Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17

Exclusive: Propaganda is the life-blood of life-destroying wars, and the U.S. government has reached new heights (or depths) in this art of perception management. A case in point is the media manipulation around last year’s Malaysia Airlines shoot-down over Ukraine, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

During a recent interview, I was asked to express my conclusions about the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, prompting me to take another hard look at Official Washington’s dubious claims pointing the finger of blame at eastern Ukrainian rebels and Moscow based on shaky evidence regarding who was responsible for this terrible tragedy.

Unlike serious professional investigative reporters, intelligence analysts often are required by policymakers to reach rapid judgments without the twin luxuries of enough time and conclusive evidence. Having spent almost 30 years in the business of intelligence analysis, I have faced that uncomfortable challenge more times than I wish to remember.

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, July 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

So, I know what it feels like to confront issues of considerable consequence like the shoot-down of MH-17 and the killing of 298 passengers and crew amid intense pressure to choreograph the judgments to the propagandistic music favored by senior officials who want the U.S. “enemy” in this case, nuclear-armed Russia and its Western-demonized President Vladimir Putin to somehow be responsible. In such situations, the easiest and safest (career-wise) move is to twirl your analysis to the preferred tune or at least sit this jig out.

But the trust-us-it-was-Putin marathon dance has now run for 13 months and it’s getting tiresome to hear the P.R. people in the office of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper still claiming that the U.S. intelligence community has not revised or updated its analysis of the incident since July 22, 2014, just five days after the crash.

Back then, Clapper’s office, trying to back up Secretary of State John Kerry’s anti-Russian rush to judgment, cited very sketchy evidence in both senses of the word drawn heavily from “social media” accounts. Obviously, the high-priced and high-caliber U.S. intelligence community has learned much more about this very sensitive case since that time, but the administration won’t tell the American people and the world. The DNI’s office still refers inquiring reporters back to the outdated report from more than a year ago.

None of this behavior would make much sense if the later U.S. intelligence data supported the hasty finger-pointing toward Putin and the rebels. If more solid and persuasive intelligence corroborated those initial assumptions, you’d think U.S. government officials would be falling over themselves to leak the evidence and declare “we told you so.” And the DNI office’s claim that it doesn’t want to prejudice the MH-17 investigation doesn’t hold water either since the initial rush to judgment did exactly that.

So, despite the discomfort attached to making judgments with little reliable evidence and at the risk of sounding like former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld it seems high time to address what we know, what we don’t know, and why it may be that we don’t know what we don’t know.

Those caveats notwithstanding I would say it is a safe bet that the hard technical intelligence evidence upon which professional intelligence analysts prefer to rely does not support Secretary of State Kerry’s unseemly rush to judgment in blaming the Russian side just three days after the shoot-down.

‘An Extraordinary Tool’?

When the tragedy occurred U.S. intelligence collection assets were focused laser-like on the Ukraine-Russia border region where the passenger plane crashed. Besides collection from overhead imagery and sensors, U.S. intelligence presumably would have electronic intercepts of communications as well as information from human sources inside many of the various factions.

That would mean that hundreds of intelligence analysts are likely to have precise knowledge regarding how MH-17 was shot down and by whom. Though there may be some difference of opinion among analysts about how to read the evidence as there often is it is out of the question that the intelligence community would withhold this data from President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and other top officials.

Thus, it is a virtual certainty that the Obama administration has far more conclusive evidence than the “social media” cited by Kerry in casting suspicions on the rebels and Moscow when he made the rounds of Sunday talk shows just three days after the crash. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kerry told David Gregory that “social media” is an “extraordinary tool.” The question is, a tool for what?

The DNI report two days later rehashed many of the “social media” references that Kerry cited and added some circumstantial evidence about Russia providing other forms of military equipment to the rebels. But the DNI report contains no mention of Russia supplying a Buk anti-aircraft missile system that Kerry and the DNI cited as the suspected weapon that downed the plane.

So, why does the administration continue refusing to go beyond such dubious sources and shaky information in attributing blame for the shoot-down? Why not fill in the many blanks with actual and hard U.S. intelligence data that would have been available and examined over the following days and weeks? Did the Russians supply a Buk or other missile battery that would be capable of hitting MH-17 flying at 33,000 feet? Yes or no.

If not supplied by the Russians, did the rebels capture a Buk or similar missile battery from the Ukrainians who had them in their own inventory? Or did some element of the Ukrainian government possibly associated with one of Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchs fire the missile, either mistaking the Malaysian plane for a Russian one or calculating how the tragedy could be played for propaganda purposes? Or was it some other sinister motive?

Without doubt, the U.S. government has evidence that could support or refute any one of those possibilities, but it won’t tell you even in some declassified summary form. Why? Is it somehow unpatriotic to speculate that John Kerry, with his checkered reputation for truth-telling regarding Syria and other foreign crises, chose right off the bat to turn the MH-17 tragedy to Washington’s propaganda advantage, an exercise in “soft power” to throw Putin on the defensive and rally Europe behind U.S. economic sanctions to punish Russia for supporting ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine resisting the new U.S.-arranged political order in Kiev?

By taking a leaf out of the Bush-Cheney-Tony-Blair playbook, Kerry could “fix the intelligence around the policy” of Putin-bashing. Given the anti-Putin bias rampant in the mainstream Western media, that wouldn’t be a hard sell. And, it wasn’t. The “mainstream” stenographers/journalists quickly accepted that “social media” was indeed a dandy source to rely on and have never pressed the U.S. government to release any of its intelligence data.

Yet, in the immediate aftermath of the MH-17 shoot-down, there were signs that honest intelligence analysts were not comfortable letting themselves be used as they and other colleagues had been before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

To buttress Kerry’s shaky case, DNI Clapper arranged a flimsy “Government Assessment” reprising many of Kerry’s references to “social media” that was briefed to a few hand-picked Establishment reporters two days after Kerry starred on Sunday TV. The little-noticed distinction was that this report was not the customary “Intelligence Assessment” (the genre that has been de rigueur in such circumstances in the past).

The key difference between the traditional “Intelligence Assessment” and this relatively new creation, a “Government Assessment,” is that the latter genre is put together by senior White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts. Another significant difference is that an “Intelligence Assessment” often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.

The absence of an “Intelligence Assessment” suggested that honest intelligence analysts were resisting a knee-jerk indictment of Russia just as they did after the first time Kerry pulled this “Government Assessment” arrow out of his quiver trying to stick the blame for an Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus on the Syrian government.

Kerry cited this pseudo-intelligence product, which contained not a single verifiable fact, to take the United States to the brink of war against President Bashar al-Assad’s military, a fateful decision that was only headed off at the last minute after President Barack Obama was made aware of grave doubts among U.S. intelligence analysts about whodunit. Kerry’s sarin case has since collapsed. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case.”]

The sarin and MH-17 cases reveal the continuing struggles between opportunistic political operatives and professional intelligence analysts over how to deal with geopolitical information that can either inform U.S. foreign policy objectively or be exploited to advance some propaganda agenda. Clearly, this struggle did not end after CIA analysts were pressured into giving President George W. Bush the fraudulent not “mistaken” evidence that he used to make the case for invading Iraq in 2003.

But so soon after that disgraceful episode, the White House and State Department run the risk that some honest intelligence analysts would blow the whistle, especially given the dangerously blasé attitude in Establishment Washington toward the dangers of escalating the Ukraine confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. Given the very high stakes, perhaps an intelligence professional or two will summon the courage to step up to this challenge.

Falling in Line

For now, the rest of us are told to be satisfied with the Sunday media circus orchestrated by Kerry on July 20, 2014, with the able assistance of eager-to-please pundits. A review of the transcripts of the CBS, NBC, and ABC Sunday follies reveals a remarkable if not unprecedented — consistency in approach by CBS’s Bob Schieffer, NBC’s David Gregory (ably egged on by Andrea Mitchell), and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, all of whom hewed faithfully to a script apparently given them with two main talking points: (1) blame Putin; and (2) frame the shoot-down as a “wake-up call” (Kerry used the words repeatedly) for European governments to impose tight economic sanctions on Russia.

If the U.S. government’s hope was that the combination of Kerry’s hasty judgment and the DNI’s supportive “Government Assessment” would pin the P.R. blame for MH-17 on Putin and Russia, the gambit clearly worked. The U.S. had imposed serious economic sanctions on Russia the day before the shoot-down but the Europeans were hesitant. Yet, in the MH-17 aftermath, both U.S. and European media were filled with outrage against Putin for supposedly murdering 298 innocents.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders, who had been resisting imposing strong economic sanctions because of Germany’s and the European Union’s lucrative trade with Russia, let themselves be bulldozed, just two weeks after the shoot-down, into going along with mutually harmful sanctions that have hurt Russia but also have shaken the EU’s fragile economic recovery.

Thus started a new, noxious phase in the burgeoning confrontation between Russia and the West, a crisis that was originally precipitated by a Western-orchestrated coup d’état in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014, ousting Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych and touching off the current civil war that has witnessed some of the worst bloodshed inside Europe in decades..

It may seem odd that those European leaders allowed themselves to be snookered so swiftly. Did their own intelligence services not caution them against acquiescing over “intelligence” from social media? But the tidal wave of anti-Putin fury in the MH-17 aftermath was hard if not impossible for any Western politician to resist.

Just One Specific Question?

Yet, can the U.S. concealment of its MH-17 intelligence continue indefinitely? Some points beg for answers. For instance, besides describing social media as “an extraordinary tool,” Kerry told David Gregory on July 20, 2014: “We picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.”

Odd that neither Gregory nor other “mainstream” stenographers have thought to ask Kerry, then or since, to share what he says he “knows” with the American people and the world if only out of, well, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind. If Kerry has sources beyond “social media” for what he claims to “know” and they support his instant claims of Russian culpability, then the importance of his accusations dictates that he describe exactly what he pretends to know and how. But Kerry has been silent on this topic.

If, on the other hand, the real intelligence does not support the brief that Kerry argued right after the shoot-down, well, the truth will ultimately be hard to suppress. Angela Merkel and other leaders with damaged trade ties with Russia may ultimately demand an explanation. Can it be that it will take current European leaders a couple of years to realize they’ve been had — again?

The U.S. government also is likely to face growing public skepticism for using social media to pin the blame on Moscow for the downing of MH-17 not only to justify imposing economic sanctions, but also to stoke increased hostility toward Russia.

