Russia-Baiting and Risks of Nuclear War

Exclusive: The propaganda war on Russia is spinning out of control with a biased investigation blaming Moscow for the MH-17 tragedy and angry exchanges over Syria, raising the risks of nuclear war, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

As U.S. and Russian officials trade barbed threats and as diplomacy on Syria is “on the verge” of extinction, it is tempting to view the ongoing propaganda exchange over who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014 as a side-show. That would be a huge mistake – easily made by President Obama’s wet-behind-the-ears sophomoric advisers who seem to know very little of the history of U.S.-Russia relations and appear smug in their ignorance.

Adult input is sorely needed. There are advantages to having some hands-on experience, and having watched how propaganda wars can easily escalate to military confrontation. In a Sept. 28 interview with Sputnik Radio, I addressed some serious implications of the decision by the U.S. and two of its European vassal states (the Netherlands and Ukraine) to stoke tensions with Russia still higher by blaming it for the downing of MH-17.

 Sergey V. Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. 23 September 2016 (UN Photo)

Sergey V. Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session.
Sept. 23, 2016 (UN Photo)

In short, there is considerable risk that the Russians may see this particular propaganda offensive (which “justified” the European Union’s economic sanctions in 2014), together with NATO’s saber rattling in central Europe, as steps toward war. In fact, there is troubling precedent for precisely that.

A very similar set of circumstances existed 33 years ago after the Soviets did shoot down Korean Airlines Flight 007 on Sept. 1, 1983, when it strayed over sensitive military targets inside the Soviet Union and the KAL-007 pilots failed to respond to repeated warnings. After the tragic reality became obvious, the Soviets acknowledged that they had downed the plane but said they did not know it was a passenger plane.

However, 1983 was another time of high tensions between the two superpowers and President Ronald Reagan wanted to paint the Soviets in the darkest of hues. So, his administration set out to sell the storyline that the Soviets had willfully murdered the 269 passengers and crew.

U.S. government propagandists and their media stenographers laid on all the Sturm und Drang they could summon to promote the lie that the Soviets knew KAL-007 was a civilian passenger plane before they shot it down. As Newsweek’s headline declared, “Murder in the Sky.”

Exploitation of the tragedy yielded a steep rise in tensions, and almost led to a nuclear exchange just two months later. There is an important lesson, now three decades later, as Western governments and the mainstream media manufacture more endless fear and hatred of Russia.

The Dutch/Ukrainian Follies

On Wednesday, new “evidence” blaming Russia for the downing of MH-17 over eastern Ukraine was made public – brought out of the oven, as it were, at a Dutch Maid bakery employing Ukrainian confectioners. A bite into the evidence and it immediately dissolves like refined sugar – and leaves an unpleasant artificial taste in the mouth.

The Dutch Safety Board's reconstruction of where it believed the missile exploded near Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014.

The Dutch Safety Board’s reconstruction of where it believed the missile exploded near Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014.

The Dutch-Ukrainian charade played by the “Joint Investigation Team,” on which Belgium, Australia and Malaysia also have members, is an insult to the relatives and friends of the 298 human beings killed in the shoot-down. Understandably, those relatives and friends long for truth and accountability, and they deserve it.

Yet, as happened in 1983 with the credulous acceptance of the Reagan administration’s version of the KAL-007 case, the mainstream Western media has embraced the JIT’s findings as “conclusive” and the evidence as “overwhelming.” But it is in reality extraordinarily thin, essentially a case of deciding immediately after the event that the Russians were to be blamed and spending more than two years assembling snippets of intercepted conversations (from 150,000 provided by the Ukrainian intelligence service) that could be stitched together to create an impression of guilt.

In the slick video, which serves as the JIT’s investigative “report,” the intercepted voices don’t say anything about Russian Buk missiles actually being deployed inside Ukraine or shooting down a plane or the need to get the Buk missiles out of Ukraine afterwards. One voice early on says he’d like to have some Buks but – after that – Buks aren’t mentioned and everything in the video is supposition. [See’s “Troubling Gaps in MH-17 Report.”]

There’s also no explanation as to why the Russians would have taken a bizarrely circuitous route when a much more direct and discreet course was available. The JIT’s embrace of that strange itinerary was made necessary by the fact that the only “social media” images of a Buk system traveling on July 17, 2014, before the MH-17 shoot-down, show the Buks heading east toward Russia, not west from Russia. [See’s “The Official and Implausible MH-17 Scenario.”]

In other words, to make the storyline fit with the available images, the JIT had to take the alleged Russian-Buk convoy on a ridiculous trip far out of the way so it could be photographed in Donetsk before doubling back toward the alleged firing site near Snizhne, which could have been reached easily from the Russian border without the extensive detour through heavily populated areas.

Ignoring Inconvenient Evidence

The JIT also had to ignore its own evidence that on the night of July 16-17, 2014, Ukrainian military convoys were pressing deep inside what has been called “rebel-controlled territory.” The obvious implication is that if a Ukrainian convoy could move to within a few miles of Luhansk, as one of the intercepts described, a Ukrainian Buk convoy could have traveled to the east as well.

Screen shot from the Joint Investigation Team's video report citing where a Russian Buk missile battery allegedly crossed into eastern Ukraine.

Screen shot from the Joint Investigation Team’s video report citing where a Russian Buk missile battery allegedly crossed into eastern Ukraine.

And, the JIT’s presumed motive for the Russians taking the extraordinary decision of supplying a Buk battery to the rebels – that it was needed to shoot down Ukrainian warplanes attacking rebels on the front lines – doesn’t fit with the placement of a Buk system on farmland south of Snizhne, far from the frontlines. Indeed, very little about the JIT’s case makes sense.

It also appears that the JIT devoted no effort to examining other plausible scenarios regarding who might have shot down MH-17. The JIT video report makes no reference to the several Ukrainian Buk systems that were operating in eastern Ukraine on the day that MH-17 was shot down.

The Dutch intelligence service MIVD, relying on NATO’s intelligence capabilities, reported earlier that the only anti-aircraft-missile systems in the area on July 17, 2014, capable of shooting down MH-17 were under the control of the Ukrainian military.

But the JIT’s report offered no explanation of where those Ukrainian Buk systems were located or whether Ukraine had accounted for all the Buk missiles in those batteries. The JIT’s blinders can be explained by the fact that it was coordinating with (and relying on) Ukraine’s SBU intelligence agency, which has among its responsibilities the protection of Ukrainian government secrets.

The shocking reality about the JIT is that one of the major suspects for having shot down MH-17, Ukraine, was pretty much running the inquiry.

Yet, since the JIT’s accusations on Wednesday, the West’s mainstream media has put on its own blinders so as not to notice the gaps and inconsistencies in the case. But what should be apparent to anyone without blinders is that the JIT set its sights on blaming the Russians for the MH-17 shoot-down in 2014 and nothing was going to get in the way of that conclusion.

That predetermined conclusion began with Secretary of State John Kerry’s rush to judgment, just three days after the shoot-down, putting the blame on the Russians. It then took the JIT more than two years to scrape together enough “evidence” to “confirm” Kerry’s findings.

The Near-Nuclear Clash

As a longtime CIA analyst covering the Soviet Union, the MH-17 case immediately brought to my mind the exploitation of the KAL-007 tragedy for propaganda purposes in 1983. After KAL-007 went down, the U.S. propaganda machinery, led by the U.S. Information Agency, went into high gear, even doctoring evidence for a U.N. Security Council meeting to “prove” the Soviets knew KAL-007 was a civilian aircraft and still shot it down deliberately.

 United States Secretary of State John Kerry with Samantha Power, US Permanent Representative to the UN, during the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. 20 September 2016 (UN Photo)

United States Secretary of State John Kerry with Samantha Power, US Permanent Representative to the UN, during the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session.
Sept. 20, 2016 (UN Photo)

“Barbaric” was the word used then – and in recent days U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power has applied that epithet again to the leaders in the Kremlin.

The same sort of anti-Russian hysteria is in play today as it was in 1983. And we now know based on declassified records that the extreme vilification of Moscow back then led Soviet leaders to believe that President Reagan was preparing for a nuclear war, a conflict that almost got started because of the harsh propaganda, combined with unprecedented military exercises and other provocations.

Last year, a former CIA colleague and senior manager of Soviet analysis, Mel Goodman, wrote about the “war scare” in the Kremlin in the fall of 1983, and asked if history may be repeating itself. Goodman personally helped persuade Reagan to ratchet down the tension, but it’s less clear if any adult remains who could tell President Obama to do the same now.

