Written by Brian Kalman exclusively for SouthFront; Brian Kalman is a management professional in the marine transportation industry. He was an officer in the US Navy for eleven years. He currently resides and works in the Caribbean.
Western False Flag to Garner International Support for the Conquest of Ukraine
The MH17 airliner tragedy has recently entered the news cycle again, with the Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team (JIT) holding a press conference to announce their determination that the airliner was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile that was provided to Ukrainian militias directly from Russia. They announced that they have conclusive evidence that the missile launcher came from the inventory of the 53rd Air Defense Brigade based in Kursk. The actual evidence presented was inconclusive to say the least, and the JIT spokesmen stated that the conclusive evidence in their possession would not be released at this juncture. The airliner was shot down on July 17, 2014. The JIT has had almost four years to determine the most likely scenario behind the tragedy, and yet all that the public received during the May 24th press conference was anti-Russian propaganda loosely supported by social media and a number of Buk missile fragments that obviously were not involved in the intercept of any aircraft. The Russian Federation has provided material evidence and conducted a number of conclusive experiments, including one conducted by the manufacturer of the Buk missile system, Almaz-Antey, and yet they have been denied any involvement in the official “investigation” from the start. Ukraine on the other hand, who is also one the main suspects in the crime, despite the obvious conflict of interest, has been a key member of the investigative effort from the very beginning. Does this strike anyone as odd?
That is because the JIT has not been engaged in a criminal investigation, but a criminal fabrication. The same western powers that were able to determine the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks within 48 hours (remember the pristine passport that somehow survived the immolation and pulverizing of a skyscraper and airliner?), and righteously pointed the finger at Saddam Hussein while declaring that it had ironclad proof of his imminent intention to use weapons of mass destruction to mobilize international support for another war in Iraq, have taken almost four years reconstructing what happened in the skies over the eastern Ukraine. Why such a long, secretive, drawn-out investigation this time? Could the same JIT team that left aircraft debris all over the field in the villages of Petropavlivka, Hrabov, and Rozsypne, showed no interest in interviewing a multitude of local witnesses, and relied heavily on Ukrainian supplied twitter videos early on in building their initial case, actually have spent the last four years practicing due investigative diligence in finding out the truth? It is highly unlikely.
And why were the victims’ bodies left for four days in refrigerated trains before authorization was given to take custody of them? Were autopsies conducted to determine the nature of death and were shrapnel wounds thoroughly investigated and documented? Only three months after the crash, the Dutch chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke stated that 500 metal particles (a nice round number) were recovered from bodies, and that at least 25 of these were composed of iron. Almost a year later, in August 2015, he stated that seven pieces of shrapnel that were most likely from a Buk missile (although he did not specify how he could know that at such an early juncture) had been recovered, but had not been recovered from bodies or from aircraft debris. How can their provenance be determined if they were not found in the aircraft wreckage or the bodies?
And while Russia proved extremely helpful from the outset, they were told that their help was not wanted and that they would not be included in any way in the official JIT investigation. The Ukrainian authorities were made official members of the investigative effort. Russia was not a declared combatant in the conflict, yet Ukraine was. The obvious conflict of interest with having Ukraine as a major member of the investigation from the start was a clear sign that the objective of the JIT was not in finding the truth, but in manufacturing it.
The first question to ask after any such an event is cui bono, or “who benefits”? It is quite obvious that Russia would not benefit from such a horrific occurrence, nor would Ukrainian militias engaged in heavy fighting against the Ukrainian military at the time. The successful coup leaders in Kiev; however, had everything to gain from engineering a tragedy to blame on Russia. I am not saying that this is what happened, but it is an obvious possibility. Ukraine had a clear motive in creating an escalation that could be blamed on their enemies. Russia had no such benefit to be gained. The militias fighting in Donbass and Lugansk had no need to acquire more advanced anti-aircraft capabilities that could target aircraft flying at higher altitudes, as they had been achieving great successes shooting down Ukrainian aircraft at an alarming rate.
Who Was Capable of Such an Act?
A second question to ask is, “Who had the capabilities to shoot down an airliner flying at such a high altitude?” The militias had obviously gained aid from Russia in acquiring MANPADS, above and beyond what they were able to capture from military armories in their own territory, and they had been very successful in shooting down a large number of Ukrainian Mi-24 attack helicopters, SU-25 ground attack aircraft, and even two Mig-29s. The militias had proven to be very skilled at engaging and defeating aircraft engaged in ground attack missions. The Ukrainian Air Force was largely incapable of targeted bombing from high altitude, lacking both the equipment and the highly trained aircrews for such missions. Why would the militias, or the Russian leadership for that matter, decide that advanced SAMs should be injected into the conflict when MANPADS had already been largely successful? It simply defies logic.