The Obama administration and the mainstream media may try to pretend that no doubt exists that the “group think” on Russia’s guilt is ironclad. And it seems likely that the official investigations now being conducted by the U.S.-propped-up government in Ukraine and other close U.S. allies will struggle to build a circumstantial case keeping the Putin-did-it narrative alive.

But chickens have a way of coming home to roost.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-years as a CIA analyst, he served as chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch, and prepared and personally conducted early morning briefings of the President’s Daily Brief.  In January 2013, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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90 comments for “Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17

  1. Eliot
    August 17, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    I had read shortly after the initial reports about MH-17 being downed, that an airliner carrying Putin had flown through the area 20 minutes earlier on its way into Russia on a very similar air route and that, it was suggested, the plan around the attack might have been to take down the plane with Putin in it. Never saw anything more on this take, not a thing…

    • Gail
      August 17, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      I had heard and read this also about Putin’s flight. That’s why I often wondered if the tree to be barking up should be NATO. That would be an even bigger reason to be throwing out propaganda and doing everything possible to stall a conclusion. Think back to 69 and PAM 800 out of JFK that was shot down by the US Navy off the cost of Long Island sound. How messed up was that investigation and for how long. To this day the US has never admitted it even though a document was made (its on line) stating the truth and the investigators lies and cover-ups.

      • dahoit
        August 18, 2015 at 6:07 pm

        Re flight 800;About a year or so ago I heard a report one of the investigators(or 2?)of said flight said that the there was a cover up Haven’t heard another word.
        Credible witnesses reported missile trails going up towards the flight.They were threatened by whatever suppressing acronym that was in charge.

    • gonchalabas
      August 18, 2015 at 12:15 am

      I came across this too. The red and blue stripe and design on Malayasian Airline planes is very similar to Putin’s Presidential Airplane. Perhaps an element of the Kiev junta or even NATO were involved in the attempted assassination, only to be horrified at making what is clearly an easy visual judgment mistake. Now they are leaning hard on the manufactured version of events to avoid the embarrassment of the mishap (or, more nauseating, to evade the truth of their botched false-flag civilian massacre meant to gather support for more war).
      And some images of the MH17 cockpit show large “bullet-holes” with curved shards of the hull bending inward on some and outward on others, possibly indicating entering and exiting punctures. Is it possible Ukranian Fighter pilots were ordered to shoot through the cockpit of what was assumed to be Putin’s plane? Is that even an effective and covert way to annihilate a modern airliner?

    • onno
      August 18, 2015 at 6:58 am

      Right on Eliot. In addition we don’t hear about the threat by Dnepropetrovsk governor and oligarch Kolomoisky who promised a ransom of $ 1 million for killing Putin. Also the fact that UA SU 25 that shot down MH 17 came from Dnepropetrovsk airport and now studies claim that the air-to-air missile was an Israeli Python missile. No problem for Kolomoisky to buy.

      Finally, surface-to-air missiles leave an oxygen white stream that can be seen on a clear day like July 17. Nobody has seen that. And on top of that the Dutch refuse to publish the voice recorders and USA with satellites all over Russia hasn’t come with their evidence.

      Altogether, it proves that this is a USA initiated scheme that fits the anti-Russia and anti-Putin MSM propaganda to brainwash the people with lies. Sad part is that 198 innocent fellow countrymen died a terrible death. But for USA this is ONLY collateral damage.

      • dahoit
        August 18, 2015 at 6:14 pm

        I would imagine even on a cloudy day you would see the contrail before it entered the clouds altitude.Only a foggy day would impede visual observation.
        Absolutely no evidence of such.
        I highly doubt Nato would deliberately(accidentally?maybe) shoot down Putin’s plane,a bit too far in provocation,but the Ukrainians weren’t too disciplined,so it’s highly possible they might have.

      • Aarky
        August 19, 2015 at 2:39 pm

        A lot of the comments here seem to be trolls trying to muddy the waters. The plane was not shot down by a fighter plane, but with a BUK missile. One report stated that the US had such good photos of the launch that they could see the uniforms, but the uniforms were those of the Ukraine Army??? To complicate the mess, a recording popped up of the rebel reporting to his Supervisor that they had just shot down a Ukrainian plane. The Supervisor answered that they had just shot down a passenger jet. The rebel answers that they must have been spies. Kiev Air Traffic Control was in the process of turning over the Malaysian jet to the Russian Air Traffic Control and the Russian exclaimed that the plane was now coming down in pieces.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      August 18, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Eliot, below is an article that I wrote on that topic in August 2014. According to a source, some U.S. intelligence analysts were taking seriously that possible motive — Ukrainian right-wing extremists linked to a corrupt oligarch seeking to shoot down Putin’s plane returning from South America. The last that I heard from the source some U.S. analysts still believe that the shoot-down may have originated with this idea although the perpetrators may have realized it wasn’t Putin’s plane on July 17 but still shot it down, recognizing the potential propaganda advantage. However, I don’t know if this scenario has been confirmed or not.
      https://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/08/was-putin-targeted-for-mid-air-assassination/

      Robert Parry

      • DKTaxpayer
        August 18, 2015 at 6:48 pm

        In my view the Putin’s plane theory started as a speculation in Russian media and then got ‘promoted’ to RT-propaganda by The New Republic in an article about what Russians was told.

        I don’t believe there is anything to support this theory. Here is the original story in English.
        http://www.rt.com/news/173672-malaysia-plane-crash-putin/

        • F. G. Sanford
          August 18, 2015 at 9:57 pm

          DK, I’d swear we’ve heard from you before, but didn’t you used to be OldNavyGuy? I guess you disinformation specialists all have that Wally Cleaver look.

          • DKTaxpayer
            August 19, 2015 at 5:34 am

            Nope. My first post ever on Consortium News.
            And you’re attacking the wrong guy because I’m for the facts so I check every story’s primary sources when possible. “Separatist BUK”-theory is shockingly unsupported by evidence.

            The story about ‘Putin plane’ in Russian media was not presented as facts but just speculation. Anybody reading the RT-article at an early stage should be able to identify it as nothing more than speculation. In Western media this story to portray them selves as credible regarding MH17 while i fact it’s the other way around.

    • August 18, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      – doesn’t really wash – Putin would be an idiot to fly over Ukraine in that situation, and he is very much not an idiot. Wherever he was coming from, there would be any number of options to avoid flying over Ukraine.

    • MEJ
      August 18, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      I read that Putin’s plane and MH-17 had similar paint jobs. However, the article I read said that his plane diverted away from Ukraine territory and he flew over Belarus on his way home from Warsaw. But if he had flown over Ukraine, it would have been just before MH-17.

      I haven’t read any more recent analysis on this since last summer. Will keep looking.

  2. Damian
    August 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    What crap this is, does anyone remember the Russians trying to say the Ukrainian airforce shot MH17 down, they even claimed to have a witness- never produced.
    This was completely implausible as the rebel enclaves have no Air Force.
    Now a BUK missile has been identified as the most likely cause of this atrocity, this Russian apologist seeks to shift the blame to the Ukraine.
    Despite the fact that Russia has been supplying diplomatic cover & military ordinance to the insurgents- the most obvious being the electronic countermeasures equipment which prevents the Ukrainian military from communicating- please note this equipment is not in the Ukrainian army’s ordinance at all.
    Lastly Yanukovich who owns a residence which is so opulent it would make Imelda Marcos blush, build on the proceeds of rampant corruption.
    Yet Ray would wish him restored???

    • William Jacoby
      August 17, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      Damian,

      It’s too bad that the NSA’s penchant for infiltrating website comment sites like this one makes your comments suspect. You may be sincere and you may be right, but at this point any and all comments supporting the foreign policy of the National Security State are suspect. The well has been poisoned. To me, the burden of proof is now on the government and its apologists to prove that they are not paid disinformation specialists. Sad that it has come to this

      • a nurse
        August 18, 2015 at 9:28 am

        Sadly — even tragically — true. I wonder if it’s too late to right this apparently sinking ship.

    • August 18, 2015 at 1:45 am

      Remarkable argument. So now a politican has to be ousted because he is an opulent man. Why won’t you set that standard for the American senate then, a round table of millionairs?

    • Robert Ryan
      August 18, 2015 at 2:33 am
    • August 18, 2015 at 3:31 am

      “This was completely implausible as the rebel enclaves have no Air Force.”

      Not completely implausible. Back in 2003, Bush reportedly discussed painting a US Air Force plane in UN colors: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42634.htm

      Operation Northwoods 7.0? …

      The Evil of Madeleine Albright: Could you have one of our planes shot down?

    • VoxPax
      August 18, 2015 at 5:12 am

      Is Erdogan next on your list? He should be if “owning a big residence and corruption” is enough to get rid of a political leader.

    • onno
      August 18, 2015 at 7:01 am

      If you don’t know the facts please refrain from repeating USA MSM propaganda and lies.

    • Antidyatel
      August 18, 2015 at 7:17 am

      Are you talking about the same SU25 that Ukrs lied about being incapable of reaching 10km? So funny that in 2012 they were boasting that they upgraded it to reach that ceiling http://www.redstar.gr/Foto_red/Eng/Aircraft/Su_25M1.html

    • dahoit
      August 18, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      Damian,it’s obvious you have some skin in the game.As far as this American is concerned,I care not one iota for who the leader of Ukraine is or was,it’s not our business to interfere with other nations.That is the prime reason America is in the ditch it’s in.
      When you live next to a big dog,(Russia)a smaller nation has to bend at least a little.Look at Mexico with America;We control it top to bottom with political whores,hence its destruction,Anytime they try to change,we screw their elections.(Obrador,remember him?)

    • DKTaxpayer
      August 18, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Damian,
      I think you will find this video informative. It will start with a presentation of facts as I’m sure you already know them to be. These facts are then elaborated step by step.

      The main focus is on the MH17 downing where the issue about eye witnesses will are also addressed. After the publication of the video a named Ukrainian eye witness has stepped forward and he is in the custody of the Russian authorities in a protection program.
      https://youtu.be/cda5w3_8h40

      • Ray McGovern
        August 20, 2015 at 1:46 am

        Want to thank ALL for a truly extraordinary bunch of comments, from which I have learned much.

        … and for DK, thanks for the interesting link.