Goodman wrote: “1983 was the most dangerous year in the Soviet-American Cold War confrontation since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.  President Reagan declared a political and military campaign against the ‘evil empire’ …  Soviet leaders believed that the ‘correlation of world forces,’ Soviet terminology for the international balance, was unfavorable to Moscow and that the U.S. government was in the hands of a dangerous anti-Soviet crowd.

“In response to Reagan’s references to the Soviet Union as the ‘focus of evil in the world’ …  the new Soviet general secretary, Yuri Andropov, a former KGB chief, suggested that Reagan was insane and a liar …  Andropov would take no chances. Soviet leaders believed the Reagan administration was using a mobilization exercise called ‘Able Archer’ in November 1983 to prepare a nuclear surprise attack. The KGB instituted a sensitive collection effort to determine if the United States was planning such an attack. …

“In addition to the Able Archer mobilization exercise that alarmed the Kremlin, the Reagan administration authorized unusually aggressive military exercises near the Soviet border that, in some cases, violated Soviet territorial sovereignty. The Pentagon’s risky measures included … naval exercises in wartime approaches to the USSR where U.S. warships had previously not entered. Additional secret operations simulated surprise naval attacks on Soviet targets.”

Reining in Reagan

Goodman continued: “One of the great similarities between Russia and the United States was that both sides feared surprise attack. The United States suffered psychologically from the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor; it has still not recovered from 9/11. Yet, the United States has never appreciated that Moscow has similar fears due to Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion in the same year as Pearl Harbor, a far greater nightmare.

President Ronald Reagan with Secretary of State Alexander Haig and National Security Advisor Richard Allen during a meeting with Interagency Working Committee on Terrorism in the Cabinet Room on Jan. 26, 1981. (Photo from Reagan Library archives)

President Ronald Reagan with Secretary of State Alexander Haig and National Security Advisor Richard Allen during a meeting with Interagency Working Committee on Terrorism in the Cabinet Room on Jan. 26, 1981. (Photo from Reagan Library archives)

“Russia’s fear of surprise attack was accentuated in 1983, when the United States deployed the Army’s Pershing-II missile and land-based cruise missiles in West Europe as a counter to the Soviet Union’s SS-20 missiles. The SS-20 was not a ‘strategic’ weapon because of a limited range (3,000 miles) well short of the United States. The P-II, however, could not only reach the Soviet Union, but it could destroy Moscow’s command and control systems with incredible accuracy. Since the Soviets would have limited warning time – less than five minutes – the P-II was viewed as a first-strike weapon that could destroy the Soviet early warning system.

“In addition to the huge strategic advantage from the deployment of P-II and numerous cruise missiles, the U.S. deployment of the MX missile and the D-5 Trident submarine placed the Soviets in an inferior position with regard to strategic modernization. Overall, the United States held a huge strategic advantage in political, economic, and military policy.

“The Pentagon’s psychological warfare program to intimidate the Kremlin, including dangerous probes of Soviet borders by the Navy and Air Force, was unknown to CIA analysts. Thus, the CIA was at a disadvantage in trying to analyze the war scare because the Pentagon refused to share information on military maneuvers and weapons deployments.

“In 1983, the CIA had no idea that the annual Able Archer exercise would be conducted in a provocative fashion with high-level participation.  The exercise was a test of U.S. command and communications procedures, including procedures for the release and use of nuclear weapons in case of war.”

Goodman continued: “I believed that Soviet fears were genuine and Reagan’s national security advisor, Robert McFarlane, was even known to remark, ‘We got their attention’ but ‘maybe we overdid it.’  …  [CIA Director William] Casey took our analysis to the White House, and Reagan made sure that the exercises were toned down.

“For the first time, the Able Archer exercise was going to include President Reagan, Vice President Bush, and Secretary of Defense Weinberger, but when the White House understood the extent of Soviet anxiety regarding U.S. intentions, the major principals bowed out.  …  Soviet military doctrine had long held that a possible U.S. modus operandi for launching an attack on the USSR would be to convert an exercise into the real thing.

“Three decades later, history seems to be repeating itself. Washington and Moscow are once again exchanging ugly broadsides over the confrontations in Ukraine and Syria. The Russian-American arms control and disarmament dialogue has been pushed to the background, and the possibilities of superpower conflict into the foreground. Pentagon briefers are using the language of the Cold War in their congressional briefings, referring to Putin’s Russia as an ‘existential threat.’”

(END of excerpts from Mel Goodman’s account of “Able Archer.”)

The KAL-007 Prequel

As I wrote after the MH-17 shoot-down in 2014:

The death of all 298 people onboard the Malaysia Airline flight, going from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, will surely provide plenty of fuel for the already roaring anti-Russian propaganda machine. Still, the U.S. press might pause to recall how it’s been manipulated by the U.S. government in the past, including three decades ago by the Reagan administration twisting the facts of the KAL-007 tragedy.

A military parade on Red Square. May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Photo from:

A military parade on Red Square. May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Photo from:

In that case, a Soviet fighter jet shot down a Korean Air Line plane on Sept. 1, 1983, after it strayed hundreds of miles off course and penetrated some of the Soviet Union’s most sensitive airspace over military facilities in Kamchatka and Sakhalin Island.

Over Sakhalin, KAL-007 was finally intercepted by a Soviet Sukhoi-15 fighter. The Soviet pilot tried to signal the plane to land, but the KAL pilots did not respond to the repeated warnings. Amid confusion about the plane’s identity — a U.S. spy plane had been in the vicinity hours earlier — Soviet ground control ordered the pilot to fire. He did, blasting the plane out of the sky and killing all 269 people on board.

The Soviets soon realized they had made a horrendous mistake. U.S. intelligence also knew from sensitive intercepts that the tragedy had resulted from a blunder, not from a willful act of murder (much as on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes fired a missile that brought down an Iranian civilian airliner in the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people, an act which President Ronald Reagan explained as an “understandable accident”).

But a Soviet admission of a tragic blunder regarding KAL-007 wasn’t good enough for the Reagan administration, which saw the incident as a propaganda windfall. At the time, the felt imperative in Washington was to blacken the Soviet Union in the cause of Cold War propaganda and to escalate tensions with Moscow.

To make the blackest case against Moscow, the Reagan administration suppressed exculpatory evidence from the U.S. electronic intercepts. The U.S. mantra became “the deliberate downing of a civilian passenger plane.” Newsweek ran a cover emblazoned with the headline “Murder in the Sky.”

“The Reagan administration’s spin machine began cranking up,” wrote Alvin A. Snyder, then-director of the U.S. Information Agency’s television and film division, in his 1995 book, Warriors of Disinformation.

USIA Director Charles Z. Wick “ordered his top agency aides to form a special task force to devise ways of playing the story overseas. The objective, quite simply, was to heap as much abuse on the Soviet Union as possible,” Snyder recalled.

Snyder noted that “the American media swallowed the U.S. government line without reservation.” Said the venerable Ted Koppel on the ABC News ‘Nightline’ program: ‘This has been one of those occasions when there is very little difference between what is churned out by the U.S. government propaganda organs and by the commercial broadcasting networks.’”

On Sept. 6, 1983, the Reagan administration went so far as to present a doctored transcript of the intercepts to the United Nations Security Council. …

“The tape was supposed to run 50 minutes,” Snyder said about the recorded Soviet intercepts. “But the tape segment we [at USIA] had ran only eight minutes and 32 seconds. … ‘Do I detect the fine hand of [Richard Nixon’s secretary] Rosemary Woods here?’ I [Snyder] asked sarcastically.’”

But Snyder had a job to do: producing the video that his superiors wanted. “The perception we wanted to convey was that the Soviet Union had cold-bloodedly carried out a barbaric act,” Snyder wrote.

Seeing the Whole Story

Only a decade later, when Snyder saw the complete transcripts — including the portions that the Reagan administration had hidden — would he fully realize how many of the central elements of the U.S. presentation were false.

Russian President Vladimir Putin after the military parade on Red Square, May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Photo from:

Russian President Vladimir Putin after the military parade on Red Square, May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Photo from:

The Soviet fighter pilot apparently did believe he was pursuing a U.S. spy plane, according to the intercepts, and he was having trouble in the dark identifying the plane. At the instructions of Soviet ground controllers, the pilot had circled the KAL airliner and tilted his wings to force the aircraft down. The pilot said he fired warning shots, too. “This comment was also not on the tape we were provided,” Snyder wrote.

It was clear to Snyder that in the pursuit of its Cold War aims, the Reagan administration had presented false accusations to the United Nations, as well as to the people of the United States and the world. To Reagan’s people, the ends of smearing the Soviets had justified the means of falsifying the historical record.

