What is the truth about Ukraine and MH17?

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(image by John Graham)

Given the blatant disinformation we've seen in the media's reporting of the Ukraine crisis and the downing of MH17, Dr. Matthew Mitchell provides three reasons why more questions need to be asked.

FOLLOWING on from John Pilger’s analysis of the situation in Ukraine, this article provides three reasons to ask questions about what is happening in Ukraine. These reasons include:

  1. obvious misinformation;
  2. lack of evidence; and
  3. lack of motive.

1. Misinformation

Why would we even question the media reports and official statements on Ukraine? Perhaps the blatant disinformation is sufficient cause.  Take for example claims that looters were robbing the victims, suggesting also that the crash site was in an uncontrolled rebel province. 

This widely reported “fact” turns out to be completely fabricated with deliberate manipulation of images taken from the video shown here:

Professor Michel Chossudovsky also claims that the media is spreading 'fake evidence'. We return to Chossudovsky's claims later when we assess allegations that the "rebels" fired a BUK missile.  

Add that to the fact that Western powers covet Ukraine, as pointed out by our own former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. However it seems the only media outlet interested in his views was Russia Today. Here is an extract of what he says in the RT interview:

'The West, it seems to me, and European Union and NATO in particular, have been trying to woo Ukraine, a traditional area of Russian interest, or of concern, not over a few years, not over the period of communism, but over centuries. And they're trying to woo the Ukraine, really, to say 'we want to join NATO'.'

Added to this is the voice of Professor Michael Hudson, who advised Iceland on ways to avoid being taken over by Western oligarchs with their “austerity” measures, and states that private Western interests want to obtain Ukraine’s “economic surplus” by getting their hands on Ukraine’s “property”:

‘For Ukraine, this means mainly the Eastern manufacturing and mining companies, which presently are held in the hands of the oligarchs. For foreign investors, the problem is how to transfer these assets and their revenue into foreign hands.’

(image by John Graham)

It seems that to help these private Western interests the U.S Government would even support neo-Nazis as suggested in Salon:

‘Svoboda’s openly pro-Nazi politics have not deterred Senator John McCain from addressing a EuroMaidan rally alongside Tyahnybok, nor did it prevent Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland from enjoying a friendly meeting with the Svoboda leader this February.’

And also the New York Times:

‘Officials in Kiev say the militias and the army coordinate their actions, but the militias, which count about 7,000 fighters, are angry and, at times, uncontrollable. One known as Azov, which took over the village of Marinka, flies a neo-Nazi symbol resembling a Swastika as its flag.

And it seems it is not just the media, but official sources which are in doubt. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, raises such doubts with his statement:

The latest Washington lie, this one coming from NATO, is that Russia has invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops and self-propelled artillery.’

His reasoning is provided here.

2. Lack of evidence

Then is there is the lack of evidence as to who fired the missile that allegedly brought down MH17. I say allegedly because there is another theory — that it was shot down by one or more Ukrainian jets. This is the theory put forward by the Russian Union of Engineers, amongst others.

Michael Bociurkiw, is a Canadian who was a member of the first official international monitoring team at the MH17 crash site. The team arrived early enough to observe the wreckage while it was still smouldering. He describes the holes in the wreckage as machine gun bullet holes, coming from both sides, apparently at the pilots in the cockpit (see here and the video here).

It is claimed by investigative reporter Erik Zuesse that:

“this was precise and closely-targeted firing against the pilot himself, not a blast directed broadly against, and aiming to hit the plane anywhere, to bring it down.”

Supporting this claim, photos of an actual BUK attack on a plane do appear to be not so precisely targeted.

 A BBC interview given by Michael Bociurkiw indicates that shortly after the crash the wreckage was tampered with:

 “We’re observing that major pieces, and I’m looking at the tail fin as I said, and then there’s also the rear cone section of the aircraft, they do look different than when we first saw them, … two days ago.”

Detailed radar analysis released by the Russian Ministry of Defence shows air traffic in the area of MH17 at time of the incident.

Their analysis indicates three commercial aircraft in the area and what appears to be a fighter jet present just as MH17 drops from the sky.

The Russian Ministry of defence asks the U.S. to provide any detailed satellite images that the U.S. may have of that area at that time. To date no detailed information has been released by the U.S. This lack of evidence is discussed in the video below.

In the absence of any detailed official information from either the U.S. or the Ukrainian government we are left relying on official (unsubstantiated) claims by Ukrainian officials.

This is not really sufficient. Intelligence veterans in the USA seem to agree, as they have called for the release of proof regarding the claims made about MH17.