        Best to all; hope you will contribute to our collective information, and even wisdom, on this very important issue.

        ANYBODY HAVE ANY SUGGESTION AS TO HOW WE MOVE THE STORY INTO THE FAWNING CORPORATE MEDIA???

        ray

        • F. G. Sanford
          August 20, 2015 at 6:31 am

          Ray, there’s a dicey but very simple way to do this. I doubt there’ll be any takers. You’d have to convince the Russians to shadow some international airline flight with a couple of Su-25’s at about 33,000 feet. About 500 tracer rounds fired very judiciously at some point in the evolution would add a nice touch.

    • Josh Vanhee
      August 18, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Damian,

      The name of the witness was produced, along with a complete affidavit of his testimony, his position at the Dnepropetrovsk airport and whereabouts at the time of the sortie of the particular airplane. This information was offered officially to the JIT in the Netherlands, along with the full radar transcripts from the nearby Rostov airbase, corroborating the Russian defense ministry’s factual evidence.

      It is telling that none of the evidence submitted has as yet been referred to in any report by the Joint Investigative Committee; and it is highly suspect that an investigative committee has as one of its members also one of the chief suspects, ie the Ukraine government.

      Let’s stick to the facts. And as yet, both the US government and the JIT are keeping any factual evidence hidden; the only ones to submit factual evidence publicly have been the Russian government.

    • Mike
      August 19, 2015 at 3:37 am

      Buk missiles are certainly in the arsenal of former Soviet Republic Ukraine. You might recall that following the breakup of the Soviet Union Ukraine demanded a large portion of the Soviet fleet, and retained all Soviet nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory.

      On July 4, 2014, 13 days before the crash of Mh-17 an AP photo was taken of an Ukrainian government Buk missile system near Sloviansk, Ukraine which is about 73 miles from Torez, Ukraine which was near the crash site.

      The photo of the Buk system is part of a July 5, 2014 article at:

      http://mashable.com/2014/07/05/pro-kremlin-rebels-flee-ukraine/

    • Aarky
      August 19, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      I think Ray’s big concern is how the US government manipulates public opinion. Remember the Victoria Nuland, high level at State, was caught on tape plotting the coup against Yanukovych. When the US Ambassador to Ukraine suggested that the EU members might object, her answer was “Fuck Em”. That she was not fired and prosecuted indicates that the US had a very big hidden plan for Ukraine. I suggest they wanted a compliant government that would join NATO. About two months ago Kerry visited Putin to show him close up photos of the Russian troops entering Ukraine. I would only hope that Putin made him listen to the Nuland recording at least twice. As Ray suggests, if we have all that information, why don’t we release it? Kerry has never released those photos.

  3. Zachary Smith
    August 17, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    If, on the other hand, the real intelligence does not support the brief that Kerry argued right after the shoot-down, well, the truth will ultimately be hard to suppress.

    But they may try it anyway, no matter how difficult or silly the effort turns out to be. What kind of pressure would they use? No idea, but a conspiracy notion has important people in the Netherlands being bought off by returning 122 tons of their gold last November.

    Washington is used to being King of the Mountain, and will resist being dethroned. On the other hand, the sanctions against Russia are becoming increasingly costly to important players in Europe. An essay I found at the Russia Insider site describes “Questions a Real MH17 Report Would Answer”

    http://russia-insider.com/en/questions-real-mh17-report-would-answer/ri9226

    Will the the coming report refer to “secret evidence” or something similarly silly? My money would be on “yes”. I don’t expect Washington to back down from its current line in any important way.

  4. Antiwar7
    August 17, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    I believe there were US naval vessels in the Black Sea at the time. If so, there would have been plenty of US electronic observation of the area at the time, if only to prevent a US ship from being targeted. Ray, is this true?

    • arsene lupin
      August 26, 2015 at 4:09 am

      yes, rapid trident, or whatever NATO called their wargames, happened in and around ukraine as the plane came down. that fact has been completely omitted from the news. now, i’m anything but a military expert, but how likely is it to have those operations going on without NATO having total observation of the entire area?

  5. Jerry D Riley
    August 17, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    See also:Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile” at:
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/german-pilot-speaks-out-shocking-analysis-of-the-shooting-down-of-malaysian-mh17/5394111

    • Ray McGovern
      August 20, 2015 at 11:05 am

      MANY thanks, Jerry…..interesting ray

  6. August 18, 2015 at 1:49 am

    About the way social media investigators of Bellingcat whitewash Ukrainian secret service stuff, read;

    https://hectorreban.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/misleading-the-crowds-bellingcat-infowar-mercenaries-clean-up-secret-service-stuff-again/

    • Abe
      August 18, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      Thank you for your diligent work, Hector. Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat are primary disinformation channels in the propaganda war now being waged against Russia.

    • Robert Ryan
      August 18, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks Hector

    • DKTaxpayer
      August 19, 2015 at 5:55 am

      Very well written, Hector.

      For good reason no media cites SBU as a credible source on MH17 information anymore.

      August 7, 2014:
      “During the investigation of Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 downing the law enforcement and intelligence bodies established that terrorists and militants have cynically planned the terrorist attack at Aeroflot civil aircraft, AFL-2074 Moscow-Larnaca, which was flying over the territory of Ukraine at that moment. Hereof informed the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Mr. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko during the briefing today.”

      http://www.sbu.gov.ua/sbu/control/en/publish/article?art_id=129860&cat_id=35317

  7. August 18, 2015 at 3:04 am

    What is particularly disturbing is the way mainstream Western journalists have been so eager to push the U.S. government narrative. Few, if any, have bothered to do any independent investigation of their own, appearing to rely on the usual government bullhorns for their information.

    Shaun Walker of the Guardian has been particularly active in this department, often writing stuff that is so transparently false you could believe he might be laughing at his readers for swallowing such guff. I dissected one of his pieces for Off-Guardian.

    http://off-guardian.org/2015/07/14/shaun-walker-renews-mh17-propaganda-offensive/

    • Abe
      August 18, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you, Bryan, for tracking Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat contributions to mainstream media propaganda about MH-17.

    • MEJ
      August 18, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      American and British and German press were all so quick with their glossy covers about “Putin’s massacre of MH-17,” I began to wonder if they knew something ahead of time. I know they all receive the same memos, but when did they get the news on this?

      (something for all those on various conspiracy.com websites)

      Glad to see this analysis by Ray McGovern. He keeps the rebuttal alive when the media beats the drum again.

  8. Sally Green
    August 18, 2015 at 3:16 am

    I read an interesting article from a journalist (Graham Phillips) yesterday about wreckage that he has found around the crash site and the authorities appear to be disinterested in.
    I am also mystified when I hear in the media that nobody could get on site for days after the event, yet I watched CNN continuously as they had a journalist on the spot within 24 hours and the people he spoke to seemed eager to show him whatever and also appeared relieved that outside people had arrived.

    http://linkis.com/russia-insider.com/e/8qaYy

  9. Brendan
    August 18, 2015 at 4:07 am

    The investigation team has shown very little interest in collecting evidence, as would be expected in the investigation into any major crime or accident. Nearly a year after the crash, they hadn’t collected many signicantant pieces of wreckage that had been left by locals with the local authorities. The Dutch Safety Board had apparently already released the draft of its final report in June without attempting to carry out a thorough investigation.

    “MH 17 : A year without truth ”
    (22:05 to 22:55) http://www.rt.com/news/310195-mh17-anniversary-independent-investigation/

    “Ukraine: Locals still finding MH17 debris”
    https://ruptly.tv/vod/view/32495/ukraine-locals-still-finding-mh17-debris

  10. F. G. Sanford
    August 18, 2015 at 4:28 am

    “We picked up the imagery of this launch. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time this aircraft disappeared from the radar”.

    Ray, maybe I’m overstating the obvious here, but these four sentences represent two data sets which fail to intersect. There’s the imagery of the launch, but no imagery of the airliner. Then, there’s the radar disappearance of the airliner, but no radar data on the missile. I’m sticking with my original assessment: MH-17 was shot down by an Su-25. The pilot would have had visual target confirmation implying intention and premeditation. The Buk missile scenario is a pretext to obfuscate this fact. The “official” verdict will conclude that the perpetrators cannot be identified based on available evidence. The original plan didn’t count on this dragging on so long. They didn’t count on the ineptitude of the Nazi goons who were supposed to capture the eastern provinces before this got so far out of hand. That Victoria Nuland still has a job suggests they have no intention of “coming clean”. In the meantime, all sympathy lies with the 298 airline victims. The nearly 7000 killed by indiscriminate shelling of civilian residential areas remain unmentioned.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 18, 2015 at 11:24 am

      I’ll do my best Watson here, and suggest that the only reason there is a BUK missile story, is due to that fact that the Donbass Defenders doesn’t have an Air Force? To further add to that if a BUK even had been fired that it would have served as only a Decoy? (Boy, I’m really on to drones today, sorry). I agree dear Sherlock it was definitely a shoot down from the air. Not to be completely redundant, but do you suppose the SU25’s could have been spotters for a drone? (Something about drones today). Regardless of any of that silly drone subject, I concur definitely a shoot down from the sky! Good shop Holmes.

      • Joe Tedesky
        August 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm

        Good JOB Holmes!

        One day I open this site gets a preview edit screen. Still a great site.

        • Kiza
          August 19, 2015 at 12:47 am

          Good job Holmes, but has it occurred to you that the missile exploded so close to the cockpit to eliminate the crew first and its likely attempt to radio an attack proves that this was a professional hit? This is even without arguing that most SAMs, BUK missiles included, are designed to explode about ten meters away from the target, not about 1.5 meters from the cockpit.

          I am stating the obvious – MH17 was a professional hit.

  11. Michael Fish
    August 18, 2015 at 8:19 am

    I watched the video press conference by the Russian manufacturers of Buk missiles.
    Their explanations of the technical properties of the missile were very convincing, so much so that the German pilot’s explanation of the shoot down by a Ukranian air force jet became less plausible to me. Their explanations, which were given to the Dutch, will be hard to deny as the proximate cause of the crash. Their mathematics also allowed them to pinpoint the village from which the missile was launched. This set of facts will also have to be taken into account. And the people who are responsible for ordering the launch have to be found. Unfortunately the Americans will lose face completely if what is looking more and more like their being ultimately responsible for the crash. And then they will probably lie and develop a scenario which will get the responsibility to be placed elsewhere.