In his book, Snyder acknowledged his role in the deception and drew an ironic lesson from the incident. The senior USIA official wrote, “The moral of the story is that all governments, including our own, lie when it suits their purposes. The key is to lie first.”

[End of my excerpt]

In 2016, as we deal with the West’s new hysteria regarding Russia – complete with rehashes of prior propaganda themes and military escalations – the pressing question is whether there are any adults left at senior levels of Official Washington who can rein in the madness before things spin entirely out of control.

Santayana famously noted, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But the real danger now is that history won’t stop at repeating itself but will continue beyond, plunging over the nuclear precipice.

Ray McGovern 27-year career as a CIA analyst included leading CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch.  He later conducted morning briefings of President Reagan’s most senior national security advisers with the President’s Daily Brief.  He now works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.

69 comments for “Russia-Baiting and Risks of Nuclear War

  1. David G
    October 2, 2016 at 21:06

    Ray McGovern writes: “There is an important lesson, now three decades later, as Western governments and the mainstream media manufacture more endless fear and hatred of Russia.”

    But I wonder what lesson those now in power in the U.S. take from the dangerous and deadly events of 1983. Within two years of the KAL 007 shootdown, the USSR had set its course toward collapse and surrender to U.S.-led militarism and predatory capitalism, a monumental change that is only now beginning to be corrected by Russia.

    Perhaps this sequence of events—including the deceptive propaganda blitz against Soviet “barbarism” and the hyper-aggressive Abel Archer exercises—is thought of by today’s permanent government of hegemonic warfare as “the straw that broke the Soviet camel’s back”, or some such, and therefore something to be emulated.

    Such people (if they merit being called that) may see this horrifying grazing of the edge of the abyss as a strategic success, at the cost of only a couple hundred innocent KAL 007 passengers and crew (including a schoolmate of mine).

    I would love to know whether Ray McGovern, with his knowledge and connections, thinks this is a realistic concern.

  2. Ave
    October 2, 2016 at 18:13

    “You don’t need to be the CIA to, you know, do this kind of thing.” – Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat
    (see video minutes 5:00-6:20)

    German interviewer Billy Six had performed his own “stand-upper” to “confirm” the alleged Luhansk “getaway” video originally posted by Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. Six joined the ranks of ARD TV, Correctiv, “60 Minutes” Australia, the Atlantic Council and most mainstream media to promote Higgins and Bellingcat.

    • Ave
      October 2, 2016 at 18:42

      The JIT video MH17 Animation incorporated the alleged Luhansk “getaway” video
      (see video minutes 10:13-10:33)

      The JIT report, for all intents and purposes, is an animated Bellingcat “investigation”.

    • Abe
      October 2, 2016 at 19:07

      MH17: The Buk videos are fake
      By Sergey Mastepanov

    • Abe
      October 2, 2016 at 21:24

      “We can say that…”
      The basic Propaganda 3.0 methodology of Bellingcat is hiding in plain sight:

      “I mean, one thing we’ve also been doing is we’ve been, you know, communicating with journalists working on the investigation of MH17. Many journalists have used our work […] So time and time again, you know […] we can say that journalists and investigate, uh, investigators on the ground have used our work, and confirmed it’s correct.”
      (see video minutes 3:35-4:05)

  3. ChuckW67
    October 2, 2016 at 09:38

    It was a botched assassination attempt on Putin. His state plane was flying back from the world cup that day. Although I doubt he would have flown over a war zone, it’s possible that Ukrainian nationalists may have mistaken the Malaysian plane for his plane as they have very similar colors/markings.
    Even Michael Morrell , former deputy head of the CIA, bragged about how he would like to “threaten Putin’s plane” to send a message. He openly stated this during an interview with Charlie Rose.

  4. Bart in Virginia
    October 2, 2016 at 08:07

    On a lighter note, that photo of Reagan brought a smirk to my face. Taken early in his administration, it shows him reaching into a bowl of his beloved jelly beans. He turned his sugar habit into a fad by his adoring public. Where did all those beans go?

  5. Realist
    October 1, 2016 at 16:09

    What’s the crucial different between Syria and Ukraine? (At least from Washington’s view.)

    In Syria, you have the legitimate government of the country attacking a rebel bastion (Aleppo), trying to re-unify it with the rest of the country. The rebels are largely imported mercenaries, recruited, armed and trained by Washington, the government, totally indigenous, is supported by Russia.

    In Ukraine, you have the central government in Kiev attacking a rebel bastion (the Donbass), trying to re-unify it with the rest of the country. The rebels are native people given aid (weapons, supplies and strategy) by Russia. The central government is totally propped up, armed, and trained by Washington. Even most of the government officials are outsiders hand-picked by Washington.

    Apparently, when America does a thing (no matter how many innocents suffer) it is all good and holy. When another world power (Russia in this case) does the exact same thing, it is the work of the Devil.

    Do I fully understand the principle here?

  6. Tom Welsh
    October 1, 2016 at 15:26

    “Still, the U.S. press might pause to recall how it’s been manipulated by the U.S. government in the past, including three decades ago by the Reagan administration twisting the facts of the KAL-007 tragedy”.

    But why would it pause, or worry in any way? After all, how many journalists or editors lost any money or career prospects by echoing the government lies? On the contrary, it was those who questioned the official propaganda who tended to find their careers suddenly cut short. As Voltaire remarked, “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong”.

  7. Abe
    October 1, 2016 at 14:32

    “The loud little handful – as usual – will shout for the war. The pulpit will – warily and cautiously – object – at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, “It is unjust and dishonorable, and here is no necessity for it.” Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will out shout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity. Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers – as earlier – but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation – pulpit and all – will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

    – Satan in Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger (1916)

  8. Bill Bodden
    October 1, 2016 at 12:59

    According to Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson Russia could also be at risk of economic warfare –

  9. Michael Morrissey
    October 1, 2016 at 10:26

    I just ran across this letter from 22 families of MH17 victims, which is as close to a non-partisan group as I can imagine, in which they question the forthrightness of all governments concerned (Ukraine, Russia, and the US) and demand the release by all parties of all radar data and satellite images. The paragraph relating to the US is:

    “3. Secretary of State John Kerry of the US has publicly declared that the US saw everything on their radar, but has not publicly disclosed it. DSB members have stated that they had access to (part of) it, but since (as far as we know) the evidence is not public or declassified its value cannot be evaluated, nor can it be used in court.”

    The letter is dated Aug. 29, 2016, and I would be very interested to find out if the subsequently released JIT report has provided any satisfaction at all to the writers. I doubt it. But how can we find out?

  10. F. G. Sanford
    October 1, 2016 at 07:40

    Yep, they pulled this…”loaf”…out of the oven, steaming and stinking, and if nuclear war breaks out, they’ll claim that it proves everything they said was true all along. But rather than the Dutch Maid bakery, it looks more like something cooked up by Mickey in the Night Kitchen, of Maurice Sendak fame. Or maybe Roald Dahl, who might have included small dead rodents or disgusting bodily effluvients in his children’s stories. Dahl was an intelligence specialist for Great Britain, as I recall. We’re an exceptional nation, where perverts write bedtime stories, lawyers go to jail for exposing pedophiles, torture is rationalized as a means to protect our freedom, and bribery can be passed off as a charitable activity. And, there is always some individual who professes to be devoutly religious or eminently patriotic standing by to smear the integrity of those who question. Cynics might postulate that nuclear holocaust offers the only avenue to the next step in terrestrial evolution…if global warming doesn’t get us first. The notion that a major depopulation event is an outcome desired by the “power elite” does invite some worthwhile speculation. They may not have a “plan”, but they certainly don’t seem particularly worried about looming catastrophes. The Night Kitchen is full of surprises…so we’ll just have to wait and see…

    • Abe
      October 1, 2016 at 13:59

      This “loaf” is nothing other than a steaming, stinking pile of BM (“Brown Moses”) pulled out of you know where by what journalist John Helmer has accurately described as a NATO agency: Bellingcat.

  11. Michael Morrissey
    October 1, 2016 at 06:47

    Another excellent piece that should be shouted from the rooftops. But I have a couple of questions. 1) Why not sign it “Ray for the VIPS”? Wouldn’t that have more clout? 2) Why not mention what is to me at least the most glaring weakness of the JIT report, namely the refusal of the US to reveal their “conclusive satellite data”?

  12. Peter Loeb
    October 1, 2016 at 06:20

    ROLE….2016 ETC.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  13. Mike Willis
    October 1, 2016 at 04:50

    Giving the neo-Nazi-infested Ukrainian ‘intelligence’ service veto power over the MH-17 evidence investigated by the JIT, is the equivalent of giving the fox veto power over the investigation into the murders at the chicken coop: an insult to the victims, their families and to our intelligence.