The Ukrainian military had both the capability of shooting down the airliner, and the forward deployed air defense units armed with the Buk SAM system, to shoot down the Boeing 777. The Ukrainian 156th Air Defense Regiment had 17 Buk missile launchers deployed in the east of the country, one battery located at Avdeyevka, near Donetsk, one at Mariupol, and one in Lugansk. Once again, I am not saying that this is what happened, but it is in my opinion the most likely scenario. It could very well have been a tragic accident, but it was most likely an accident caused by a Ukrainian air defense unit. Once the accident occurred, the leadership in Kiev, aided by the SBU, went into crisis management mode, and soon decided to frame the incident as an act of Russian aggression. Further demonization of Russia, and any success at turning it into an international pariah would only help to aid the Kiev coup leadership in their cause to both gain international legitimacy and to solidify support for the conquest of the rebel territories of Donetsk, Lugansk and the Crimea, who refused to recognize their legitimacy. Russia had to be painted as the aggressor, and even more so, as a violator of international law. The United States, with all of its vast surveillance gathering capabilities, would have to be relied upon to not present any proof of what happened, and to put forward an anti-Russian accounting of events. This is exactly what has transpired.
A further question to be asked is, “Has such an accident happened in the past, and if so, what was the cause and what was the reaction of the guilty party?” Civilian airliners have been shot down at least three other times since 1983, and if TWA flight 800 is included (which was most likely downed by a surface-to-air missile), there have been four such incidents before the MH-17 incident.
Korea Airlines Flight 007 (1983)
The South Korea airliner was shot down on September 1, 1983 after it had strayed into Soviet airspace. The U.S. sacrificed classified intelligence information to prove that the airliner was shot down by the Soviet Union within weeks of the tragedy. It took roughly a decade for Russian authorities to admit fault in the incident (after the dissolving of the Soviet Union) which killed all 269 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 747.
Iran Air Flight 655 (1988)
The civilian airliner was shot down by the U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes CG49 on July 3rd, 1988. The U.S. admitted shooting down the plane, yet stated that an Iranian F-14 had been using the airliner as a radar shadow to attack U.S. navy assets in the Persian Gulf. Both civilian and military radars soon proved this assertion to be a total lie in a matter of days, and in a short time the entire world held the U.S. to blame for the tragedy. The U.S. government was forced to legally acknowledge blame and to compensate the families of the victims eight years later. An important side note to this story is that the commanding officer of the USS Vincennes, Captain Will Rogers III, and the Weapons and Combat Systems Officer Lt. Commander Scott Lustig, were actually awarded meritorious service medals just one year after the tragic incident.
Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 (2001)
On October 4th, 2001, a Siberian Airlines Tu-154 enroute to Tel Aviv was shot down over the Black Sea by a Ukrainian air defense unit engaged in a live fire exercise. The airliner was apparently targeted by an S-200 missile that overshot a target drone that had already been intercepted by another missile. Although an obvious tragic accident, Ukrainian authorities refused to accept responsibility until pressured by the Russian Federation administration of President Vladimir Putin. Then Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma acknowledged fault for the incident and the Minister of Defense at the time, Oleksandr Kuzmuk, resigned. The government compensated the families of the victims in an amount totally approximately $15.6 million.
TWA Flight 800
A Trans World Airlines 747-100 took off from New York’s JFK airport on the evening of July 17th, 1996 and blew up in ball of fire only 12 minutes after take-off. At least 700 eye witness statements clearly suggest that a surface-to-air missile brought down the airliner. The debris field was extensive, with the aircraft breaking into thousands of pieces which would denote an intercept of significant speed and a powerful detonation. After a four year investigation, the NTSB determined that a faulty fuel line caused a catastrophic explosion that (although such a fault never happened with any other 747 before or since the TW 800 tragedy) brought down the aircraft. I graduated from the USMMA with a classmate who was fishing with his father off Long Island that night who witnessed the event. He is now a high ranking U.S. Navy officer. To this day, now with vast first-hand knowledge of modern missiles under his belt, he is still unwavering in his belief that a missile brought down the civilian flight. It took the FBI nearly six months to admit that a U.S. Navy ship “engaged in classified maneuvers” was located within 3 nautical miles of the incident. After a four year investigation, the NTSB issued its controversial decision that a technical fault caused the fiery explosion and crash that killed all 230 passengers and crew aboard the airliner. An estimated $500 million was paid by both TWA (bankrupting the airline) and Boeing in compensation to families of the victims, beginning some 6 years after the crash. Hundreds of eye witnesses and a number of NTSB investigators have gone on record that they believe that the FBI covered up the truth of the tragedy.