    The Americans did a bogus investigation on the shoot down of the TWA 800 aircraft in the 1990’s. I copied the web addresses of the YouTube videos that tell this very disturbing story for anyone wanting to look at this case.
    .
    The relatives of some of the victims are still trying to get the American government to tell the truth about the matter. These are the adresses :

    Videos about TWA shoot down 1996 :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wxgyUyvpRs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKYoEFa4lY0

    the CIA cartoon accepted by the Air transportation safety board giving the cause of the crash :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMN5nJ0OVJ4

    The technical critique of this cartoon :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyluFVxqBlo

    the recent cspan press conference by the independent investigators working for the TWA employees association : 2hrs 50 minutes
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN6GPOfXS8U

    a conference presented after the Atsb reacted to the TWA employees association report :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bftzXEIXU5w

    The web page of the employees association updated to today with latest developments
    and several other videos :
    http://flight800doc.com/

    That’s all for the moment :

    Michael Fish

    • Brendan
      August 18, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      I’m not convinced by the BUK manufacturer Almaz-Antey’s conclusion that MH17 was shot down with a Buk missile fired from Zaroshenske, south of where MH17 was hit.

      Firstly, there were no witnesses in that area who reported seeing or hearing the missile launch, which should have produced a huge bang and a long thick contrail.

      Secondly, Almaz-Antey seem to be stretching the data to push the launch site as far west as possible. It is possible, though, that it could have been several kilometers to the east or south-east of the location they estimated.

      They did however present a lot of information about the operation of the BUK missile system at the conference. They also described the pattern of the damage to the aircraft, although there were a number of inaccuracies in that description. From that pattern they were able to calculate fairly accurately the detonation location near the aircraft’s cockpit.

      The most important thing that the press conference revealed was that it was very unlikely, if not impossible, that MH17 was struck by a BUK missile launched from near Sniznhne. That’s the location of the the alleged BUK launch, according to practicaly everyone who blames the rebels or Russians for the shoot-down.

    • Brendan
      August 18, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      The Dutch-led investigation team has made no effort to contact the BUK maker Almaz-Antey, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
      ( 7:00 and 12:40) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE1cLkOvkbw

      That’s strange, considering that the same team appears to have strong evidence that the murder weapon is a BUK. It also sounds a lot like their lack of interest in collecting important evidence, as described in an earlier comment.

      • Aarky
        August 19, 2015 at 3:07 pm

        The Dutch have pretty well concluded that the plane was shot down by a BUK missile. All those shrapnel holes were unique to a BUK. Give it up!! There are no 30 mm cannon holes anywhere on the planes remains. I’m starting to believe some of the posters here work for Russian intelligence.

      • Brendan
        August 20, 2015 at 2:47 am

        I didn’t say anything about 30 mm cannon holes or anything else from any fighter jet. Neither did I rule out the possibility that it was a BUK. Please read comments carefuly before suggesting that they come from Russian intelligence.

        Even if the Dutch have concluded that it was a BUK (which they haven’t done publicly), that should not be the end of the investigation. They should also try to figure out what direction the missile came from and how far it travelled. The more evidence and information that they have, the more accurately they can make those calculations.That means gathering as much wreckage as possible and also finding out about the operation of the missile from its developer and maker.

  12. Joe Tedesky
    August 18, 2015 at 9:02 am

    There is something that never gets brought up, and that is, that both MH370 and MH17 planes were equipped with Boeing/Honeywell Uninterruptible Autopilot System. What I am wondering about is, could both planes have been overtaken by outside pilots? This technology was developed to take over the controls away from a hi-jacked plane. This has been around since the late 80’s. We do know that MH17 was not on the correct flight path. We also know something weird happened to flight MH370 that took it off it’s original flight path.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/malaysian-airlines-mh17-was-ordered-to-fly-over-the-east-ukraine-warzone/5392540

    Then there is all this not ever mentioned flight management stuff, that leaves one to wonder, why not. With all the 24/7 news coverage, and pundits blabbering on and on, but never a mention of the Autopilot features that both of these planes had.

    http://21stcenturywire.com/2014/08/07/flight-control-boeings-uninterruptible-autopilot-system-drones-remote-hijacking/

    I’m no expert, far from it, but would the Black Box to flight MH17 show such interference? If you take the time to read the 21stcentury link you will find it very informative to the history of auto piloted aircraft. Again I can’t give you readers anything definitive to say for sure this did happen, but could there be anything to such a takeover having occurred? Sorry to say this, but at the rate this MH17 investigation is going we may end up filing this case along side the ‘Single Bullet Theory’. The ‘Invisible Hand’ has the advantage, because it is invisible.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 18, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Whether this Invisible Hand is being clever, or just plain stupid, it always leaves the truth somewhere hidden within clear sight. For instance, what ever happened to the Spanish traffic controller, Carlos I think? Didn’t even one investigative reporter go after Carlos? Even if there were not a Auto Pilot being involved, what could there be to MH17’s flight path being changed? All other commercial plane flights had been, and we’re still being directed much further south of the Donbass area at that time period. It is said that the Russians have given full disclosure of their governments knowledge of this tragic downed plane. So, why does the U.S. Government not do the same? Why are U.S. State Department people referencing people such as Higgins? Is this what we get for official, some couch potatoes word for it? I forgot we are the country where Donald Trump seriously could be our next president. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

      • Kiza
        August 19, 2015 at 12:33 am

        Why is State Department referencing people such as Higgins?

        Because the US intelligence professionals are not playing ball and willing to wrap intelligence around policy (war-mongering policy). Last time they went along, they were blamed for the Iraq War fiasco by the same “leaders” who arranged the whole thing. The reward for skewing intelligence to fit what the regime wants is – loss of professional integrity, career, job and opportunity. This is why “independent” intelligence such as Bellingcat has been invented. A fantastic bang for buck or rather lie per dollar ratio. My guess is a budget of around $300,000 per year for a limitless “intelligence” wrapped around policy. All that MSM have to add are adjectives in front of the new Bellingcat brand of faux intelligence, for example “respected”, “reliable”, “independent” and so on. Does anyone remember the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights?

  13. a nurse
    August 18, 2015 at 9:25 am

    We’re in a world of trouble in this country. Most people bought the government line on Flight 800 and I suspect that we’ll see the same adherence here. Physicist Tom Stalcup and investigative journalist Kristina Borjesson have done us a great service over the years in trying to get at the truth of what happened to Flight 800, but their conclusions and pleas seem to have fallen on deaf ears:

    “FBI force-fed mainstream media CIA’s Flight 800 propaganda”

    http://flight800.org/cia_propaganda.htm

    I always appreciate your commentary and keen insights, Mr. McGovern. Thank you for all your good work over the years.

  14. a nurse
    August 18, 2015 at 10:31 am

    http://tomstalcup.com/how-the-media-got-twa-800-wrong/

    Brief excerpt:

    “The Safety Board responded to the whistle-blowers’ petition in July 2014 with a document generated by staff members working under David Mayer–the same David Mayer mentioned above who doctored the witness evidence, but only to be promoted up the ranks to become the Safety Board’s Managing Director. As misleading and inaccurate as the original investigation itself, that document deemed the whistle-blowers’ critical analysis of the radar evidence invalid because, as the Safety Board improperly claimed, large errors between radar facilities had to be factored in and weren’t. However, the analysis in question relied on velocity calculations from a single radar source and any errors between facilities are irrelevant. Many other inaccuracies exist in the Safety Board response and are highlighted at Flight800doc dot com/pr (scroll down).

    A few days after the Safety Board responded to the whistle-blowers’ petition, Anderson Cooper exposed some of the corruption in a shallow-end special that aired July 15, 2014 on CNN. In that show, Jim Kallstrom admitted that he should have been “more tactful” when he lied to Congress about the eyewitness accounts. However, nothing was said about the Safety Board’s exceedingly inaccurate petition response.

    Two days after Mr. Cooper’s special aired was the eighteen year anniversary of the crash of TWA Flight 800. That day in Ukraine, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 flying above 30,000 feet was apparently downed by a large proximity-fused missile. The tragic irony was not lost on Cooper who misspoke, or not, when he reminded viewers of “when TWA 800 was shot down off the coast of Long Island.”

    Cooper later apologized for misspeaking.”

  15. Joe L.
    August 18, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Ray, I have to say what truly amazes me about MH-17 or the whole Ukraine narrative is the level of vitriol coming largely from the US and seemingly Americans on social media. In my mind, I wonder if the people that spew such venom towards Russia and Putin realize that the US is currently bombing in 7 countries with covert operations in 75 countries? When it comes to MH-17, regardless of who is responsible for shooting down the plane, the blame should first be on the Ukrainian government for keeping the airspace open above a war zone (especially when Ukrainian jets had been shot down weeks prior to the downing of MH-17 in that airspace). That is why I believe that the most sane people in the case of MH-17 are the German families that are suing the Ukrainian Government for the loss of their loved ones rather then getting caught up in the propaganda that our western governments, and media, are spewing. Sadly, what will likely happen with the whole Ukraine situation is that 30, 40, 50 years from now a document will become declassified (as was done with the Iranian coup – 1953) to truly show the US Government coup in Ukraine but then it will be too late. It amazes me, the US with such a long history of coups even against democracies, that the US government can continue to lie (Syria, Ukraine etc.) and still there are people gullible enough to believe them. If people have even the slightest grasp of history then when our politicians try to sell us another war then they would be laughed at, booed at, and ridiculed at every chance which would hopefully lead to those people being removed from office.

  16. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Eliot Higgins and the Bellingcat site serve as deception “conduits” as defined by the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Joint Publication 1-02), a compendium of approved terminology used by the U.S. military.

    Within military deception, “conduits” are information or intelligence gateways to the “deception target.”

    A “deception target” is defined as the “adversary decision maker with the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective.”

    The primary “deception targets” of MH-17 propaganda are key “policy makers” and the civilian populations of the United States and Europe Union.

    The Internet offers a ubiquitous, inexpensive and anonymous “open source” method for rapid propaganda dissemination.

    With no credible evidence of the Kremlin’s direct military involvement in eastern Ukraine, and faced with the prevailing distrust of the Pentagon or Western intelligence agencies, Washington advanced the Propaganda 3.0 strategy that had proven so effective in instigating the February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev.

