MH17 disaster – who do you trust?

On 17 July 2014 a Malaysian airliner, MH17, carrying 298 people was shot down over Donbass in the Ukraine, killing all the people on board. After long-drawn out investigations, four people were put on trial for the murder of those killed. These four people are three Russian citizens – Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin – and one Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, all of whom are alleged to have held senior posts in the pro-Russian militias of the breakaway provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk which Ukraine was trying, with western backing of course, to subdue by force of arms. None of the accused, all of whom deny responsibility, have presented themselves at court, though Pulatov did appoint lawyers to defend him.

What was alleged was that the defendants had secured a Russian Buk missile from Russia and used it to bring down the airliner in the belief that they were shooting down a Ukrainian fighter plane. The fact that the missile is said to have been supplied by Russia is the basis for claims from all the imperialist media that Russia should be held responsible, a cry that is of course used to magnify the evermore hysterical build up of a propaganda case to justify waging an imperialist war against Russia, having first perhaps softened it up with sanctions.

Although the prosecution in the trial, along with all the tame imperialist media, claim that the evidence against the accused is absolutely incontrovertible, and repeat this claim over and over, along with the suggestion that any doubt expressed could only be thoroughly dishonest, the fact of the matter is that the evidence is entirely biased and is not to be trusted.

The Joint Investigation Team that was set up by imperialist powers in 2014 supposedly to find out exactly what had happened effectively had its findings pre-empted by excluding Russian participation but very much including Ukrainian participation.  In other words, it was decided in advance that Russia was probably guilty, whereas the nazi-sympathising western-backed Ukrainian regime was certainly innocent. All evidence submitted by Russia was systematically ignored while everything that Ukraine put forward was taken at face value and assumed to be correct despite Ukraine’s obvious interest, if it were in fact guilty, in falsifying evidence.

Ukraine and the US both had satellite photographic evidence of what was going on in the area at the time of the incident and both have steadfastly refused to produce it. Why?

Russia has established that the Buk missile that shot down the plane was an older model of a kind that had been supplied to the Ukraine in Soviet days, but even that provable information has not stopped the anti-Russia war drums from beating.

Much is made of the fact that Russia has ‘changed its story’, admitting today that it was a Buk missile that brought the plane down whereas originally it had thought it was brought down by a Ukrainian fighter jet.  However, Russia is being kept out of the loop as far as the evidence is concerned and can only conjecture as to what might be the truth – a truth which it is as anxious as anyone else to ascertain. When faced with believable evidence, it has proved to be willing to adjust its hypotheses, but this is no proof of guilt.

What cannot be denied, however, is that Ukraine is culpable at very least of failing to close the airspace over the conflicted region even though one of its military aircraft had been shot down from there a few days earlier. Why not?  It would not be too farfetched to hypothesise that they were preparing a false flag operation intended to inculpate Russia as revenge for the shooting down of their military aircraft by separatists.

All the pious certainty expressed by the imperialist media about Russia’s guilt is highly reminiscent of the equally pious certainty they sang out in unison in relation to Libya’s alleged guilt in the downing of the Pan American aircraft over Lockerbie in 1988 which killed the 270 people on board. A Libyan intelligence officer, Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi was sentenced to 27 years in prison after being found guilty of masterminding the action. It now turns out, however, that the evidence against him was unsafe, to say the least.  His liability was established on the basis of evidence given by a shopkeeper who stated that the clothes that the bomb was wrapped in had been sold by him to al-Megrahi in Malta. This was important because of the prosecution case that the bomb only got onto the PanAm flight as a result of transfer of luggage from a plane that had come from Malta to the PanAm flight waiting at Heathrow.  It now turns out, however, that the shopkeeper in question was far from certain that it was al-Megrahi who bought the clothes.  He could only say that the person who did ‘looked a lot like him’ – but then so did lots of men.  Recently declassified documents have revealed that the British authorities were very worried about the weakness of the shopkeeper’s evidence. The Times reports (Marc Horne, ‘Doubts over witness led to fears Lockerbie trial would collapse’, 22 December 2021):

A report of a meeting between Alan Rodger, then Scotland’s lord advocate, and Robert Mueller, US assistant attorneygeneral, in Washington in 1992, states: ‘If it became known we or the US were sending people to check on the soundness of [the shopkeeper’s] identification that would signal that we did not have a case on which we could confidently go to trial. The US Department of Justice maintained that they could not go to trial on the present identification.’

It now turns out that the shopkeeper was given $2 million to help him refresh his memory!

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter was killed in the crash, refused to believe that Libya had any involvement in the case. He agitated to re-examine the evidence and his case was taken up by the MP Bernie Grant. The Times now says: “It has emerged that officials were warned about an independent investigation by the bereaved. A 1992 Foreign Office memo states: ‘We understand that [the Labour MP] Bernie Grant is arranging to take a group of Lockerbie [relatives] to Malta . . . to ‘investigate’ the Malta connection. Clearly such a visit has great potential for trouble.’”

As if that were not enough, “The confidential documents also show that British officials threatened to veto Malta’s application to join the EU if they did not back their demands over the Lockerbie bombing” !!!

Such is the ‘rule of law’ as practised by imperialism when it is building up a case for war.

Just as in the Lockerbie case, so too in the MH17 case, the imperialists pointing the finger of blame are absolutely not to be trusted as they clearly have an agenda of their own – an extremely aggressive and hostile agenda that is blind to truth and facts.

Asked in 2020 whether he thought it was time for Russia to acknowledge responsibility for the shooting down of the plane, President Putin said there was nothing to acknowledge.

Russia never avoids responsibility that is actually hers to bear. What we were presented as proof of Russia’s guilt absolutely doesn’t satisfy us. We believe it is no proof at all,” he said.

We have a version of our own, which we presented. But unfortunately nobody wants to listen to us. As long as we don’t have real dialogue, we won’t find the right answers to the questions about this tragedy and the deaths of people. We certainly mourn them and we believe such acts are intolerable.”

In the present context of the ceaseless claims of Russian aggression when in fact all the aggressive moves so obviously come from Nato, we are far more inclined to believe Russia than the imperialist powers.