    Thank you Mr McGovern for this expert deconstruction of this week’s voluminous bullsh*t/propaganda…
    Fascinating hidden-history parallels with the exploitation of the 1983 KAL-007 tragedy and its near-nuclear consequences too. First rate stuff…

  14. Abe
    October 1, 2016 at 03:33

    In October 2014, Dutch journalist Joost Niemöller published MH17: de Doofpotdeal (MH17: The Cover-Up Deal).

    Only one major Dutch newspaper, De Volkskrant, published an interview with Niemöller when the book first appeared. Pepe Escobar published an English translation of Niemöller’s remarks at the time. Here’s an excerpt:

    “The Netherlands, being the country that leads the international investigation, has organized the research of both the Public Prosecutor and the Research Council in a way that makes objective investigation impossible in advance. This arises out of the course of events. Ukraine was the first party to do the research. This is subject to international agreements made by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). After several days of secret talks with Dutch FM Timmermans in Kiev, the research was ‘delegated’ to the Netherlands, by means of a series of appointments. The agreements that the Research Council made with Kiev initially were not released, but after all, incidentally posted on the website of the Council. Please note that this happened at the same time when the Dutch government reported to the House of Representatives that those agreements should not be made public yet.

    “Among other things those agreements include that Ukraine and the Netherlands are committed to a complete exchange of information, that they can force each other to secrecy, and that Ukrainian researchers should participate in the Dutch research. As for the agreements for the Public Prosecutor, these became public thanks to the loose-tongued Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Boychenko, who at a press conference in Kiev on August 10 stated that the countries that have signed the deal […] have veto power over the conduct of the research. So if Kiev does not like certain results, the actual research will be cancelled. The Dutch government is silent about this deal with the Public Prosecutor.

    “Dutch PM Rutte thus has made himself a puppet to Kiev. The research may have only one outcome: the separatists have done it. Most Dutch probably won’t care very much. The general belief is that it is the separatists who shot down flight MH17 with a rocket. It only needs to be proven. This also is the general tone in the media, which leads to a tunnel vision. Every ounce that points in that direction, like a vague piece in German newspaper Der Spiegel, feeds the hysteria: ‘We’ve got them, those US satellite photos! It shows that the separatists did it!’ Then why we do not get to see them?

    “The fact that that piece did not mention satellite photos at all, but only mentioned analyzes of satellite photos, and the fact that German tv station ARD, which also leaked about the meeting, spoke of ‘plausible options’ that reportedly were secretly shared by the Secret Service with members of the Bundestag in a German commission, was overlooked in all the excitement. Comparable news and even facts pointing in the direction of Ukraine as the perpetrator, are ignored by the Dutch media. That’s what’s called tunnel vision.

    “The discontent can only grow. The deals between the Dutch government and Kiev make it by definition impossible to investigate the site of the crash and to secure evidence (with the exception of the bodies and some luggage). The only thing the Public Prosecutor can do is study images on the internet. Perhaps the metal particles found at the site of the crash will be of good use. But even about that topic a mysterious silence prevails.

    “More generally, it is in any case the nature of these kind of attacks that makes it impossible to identify the perpetrator. In the past sixty years it happened twenty times that an airliner was shot from the air during a military action, usually by accident, by a ground-to-air-rocket or a fighter jet. In all cases things were settled outside the courtroom. Parties were bribed. Even if there was no doubt about the evidence, like in 2001, when Ukraine downed an airliner with a rocket. The political interests always prevailed over the truth. The MH17 case won’t be an exception to this.”

    Here is a revealing 2015 video interview in English with Niemöller about the MH17 cover-up:

  15. October 1, 2016 at 03:09

    I cannot be alone in feeling like I’ve strayed into a parallel dimension; a through-the-looking-glass world where everything is topsy-turvy.

    In this sinister, dark and dangerous place, where one set of characters does everything the wrong way round, the Russians are continually set the impossible task of proving a negative. There cannot be a better example of this than Mad Hatter John Kirby demanding Russia provide proof that a Russian aircraft did not violate Turkish airspace on January 29th of this year. (bad audio)

  16. October 1, 2016 at 02:48

    This idiotic author should likely consider penning his drivel prior to indulging in copious amounts of adult beverages.
    His failure to remember the Soviets near week long denial that they had downed KAL-007 is bizarre considering his past employment, and current interests.
    And then this writer seems to buy into the Kremlin crap that the murderous SOB’s finally decided to release, only when denial became an effort in futility, said crap being that the pilot believed the obviously unarmed PASSENGER JET posed a threat. A lot of women and kids died in that act of barbarism.

    • Abe
      October 1, 2016 at 03:54

      Comrade Dave exhibits symptoms of “Kremlin” Tourette’s, a neuropsychiatric disorder induced by US/NATO funding.

      Symptoms include the mindless repetition of the word “Kremlin” accompanied by uncontrollable WORD CAPITALIZATION.

    • Joe B
      October 1, 2016 at 08:08

      The thugs were the US dark state that “accidentally” sent flight 007 over the most sensitive USSR military defenses in Sakhalin, figuring that human shields would prevent diversion of a spy flight. We can see just how much those human lives meant to them.

      The argument that this flight was not equipped with spy cameras, and just accidentally wandered a thousand miles off course for hours without anyone noticing, is ridiculous and will eventually be exposed. It is quite likely that MH-17 and the other missing Malaysian airlines flight were also equipped for spying, and that this is why we just can’t seem to find our spy data. This would also explain its diversion over the war zone.

      • A Finn
        October 1, 2016 at 15:55

        So do you think that this Air Crash Investigation documentary on KAL008 is also just pure propaganda when it reports that the cause of the deviation was human error (Russians included in the investigative team)? For that conclusion, watch especially 28.00 – 36:00 minutes:

        I find the documentary quite compelling.

        I also seem to recall that the Russians initially denied any involvement but am not sure, it’s such a long time ago, and I probably didn’t follow the news about the case as I don’t have any recollection of having heard them admit anything after a week. On the other hand, I do recall with more clarity that after the Soviet Union disintegrated, they came clean.

        As for Ray McGovern’s article, I am of the opinion that this is the best analysis of the case I’ve read so far.

        • Joe B
          October 1, 2016 at 18:47

          I don’t use video reports, as they are just a way to distract from the facts. Why anyone’s expression or background would be taken as evidence I don’t know. It isn’t.

          But human error by a pilot, two copilots, and three autopilots for two solid hours? Land appearing where it wouldn’t be? What were they doing in the cockpit that none of them or their instruments noticed that they were a thousand miles off? It’s a ridiculous hypothesis, that would take a lot of persuasion based upon people’s expressions and video background, I think. Maybe the soundtrack helped.

          • A Finn
            October 2, 2016 at 11:43

            “What were they doing in the cockpit that none of them or their instruments noticed that they were a thousand miles off? It’s a ridiculous hypothesis, that would take a lot of persuasion based upon people’s expressions and video background, I think. ”

            They were not off thousands of miles, only a few hundred. It’s not a ridiculous hypothesis at all, as most airline accidents these days seem to be caused by pilots not being able to fly the planes and relying too much on their computer systems. Cf. for instance the AF447 accident. But as I said in my previous post today, it may be that it was a spy mission after all.

          • A Finn
            October 2, 2016 at 11:44

            I tried to post this earlier, not sure if it came thru:

            Reading a Finnish blog about “Living Next Door to the Rogue State of Russia” (Finnish media follows the MSM of the West in its Russia bashing) on a web site of one of our esteemed tabloids today, I came across a comment by a Martti Pelho. According to Mr Pelho, our former president Mauno Koivisto’s interpretation of the KAL incident, possibly with information from US government sources, was that the Korean plane was on a spying mission and was deliberately flown towards Sakhalin island so that a US spy satellite above the island would be able to record how the Soviet defence systems were being activated.

            Furthermore, the KAL flight was delayed by more than 3 hours in Anchorage because of the schedule of the US spy satellite. Koivisto also claims that the relatives of the Korean pilots sought and received financial compensation, damages, from the US government. All this apparently said in Koivisto’s memoirs. I’ll have to check.

            Now I don’t know what to think, once again, of this particular incident. The explanation provided by the documentary, which I’d seen earlier at least once, pilot error by not activating the INS, seemed quite plausible. But I suppose it’s possible the heading and not turning the INS on were deliberately done, and the US relied on the Soviets not to shoot down any planes. Or they were not at all concerned what would happen to the passengers and the crew.