    The Pentagon and Western intelligence agencies now disseminate propaganda by making it “publically available” via numerous channels, for example:

    – Russian anti-Putin oligarch-owned mainstream and social media
    – fake “reporters on the ground” in Ukraine
    – Ukrainian state media and privately-owned media
    – information released through US/NATO allies like Poland
    – most importantly, “analysis” of satellite imagery by fake “citizen journalists”

    These sources are infiltrated to “deny, disrupt, degrade, deceive”, taking advantage of “information overload”.

    A person can have difficulty understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much “publically available” information.

    Information overload arises from the access to so much information, almost instantaneously, without knowing the validity of the content and the risk of misinformation.

    Information overload can lead to “information anxiety,” which is the gap between the information we understand and the information that we think that we must understand.

    Pentagon and Western intelligence deception operatives such as Higgins and Bellingcat position themselves as “citizen journalists” helping to organize information to facilitate clear thinking.

    The actual purpose of these fake “citizen journalist” deception operatives is to provide a channel for deceptive Western intelligence information to more effectively reach the public and be perceived as truthful.

    Higgins pimped this deception strategy in his article, “Social media and conflict zones: the new evidence base for policymaking” https://blogs.kcl.ac.uk/policywonkers/social-media-and-conflict-zones-the-new-evidence-base-for-policymaking/

    Citing “Bellingcat’s MH17 investigation”, Higgins declared that “a relatively small team of analysts is able to derive a rich picture of a conflict zone” using online information and social media.

    Higgins extolled the virtues of this “new evidence base” of “open source” information — side-stepping the obvious opportunities for deceptive information being planted in these media from not-so-open sources.

    The “overarching point” concludes Higgins, is that “there is a real opportunity for open source intelligence analysis to provide the kind of evidence base that can underpin effective and successful foreign and security policymaking. It is an opportunity that policymakers should seize.”

    The Pentagon and Western intelligence have enthusiastically seized the opportunity to use deception operatives like Higgins to disseminate propaganda.

  17. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    [Eliot] Higgins’ attention now follows wherever the Western media needs it most. Lately that has been in eastern Ukraine. He has been the star non-witness cum non-expert regarding all matters Ukraine and in particular, MH17. Since the United States and the rest of NATO refuses to release what evidence they claim they have (again), it has been up to Higgins and the growing mainstream media circus surrounding him to once again fill the void.

    This explains why Higgins consistently only finds faults with Russia’s side of the story. At one point Higgins accused Russia of using Photoshop to doctor satellite images it provided to better illustrate the state of the battlefield when MH17 was downed.

    German paper Spiegel consulted a real expert to refute Higgins and his “Bellingcat research group’s” accusations. When Jens Kriese, a researcher and professional image forensics expert, was asked what his thoughts were on Higgins’ use of the analysis tool FotoForensic . com, he responded by saying:

    …[FotoForensic.com’s] founder Neal Krawetz also distanced himself from Bellingcat’s conclusions on Twitter. He described it as a good example of “how to not do image analysis.” What Bellingcat is doing is nothing more than reading tea leaves. Error Level Analysis is a method used by hobbyists.

    Who is the West’s Lead MH17 Investigator?
    By Ulson Gunnar
    http://journal-neo.org/2015/08/17/who-is-the-wests-lead-mh17-investigator/

  18. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    On May 30—drum roll, please—came the absolute coup de grâce. The Atlantic Council, one of the Washington think tanks—its shtick seems to be some stripe of housebroken neoliberalism—published a report purporting to show that, in the Times’ language, “Russia is continuing to defy the West by conducting protracted military operations inside Ukraine.”

    Read the report. It’s first sentence: “Russia is at war with Ukraine.”

    “Continuing to defy?” “At war with Ukraine?” If you refuse to accept the long, documented record of Moscow’s efforts to work toward a negotiated settlement with Europe—and around defiant Americans—and if you call the Ukraine conflict other than a civil war, well, someone is creating your reality for you.

    Details. The Times described “Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine” as “an independent report.” I imagine Gordon—he seems to do all the blurry stuff these days—had a straight face when he wrote three paragraphs later that John Herbst, one of the Atlantic Council’s authors, is a former ambassador to Ukraine.

    I do not know what kind of a face Gordon wore when he reported later on that the Atlantic Council paper rests on research done by Bellingcat.com, “an investigative website.” Or when he let Herbst get away with calling Bellingcat, which appears to operate from a third-floor office in Leicester, a city in the English Midlands, “independent researchers.”

    I wonder, honestly, if correspondents look sad when they write such things—sad their work has come to this.

    One, Bellingcat did its work using Google, YouTube and other readily available social media technologies, and this we are supposed to think is the cleverest thing under the sun. Are you kidding?

    Manipulating social media “evidence” has been a parlor game in Kiev; Washington; Langley, Virginia, and at NATO since the Ukraine crisis broke open. Look at the graphics included in the presentation. I do not think technical expertise is required to see that these images prove what all others offered as evidence since last year prove: nothing. It looks like the usual hocus-pocus.

    Two, examine the Bellingcat web site and try to figure out who runs it. I tried the about page and it was blank. The site consists of badly supported anti-Russian “reports”—no “investigation” aimed in any other direction.

    I look at this stuff now and think, Well, there may be activity on Russia’s borders or inside Ukraine, but maybe not. Those two soldiers may be Russian and may be on active duty, but I cannot draw any conclusion.

    I do not appreciate having to think this way—not as a reader and not as a former newsman. I do not like reading Times editorials, such as Tuesday’s, which institutionalizes “Putin’s war” and other such tropes, and having to say, Our most powerful newspaper is into the created reality game.

    We are the propagandists: The real story about how The New York Times and the White House has turned truth in the Ukraine on its head
    By Patrick L. Smith
    http://www.salon.com/2015/06/03/we_are_the_propagandists_the_real_story_about_how_the_new_york_times_and_the_white_house_has_turned_truth_in_the_ukraine_on_its_head/

    • MEJ
      August 18, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      Re: ” . . . Google, YouTube and other readily available social media technologies, and this we are supposed to think is the cleverest thing under the sun.”

      Well said. We are being played for SAPs yet again. But I have a question. If it is so clever to rely on social media for evidence, why are we paying so much for CIA intelligence? Why not fire the whole lot of them, hire a couple dozen college students, and have them monitor Facebook and Twitter and YouTube? Think of the money we would save.

  19. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    The New York Times has been loudly hailing Eliot Higgins as an “expert” since the 2013 chemical attack in Syria.

    In addition to recent NYT articles highlighting Higgins and the faux “citizen journalists” at Bellingcat, editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal has turned the NYT op-ed pages into a megaphone for Atlantic Council propaganda on Ukraine.

    A March 15, 2015 op-ed piece on Ukraine was authored by Hans Binnendijk and John E. Herbst.

    Binnendijk, a senior director for defense policy at the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, has served on the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Advisors Group.

    Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine (2003-2006), now serves as director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and is a principal co-author with Eliot Higgins of the Atlantic Council report accusing Russian of waging war in eastern Ukraine.

    A June 9, 2015 op-ed by Adrian Karatnycky decries “Putin’s warlords” in eastern Ukraine.

    Karatnycky, a Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Relations Program, was President and Executive Director of Freedom House (1993-2004) focused on instigating regime change in Belarus, Serbia, Ukraine and Russia.

    George Soros has worked closely with the Freedom House, USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy (now doing work formerly assigned to the CIA), the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and the Albert Einstein Institute to initiate a series of color revolutions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia following the engineered collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Karatnycky advertises himself as a “leading authority on Ukraine who has worked on-the-ground with the country’s leading policy reformers since the late 1980s”.

    Karatnycky manages the Myrmidon Group, “a consultancy with a representation in Kyiv that works with investors and corporations seeking entry into the complex but lucrative emerging markets of Ukraine and Eastern Europe”.

    In addition, Karatnycky is on the Board of Directors of an organization called the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter Initiative.

    The Chairman of the Board of Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, James C. Temerty, a member of the Advisory Council of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

    Temerty is Chairman of Northland Power, a major Canadian power company. He also serves as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Business School at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

    Ukrainian Jewish Encounter works in partnership with the Mohyla Academy in Kyiv.

    Mohyla Academy was an all-too-eager recipients of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) cash that poured into Ukraine in March 2014, after the coup d’etat in Kiev.

    Mohyla Academy operates the Stopfake propaganda website, which was registered in Ukraine on March 2, 2014. Allied with Bellingcat, Stopfake uses the same faux fact-check disinformation strategy that Eliot Higgins employs.

    An Atlantic Council / Ukrainian Jewish Encounter joint delegation headed by headed by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst, as well as Karatnycky and Temerty, traveled to Ukraine in June 2015.

    On June 23, the delegation met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv.

    On June 25, 2015, the Atlantic Council / UJE delegation met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

    According to the Ukrainian government website, the parties discussed “cooperation in countering Russian propaganda, which is particularly dangerous part of the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as the entire free world and civilized relations between states.” http://www.kmu.gov.ua/control/en/publish/printable_article?art_id=248274875

    It is not known whether the group discussed their New York Times op-ed bona fides.

  20. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    In an August 2, 2014 article written by Higgins entitled “MH17 Missiles Can’t Hide From These Internet Sleuths,” Higgins claims to have concluded that Russia or the anti-Kiev rebels must have shot down the plane with a Buk missile launcher – a weapons system also in the possession of Kiev’s military. What is his evidence? It’s a series of photographs published in various media outlets that he cannot corroborate in any way. Instead, this “sleuth” is making his case based on faith – faith that the photographs were taken where and when they claim to have been, and show what they claim to show.

    Of course, it has since been publicly acknowledged on more than one occasion that photographs purporting to show Russian military incursions into Ukraine have been fabricated and/or misrepresented causing tremendous embarrassment for US and European governments that have repeatedly claimed to have such evidence. But our dear BM is unfazed by such revelations. Instead, he seems to simply shriek louder. Rather than leaving analysis of MH 17 to aviation and military experts, he peddles his “opinion.” Rather than acknowledging the bias in his own reporting, to say nothing of the limitations of armchair technical analysis, he continues to grow his image, and with it, the lies, omissions, and distortions he propagates.

