The MH17 tragedy continues to unfold where geopolitics outranks truth

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow lively debate within that spectrum.”

The above quotation from the United States academic and political critic Noam Chomsky, is a perfect encapsulation of what passes for political analysis in the Australian mainstream media. There is a parallel truism that is equally applicable. The lie is not in what we are told, but what we are not told.

This can be illustrated by reference to one of the most major geopolitical events involving Australia over the past six years. The reference here is to the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH 17 over Ukraine almost exactly six years ago. Australians were the second largest of the casualties of that flight, exceeded only by Dutch citizens.

The blame game immediately began and as is well known as a group of western nations, led by the United States, Australia and the Netherlands, almost immediately blamed Russia. That no one, to this day, has been able to establish or even seriously suggest why Russia would wish to carry out such an act, remains one of the great unexplained mysteries.

There were a number of other factors to suggest that whoever or whatever was responsible, the primary objective was to apportion blame to Russia. The English organisation known as Bellingcat, originally a private individual but in fact, one with close ties to British Intelligence was prominent at an early stage. This was the first clue that the investigation lacked bona fides. “Authoritative” commentary on a major event such as an aircraft under suspicious circumstances are not entrusted to small reputedly independent organisations.

The second clue that this investigation lacked bona fides was the inclusion of Ukraine who then, as now, was fighting a bitter civil war against the Russian speaking eastern regions of Ukraine. This was compounded by the people of Crimea earlier that year voting overwhelmingly to reunite with Russia, from whom it had been separated in 1954 in an arbitrary act by then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

This was the third clue that the investigation lacked independence and integrity. The western mainstream media has consistently since early 2014 misrepresented the actual sequence of events. It ignores Crimea’s actual history as a long-time part of Russia. It consistently refers to Russia’s “annexation” of Crimea when in fact it was a democratic vote overwhelmingly in favour of rejoining Russia. Perhaps most critically in the present context, it fails to report that the Russian naval base in Crimea was destined by Ukraine to be leased to the United States Navy after Russia was expelled.

The fourth major clue was that the Ukraine denied that any of its Air Force planes were aloft that day. This was directly contrary to what was witnessed by independent civilians on the ground. Again, why tell a lie if there is an innocent explanation available.

The fifth clue was in the statement of the United States Secretary of State John Kerry that United States satellites overhead at the time had witnessed what had happened. There is no reason to doubt Mr Kerry’s statement. The Russians and possibly the Chinese also had satellite overhead at the relevant time. What adds to the lack of credibility as to the subsequent claims of the United States and its allies, was that the United States has refused to release those satellite images.

Even the chair of the Dutch Court hearing evidence against four men accused of complicity in the destruction of MH 17 has been troubled by the United States refusal. Whether this lack of United States cooperation in what is manifestly a fake trial will affect the outcome remains to be seen. The predetermined nature of the outcome is so obvious that the Judges actually showing judicial integrity would be a genuine surprise.

That criticism has other solid foundations. They include the refusal of the Dutch Court to allow evidence as to the history of the missile said to have been responsible for MH 17’s destruction. Pictorial images that have been released disclose the identification numbers of the missile alleged to have been involved. The Russian records that have been produced, but ignored by the Court (another telling clue) show that the missile was sent from Russia to Ukraine in the 1980s and remained in the latter’ custody ever since.

Again, if this was a bona fide investigation and trial the history of the missile alleged to have been used would be highly relevant. That the exhibited part alleged to have come from the missile was a stage prop inserted for its potential prejudicial value rather than its evidential merit is confirmed by separate evidence that the Dutch have been unable to conceal.

That evidence consists of the actual damage to the aircraft which is consistent with having been attacked by a machine gun from two fighter jets. Similar evidence of machine gun fire is found in the bodies of the dead pilots, which again has been concealed from the public. The overwhelming probability is that the two jets seen by independent civilians on the ground were the same two that were involved in the attack.

None of this information is new to those who have followed this saga from the outset and taking care to read the analysis of independent observers. There is a great deal of further evidence that the official story, clearly aimed at discrediting both Russia and the Russian supported separatists in Ukraine that is available for the interested reader. They are usefully summarised in the book by Dutch academic Professor Kees van der Pijl “Flight MH 17, Ukraine and the New Cold War.”

One final pointer to the inference that the trial currently underway in the Netherlands of the four men allegedly involved in the tragedy is that it has received zero coverage in the Australian mainstream media. Given that there were a significant number of Australian victims; that Australian investigators were involved at a very early stage; and that Australia has a well-known hostility to Russia; that indifference of the mainstream media to the court proceedings is at the least very curious.

Given the history of the so-called “investigation” over the past six years and what we know thus far of the show trial being conducted in the Netherlands, it would be naïve in the extreme to expect an honest and thorough investigation. For the reasons briefly outlined above, and many others that are readily available in the literature, that is a vain hope.

The multiple victims of the tragedy deserve rather more than the shabby charade that is currently underway in the Netherlands.

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james O'Neill is a Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst.

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