• Don’t trust the mainstream media to investigate.
By Pete Papaherakles
Although the United States and Britain and their media claim that pro-Russian separatists with the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin took down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, they still have offered no real evidence. Yet they are clamoring for more punitive action against Russia.
The reasons stated by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and most of the Anglo-American media to support this claim revolve around two premises: The Buk missile equipment could only have come from Russia and only Russia had the expertise to train and support the use of the Buk-M1 anti-aircraft missile system.
Both of these premises are false.
Ukraine has been a major manufacturer of Buk-M1 missiles since the era of the Soviet Union and still has plenty of them.
Recently, the Russian government provided video footage showing a Ukrainian mobile Buk battalion moving into the Donetsk region in Eastern Ukraine. Russia claims that Kiev has deployed several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers.
“The day the Malaysian airliner crashed, the Ukrainian forces deployed an air defense group of three or four Buk-M1 missile batteries near Donetsk,” Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Department, told reporters on July 21. “These surface-to-air systems are capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 35 kilometers at an altitude of 22 kilometers. For what purpose and against whom were these missile systems deployed? As is known, the militia has no aviation.”
When the jetliner was brought down from the sky on July 17, Russia’s Defense Ministry recorded satellite images of a Buk-M1 system operating within the zone of Kiev forces in Eastern Ukraine along the Donetsk border near the MH17 crash site. Radiation from a battery’s Kupol radar, deployed as part of a Buk-M1 battery near Styla (a village some 30 kilometers south of Donetsk) was detected by the Russian military.
But was it even a surface-to-air missile that took the plane down?
Russian Air Force chief Lieutenant General Igor Makushev said that Russian radar had spotted a second aircraft in the ill-fated airliner’s vicinity just before the crash and that it was likely a Ukrainian fighter jet.
A BBC report confirms the general’s claim of a Ukrainian fighter jet.
“The inhabitants of the nearby villages are certain they saw military aircraft in the sky shortly before the catastrophe,” reported the BBC. “According to them, it was the jet fighter that brought down the Boeing.”
“There were two explosions,” a villager told the BBC. She added: “This is how it broke apart,” and then she gestured with her arms. “And there was another aircraft, a military one beside it,” she told the BBC. “Everybody saw it. It was proceeding underneath, below the civilian one.”
“[The fighter jets] use civilian jets to hide behind them,” another villager told the BBC. Eleven people were reportedly killed in his apartment building recently when it was bombed by a Ukrainian fighter jet. “Civilian aircraft are always flying above us,” he said.
Kiev was also in charge of air traffic control once the Malaysian plane was over Ukrainian airspace. Flight 17 was directed about 150 miles north from the usual flight path taken by Malaysian Airlines, for no apparent reason, placing it right into the war zone.
It is unclear still who shot down the plane or why. But one thing is clear: Without a full investigation, it cannot at this point be claimed with any certainty that pro-Russian forces were behind it.
Pete Papaherakles is a writer and political cartoonist for AFP and is also AFP’s outreach director. Pete is interested in getting AFP writers and editors on the podium at patriotic events. Call him at 202-544-5977 if you know of an event you think AFP should attend.