    • elmerfudzie
      October 1, 2016 at 21:46

      Reply to Dave Winfrey, we’ve got thugs, they’ve got thugs…whether or not you love the new KGB image or hate them, is quite beside the the point…U.S. and Western Occident nations must “make a square deal” with Moscow Now, OR WE”LL ALL BE SUCKING UP PLUTONIUM THROUGH OUR COLLECTIVE NOSE(S) and it’s not a vitamin! Once inhaled, it’s a terribly slow way to die..Of course you may be a Rockefeller type, and I suppose arrangements can be made to rent a large mansion, provided it has a basement (the roof tops will be dusted with atomic debris radiating gamma rays, so sitting sixty feet away from the roof is best) . There are a few multimillionaires who can afford to install HEPA filters at their windows instead of opening them but it’s a hell of a situation to exist in for claustrophobics!…Or for any living creature with a brain larger than a pea to endure!!

  17. Zachary Smith
    October 1, 2016 at 01:20

    I’ve found another little essay at a Russian Propaganda Site to go along with this excellent essay.

    In a recent article in The Nation, Adam Johnson reminds his readers that:

    ?The New York Times‘s editorial board has supported every single US war—Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya—for the past 30 years. While its reporting and op-eds on these wars has often been critical, much of it’s coverage has also helped to sell war-weary liberals on the current military mission—the most notable example being Judith Miller and Michael Gordon’s hyping Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear program in the buildup to the March 2003 invasion. Indeed, the image of The New York Times as an objective, unbiased news outlet is precisely how it was able to sell the war in the first place.

    • Bill Bodden
      October 1, 2016 at 01:37

      Indeed, the image of The New York Times as an objective, unbiased news outlet is precisely how it was able to sell the war in the first place.

      This was similar in a way to Woodrow Wilson claiming he didn’t want to go to war against Germany while he intended to do just that.

  18. TeeJay
    October 1, 2016 at 00:01

    Fantastic article Ray, filled with facts and great insights!


  19. September 30, 2016 at 23:17

    If you’ve never seen the “Duck and Cover Civil Defense” propaganda from 1951, it’s a good reminder how our government “leaders,” a full 6 years after they vaporized every living thing under their atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, spewed incredible lies to falsely assure their own country’s citizens that their children could easily survive a nuclear blast if they ducked under their desks.

    Of course the leaders knew the terrible truth so this massive propaganda campaign was designed solely to make Americans complacent so they would go along with the war profiteering involved in their leaders’ nuclear arms race.

    And nearly the same incredibly inane propaganda is at work today to keep Americans ignorant and complacent about the prospect of being at 3 minutes to Midnight on the Doomsday Clock. The “humanitarian interventionists” are convinced the (potentially) first female president is so motherly, nurturing and caring that she knows best and will somehow save them. This is as silly as the duck and cover turtle cartoon. In contrast with the fact that most Americans are now so ignorantly confident that a nuclear exchange will never happen, not even accidentally, and secondly, that somehow they will survive, watch as nuclear experts and scientists carefully detail how even a limited exchange is likely to end human civilization: John Oliver’s long list of nuclear “accidents” and close calls is accurate but done with humor and sarcasm because the reality is too scary for most people to face otherwise:

    I would predict that the scientists are currently debating whether to move the hands on the Doomsday Clock another minute closer.

    • Anon
      October 3, 2016 at 12:20

      “‘If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody’s going to make it.’ The shovels were for digging holes in the ground, which would be covered somehow or other with a couple of doors and with three feet of dirt thrown on top. … ‘It’s the dirt that does it,’ he said.'” -TK Jones, Defense Dept official responsible for civil defense planning under Reagan (reported by Robert Scheer in 1982)

      “…There is also the question of whether their belief that a nuclear exchange could be limited, fought strategically and ”won” over a period of weeks and months – however ridiculous that may sound -represents any change from the policies of past Administrations. As Thomas Powers points out in the November issue of The Atlantic, this sort of thinking has proliferated with the increased flexibility and accuracy of nuclear weaponry and, indeed, became the official policy of the Carter Administration with the issuance of Presidential Directive 59 in 1980.” (Joe Klein, NY Times, 1982)

  20. Exiled off mainstreet
    September 30, 2016 at 22:50

    This is profoundly depressing. I don’t see how we can survive long with a fascist-style propaganda central running the show and European countries grovelling in a fashion which make the old Warsaw Pact seem like a confederation of independent states. The Dutch officials probably know they are part of a propaganda psy-op lie. People like Sanders lending themselves to the Clinton campaign shows the moral bankruptcy of even those previously considered virtuous. Sheldon Wolin’s soft fascism now appears fully blown, and I don’t really see how we can survive unless this becomes a real political issue. Those who vote for Clinton are turkeys voting for Thanksgiving or people voting for nuclear death.

  21. September 30, 2016 at 22:14

    We are “Marching To Doomsday”

    “I have made the most wonderful discovery, I have discovered men will risk their lives, even die, for ribbons” -Napoleon Bonaparte

    Marching towards Doomsday in bemedaled uniforms
    Are they the NATO-rious war mongers that should be scorned?
    Instead they parade and feed off peoples taxes
    Bringing death and destruction to many countries masses

    Many people follow and obey the dictators of war
    Helping them to facilitate endless blood and gore
    Hell on earth rains down from the starry heavens
    Napoleon says: “men will… even die, for ribbons”

    War and more war is their crazy reason for being
    Are maniacs of militarism, what we are seeing?
    War criminals and political gangs, that are a curse on the world
    Evil personified with their war marketing banners unfurled

    Maniacal “leaders” of mayhem, who meet in luxury surroundings
    Proud of their actions to set countries burning
    Creators of refugees and endless bloody wars
    They are the war gangsters that should be abhorred

    Instead they are praised by politicians “in charge”
    These scurrilous “humans” presently at large
    Will nobody arrest them, and put them on trial?
    These perverts for war are really hostile and vile

    If they are not restrained and put in chains
    These caricatures of “humanity” will bring the end game
    Planners and plotters of killing, and of murder
    Organizers of evil tearing the earth asunder

    Invaders of countries that never invaded them
    These are the war criminals; are they totally insane?
    Could the final acts of these madmen be coming our way?
    Will nuclear war be the end of, The March to Doomsday?

    “War is madness” – Pope Francis

    • Realist
      October 1, 2016 at 16:31

      It is seeming ever more likely that we will not make it to the November 8th election before a full scale war breaks out between Washington and Russia. This seems to be what the American Deep State wants and intends. After all of the recent provocative statements (hardly diplomacy) by the likes of Kirby, Power, and Kerry, even Russia, which has tried to keep its cool for the past several years in the face of incessant rash American remarks, is finally admitting that war seems to be the next logical step in the progression. All the Russian media (RT, Sputnik, RI) are basically saying that the United States HAS essentially declared war on Russia, and Russia must be prepared to respond accordingly. Today, responding to Kerry’s ultimatums to stand down in Aleppo, Russia has effectively given Washington an ultimatum not to attack troops of the Syrian Army. The next time Washington moves to attack troops or aid convoys, I fear the game begins. I’m sure Washington thinks that its technical gadgets and advanced weaponry wielded by savages will quickly wipe out the Russian presence in Syria and leave it with its long coveted “victory.” They seem to think this will be Gulf War Redux. I think they are mistaken if they believe it will end there. Russia will give Obomber and his Neue Wehrmacht at least a taste of Armageddon, and where will that leave all of us? Is it worth it to you–Obama, Hillary, and the rest of you warmongers?

  22. Bill Bodden
    September 30, 2016 at 21:58

    In the slick video, which serves as the JIT’s investigative “report,” …

    Produced by the same team that produced Colin Powell’s WMDs-in-Iraq video for his mendacious speech at the United Nations on February 5, 20036?

  23. Joe Tedesky
    September 30, 2016 at 21:44

    While reading this I could not help but picture John Brennan working into the late hours rummaging around in the old files looking for something, anything, that might be a good plan to make Russia look bad. After all, it isn’t like we haven’t been here before, there must be some…ah KAL007 what do we have here? It’s a war, it’s a plane, it’s Russia’s fault! Great idea, with a tweak here, and a little tweak there, it will make a beautiful false flag to be blamed on Putin. Shoot down a passenger jet, rush to the microphones with the news how the Russians did it, fix the investigation, and impose sanctions on Russia. Hooray we did it, We relived KAL007 of 1983, but now what?