Following are some extracts from their published open letter:

'As veteran intelligence analysts accustomed to waiting, except in emergency circumstances, for conclusive information before rushing to judgment, we believe that the charges against Russia should be rooted in solid, far more convincing evidence. And that goes in spades with respect to inflammatory incidents like the shoot-down of an airliner. We are also troubled by the amateurish manner in which fuzzy and flimsy evidence has been served up – some of it via “social media.'

'As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information. As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence. His statements seem premature and bear earmarks of an attempt to “poison the jury pool.'

In the absence of information supporting the "official" story, perhaps even professional news sites are using amateur analysis collected via social media such as this site.

However, it seems unlikely that a collage of unverifiable Instagram images provides a good basis for official or media statements on the downing of MH17.

Of course there are the BBC’s three eye witnesses who claim to have seen a BUK fired. But these eye witnesses were not “found” until months after the event, and an earlier BBC report (later pulled off the BBC website) reported witnesses at the crash site saying they saw no missile fired.

This earlier report also questioned the claims of plumes of smoke seen near the claimed firing site. Perhaps under the circumstances it would be wise to disregard contradictory evidence from eye-witness accounts?


The Dutch analysis of the black-box offers little insight as to exactly what type of “high energy objects” brought down MH17 and as we know from Michael Bociurkiw’s testimony, the interference with the wreck within two days (cutting it open to retrieve bodies etc) leaves subsequent images of the wreck open to question.

3. Lack of motive

Reporter Tony Cartallucci questionswhether the eastern Ukrainians even have a BUK system. He asks why Russia would risk this and suggests that is more likely that any BUK missiles fired came from west Ukraine:

'The Buk system is maintained by both Russia and Ukraine. Russia would most likely not supply the sophisticated weapon system to fighters in Ukraine even if it were backing them militarily, because it would be nearly impossible to prevent its use or abuse from being traced directly back to Moscow. Ukrainian Buk systems, had the regime in Kiev lost control of one or more, should have been reported missing and international precautions taken to divert vulnerable aircraft around the conflict zone.'

Perhaps there is even a pattern of false allegations regarding Russia’s support of eastern Ukraine. Professor Chossudovsky questions claims of Russian tanks being seen in eastern Ukraine:

'While media reports (with extensive photographic evidence) confirmed the  entry into Ukraine of  a convoy of Russian “white vans” which were part of Russia’s humanitarian initiative, nobody actually saw the tanks entering Ukraine.'


'With regard to the NATO satellite images, there is no indication as to where these tanks and armored vehicles came from and whether they were operated by the Russian military.'

Instead, Chossudosky offers an alternative explanation for the presence of tanks in eastern Ukraine suggesting that

 'Donbass militia have acquired a significant arsenal of tanks and armored vehicles captured from Ukrainian forces.'

It is likely however, that Russia is sending in genuine humanitarian support, given reports that thousands of Ukrainians have already sought refuge in Russia.

This has been reported in the Wall Street Journal and follows Ukrainian jet fighter attacks on civilians. In fact, even before the MH17 incident, there were claims that Ukrainian jets were hiding behind passenger jets.

(video June 18, 2014 (a month before MH17 incident): “Elena”, a militia soldier, tells how Ukraine military shadowed passenger jets.)
(Editor's Note: This video has also since been deleted by sources unknown. The transcript follows:

Text from the militia soldier - Elena - from Slavyansk, English Subs, published on June 18, 2014, Anti-Maidan:

Terrible things are happening. For example, an incident that happened recently. A passenger plane was flying by. A Ukrainian attack jet aircraft hid behind it.

Then he lowered his altitude a bit and dropped bombs on [the] residential sector of Semenovka town. Then he regained altitude and hid behind the passenger plane. Then he left.

They wanted to provoke the militia to shoot down the passenger plane. There would have been a global catastrophe. Civilians would have died. Then they would say terrorists here did it. There are no terrorists here. There are regular civilians here that came to the defense of their city.)


On the other hand, Mike Whitney from Counter Punch provides compelling motives for Washington to support conflict in Ukraine, his argument is centred around the following:

There were other factors that pushed the US towards a conflagration with Moscow in Ukraine, but the driving force was the fact that US rivals (Russia and Iran) stood to be the dominant players in an energy war that would increasingly erode Washington’s power. Further economic integration between Europe and Russia poses a direct threat to US plans to pivot to Asia, deploy NATO to Russia’s borders, and to continue to denominate global energy supplies in US dollars.'

Further discussion of US motives as compared to Russian or eastern Ukrainian motives is provided by Sheila Newman here.

Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Sheila Newman and other contributors to candobetter.net for their coverage of Ukraine and MH17 incident and the links and resources they provide.

(editor’s note: Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko addressed a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress last night our time and was given a rapturous standing ovation that went on for minutes, after asking for more military aid.)



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