    And so we return to the new “study” by Higgins and his Bellingcat group of “digital detectives.” They are obviously front-and-center in the western media because their conclusions are aligned with the US-NATO political agenda. They are a de facto arm of the western corporate media and military-industrial complex, providing the veneer of “independent analysis” in order to penetrate the blogosphere and social media platforms where the mainstream narrative is being questioned, scrutinized, and discredited. Bellingcat and Higgins’ names should be known to everyone, but not because their analysis is worthwhile. Rather, they need to become household names so that those who understand how western propaganda and soft power actually works, will be on the lookout for more of their disinformation.

    Perhaps The Guardian should also be more careful in how it presents its information. By promoting Higgins and his discredited outfit, they are once again promoting disinformation for the purposes of selling war. The US almost went to war with Syria (which it is doing now anyway) based on the flawed intelligence and “analysis” of people like Higgins. Naturally, everyone remembers how The Guardian, like all of its corporate media brethren, helped to sell the Iraq War based on complete lies. Have they learned nothing? It would seem so.

    But those interested in peace and truth, we have learned something about propaganda and lies used to sell war. We who have called out these lies repeatedly – from Iraq in 2003, to Syria and Ukraine today – we once again repudiate the false narrative and the drumbeat for war. We reject the corporate media propagandists and their “alternative media” appendages. We stand for peace. And unlike The Guardian and Higgins, we stand on firm ground.

    Lying About Ukraine…Again!
    By Eric Draitser
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/20/the-guardian-lying-about-ukraine-again/

  21. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Higgins and Bellingcat are at the center of a US/NATO Propaganda 3.0 disinformation campaign.

    HIGGINS MANUFACTURES WAR PROPAGANDA AGAINST SYRIA

    In March 2012, using the pseudonym “Brown Moses,” British citizen Higgins purportedly began “investigative” blogging on the armed conflict taking place in Syria, claiming this to be a “hobby” in his “spare time”.

    A mainstream media darling, Higgins “arm chair analytics” have been promoted by the UK Guardian and New York Times, as well as corporate sponsors like Google.

    In addition to social media, Higgins uses Google Earth and satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe to manufacture his “investigation reports. Both Google and DigitalGlobe have deep ties to US defense and intelligence.

    Higgins’ “analyses” of Syrian weapons were frequently cited by MSM and online media, human rights groups, and Western governments seeking “regime change” in Syria.

    Higgins’ accusations that the Syrian government was responsible for the August 2013 Ghouta chemical attack were proven false, but almost led to war.

    Richard Lloyd and Theodore Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology observed that “although he has been widely quoted as an expert in the American mainstream media, [he] has changed his facts every time new technical information has challenged his conclusion that the Syrian government must have been responsible for the sarin attack. In addition, the claims that Higgins makes that are correct are all derived from our findings, which have been transmitted to him in numerous exchanges.”

    Despite the fact that Higgins’ accusations have repeatedly been disproven, he continues to be frequently cited, often without proper source attribution, by media, organizations and governments.

    HIGGINS MANUFACTURES WAR PROPAGANDA AGAINST RUSSIA

    On July 15, 2014, the day of the airstrike on the separatist-held town of Snizhne in eastern Ukraine, and three days before the MH-17 crash, Higgins launched the Bellingcat website. Vice News, Rupert Murdoch’s 70 million dollar Gen Y-targeted media channel, crowed about how “Citizen Journalists Are Banding Together to Fact-Check Online News”.

    The Atlantic Council, a “regime change” think tank, recently released a report titled, “Hiding In Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine”.

    A key author of the Atlantic Council report, Higgins is listed as a Visiting Research Associate at the Department of War Studies at the King’s College in London, UK.

    On page 1 of the report, the Atlantic Council praises “the ingenuity of our key partner in this endeavor, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat. The information documented in this report draws on open source data using innovative socialmedia forensics and geolocation”.

    The Atlantic Council claim that “Russia is at war with Ukraine” and is summarized in the following key statement on page 8 of the report:

    “Separatist forces have been relying on a steady flow of Russian supplies, including heavy weapons such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, and advanced anti-aircraft systems, including the Buk surface-to-air missile system (NATO designator SA-11/17) that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014. 26″

    The Atlantic Council’s claim that Russia supplied a Buk missile that shot down MH-17 has a single footnote. Footnote 26 directs the reader to the Bellingcat website and a pdf report by Higgins titled “MH-17: Source of the Separatist’s Buk”.

    On page 3 of the November 2014 Bellingcat report, Higgins claims:

    “It is the opinion of the Bellingcat MH17 investigation team that there is undeniable evidence that separatists in Ukraine were in control of a Buk missile launcher on July 17th and transported it from Donetsk to Snizhne on a transporter. The Buk missile launcher was unloaded in Snizhne approximately three hours before the downing of MH17 and was later filmed minus one missile driving through separatist-controlled Luhansk.

    “The Bellingcat MH17 investigation team also believes the same Buk was part of a convoy travelling from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk to near the Ukrainian border as part of a training exercise between June 22nd and July 25th, with elements of the convoy separating from the main convoy at some point during that period, including the Buk missile launcher filmed in Ukraine on July 17th. There is strong evidence indicating that the Russian military provided separatists in eastern Ukraine with the Buk missile launcher filmed and photographed in eastern Ukraine on July 17th.”

    Higgins’ November 2014 claim of “undeniable evidence” has become the Atlantic Council’s May 2015 claim that “pieces of evidence create an undeniable—and publicly accessible—record”.

    Higgins “fact checks” the disinformation produced by the Pentagon and Western intelligence regime, rubber stamps it with the Bellingcat “digital forensics” seal of approval.

    “OPEN SOURCE” INTELLIGENCE / OUT-SOURCED DECEPTION

    The Atlantic Council is managed by Western “policy makers”, military leaders, and senior intelligence officials, including four heads of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    The Atlantic Council used video of Higgins and Michael Usher from the Australian “60 Minutes” program “MH-17: An Investigation”(see video minutes 36:00-36:55) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU0kuHI6lNg to promote the report.

    Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, is a co-author with Higgins of the Atlantic Council report, highlighted Higgins’ effort to bolster Western accusations against Russia:

    “We make this case using only open source, all unclassified material. And none of it provided by government sources.

    “And it’s thanks to works, the work that’s been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, we’ve been able to use social media forensics and geolocation to back this up.” (see video minutes 35:10-36:30)

    However, the Atlantic Council claim that “none” of Higgins’ material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie.

    Higgins’ primary “pieces of evidence” — a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates — were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.

    A WHO’S WHO OF US DEFENSE AND INTELLIGENCE

    The Atlantic Council, founded in 1961 at the height of Cold War, is managed by a Who’s Who of Pentagon and Western intelligence, including:

    Michael Hayden (Board member) – CIA Director 2006–2009
    Robert Gates (Honorary Director) – CIA Director 1991–1993
    Leon Panetta (Honorary Director) – CIA Director 2009–2011
    William Webster (Honorary Director) – CIA Director 1987–1991

    In February 2009, James L. Jones, then-chairman of the Atlantic Council, stepped down in order to serve as President Obama’s new National Security Advisor and was succeeded by Senator Chuck Hagel.

    In addition, Atlantic Council members Susan Rice left to serve as the administration’s ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke became the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, General Eric K. Shinseki became the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Anne-Marie Slaughter became Director of Policy Planning at the State Department.

    Senator Chuck Hagel stepped down in 2013 to serve as US Secretary of Defense. Gen. Brent Scowcroft served as interim chairman of the organization’s Board of Directors until January 2014.

    The Atlantic Council hosts events with US policymakers such as Secretary of State John Kerry, and sitting heads of state and government such as former Georgian President (and newly appointed Governor of Odessa in Ukraine) Mikheil Saakashvili in 2008, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in 2014.

    The Atlantic Council has influential supporters such as former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh (Fogh of War”) Rasmussen, who called the Council a “pre-eminent think tank” with a “longstanding reputation”. In 2009, the Atlantic Council hosted Rasmussen’s first major US speech.

    In an interview with the Kiev-based Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (Ukrayins’ke Nezalezhne Informatsiyne Ahentstvo) or UNIAN, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated:

    “evidence published by the media, NGOs and from Russian soldiers themselves that Russia is supporting the separatists” in eastern Ukraine. Think tanks have also published reports, most recently the Atlantic Council, which gathered proof from various open sources, including satellite imagery.”

    Stoltenberg cited the Atlantic Council report based almost entirely on Higgins and Bellingcat’s dubious “open source” disinformation and discredited “forensic analysis” of satellite imagery.

    Higgins and the Atlantic Council are working in support of the US/NATO “hybrid war” against Russia.

  22. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat insist that their “investigations” are “by and for citizen investigative journalists”.

    To promote their “open source” disinformation, Higgins and Bellingcat produced a do-it-yourself guide for accessing imagery in Google Earth:

    “the findings of Bellingcat regarding the July 21 Russian MoD satellite images will be reaffirmed, along with a walk-through for anyone to verify Google Earth imagery via free and precisely dated image previews on Digital Globe”
    https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/how-tos/2015/06/05/google-earth-image-verification/

    Faux “citizen journalists” Higgins and Bellingcat downplay the fact that Google and DigitalGlobe have extensive ties to US defense and intelligence.

    CIA NO EVIL – GOOGLE AND DIGITALGLOBE

    Google is the company that runs the most visited website in the world, the company that owns YouTube, the company that’s mission statement from the outset was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

    In a 2004 letter prior to their initial public offering, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin explained their “Don’t be evil” culture required objectivity and an absence of bias: “We believe it is important for everyone to have access to the best information and research, not only to the information people pay for you to see.”

    Nowhere mentioned in the letter was the fact that Google was seed funded by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

    In addition, Google Earth, originally called EarthViewer 3D, was created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004.

    Google Earth maps the Earth by the superimposition of multiple images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and geographic information system (GIS) 3D globe.

    Google Earth satellite images are provided by Digital Globe, a supplier of the US Department of Defense (DoD) with direct connections to US defense and intelligence communities.

    The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is both a combat support agency under the United States Department of Defense, and an intelligence agency of the United States Intelligence Community.

    Robert T. Cardillo, director of the NGA, lavishly praised Digital Globe as “a true mission partner in every sense of the word” http://www.afcea.org/content/?q=Article-time-will-tell-geospatial-intelligence

    Examination of the Board of Directors of Digital Globe reveals intimate connections to DoD and CIA.