Looking back on past precedent, the Russian government after initial denial of culpability, admitted to fault and compensated those effected by the tragic accidents involving state military forces accidentally shooting down civilian aircraft. In the case of Siberian Air flight 1812, Ukrainian air defense units were proven to have accidentally targeted and destroyed a civil air flight and were forced to accept blame by no other than Russian President Vladimir Putin, the West’s favorite Boogie Man.
In the case of U.S. culpability in such accidents, not only did the U.S. authorities attempt to obfuscate the facts of the tragedies, in the case of Iran Air Flight 655 they lauded the perpetrators of the tragedy, bestowing them with state awards. Having learned from this incident, in the case of TWA flight 800, they dragged out the investigation for four years and turned reality on its head to escape blame. A number of those officially involved in the TWA 800 crash investigation have come out in recent years to refute the findings of the investigation. What better way to escape blame than to cover up, obfuscate, distract and eventually fabricate an explanation?
MH17: The Bigger Picture
The MH-17 tragedy must be viewed in the wider context of both the conditions of the war at the time of the incident, and the wider propaganda war being waged by the West against Russia since the start of the Ukrainian conflict and continuing at an ever increasing degree of severity to this very day. In July of 2014, the Anti-Kiev militias in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk were engaged in a ferocious and largely successful battle against a coup-installed government that they saw as illegitimate. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) in turn, were combating a tenacious enemy of former countrymen who seemed to be getting aid increasingly from Russia in the form of battlefield advisors, intelligence and technical assistance. The UAF was losing on both a tactical and strategic level in engagements with the militias. They needed something to break the stalemate, an event to put the global spotlight on Russia as an aggressive violator of their sovereignty and international law, and to force Russia to limit or halt its aid to the militias. What better way than to engineer an international tragedy that would highlight Russia as a nation bent on its own “expansionist” interests at any cost, and an irresponsible proliferator of advanced weapons systems to “uneducated miners” turned rebels?
At the same time, the Russian leadership must have been extremely satisfied. A small force of dedicated militias had been causing humiliating defeat after defeat to the Kiev government with minimal military or financial investment, and with very little overt exposure or culpability. The obvious orders from the top must have been “steady as she goes”. No need to change anything, right?
The MH-17 tragedy changed the entire paradigm. A conflict in a post-Soviet backwater instantly achieved international implications overnight. Although hundreds, if not thousands of innocent civilians in Ukraine had been killed in the conflict up to that point, now Western civilians had been killed. That was too much for the “international community” to bare. Now there would have to be accountability. But what happened soon after the tragic shoot down?
The United States asserted that they had conclusive evidence that Russia and their proxies in eastern Ukraine had shot down MH-17, yet they produced nothing. No evidence. No satellite imagery. No electronic intercepts. No radar data. Nothing. They supported Ukrainian assertions via YouTube videos, twitter and unverifiable audio recordings that it was a Russian orchestrated crime. Yet no real evidence was submitted by the U.S. This stands in stark contrast to the immediate actions of the Reagan administration following the downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007. Not only did the U.S. compromise top secret national security information gathering secrets, but the same such secrets of a key ally, Japan. The administration also decide to make the GPS satellite navigation system available to civilian users soon after. A huge sacrifice in the pursuit of the truth. And the Obama administration’s sacrifices for the truth? Not one. They knew the truth, and that truth was too harmful to see the light of day. That’s the only conclusion that can be made. The U.S. knew immediately who shot down the civilian flight and their silence speaks volumes. If in truth it had been Russia, or the Russian supported militias, the evidence would have come forward from Washington in a deluge, but it didn’t. What do they always say? Sources and methods cannot be compromised.
It is quite obvious at this juncture that the JIT, comprised of the most likely culprit and two NATO members, have spent the past four years fabricating a version of the truth that fits the desired narrative. The “evidence” will be fabricated to fit the conclusion that Russia was the culprit of the crime. The philosophy of the terrorist that “the end justifies the means” has once again been fully embraced. Truth be damned. The Western establishment will manufacture the truth.
