Friday, July 17, 2015

(FROM LAST YEAR) The Downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17: A Conspiracy Within a Conspiracy

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Since this article is fairly long and in-depth, I've created a video version of it below: 

"History is a capricious creature.
It depends on who writes it."

- Former Soviet Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev

One of the Kremlin's primary strategic objectives is controlling the historical narrative.  In it's competition with Western democracies, Russian "intelligence" long ago realized that shaping popular Western opinion was the effective way to shape the West's foreign policies since democratic states, in contrast to authoritarian states, are ultimately managed by public choice.  Hence, by shaping the historical narrative Westerners believe in, the Kremlin can effectively direct the U.S. and its allies in whatever way Moscow's ruling elite deems most strategic.

Last week Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a BUK (SA-11) surface-to-air missile over the Donetsk region of Ukraine where Russian 'separatists' are fighting with Ukrainian military forces.  The narrative the world is supposed to believe is that this occurred because Russian separatists, enabled by Moscow, accidentally shot down the passenger airliner, mistaking it for a Ukrainian military aircraft.  
From RussiaToday:
Unnamed US officials are telling Associated Press that their intelligence suggests Malaysia plane shot down by anti-Kiev militia, no link to Russia found. 
Officials believe that the passenger aircraft was intercepted by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile, which was fired by Ukrainian militia members. One official said the likeliest explanation was the aircraft was shot down in error, an assertion that seem to be bolstered by the previous downing of 12 Ukrainian military aircraft by militants in the region. 
Intelligence suggests that, although the US maintains that Russia "created the conditions" that led to the incident, officials were not aware of the presence of any Russians during the missile launch, and would not confirm that the missile crew was trained in Russia.
Is this narrative true?  

U.S. 'intelligence' (an oxymoron if ever there was one) appears to think so. 

Is the only conspiracy here the attempt by Russia's government to cover-up its involvement in shooting down Flight MH17?  Or is there a grander conspiracy at work?

For the truth, let's start at the beginning of the Flight MH17 narrative.


Just before the the crash of Flight MH17, Russian stocks dived.  As can been seen, the U.S. traded Russia ETF (RSX) plunged around four percent at the opening in New York:

This opening plunge occurred at 9:30 EDT, almost an hour before Flight MH17 crashed.  A further drop in RSX occurred once news hit that the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine, but this subsequent fall was smaller than what occurred at the open.
Were some investors in Russian stocks aware ahead of time of what was about to happen?

There's a case to be made of Russian foreknowledge of the downing of MH17.

From The U.K. Telegraph article, "Malaysia Airlines plane crash - July 17 as it happened", we see that the MH17 crash timeline began as follows:
16.15 Interfax news agency are claiming that a Malaysian passenger plane has crashed in Ukraine, near the Russian border. 
"A Boeing Malaysian Airlines that was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur began to descend about 50km before entering Russian airspace, and was subsequently found burning on the ground in kraine," an aviation source told Interfax. 
Interfax said that 295 people were on board at the time.
What's interesting about this is the second event in the Telegraph's timeline:
16.20 The plane is thought to have crashed near Shaktersk.
Is this timing correct?  Let's check the MH17 flight data:

The last time the position of Flight MH17 was reported before it disappeared from radar was 1:20pm UTC which is 16:20 UK time, so the missile struck and plane crashed just after that moment.

But if Flight MH17 crashed after 16:20 UK time, how is it that Russia's Interfax news agency reported the crash at 16:15 UK time?  Surely this must somehow be mistaken.

Is it?

Let's check the UK Mail Online on this point.  From the article, "Did MH17 pilot divert INTO the danger zone? Aviation expert claims captain made last-minute change of course over Ukraine because he 'felt uncomfortable", we read:
It's also suspicious, Dr Sutyagin said, that Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported the crash at 16.13 Moscow time, several minutes before the crash actually happened - at 16.20. 
'The plane is safely in the sky, and RIA Novosti publishes information that it has been shot down,' he said.
How interesting; two separate Russian news agencies, Interfax and RIA Novosti, seem to have literally jumped the gun in reporting the downing of Flight Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.  It's almost as if Russia's news services had the story ready-to-go and mistakenly released news of the planned tragedy before it happened.

One can dismiss this seeming Russian foreknowledge of the downing of MH17 as Russian investors spooked by news of new sanctions and errors on the part of UK news agencies, but there are other other reasons to be suspicious about the MH17 narrative to-date.


To believe that Russian separatists accidentally shot down Flight MH17, one has to buy the idea that the militants didn't realize they were firing their newly acquired BUK missile system upon a commercial airliner as opposed to a Ukrainian warplane.  However, this is hard to believe.

