Friday, July 18, 2014

Malaysian Flight 17: Who's To Blame? How Should They Be Punished?

As recriminations fly back and forth, investigators are ready to sift through the pieces of shattered airliner, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. The flight, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 on board, had entered airspace over eastern Ukraine traveling at 598 mph and at an altitude of 33,000'.  A question that immediately occurs is why the hell this aircraft was even flying over a de facto war zone - in which it was already known that several military cargo and transport planes had been shot down. Moreover, the MH 17 flight was actually even further north on its track than other planes also traveling to the same destination - from Amsterdam. Why? The more northerly path put it more directly into harm's way as several commentators noted last night.

Some new research also reported on disclosed that the Ukrainian military transport, i.e. IL76, or Candid, "has the same echo as a 777 on a radar screen”. This would mean it had been even more critical NOT to fly into that airspace no matter what anyone was told about it being "safe" or how many other airlines foolishly did it to save fuel.

One Malaysian talking head this a.m. actually said:  "No one gave any instructions to change the route" - observing MH 17 flights had made 14 trips over the war zone the past two weeks. Yet an intelligent company wouldn't need "instructions", only common sense, and the U.S. had already warned about making flights over the area. It looks like, sad to say, the Malaysians screwed up again like they did with Flight 370 months ago. (Another Malaysian official stated that the Ukrainians hadn't closed the air space and 55 other international flights had transited the area the same day. This also is no excuse, and merely discloses ALL the aircraft had similarly played Russian Roulette with their passengers lives! It's still a freakin' war zone whether or not the air space was closed,  for god's sake!)

All the evidence so far, including the wide scatter area (nearly 10 miles) and debris pattern, clearly indicates a missile strike. The most probable culprit was one surface to air BUK battery missile - roughly 18 ft long, capable of a 1/2 mile per second velocity and with a range of 46,000 ft.  It is also known that such batteries have been supplied to the separatists by the Russians. It is also known they've been used to shoot down Ukrainian military transport planes. (Note: These BUK missile batteries are also possessed by the Ukrainian military so it is possible that the separatists liberated one or more from Ukrainian bases.)

Former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morrell's take this morning on CBS seems to be the accurate one:

"I think what happened here is that the separatists, who shot down a couple of aircraft this week, believed that they were targeting a Ukrainian military transport and they just made a mistake. That's what I think happened here.."

And I agree with this take, as it's the most logical conclusion given the information - including U.S. intelligence - available so far.  When asked by Charlie Rose 'What would it take to prove that?'  - Morrell responded:

"We have our own intelligence capabilities - radar tracking, satellite tracking and we marry that with any information the Ukrainians have, then when you get to the crash site you can put all those pieces together."

So okay,  the separatists are to blame, but the take is that it was not a deliberate targeting or shoot down as the paranoid Ukrainian puppet PM advanced. It was a very plausible error of the type which can be made in the inevitable 'fog of war'. (Another reason no aircraft should have been flying that route over eastern Ukraine - so the Malaysian Airlines also bears partial responsibility for wittingly or unwittingly putting its passengers in harm's way.)

Then there is the U.S. itself, which is not squeaky clean in this by any stroke. As I noted previously, this 'war zone' would never have evolved had U.S. neocons not interfered to push Ukraine into instability by ousting its democratically elected leader, Viktor Yanukyovich - replacing him with the Neocon-NATO puppet "Yats" (Arseniy Yatsenuk ).

The American -NATO aggression that initially spurred Russia to action to defend its own sphere of influence was described on the basis of game theory, e.g.

Even Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.) at least understood enough Russian history to know that Putin would not tolerate a NATO client state set up on his very border via a coup. Indeed, Wilkerson even said flat out (on Chris Hayes’ All In program in March)  that if he were Putin, he’d have done the same thing! This after Gorbachev and Russia were PROMISED by Bush Sr. that NATO “would not move one more inch to the east”.

And then to foment a coup on Russia’s doorstep?  All of the chaos and conflict now could have been seen well in advance and the U.S. spy -military state knows it. Contrary to U.S. media mouthpieces, Putin’s vision is not of a “Russian-dominated former Soviet space” but of protecting his nation’s security at its border.

Lest some of us suffer from  historical memory deficits, let us also recall - since I see all kinds of talking heads like John McCain getting hysterical ("We have to do something about Russia!") that the U.S. also shot down a commercial airliner, back on July 3, 1988. Iran Air Flight 655 was an Iran Air civilian passenger flight from Tehran to Dubai that was shot down by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes. The attack took place in Iranian airspace, over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, and on the flight's usual flight path. The aircraft, an Airbus A300 B2-203, was destroyed by SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from the Vincennes.All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, died. (As noted on Kornacki today also, the U.S. didn't offer ANY apology but instead advanced the question: "Why were they flying in a shooting zone?" In other words, if you're flying over a war zone you have no comebacks!)

As noted by Rachel Maddow last night, the U.S. ended up paying reparations of $62 million, an average of $213,103.45 per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims.

In analogous fashion, and allowing that both the 1988 incident and the current one were not deliberate shoot downs  but mistakes(in 1988  the U.S. insisted the naval crew incorrectly identified the Iranian Airbus A300 as an attacking F-14 Tomcat fighter operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran) the solution is self-evident: Russia- which gave the BUK missile batteries to the separatists, needs to pay up reparations for each victim.

The amount of the reparations, I suggest, ought to be roughly what the U.S. paid to the Iranians back in 1988, but in 1988 dollars

That should be the end of it and the paranoia, including suggestions of more "sanctions" and more saber rattling.

The bottom line is that NO one's hands are clean here, no one is blameless. The Malaysian Airlines and Dutch KLM (which operated shared flights) for flying over a proven deadly war zone, the U.S. and Ukraine for installing a puppet government to begin with and destabilizing the country - leading to Russian entry and separatists, and the Russians themselves for delivering a powerful SAM- battery to the separatists who weren't savvy enough to use it properly and indeed ought not have been using it at all.

Everyone needs to settle down, think clearly and proceed with caution, especially the Amerikkan war hawks and neocons - never at a loss for more sanctimonious bullshit, and war mongering.

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