    Digital Globe Board Director Martin C. Faga is just one example.

    Faga served from 1989 to 1993 as Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), responsible to the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence for the development, acquisition, and operation of all U.S. satellite reconnaissance programs.

    As Director of the NRO, Faga appointed a Deputy Director for Military Support, and initiated the transition from separate Central Intelligence Agency, Air Force, and Navy programs into functional NRO directorates of signals, imagery, and communications.

    Faga also served as a staff member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives, where he headed the program and budget staff, as an engineer at the Central Intelligence Agency, and as an R&D officer in the Air Force.

    Faga was president and chief executive officer of MITRE from 2000-2006, managing Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) to support the Department of Defense (DOD) activities focused on command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I).

    Faga is a Director of the Association for Intelligence Officers. He served from 2006-2009 on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and the Public Interest Declassification Board from 2006 until 2014.

    Faga currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Thomson Reuters Special Services, LLC. Thomson Reuters Corporation is a major multinational mass media and information firm. He has also served on the Board of Electronic Data Systems.

    GOOGLE AND HIGGINS — GETTIN’ COZY ON THE ARM CHAIR

    Google has been promoting Higgins “arm chair analytics” since 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbWhcWizSFY

    Indeed, a very cozy cross-promotion is happening between Higgins/Bellingcat and Google.

    In November 2014, Google Ideas and Google For Media, partnered the George Soros-funded Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to host an “Investigathon” in New York City.

    Google Ideas promotes Higgins’ “War and Pieces – Social Media Investigations” on their YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flCqN8_0cX4,

    Google appears to have replaced the original motto altogether.

    A carefully reworded version appears in the Google Code of Conduct:

    “You can make money without doing evil”
    http://www.google.com/about/company/philosophy/

    Apparently this means that Google can promote CIA “information activities” and not be evil.

  23. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Dr. Neal Krawetz, founder of FotoForensics, called Eliot Higgins’ “Forensic Analysis of Satellite Images” Bellingcat report a “how to not do image analysis”.

    Krawetz emphasizes Bellingcat’s “faulty analysis”
    https://twitter.com/hackerfactor/status/605723114857586689

    In addition, there are serious questions about Higgins and Bellingcat’s cooperation with Google.

    Google’s partnerships with military contractors like SAIC, Northrop Grumman and Blackbird is just more more evidence of how snugly the company is in bed with the US military-surveillance complex.
    http://pando.com/2014/03/26/google-distances-itself-from-the-pentagon-stays-in-bed-with-mercenaries-and-intelligence-contractors/

    Google also is a recent joint venture partner with the CIA.

    In 2009, Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel each invested “under $10 million each” into Recorded Future shortly after the company was founded. Recorded Future is described as “a company that strips out from web pages the sort of who, what, when, where, why — sort of who’s involved,[…] where are they going, what kind of events are they going to,” even monitors blogs and Twitter accounts.

  24. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Michael Usher, the “correspondent” for the Australian “60 Minutes” program on MH-17, is one of many media shills for fake “citizen journalist” and fake “geolocation expert” Eliot Higgins.

    VICE News “correspondent” Simon Ostrovsky performed his own “stand-upper” for Higgins and the CIA-managed Atlantic Council.

    Ostrovsky bagpiped “renowned citizen journalist” Higgins in this blatant VICE News infomercial for the Atlantic Council report
    (see minutes 2:45 – 4:25) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zssIFN2mso

  25. jaycee
    August 18, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    “fix the intelligence around the policy”

    That’s what I believe is going on in this case – and it demonstrates utter contempt for the people who lost their lives, their memory, and their families.

    Nasty provocations by the Kiev regime throughout the spring and summer last year seemed designed to spark a Russian military intervention, and thus launch Cold War 2.0 and the severing of economic relations between Europe and Russia. Since the Russians were not playing along, a big false flag event was engineered and the policy objective was achieved.

    Noting the difference between an Intelligence Assessment and a Government Assessment is important. Thanks to RG for pointing this out.

    The fixed intelligence leading up to the Iraq War was not just a “disgraceful episode”, it was a criminal act which led to upending the lives of millions of people. I trust the statute of limitations will never run out on this, and perhaps some measure of justice will be realized. Stephen Hadley, for example, is currently on the board at Raytheon – where he advocates for ever more war – and he is also senior advisor for international affairs at the Orwellian-named United States Institute of Peace. He should be sitting in Chelsea Manning’s cell right now, double-checking the expiry date on his toothpaste.

  26. jg
    August 18, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    The key to this incident is the PSYOP to blame the Donbass rebel commander:

    http://tass.ru/en/russia/741521

    It reveals premeditation on the part of the Nazi coup regime, in consultation with CIA. The idea probably came from Langley.

  27. August 18, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Ray McGovern, To be more specific about the False Flag which USA & its allies are hiding for the purposes of bringing the world to WW3:
    1) BREEZE: US NATO war exercise in Black Sea simultaneous with shootdown http://libya360.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/mh-17-and-nato-excercise-breeze-2014/
    In addition to all the surveillance the US/NATO must have been conducting to monitor the “civil war” in Ukraine, NATO was con-ducting TWO military war-game “drills” in & around Ukraine on July 17. As such, they stated they’d be monitoring all air traffic by visual (spy satel-lites/plan es), radar & radio surveillance. So, where are their reports on MH-17? In fact, one of the drills (BREEZE) was supposed to end on July 13, after 10 days, but for some reason they extended it until July 17, & suddenly ended it right after MH-17 went down. Odd. 2nd drill (TRIDENT) was originally planned for September, but was rushed into action in July. Odd. US Army on original plan for TRIDENT: http://www.eur.army.mil/RapidTrident/ US Navy announcement of planned drills: http://www.stripes.com/news/us-army-to-proceed-with-planned-exercise-in-ukraine-1.272551 Propaganda media Voice of America announces end of BREEZE on July 17: http://www.voanews.com/content/reu-nato-black-sea-war-games-end/1959529.html
    Two good examinations of these drills and MH-17: http://en.voicesevas.ru/news/analytics/2763-military-drills-surround-mh17-disaster.html
    https://libya360.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/mh-17-and-nato-excercise-breeze-2014/
    2) Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov makes the following prudent framework for inquiry. http://rt.com/news/173976-mh17-crash-questions-ukraine/
    3) Images from US Satellites which were directly overhead of the attack have never been released. The Russian Defense Ministry quickly released what it says are radar and satellite shots of the day of the attack, showing Ukrainian fighter jets following MH17 over Ukrainian territory. These were dismissed as propaganda just as quickly, yet nobody claimed that those images were falsified. If they were proven to be fake, one presumes it would have made the papers. The U.S. must present its own satellite data to counter the Russian data in public, on the floor of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_isnt_the_united_states_releasing_its_july_17_satellite_images_of_mh17_2
    4) MH17 was flying 900 kilometres per hour at around 33,000 feet (6 miles or 10 kilometres) high. Shooting down a plane at that height & speed involves having calibrated (tested & adjusted for a wide range of factors) fixed ground based launching facilities way beyond the body held missiles held by eastern Ukrainians or the long range missile supposedly recently (within days) captured. Setting up these systems take months of platform preparation, tooling, adjustment, calibration, measurement & testing in order to achieve accuracy at 10,000 metres as well as multiple site radar stations in secure territory across 100s of kilometres to triangulate data for 3-dimensional calculation. Yanukovych democratic aligned loyalists (aka rebels) had & have no such secure stations nor missile capacities. http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/31369-focus-mh-17-mystery-a-new-tonkin-gulf-case

  28. MEJ
    August 18, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Just saw something amusing on Vice News, although they might not think so. In an August 18 article about a cold case murder and the movie “Jaws,” the author mentioned that perhaps “internet sleuthing” is not so reliable. It quoted a professor from MIT: “”Investigators and forensic specialists warned Halber repeatedly that web sleuths often rely too heavily on photos, comparing them to computer-generated or artist-drawn reconstructions or to forensic details. Photos are “really, really deceptive,” Halber said.”

    Gosh. Maybe internet sleuthing is OK if Bellingcat does it.

  29. Abe
    August 18, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Is the United States Sliding Into War in Ukraine—as It Did in Vietnam?
    By Stephen F. Cohen
    http://www.thenation.com/article/is-the-united-states-sliding-into-war-in-ukraine-as-it-did-in-vietnam/

    Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussion of the Ukrainian crisis and New Cold War.

    This installment begins with signs that Washington and Kiev may be planning to force the rebel Donbass regions of Donetsk and Luhansk out of Ukraine because they cannot be defeated militarily and because their continued instability disqualifies Ukraine for NATO membership.

    Cohen reports that the alternative—an all-out US-Kiev-NATO assault on the Donbass, with the real prospect of war with Russia—is also being considered.

    Another subject discussed is the growing US “colonial” presence in Ukraine, now in the historic (and substantially Russian) province of Odessa. More generally, Cohen asks if the United States is sliding incrementally into war in Ukraine, as it did many years ago in Vietnam.

    The installment ends with a brief tribute to Robert Conquest, the great Anglo-American man-of-letters and historian of Soviet Russia, who died last week at age 98, and whom Cohen knew well for 50 years.

  30. Abe
    August 19, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Ray McGovern says:

    “The key difference between the traditional “Intelligence Assessment” and this relatively new creation, a “Government Assessment,” is that the latter genre is put together by senior “White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts. Another significant difference is that an “Intelligence Assessment” often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.

    “The absence of an “Intelligence Assessment” suggested that honest intelligence analysts were resisting a knee-jerk indictment of Russia – just as they did after the first time Kerry pulled this “Government Assessment” arrow out of his quiver trying to stick the blame for an Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus on the Syrian government.”

    Thanks, Ray.

    Nowhere mentioned is the fact that te primary source in both instances, the guy responsible for the “pseudo-intelligence product, which contained not a single verifiable fact”, was none other than Eliot Higgins.

    THREE YEARS of this “pseudo-intelligence product” output, three wars and counting, yet not a single serious professional investigative reporter (or CIA analyst) can be bothered to burrow beneath the Higgins and Bellingcat “citizen journalist” bullshit cover story.

    Stop bitching about official Washington’s dubious claims, and what the Times or the Post or the Guardian or the Independent is publishing, and start going after the guy who’s been supplying virtually all the “pseudo-intelligence product”.