    To much Joseph Goebbels, and not enough Thomas Paine.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 30, 2016 at 21:52

      “He who is the author of a war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death”. – Thomas Paine

      “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”
      – Joseph Goebbels

    • Kiza
      October 1, 2016 at 09:56

      Hello Joe, I have heard much about the case of KAL007, even before this wonderful historical reminder by Mr. McGovern. Although the US historical version acknowledges that what was presented at UN was a stitch up, the US version never discusses several strange things about this event, which I remember from the time this happened. Firstly, and most importantly, how does a commercial airliner end up several hundred miles off course, when international airline corridors are only several miles wide and airliners carry a limited amount of fuel? The Boeing 747-230 was a state of the art airliner of the time, although GPS was not available for non-military uses. Secondly, why did its pilots ignore the signalling by the military jet? Apparently, the Soviets let it come to the end of their prohibited zone before they decided to shoot to prevent it from taking away the data collected.

      I remember that the principal Soviet claim was that US was mounting spying equipment on the civilian airliners of the dependent, or puppet countries such as South Korea and sending them off course to collect information even without the prior knowledge of the pilots. It would have been terribly diabolical to have used civilians as pawns in the spying game, but if MH17 was shotdown deliberately then these two tragedies might have much more in common than Mr. McGovern could imagine. Maybe the notes from 1983 the current plotters were reading had a special recommendation on the use of civilians in airliner plots.

      Even to this day many facts of KAL007 shootdown are still in dispute (even though USSR does not exist any more), which does not encourage a hope that MH17 will ever be resolved and that the families of the victims will get closure.

      The only positive outcome of the KAL007 tragedy was that exactly because of it, the GPS technology was opened up for civilian use (at a reduced precision to the military precision).

      • Kiza
        October 1, 2016 at 10:21

        I also remembered that it was said that KAL007 was flying over the most secret Soviet military facilities, to do with Soviet nuclear missile submarines (an absolutely essential tool for disinsetivising the US First Nuclear Strike on USSR). The Soviet nuclear missile submarines were one of the few areas of their technological advantage over US and a persistent target of US spying. Apparently, it is easier to detect submarines from a plane flying at 10 km than from a spy satellite circling the Earth at 100 km or more.

        Obviously, we will never know the truth.

        • Joe Tedesky
          October 1, 2016 at 16:37

          KIza, while you a great deal of knowledge about what happened to Flight KAL007, I on the other hand remember at that particular time I couldn’t help but wonder how that plane flew so far off course. I also believe at that time, that if the shoe had been on the other foot that America would have done the same thing that the Russians did, and that would be to shoot the plane down.

          There is a pattern to all of these tragic occurrences. Of all the methods used during the process of fulfilling a false flag, it is the use of the media which is the most effective to setting the official narrative. Blaming, demonizing, and being selective with evidence is the pattern used. It’s tried and true, so it must work. I might add that any objectionable criticism of any of these events earns you the title of conspiracy nut.

  24. John
    September 30, 2016 at 20:57

    I think there is a magnificent bluff going on from the military industrial complex….Hype the drama of war…..Shore up the insecurities of countries with massive military build up. And they laugh and count their profits… I say Russia should call the bluff of the great master of fear….Let the heads roll…….There are some serious evil people creating and implementing this illusion…..Hopefully they will end up like Gaddafi …..sodomized by the sword……

  25. Bill Hessell
    September 30, 2016 at 20:45

    McGovern’s cautions and concerns should be taken very seriously, and if our national media had any sense of responsibility in reporting on our government’s role in the current escalation of Cold War danger, these perceptions need to be fully aired and considered. It’s unfortunate that our relationship with Russia has become an election issue, with Hillary finding she can find further fault in Trump by mocking his reluctance to jump to judgment on Putin’s intentions, while she unloads criticism on his actions. Dangerous when the State Department, Defense Department, and leading presidential candidate are all united in seeking a victory, pinpointing a common enemy, and adding to the demonization of Russia, with our media in full acquiescence. Russia can be faulted, so too can our political and military establishment, but we don’t need a new Cold War, or exaggerate the differences to tempt it becoming Hot.

  26. James lake
    September 30, 2016 at 20:44

    what bothers me about all this warmongering the U.S. is doing is who do they think is going to join them?

    I live in the UK and I can tell you ther is no appetite for more war anywhere Syria, Ukraine and certainly not in Russia.

    • Bill Bodden
      September 30, 2016 at 22:29

      I live in the UK and I can tell you ther is no appetite for more war anywhere Syria, Ukraine and certainly not in Russia.

      There was no appetite for US entry into the First World War among the American people while President Woodrow Wilson and his pro-war accomplices were scheming to get the US involved against Germany, but the interventionists persisted and with the alliance of influential politicians in Congress and propagandists in the media enough people were eventually persuaded to join that monstrous period of lunacy.

      After Thatcher and Blair corrupted the thinking of so many people in Britain hope for a voice of sanity from that once sceptered isle is limited. Fortunately, Jeremy Corbyn has provided evidence that intelligence and humanity still exist in Britain so we must hope, as appears likely, that he will prove to be more stalwart than our Bernie Sanders.

  27. Evangelista
    September 30, 2016 at 20:36

    In the latter part of the twentieth century Princeton University hosted a research program whose purpose was to scientifically proof the existence of paranormal phenomena. There were a number of people, of a variety of scientific and other educational backgrounds who recognized that the Princeton Paranormal Program could not succeed. These recognized that the program had to fail, either to find scientific proof, or scientifically. I was one among these: Paranormal phenomena cannot exist except in the minds that conjur them and believe in them, either cynically, as purposeful perpetrators, or fondly, as hopefully credulous believers. Some among the disbelievers thought the research, which was carried on by sincere scientists, as was well funded, was a waste of time and money. I was not among these. I recognized that for the way the human mind works, a serious scientific project to empirically proof, with the researchers sincerely believing in their effort and sincerely attempting to empirically prove their beliefs correct, and failing, was the only way that science could scientifically counter the desires of the desiring to believe to believe in such desirable phenomena, to scientifically settle the question (which, again because of the way the human mind works, and for the unscientific failures of science, which is also a product of the human mind, will never be entirely and finally settled).

    Today with the MH-17 case we have a similar situation: A belief in a BUK missile that exists only in human minds. A BUK m issile system that exists in believing human minds for the human mind’s inclination to believe what it is given to believe, and then is reinforced to believe by having the given belief reiterated as a given, as a peripheral ‘known’ that is supportive of a dependent central that is central for being made the focus of a discussion.

    Thus, we have discussion of a BUK carrier, allegedly filmed in passing here, or there, which may be there, not here, or here, not there, and may be going east, or may be going west, and may be ‘the one’, or not ‘the one’, and may be Russian manned, or may be Ukrainian manned, or maybe Ukrainian Russian, or Ukrainian Ukrainian manned, and so on and so on, in which any actual BUK missile is peripheral, being immaterial to the discussion, that reinforces, by being taken for granted in all of the discussion, none of which is, in fact, about any BUK missile, being all about a carrier, the entirely ephemeral, in the mind only and unsupported by any witness or fact, construction that it was a BUK missile that destroyed MH-17.

    Go through the evidences with a careful comb: There is no BUK except in discussion. In discussion there is little enough BUK, there is, instead, BUK carrier, BUK statistics, BUK launchers, BUK crews, BUK training, BUK sightings, BUK discussion uphill and down. But no BUK.

    There is no witness who saw a BUK launch, who saw a BUK contrail rising up toward an airliner, or to disappear into thin clouds, no witnesses who heard a BUK rocket-motor, a rocket-motor with power enough to lift itself, its fuel and a two-hundred plus kilogram payload straight up against gravity thirty-four or thirty-five kilometers, on an arc’d hypotenuse to laterally follow a moving target.

    But all of the discussion has been about a BUK. A phantom BUK, it appears, since there has been no trace of the actual BUK alleged, except two, apparently remaining out of an original allegation of four, projectile bits, chunks of general shape and size iron, or steel, similar to what are wrapped around the driving charge of a BUK warheads, and any number of other missile warheads whose purposes are to punch holes in aircraft structures, which ,akes them the least confirmatory of components (like pellets that appear to have been fired from a shotgun being put forward to identify a brand and gauge of shotgun allegedly used). What happened to the other two ‘warhead-pellets, if the investigators found them unlike any ever used in BUKs, or if they were copped for souvenirs by inspectors, or what, has not been revealed, which, itself, is peculiar.

    Ignored, or dismissed, so that the phantom BUK scenario may play solo on the stage, are evidences of air-to-air attack, witness testimonies, military radar paintings, additional entry wounds on the aircraft skin, in locations inconvenient for BUK theory, evidences of horizontal missile approach, evidence of in-structure explosions, etc.