From the UK Daily Mail Online article, "Was MH17 flying through warzone to save fuel?":
Prof Shanks said it was 'extremely unusual' for political disputes to spill over and endanger the lives of civilians travelling in commercial flights in the skies above. 
And he suggested those behind the shooting 'deliberately' targeted a passenger plane as it would have been obvious from its appearance that it was a commercial aircraft and posed no military threat. 
He said: 'This is probably the first time this has happened in recent history. The aircraft was flying at such a height that it is unlikely to have been a military aircraft. 
'You would be able to tell it was a civilian aircraft not a military aircraft with the naked eye because of the jet plumes behind it. 
'This would almost certainly have to be a deliberate act, for whatever reason - we can only speculate. 
'It should have been quite visible to people on the ground that it was a civilian aircraft, by the size of it and the shape of it. Anyone who has looked at a civilian aircraft or large military aircraft will know the difference.'
In fact, whoever shot down Flight MH17 could have determined they were targeting a commercial airliner simply by checking with a cell phone
Technology available to anyone with a smartphone allows aircraft easily to be tracked - with real-time details of airline, flight number, heading and altitude provided.
So the world is left to believe that Russian separatists, newly equipped with a BUK launcher that can shoot down planes up to 50000 feet in the sky, forewent using their cell phones or even their very eyes in firing off a missile towards a large target 33000 feet high flying where passenger airlines pass with regular frequency.  

That's a pretty far-fetched narrative to buy into IMHO.


In the immediate wake of the crash, Ukraine's intelligence agency (SBU) released purported communications intercepts between Russian separatists fighting in the eastern Ukraine that implicated the separatists in shooting down the Malaysian airliner:

Note the conversation between Cossack leader Nikolai Kozitsyn and a militant at the 1:50 mark in the YouTube video above.  Here's what's interesting about this conversation where Kozitsyn suggests the Malaysian passenger flight must have been "bringing spies".  

In early June, Cossack Kozitysn had another conversation intercepted by the SBU that implicated him in terrorism inside Ukraine.  This intercept is highlighted in an online "Ukraine Investigation" posted on a web site dubbed, "RUSSIAN COSSACKS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR TERROR IN UKRAINE (INTERCEPTED CONVERSATION)".

If Cossack Kozitsyn had a conversation intercepted in early June implicating him in Ukraine terrorism, why would he be so foolish as to engage in another communication after the downing of Flight MH17 that would implicate him in an incident for which he could be held accountable by the international community?  

It strikes me that there are two possibilities here.  One is that Kozitsyn used the same means of communication he had used in June knowing that the SBU would likely intercept his conversation.  The second possibility is that these revealing intercepts were created by the SBU in concert with Russian intelligenece to help forge a historical narrative for the world to believe.

While the latter may seem hard to believe, one should bear in mind that less than a year ago the SBU was tightly controlled by Moscow under the Russian-serving Yanukovych Administration. What's more, the SBU was clandestinely instrumental in the seeming revolution by pro-Western forces that most likely was not what it appeared to be, something I highlighted earlier this year.  

Is everyone really so foolish as to believe the SBU suddenly switched to working for a Western-oriented Ukraine government at the flip of a political switch?  Did the Russian KGB changing its name to the FSB really mean a difference?

If you have trouble believing that Ukraine authorities may have had a hand in concocting a historical narrative written ahead of time by the Kremlin, then I suggest you consider another mysterious part of this tale.


Why were passenger airlines being permitted to fly over the war zone in eastern Ukraine in the first place?

From the Wall Street Journal article, "Ukraine Knew of Separatists' Air-Defense Capabilities, Say Officials":
Ukraine intelligence officials said they knew three days before the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that rebels in the east of the country possessed sophisticated air-defense systems capable of felling a jetliner at altitudes in excess of where the Boeing 777 was flying. 
The disclosure deepens the mystery of why Ukrainian aviation officials failed to entirely close off the airspace in the Donetsk region, where the jet was flying went it was shot down, killing all 298 people on board. 
Three Buk-M1 medium-range antiaircraft systems, also known as the SA-11 Gadfly under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization designation, were known to be in rebel hands as early as July 14, said Vitaly Nayda, the head of the counterintelligence division of Ukraine's security service. 
Ukraine imposed a partial flight ban in the region on flights below 26,000 feet on July 1, and raised the ceiling of the exclusion area to 32,000 feet on July 14. The Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at 33,000 feet. 
The altitude restrictions on commercial flights were raised after rebel separatists backed by Moscow on July 14 shot down a Ukrainian military Antonov An-26 transport plane with eight people on board over the skies of the Luhansk region. The aircraft was flying at 21,000 feet. 
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was not the first plane to be shot out of Ukraine's skies. The country's civil unrest between pro-Russian and pro-Ukraine forces has caused many more this month alone. 
"I can't think of any reason why you would increase a restriction to 32,000 feet when the bad boys have just demonstrated a capability to go all the way," said a European aviation safety veteran. The airspace should have been closed, he said.
What if this seeming 'mistake' by Ukrainian aviation officials was no mistake at all?


To get an idea of how far down the Rabbit Hole the real Russian MH17 conspiracy goes, let's consider the flight path diversion of the Malaysian airliner.

Many have noted that the July 17th flight path of MH17 deviated significantly from the normal route for the flight.  Normally MH17 would not fly over the Donetsk region of Ukraine where Russian separatists have recently been shooting down Ukrainian war planes.  It did, however, on July 17th:

As can be seen, over Polish air space MH17 jogged northeast for a brief time and then returned to "direct routing" following the "great circle" path to its destination which is the shortest, most fuel-efficient path interconnecting two points on the earth's sphere.  Thus, the diversion over Polish airspace was precisely what it took to get the passenger airliner to cross over the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine presuming that the pilot would thereafter follow direct routing to Kuala Lumpur. 