The All Important Timing
In geopolitical machinations, timing is always important, and timing should never be seen as coincidental. The JITs announcements have occurred as the Ukrainian military has ratcheted up attacks on territories within the 15km deep the line of separation on the DPR/LPR side of the line, most notably around the strategically important transportation intersection located near Gorlovka. Military activities along the “grey zone” have increased over the past month. At the same time, the United States and the Russian Federation are negotiating agreements over who can stake out territory in Southern Syria. The FIFA World Cup, hosted by Russia this year, is right around the corner with the opening match scheduled for July 14th. We all remember what happened during the Sochi Olympics. That’s right, the Ukrainian government was overthrown by an illegal coup which was heavily funded and supported by the U.S. State Department.
Also of interest is the apparent suicide of Captain Vladyslav Voloshyn, a man implicated as possibly shooting down flight MH-17 while flying an SU-25 in close proximity of the airliner’s flight path over the Ukraine when it was shot down. Quite a number of aviation experts and analysts have advanced the theory that the airliner was shot down by an aircraft. At least one Ukrainian Airforce Su-25 was detected by Russian radar as being in the immediate area of the shoot down. Ukrainian air traffic control refused to release any data regarding the flight, and the JIT has refused to use Russian supplied civilian and military radar data in their investigation.
I happen to believe that the most likely cause of the destruction of MH-17 was a surface-to-air missile and not an aircraft, but I also believe that all possible scenarios must be investigated so as to either advance or remove them as a possible cause of the tragedy. Russian media sources highlighted the SU-25 shoot-down scenario when a defector and witness came forward to advance the theory that an Su-25 piloted by Cpt. Voloshyn downed the airliner. The initial response from western “media” was to refute the possibility by pointing out that the Su-25 lacks the service ceiling or speed to intercept a Boeing 777. This was soon proven false by the Russian Aerospace Forces when they exhibited that a Su-25 can actually reach the altitude that MH-17 was cruising at. They had RT record the experiment and air it that network’s coverage of the MH-17 tragedy. It is well known amongst the militaries of the world and most military analysts that the officially stated capabilities of weapon systems by governments are always below their actual performance. It is noteworthy that the Russian military went out of its way to give away some of the actual performance characteristics of one of its front-line aircraft to prove the possibility of this theory. This took place even though the Russian government seems to embrace the theory that the airliner was downed by a SAM as the most probable.
Just 6 days before the JIT press conference, Voloshyn is said to have committed suicide. Western main stream media were quick to point out that there was no connection between either Vladyslav Voloshyn, who left the Air Force to become the director of the Nikolaev Airport, and either the shooting down of MH-17, nor the release date of the latest JIT “findings”. One such media outlet, Polygraph.info, made the assertion that his involvement was impossible, because the JIT has determined that a Russian Buk missile shot down the aircraft. That’s the usual western media modus operandi, merely pushing the establishment narrative without any independent investigation, evidence be damned. Let’s take a look at Polygraph.info a little closer. The website clearly states:
“Polygraph.info is a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The website serves as a resource for verifying the increasing volume of disinformation and misinformation being distributed and shared globally. A similar website in the Russian language can be found at factograph.info.
VOA and RFE/RL journalists research and analyze quotes, stories, and reports distributed by government officials, government-sponsored media and other high-profile individuals. The reporters separate fact from fiction, add context, and debunk lies.
Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty are multi-media, non-partisan, international broadcasters providing accurate news and information, particularly for audiences with limited press freedoms. VOA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., broadcasts in 45 languages to a measured weekly audience of more than 238 million people around the world. RFE/RL serves as a surrogate media source in 26 languages, reaching more than 23.6 million people each week.”
Voice of America and Radio Free Europe are funded and directed by the federal government of the United States. Sound un-biased to you? To state that this media outfit is an international, non-partisan effort aimed at de-bunking disinformation and misinformation is laughable. This media outlet is a state propaganda operation pushing the narrative of the U.S. government.
So what should the critically thinking reader take away from this? Is there a connection between Capt. Voloshyn and the shooting down of flight MH-17? Is there a connection between his suicide and the JIT announcement of it’s finding of Russian fault in the tragedy? I honestly do not know. The timing certainly is questionable. A person that could refute the latest assertions of the JIT can no longer give any testimony to the contrary. He is dead. The western media, including the most obvious government propaganda sources, have released numerous articles and posts to refute any possibility that Voloshyn could have been involved in shooting down the aircraft simply by stating that the latest JIT assertions are fact. No need for evidence mind you.