    The Phantom BUK theory, though unsupported by any direct evidences, supported only by general beliefs in BUKs being around, being transported, or not transported, apparently absent from a transport, and so on, having no support from any witness, anywhere, human or radar, being launched, flying, exploding, or in bits in salvage, is the dominant theory. It is the ‘Princeton Paranormal’ equivalent theory. A theory of a construction whose existence is, to this point, entirely in human minds, with physical evidences lacking or unconvincing, peculiar or suspect, hearsay or wish-say.

    All of this is interesting. It is as interesting to me as the Princeton Paranormal Program researches were, for the same reason, for the purpose being to prove what the minds engaged are determined to prove, even in absence of physical evidences, even if physical evidences are impossible, even if physical evidences, to be put forward have to be manufactured.

    It is for what this provides in regard to human minds and their wonderful tenacity when they have a bulldog grip on a desired unreality that the costs in time and effort of the BUK investigation of the MH-17 destruction are well-spent, not wasted. Their contribution to science is something we would never find sponsors to straightforwardly pay for researches in regard to.

    As for the underlying question, who downed MH-17, that was determined at the beginning, almost immediately, so we don’t have to worry about all the BUK-blathering interfering, or having interfered with anything that was important. The aircraft was downed by Ukrainian government, or Ukrainian government allied parties (whether the parties were allied before or after).

    This is evidenced by the combination of early blame-assigning and the permission of and participation in obstruction of the investigating in the aftermath of the case: Such peculiarities as permitting an involved, and so potentially responsible, party to participate in the investigating, and granting that party right to veto ‘unacceptable’ conclusions directly implicates that party as a primary participant in the action being given this “investigation”, instead of investigation. It also directly implicates all of those parties who join in, participate in, accept, permit and however they may find themselves able to, facilitate, the obstruction and diversion of the investigation.

    • F. G. Sanford
      October 1, 2016 at 11:17

      Exactly. In fifty years, if we survive, rational thinkers will be making light of the “Magic Buk Theory”. I’ve held since DAY ONE that MH-17 was shot down by an Su-25 – speed, altitude and capability all well within actual operating parameters of this SUPERSONIC aircraft. There has never been any empirical evidence to support the Buk theory. Testimony may be “evidence” in a courtroom, but in science, it’s “anecdote”. It’s the same rational error made by “flying saucer” supporters the likes of Stanton Friedman and Lionel Media. They just can’t digest the idea that what they “saw” isn’t what it “was”. The word is not the thing, the map is not the territory, and faith is not truth. This is the fundamental flaw in nearly all human tragedy: we are generally incapable of determining which “abstractions” represent a model of empirical reality. Yours is a great post. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

      • Cass
        October 2, 2016 at 07:24

        I’m Sorry, F.G. Sanford to burst your bubble there but you are wrong about an important point. The Su- 25 has, to my knowledge, no version that is “SUPERSONIC”. The Su-25 is a ground attack warplane not unlike the American A10 Thunderbolt II. And that was always my problem with that narrative. The Su-25 is one of the worst choices if you want to intercept a civilian Airplane.
        Just two little numbers to illustrate that: – The cruise speed of an Boeing 777 at 11.000m (35.000ft) is 892 km/h (554 mph,
        482 knots)
        – The maximum speed of a Su-25 is 975 km/h (526 knots, 606 mph) at sea level*
        (* means it needs a dense atmosphere to reach that speed and the max speed at
        high altitudes could be considerably lower although I’m unable to find a reliable

        Now what does that mean ? In order to intercept a civilian Airplane like the MH17 Boeing with a Su-25 you would need to follow a few steps:

        – The Su-25 needs to be in the air long before the Target is even close. Which in turn means the Target must be known in advance.
        – The Su-25 must be led to the intercept point by a Ground radar or an AWACS to get the timing right because upon reaching said intercept point the Su-25 has only a small window (mostly depending on the available air-air armament) to engage it’s target.
        – If the Su-25 misses it’s target window it will most likely not be able to catch up to the target simply because of the low available speed differential.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m just saying that that narrative, especially when using a SU-25 as intercepting plane would need a lot of planning, additional manpower and tools to pull off. It would be an entirely different story if would use a MIG-29 for example.

        • F. G. Sanford
          October 2, 2016 at 11:15

          Cass, you’re not bursting any bubbles. You’re confusing the “service rating” of the plane with its actual capabilities. You can go on Youtube, look it up, and listen to an American Air Force officer who actually flew one state that, without external weapons pods, the difference between an Su-25 and an American A-10 ground attack aircraft is that the Su-25 will “go right through the sound barrier”. I posted the link the last time I answered a comment just like yours, but I’m tired of doing other people’s homework. The Su-25 scenario is easily accomplished, and the fuselage damage and debris field are consistent with shootdown by 30mm chain gun fire.

      • Abe
        October 2, 2016 at 13:02

        The Washington/Kiev/NATO narratives have been a Saint Vitus Dance performed in order to direct attention away from the most likely suspects: the Ukrainian Air Force. See

        If MH-17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, most likely it was a Ukrainian SA-11 / Buk-1 M-1 missile.

        If MH-17 was shot down by a Ukrainian Buk-1 M-1 surface-to-air missile, most likely it was not fired by an autonomous mobile launch vehicle, but by a full BUK-1 missile system complex including a target acquisition radar vehicle, a command vehicle, and a launcher vehicle manned by trained operators.

        If MH-17 was downed by an aircraft, most likely it was a Ukrainian jet using 30 mm cannon, air-to-air missiles, or some combination thereof. The Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30 is the standard 30mm cannon armament of the Ukrainian Air Force MIG-29, SU-27 and SU-25 jet aircraft operating over eastern Ukraine.

        All the US, Ukraine and the EU have ever done is scream, “It was the Russians and/or the separatists!” and hope no one notices the obvious.

        Visual evidence from the US Key Hole, now codenamed Evolved Enhanced CRYSTAL (EEC), satellite system could eliminate much if not all the speculation about the demise of MH-17.

        Suffice it to say, the prime armed suspect for the downing of MH-17 remains the Ukrainian Air Force (regardless of whose command it was following), not Russia or the eastern Ukraine opposition forces.

    • evelync
      October 1, 2016 at 23:42

      Your analysis reminds me of the aluminum tubes! And a ridiculous/tragic presentation by a befuddled General Powell at the U.N. with a cynical/compromised CIA director Tenet sitting behind him rolling his head (who had not long before in congressional testimony said something approximating: “we don’t know if Saddam Hussein has WMD or not. But we believe he is well contained and would not use anything he may have unless we invade and then he’d use what he has against our troops”). And I think that Negroponte was sitting next to Tenet if I remember correctly.

      It was such an obvious propaganda ploy at the time and sounded so ridiculous. But it worked. And the MSM just sat back and bought it hook line and sinker.

    • Abe
      October 2, 2016 at 12:42

      191. Wenn nun alles für eine Hypothese, nichts gegen sie spricht – ist sie dann gewißwahr? Man kann sie so bezeichnen. – Aber stimmt sie gewiß mit der Wirklichkeit, denTatsachen, überein? – Mit dieser Frage bewegst du dich schon im Kreise.

      192. Es gibt freilich Rechtfertigung; aber die Rechtfertigung hat ein Ende.

      – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Über Gewißheit

      191. Well, if everything speaks for an hypothesis and nothing against it – is it then certainly true? One may designate it as such. – But does it certainly agree with reality, with the facts? – With this question you are already going round in a circle.

      192. To be sure there is justification; but justification comes to an end.

      – Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty

  28. Abe
    September 30, 2016 at 20:27

    On July 29, 2014, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) issued a memorandum to the President of the United States. The Memorandum titled “Intelligence on Shoot-Down of Malaysian Plane” specifically that the Administration “has not provided any satellite imagery showing that the separatists had such weaponry, and there are several other ‘dogs that have not barked.'”

    There has been more than two years of “government assessment” fiction from the U.S. State Department.

    A terse 16 July 2016 press statement by the State Department, “Marking the Second Anniversary of the Shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17” emphasizes that “Our own assessment has not changed – the missile was fired from territory controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.”

    The statement elaborated that “The United States continues to work with the Joint Investigation Team and law enforcement authorities. We have full confidence that these professionals are conducting an impartial, credible, and comprehensive investigation that will form the basis of an independent prosecution to bring the perpetrators of this tragedy to justice.”

    On September 28, 2016 the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) presented the preliminary results of the criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17. The JIT stated that the United States had allowed the Dutch Military Intelligence Service (MIVD) and the (Dutch) National Public Prosecutor on Terrorism to “view the underlying state-secret (intelligence) material”.