Did an air traffic controller in Poland intentionally reroute Flight MH17 so that it could be targeted by an SA-11 surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine?

Bringing Poland into the conspiratorial equation might seem like a real stretch, except Russia has made a special effort to bring the Polish government under its control.  In fact, in a very similar manner as the new MH17 tragedy, Moscow orchestrated the 2010 crash of Polish Air Force Tu-154 near the city of Smolensk, Russia, killing then president Lech Kaczyński and much of Poland's political and military high command:

The smoking gun evidence of this act of mass assassination is a cell phone video uploaded to the internet shortly after the Smolensk crash that shows Russian soldiers shooting remaining survivors on the ground in cold blood:

What is hopefully clear from the 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash is that Russia is more than depraved enough to have plotted the shoot down of Flight MH17.  Furthermore, one can only presume the government of Donald Tusk that replaced the anti-Russian Administration of Lech Kaczyński was placed there by Moscow to serve Kremlin interests.  Hence, Polish secret services, much like Ukrainian intelligence, are not to be trusted and could very well have seen to it that Flight MH17 was rerouted to pass over the war zone in eastern Ukraine to be shot down.

Of course, there's no reason to think Russia meant to target Flight MH17 specifically, although taking down a Malaysian Airliner in the wake of the disappearance of Flight MH370 might have been deemed more newsworthy.  It's possible that MH17 just happened to be the unfortunate flight selected for a target by the Russian-speaking BUK operators out of many passenger airliners that flew over the Donetsk region of Ukraine that day.  Notably, Singapore Airlines SQ351 (B777) and Air India AI113 (B787) were in the vicinity of Malaysia Airlines MH17 when it was hit by a missile.  Thus, the rerouting of Flight MH17 is not a necessary condition for the historical narrative Russia has devised.


One of the compelling reasons cited for Russian involvement in the downing of Flight MH17 is the apparent efforts of Russian authorities to eliminate incriminating evidence in the wake of the tragedy.  An example of this was how the BUK missile system allegedly used to take down the passenger airliner was hauled back to Russia soon after the crash.  Ukraine's interior ministry released a video which purportedly shows the BUK launcher missing two missiles thus indicating that the unit had been used:

More video of the BUK was reportedly captured soon after it crossed into Russian territory:

There's a notable difference between the two videos above.  In the first one, where you can see missing missiles, there is no tarp cover atop the BUK system.  Why is that?  If the goal was to slip the missile launcher out of Ukraine and back into Russia surreptitiously, why did the militants and/or Russians involved in the operation fail to cover the launcher up with a tarp?

Is it possible the first video showing a BUK with missing missiles reflects an effort to stir Western suspicions that Russia was involved in shooting down Flight MH17?  If so, why?


Probably the most telling example of Moscow's MH17 machinations is that, in the wake of the tragedy, outside the Danish embassy in Moscow, Russians have purportedly left bundles of flowers, stuffed animals, and notes (written in English of course) pleading for the world to 'forgive them':

So even though Russian news media has proffered one implausible conspiracy theory after another in a seeming attempt to distance Moscow from blame in the downing of Flight MH17, the Kremlin stages a scene outside the Danish embassy to demonstrate that the Russian people really care, have a sense of what really happened and want forgiveness?  How heart-warming!  Common Russians see through the Kremlin's conspiracy to obstruct international justice, understand their government's involvement and are sorry.

Unfortunately, the truth of this historical narrative is that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was intentionally, not accidentally, shot down by Russia over eastern Ukraine for its own diabolical motives.  The Kremlin's ruling elite aren't sorry in the least and the Russian people are as misled as the rest of the world as to their government's twisted pursuits.


I believe the true conspiracy is that Flight MH17 was shot down over the war zone in eastern Ukraine in order to internationalize the Russia-Ukraine conflict as part of the Kremlin's ultimate historical plan to wage and win a surprise third world war against the West.  The tragedy that unfolded last week was no accident.  The Kremlin wants the world to believe the downing of MH17 was the result of a mistake by Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.  What's more, Moscow is seeking to inflame Western anger by denying involvement and obstructing international efforts to investigate the crash.  


My best guess at this point is that Russia is seeking to pick a fight with the U.S. and its allies over Ukraine in a manner that minimizes the perceived aggressiveness of Moscow.  After all, it would be awful if the war-mongering imperialist West started a world war over a Russian 'accident'!  Moscow is seeking to lure NATO into military involvement to defend Ukraine against Russian military aggression to provide an excuse for launching world war three in manner that seems 'justified':
The Soviets never start a war. By definition, the United States or, more generally speaking, "imperialism is the source of all antagonistic conflicts of the present day world, the source of war danger."[General Major A.S. Milovidov, quoted in Soviet Strategy For Nuclear War, p.98] 
It would be foolhardy, to say the least, for the West to continue to be misled into the fight Russia is itching for as this war will not end in our favor.
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