What’s Does the Immediate Future Hold?
I would estimate that a new campaign to further demonize and discredit Russia has been embarked upon here, or at least has been continued after a long hiatus. Russia will be vilified and discredited by western media once again as Russia comes under the international spotlight during the FIFA World Cup events. The Kiev government will likely attempt some escalation in the current stalemate in the eastern regions of Ukraine by staging further provocations, or attempt a limited offensive. The JIT may likely hold an additional press conference to further extrapolate on its “evidence” and “findings”. Is this why the JIT did not present its “concrete and incontrovertible” evidence on May 24th, so it can release it at a time that maximizes the damage to Russia in the eyes of the world, when all such eyes are focused on it? Probably.
Time and time again, when the U.S. establishment proves impotent in a conflict in real terms and is powerless to influence a conflict on the battlefield, it turns to dirty tricks that it can use to influence public opinion, which it pushes through its well-funded and well-connected multi-media propaganda network. This has only increased since the failures of the U.S. to overthrow Syria and Ukraine as independent and non-aligned states. The independent Ukraine which refused to choose between the EU and Russia under the leadership of Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown. An independent Syria under Assad, which refused to acquiesce to Western and Gulf State economic interests was invaded. Neither attempted conquest has succeeded, and both nations have proven more resilient than their enemies predicted. As victory on the battlefield evaporated like a mirage, so the false flags and propaganda campaigns kicked in to high gear. What will be the next purported atrocity laid at the doorstep of Russia?
I do not know the answers to these questions, but as a critically thinking person I can review the available evidence, study past events, build a profile of the most likely perpetrators and beneficiaries, and theorize on the most likely scenario. I don’t need to go to CNN or RT to get my neatly pre-packaged view on events. I definitely don’t need the likes of Polygraph.info or Snopes.com to verify my information collecting efforts for me. I will rely on my own reasoning, intuition and experience to come to my own conclusions and so should you.
I do know that the experiments conducted by Almaz-Antey, the manufacturer of the Buk missile defense system, were very exhaustive. They even simulated the intercept of MH-17 with a Buk missile to recreate and study what such an intercept would produce in terms of physical evidence. They actually detonated a Buk missile in the manner and placement of an airliner’s forward fuselage to simulate what seems to have most likely occurred. They determined that the shrapnel patterns and shapes denoted that a Buk missile most likely brought down MH-17, but that the shrapnel patterns denoted an earlier version of the missile not used by the Russian Federation for some time, yet still widely used by Ukraine. They also determined that the angle and direction from which the plane was hit, denoted that it was most likely launched from Ukraine controlled territory, and not a militia controlled area. The manufacturer released their findings in full, as well as formerly top secret information pertaining to the Buk missile system to the JIT. The JIT merely responded that the findings of the Almaz-Antey investigative team were flawed and improbable. Of course, no fact based explanation for this assertion was ever advanced, nor any similar experiments conducted to refute the findings.
And what have we seen from the JIT? A few videos posted on social media purportedly showing the missile launch vehicle actually used on a road in the eastern Ukraine? A number of audio clips (inadmissible in a western court of law) supposedly of rebels stating that they shot down the wrong plane? A highly intact piece of a missile with an identifiable number stenciled on to it that supposedly links it to the 53rd Air Defense Brigade? I wish this was considered evidence in Syria, where thousands of Western supplied weapons have been found in the hands of Jihadists and can actually be traced to their source via serial numbers, denoting place and date of manufacture. How about the hundreds of pieces of cruise missiles displayed by Russia that they asserted were intercepted over Syria after the U.S. was adamant that all missiles successfully hit their targets? Does anyone see a pattern here?
This brings me back to my initial point about the JIT investigation. It is not interested in discovering the truth, but in manufacturing it. The false investigation will formulate a false truth corresponding to a pre-established false narrative, in order to manufacture consent in a public that has been carefully spoon fed propaganda for almost four years now. You see, it usually takes the truth a very short time to come to light if the truth is actually sought. Really good lies take a long time to fabricate and must be allowed to leech into the rational mind in small doses over time.
In short, expect an escalation from the Ukrainian military sometime over the next two months, after the start of the World Cup. Summer is good military campaigning time in Europe. Also, expect further “evidence” and allegations to come out of the JIT at the same time. Both actions will be coordinated to further the narrative that Putin, and Russia in general, is an aggressive and barbaric threat to the Western-ruled world order.