    On September 29, 2016, a media event in London by the Atlantic Council, presented in partnership with Bellingcat and Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia organization, featured a discussion panel with Eliot Higgins and aviation attorney Jerry Skinner.

    Higgins and Skinner discussed the role of Bellingcat “findings” in “helping” Skinner compel a “Lockerbee moment” in a lawsuit lodged at the European Court of Human Rights.

    At the end of the Atlantic Council / Bellingcat / Open Society event, Skinner made the following remark:

    “Uh, the U.S. denied they had satellite photos. Their satellite photo is on my desk in Cincinnati, Ohio.”
    (see video minutes 1:01:05-1:01:25)

    Lawyer’s tricks (Skinner and Kerry) notwithstanding, it appears that U.S. state-secret (intelligence) material is very much available for viewing. Or not.

  29. Bill Bodden
    September 30, 2016 at 19:40

    The senior USIA official wrote, “The moral of the story is that all governments, including our own, lie when it suits their purposes….

    If this official had known his history of journalism and politics he would have learned before his career in government that I. F. “Izzy” Stone said many year before, “All governments lie.”

    • Kiza
      October 1, 2016 at 09:02

      Funny that, I always thought that a proper statement should have been: “especially our own”.

      • Bill Bodden
        October 1, 2016 at 12:46

        If the US government rates a 10 for being the worst liar on the planet then there are lots of 9.9s out there keeping our liars company. While government lies are an obvious problem it is made much worse by the masses of people who are so gullible as to believe their alleged leaders’ mendacity. There was a time when national leaders would have been banished or, in some cases, expected to commit suicide if they were tarnished by scandal. Now they just hire some PR flacks and continue business as usual without a peep from the people. The promoters of the war on Iraq are a prime example. Despite the fact they were responsible for the worst blunder of this century and a crime against humanity, they are now talking up other wars, including Russia as a prime candidate. One is our current secretary of state, another is our vice president and yet another is looking at moving into the Evil Office in January.

    • October 2, 2016 at 15:58

      All of humankind, with a few exceptions, lie. That line from Koppel was quoted by Alvin Snyder, who didn’t put the quote in quotation marks. McGovern should be careful with statements like that and, at a minimum, note the fact. Still, The statement looks like something an important rep of the major media would say. Saying ‘We can sometimes accept too easily the government line’, to paraphrase what ‘might’ be a quote, is the same as saying ‘We are independent’. Corporate owned media – within the corporatocracy – is by definition ‘not’ independent. Koppel would have been speaking truthfully had he said, ‘Major media is a government propaganda organ’, which is something that progressives (many who are fake, but set that aside) would know.

  30. elmerfudzie
    September 30, 2016 at 19:32

    “Fearing a surprise attack” indeed. I quote this part of your article in a slightly sarcastic tone. During the last G 20 meet, when, I might add, all language interpreter’s were dismissed by both Putin and Obama?, there may have been a mutual agreement to limited nuclear exchange(s). I’m insinuating the likelihood of a carefully planned and executed display of “all-hell’s broken loose” but far from it. I say this because there’s an interesting lack of assassinations (politicians, peace activists and the like) as was the case just prior to WW I, where at least a dozen or more heads of state were killed within the space of a few years. We’ve witnessed at least, so far, one such comparison, ahead of WW II, that is: Mussolini’s (Trump’s) march on “Rome” (Washington DC)..Ask yourself why, no-one is interviewing those powers that be who control the Federal Reserve Board, such as Michael W.R. Dobson, of Schroders plc, London. After all, WW III will be financed by fiat money, won’t it? If so, the representatives of the Rothschild family, London – Bank of England must be interrogated. Even Israel’s own, Miko Peled suggests that real power can be traced from Theodor Herzl, to Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders today. Money, money money, it’s always about M***Y! Perhaps Israel’s puppeteers are the actual source of funding and military instigation acting behind and by, Obama, NATO their encroaching buildups along Russia’s border? Let’s keep in mind Putin’s own style of Hollywood showmanship, such as riding on the back of a black bear..quick image translation…I’m in total control of my Marshals(generals) and Nomenclatura (bureaucrats) ASIDE: Unlike Obama…or Putin’s well publicized, “black-belt” work-outs signalling, yes, America, I can play the piano but violence is my specialty too..all for show but more so, Russian, black humor, I sincerely hope the West is getting the message here?

  31. Evangelista
    September 30, 2016 at 19:32

    “Santayana famously noted, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.””

    I cannot imagine what Santayana was thinking when he made his obviously wrong statement, quoted above.

    In fact, it is those who can remember the past who are condemned to repeat it. We are condemned to repeat because the Bozos who make history don’t study the past, or study it selectively, or study glorified reconstructions, and ignore real histories and the realities of real history. They go forward with all the intellectual awareness of rolling pumpkins, again and again, and hit the same walls, again and again, experiencing the same smash-ups again and again, every time as brand-new.

    The only advancing we humans have going for us being advances of technology, which advance only our destructive capabilities, the only parts of the anciently begun and continuously repeating destructions is the results getting more and more destructive, or, as those who do not recognize these cycles humankind striving to finally, do Armageddon right, worse and worse…

    • Erik
      September 30, 2016 at 20:04

      Yes, your image of rolling pumpkins is apt. It is astonishing that our public debate and elections are so much corrupted by money that such unintelligent people define the nation’s policy. But of course their coarseness reflects the bullies of business who install them with money, in a system no longer democratic because it failed to see its corrosion by economic power, which concentrated after the Constitution was written.

      Congress fails to take back power from the rogue Executive branch, and fails to debate policy itself, unable to rise above demagoguery even when it is not bribed. Democracy needs new policymaking mechanisms, such as the debating College of Policy Analysis which I have proposed. The College would protect every viewpoint on every issue, producing commented summaries of moderated textual debates, so that all premises are challenged, analogies examined, deceptions exposed, facts required, and all avenues are explored, before emergencies arise. There must be no room for poor thinking in Congress, but now we have little else; the state of our erstwhile democracy is a disgrace to the nation.

  32. Drew Hunkins
    September 30, 2016 at 17:55

    Neither Russia nor the pro-Russian Eastern/Southern Ukrainian Freedom Fascist Fighters had absolutely any vested interest whatsoever in shooting down MH17, none, period.

    They were fully cognizant (even more so than us progressive critics at Consortium News) that the entire spectrum of the Western press and Western corporate-owned mass media would IMMEDIATELY jump on and trumpet any half-baked reports of any type of human rights violation committed against civilians by the pro-Russian Ukrainian freedom fighters. The browbeating would be relentless!

    Moscow and the pro-Russian Ukrainian Freedom Fighters have a sharp mind that informs them of the heavy handed condemnation and denunciations they’d be the brunt of non-stop across the entire globe if they so much as fired a slingshot at a European or Malaysian box kite!

    • September 30, 2016 at 18:51

      Hear, Hear!

    • October 1, 2016 at 08:42

      Good point, Drew. Only you’ve got to think that a smart guy like Santayana thought about that and the history he’s talking about is the one you mention, the real History.

      • Drew Hunkins
        October 1, 2016 at 19:33

        Thanks Mr. Keith. Undoubtedly Santayana was spot-on.

    • chuck b
      October 1, 2016 at 16:10

      “Neither Russia nor the pro-Russian Eastern/Southern Ukrainian Freedom Fascist Fighters had absolutely any vested interest whatsoever in shooting down MH17, none, period.”

      the who? i’ve never heard of “Freedom Fascist Fighters.”

      when the boeing went down, within days, kiev ordered massive shelling of the area, so the OSCE and others had to abandon their investigation. that went on for weeks, despite kiev having a massive interest to recover evidence if they knew they were themselves not responsible.

      • Drew Hunkins
        October 1, 2016 at 19:31

        The pro-Russian Ukrainian fighters are often fighting Azov brigades which are indeed made up of myriad fascists. Ergo, yes indeed the pro-Russian Eastern Ukrainians are not infrequently fighting genuine fascists.

        The fascist riddled pro-IMF pro-West Kiev junta had a vested interesting in massively shelling the area precisely so a thorough investigation could never commence since there’s reasonable suspicion the pro-West Kiev gov’t battalions likely shot down MH17 given that it’d be a wonderful propaganda weapon to pin on the pro-Russian Eastern Ukrainian rebels.

        • chuck b
          October 4, 2016 at 01:46

          ok, you mean freedom fighters who fight fascists. i know many on the side of kiev are neo-nazis. but the term “freedom fascist fighters” implies fascists fighting for freedom.

      • October 2, 2016 at 15:49

        “i’ve never heard of “Freedom Fascist Fighters.” You’re not keeping up.

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