loss of both Malaysian airliners."

No, really? Do you think that it's also responsible for the Air Algerie crash in Mali? That's a really unstable area. And the Taiwan crash? Not sure about instability there, though.

I think that you need to apply Occam's Razor to this theory of yours.