  31. Abe
    August 19, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    There has been almost total silence in the US and UK corporate media about the revelations of veteran journalists like Seymour Hersch and Robert Parry.

    Eliot Higgins has attempted to discredit both Hersch http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/12/09/sy-hershs-chemical-misfire/ and Parry https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/05/19/robert-parry-falsely-accuses-60-minutes-australia-of-using-mh17-fake-evidence/

    Widely hailed as an “expert” by mainstream and alternative media, Higgins presses on with impunity, eagerly repackaging and dispersing Western governments’ propaganda.

  32. Abe
    August 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    “Out my face! Out my face please!”

    US/NATO military boots on the ground were inadvertently identified in Mariupol early this year.

    On 24 January, a major escalation took place after a rocket attack killed many people in Mariupol. NATO blamed the attack on Donetsk People’s Republic forces.

    After the attack, a Ukrainian journalist approaches what she thinks is a Ukrainian soldier (since he is wearing a Ukrainian military uniform and is carrying an AK) and asked him as they run through the area, “Tell me, what happened here?”

    (WATCH minutes 02:30-02:40)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=160&v=kiwIUsX63Hk

    With renewed escalation near Mariupol, there is every reason to be skeptical about Ukrainian government claims that the Donetsk People’s Republic forces are preparing to launch an offensive.

    • Abe
      August 20, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      Since last week, Ukrainian forces have attempted infiltration at numerous points along the entire cease-fire line with the Donetsk People’s Republic. Pro-Kiev artillery fire damaged the railway terminal at Skotovskaya, temporarily stopping train movements.

      Paul Craig Roberts has observed:

      “It appears that the Russian government has made a mistake with regard to its approach to the breakaway Republics consisting of Russian peoples in former Russian territories who reject being governed by the anti-Russian coup government installed in Kiev by Washington. The Russian government could have ended the crisis by accepting the requests of these territories to be reunited with Russia. Instead, the Russian government opted for a diplomatic approach—hands off Donetsk and Luhansk—and this diplomacy has now failed. The coup government in Kiev never had any intention of keeping the Minsk agreement, and Washington had no intention of permitting the Minsk agreement to be kept. Apparently, even the realistic Putin succumbed to wishful thinking.

      “The Minsk agreement, which the Russian government backed for diplomatic reasons, has served to allow Washington time to train, equip, and mobilize much stronger forces now preparing to resume the attack on Donetsk and Luhansk. If these Republics are overrun, Vladimir Putin and Russia itself will lose all credibility. Whether Putin realizes it or not, Russia’s credibility is at stake on the Donetsk frontier, not in diplomatic meetings with Washington’s European vassals who are powerless to act outside of Washington’s control. If Washington prevails in Ukraine, Russia and China can forget about the BRICS and Eurasian trade groups offering alternatives to Washington’s economic hegemony. Washington intends to ensure its hegemony by prevailing in Ukraine.”

      http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/08/18/minsk-agreement-failed-paul-craig-roberts/

  33. August 20, 2015 at 8:06 am

    I enjoyed Ray rehashing Rumsfeld’s twisted logic to find reason in these times of the media’s use of mass deceptions.. “..and at the risk of sounding like former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld – it seems high time to address what we know, what we don’t know, and why it may be that we don’t know what we don’t know.”

    This condensed version of my 2012 film compilation also exposes the depth of betrayal and loss of truth.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c91u0U0a5iE&feature=share&list=UURxQDhx8ACN3Ur-kz0ZKkNw

  34. Abe
    August 20, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Putin has been very clear in all of his communications with Merkel and other foreign leaders, that Russia would not accept that region as being a part of Russia. He also made clear his reason: He wants the people in that region — who had voted 90%+ for a neutralist person, Yanukovych, to lead Ukraine — to remain within Ukraine’s electorate, so as to provide the necessary moderating element and counterbalance to the rabidly anti-Russian racists that were placed into power in Ukraine (next door to Russia), by Obama’s February 2014 coup.

    In other words: not only is the Ukrainian government not at war with the Russian government, but Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, is doing everything he can to prevent such a war from occurring.

    In fact: Before the United States overthrew and replaced Ukraine’s government in February 2014, in a coup that started being organized in early 2013, Ukraine had no civil war; it was at peace, as it long had been.

    Obama destroyed Libya, and also Ukraine, and is now destroying Syria, all in his obsession to conquer Russia, which had helped all three. And, now, Vladimir Putin is demonized by the Western ‘news’ media.

    That’s how ‘news’ is being ‘reported,’ in the West.

    Another Big Lie About Ukraine’s War
    By Eric Zuesse
    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/08/another-big-lie-about-ukraines-war.html

  35. Abe
    August 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Five days prior to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Adolf Hitler summoned Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels to the Reich Chancellery.

    “Whether right or wrong, we must win,” Hitler told Goebbels, “And when we have won, who will ask us about the method?”

    [Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 1936-45 vol 2: Nemesis (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001), pp 385-86]

    • F. G. Sanford
      August 21, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Funny you should mention propaganda. I can’t fathom why the birthplace of Pravda and Isvestia can’t do a better job of selling its side of the story. Sure, Kerry says RT is a propaganda bullhorn, but except for Crosstalk, it looks more like a whoopee cushion. The wreckage is full of bullet holes, the Kiev Air Traffic Control re routed the plane, and the Russians have radar confirmation of fighter activity in the area. This “investigation” should have been over months ago. Not only that, but something like 70% of Ukraine’s economy is still based on trade with Russia. Maybe it’s time to shut off their tap. Or…does Putin have some ingenious chess move up his sleeve?

      • Abe
        August 22, 2015 at 8:05 pm

        RT does provide a platform for valuable analysis and perspective from investigative journalists and researchers like F. William Engdahl, Pepe Escobar, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Michel Chossudovsky, Patrick Henningsen, Christopher Busby, Max Keiser, Thom Hartmann, Annie Machon, Nile Bowie, Eric Draitser, Finian Cunningham, Catherine Shakdam and Caleb Maupin.

        Heck, that Robert Parry guy has been interviewed on RT.

        As noted frequently in comments on Consortium News, Putin has attempted to advance Russian interests in the face of escalating economic and military hostilities from the West.

        Peering over the Eurasian Grand Chessboard, Putin keeps bidding for a draw by agreement, while the ideologically-driven madmen in Washington envision a nuclear endgame.

    • Abe
      August 22, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      Absence of evidence is evidence of absence (especially when you know that any real evidence would have been plastered on every front page, news program and op-ed piece).

      MH17: Questions a real report would answer; if it doesn’t, it’s a coverup
      By Patrick Armstrong
      http://newcoldwar.org/mh17-questions-a-real-report-would-answer-if-it-doesnt-its-a-coverup/

  36. Abe
    August 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Kiev and NATO also know that Russia does not want to be drawn into a direct clash with NATO that could lead to a general war. In consequence the Kiev-NATO axis have decided to engage in operations that have direct political repercussions designed to disrupt the Russian-Donbas alliance or to paralyze it and try to enlist new allies. At the same time they have decided to make the war more costly for the Donbas and Russia both in military and economic terms, and to try to bring about a gradual exhaustion of their physical and moral resistance.

    We see this strategy being played out with the constant increase of economic warfare against Russia, which is clearly the ultimate target, the increasing use of propaganda including the planting in the media of the most absurd stories about Russia and its government, the use, once again of the OSCE observes as intelligence agents for NATO as happened in the Yugoslav war, and, in the political sphere, attempts by the United States and Britain to humiliate Russia with the politically motivated attempt to set up a tribunal regarding the downing of flight MH17.

    Clausewitz said that “war is a pulsation of violence, variable in strength and therefore, variable in the speed with which it explodes and discharges it energy’ and that “If we keep in mind that war springs from some political purpose, it is natural that the prime cause of its existence will remain the supreme consideration in conducting it.”

    Indeed, we see in Ukraine the expression of the Anglo-American-German political purpose: the desire to force Russia to submit to their will. They failed in World War I. The attempt failed again in World War II. The so–called Cold War succeeded in bankrupting the socialist state but the capitalist state that rose from that sad decline is gathering its strength once again and refuses to submit to any one’s diktats. And so the NATO coup in Kiev, in order to take Ukraine away from Russian influence as the Nazis tried to do in World War II.

    Minsk -2: A Rotting Corpse
    By Christopher Black
    http://journal-neo.org/2015/08/21/minsk-2-a-rotting-corpse/

  37. Abe
    August 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    The Ghouta chemical attack occurred during the Syrian Civil War in the early hours of 21 August 2013.

    In the wake of the chemical weapons attack, shocking footage of the victims of that attack were widely circulated in an effort to raise the ire of the public and spur support for military intervention.

    A September 2013 report on that footage found troubling inconsistencies and manipulation with the video that called the official narrative of the attack and its victims into question.

    Staging the Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzLVfdrQRsY

    • Abe
      August 21, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/STUDY_THE_VIDEOS_THAT_SPEAKS_ABOUT_CHEMICALS_BETA_VERSION.pdf

      Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix, one of the main representatives of the ‘Mussalaha’ Reconciliation inter-faith Initiative, has the support of all Syria’s religious communities. She has been a fearless and indefatigable proponent for Syria’s persecuted. She personally brokered a ceasefire between ‘rebels’ and Syrian troops in Moadamiya, and thereby helped save the lives of over 2000 civilians.

      Mother Agnès-Mariam exposed the egregious stage-management of public opinion when President Obama, David Cameron and François Hollande were trying to justify punitive action against President Assad and his forces for the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta attack.

      Mother Agnès-Mariam demolished the credibility of the videos of the Ghouta chemical gas story. Her evidence on the veracity of the rebels’ videos was used by the Russian government in its successful efforts to forestall the USA’s planned missile strikes on Damascus.

      The questions Mother Agnès-Mariam raised in the report have still not been satisfactorily answered.

  38. bobbyfisher
    August 21, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    If it is of interest to anybody here is couple links to the July 17, 2014 when Ukrainian MOD accused Russian air force of downing two ukie Jets:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28345039

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ukraine-says-jet-shot-down-by-missile-from-russian-plane-1.2709542

    I find it fascinating that Ukies provided themselves with the good reason to activate their own BUK’s just hours before MH17 was redirected 200 miles North, straight in to a kill zone.

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