Australia’s Tribunal to Indict Russia, and the Great Credibility Gap
by David Macilwain
July 30, 2015
[Analyis by Quemado Institute follows article.]
Railroading much? Australia proposed setting up a UN tribunal to hold MH17 perpetrators to account that its media and leaders have already decided are Russian.
While the shooting down of MH17 develops into one of the key events of the twenty-first century, with the guilty parties continuing to push their malign agenda regardless of the consequences, it is also becoming the site of the world’s greatest credibility gap. This crack between the West and ‘the rest’, prised open by a long-running and relentless Western media campaign, became a crevasse last year in Ukraine when it became clear that only one side in that conflict was acting in good faith. But real crevasses are sometimes covered in snow and invisible, and so it is for the unsuspecting victims of the Western media snowstorm over who shot down MH17. Trying to bridge this gap has thus become virtually impossible, whether one uses carefully constructed ladders or resorts to shouting.
Reading today of a poll which found Ukrainians overwhelmingly preferred Vladimir Putin to their own leaders must tell us something about the universal contempt with which the Russian leader is viewed by our population here in Australia. How can we be so badly misinformed? But this is an easy question to answer – misinformation is included in every news bulletin!
Taking a current example on the subject of this article, we heard an interview with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who was in New York for the UN Security Council meeting considering a ‘tribunal to hold the MH17 perpetrators to account’. The ABC presenter set the scene with this:
“It’s almost certain now that it was Russian-backed separatists who shot the plane down.” The inclusion of that little word ‘now’ could well be a reference to the ‘new evidence’ purportedly revealed on July 17th by the Melbourne Herald Sun; ‘evidence’ which despite its insubstantial nature had been eagerly parroted by leaders and other media to support their anti-Putin edifice – now a veritable snowman of innuendoes and false allegations. To say ‘insubstantial’ is of course too kind – Newscorp’s ‘shock video’ did not actually present any new evidence, except quite bizarrely in support of Russia’s case that Ukraine was responsible for the crime.
While we as observers have an excuse for being misinformed, even when we follow reliable news providers, the same can surely not be said for our leaders, who have first-hand access to ‘intelligence’ from their own services as well as that from other allies and enemies. And they confirm our presumption that they are ‘well-informed’ with an official curtain of secrecy on ‘intelligence matters’. For those of us in the West who have joined Russia ‘across the crevasse’ however, this credibility of our leaders presents a big problem and an impossible choice – we must consider whether they are misinformed or misinforming us.
In the case of MH17, our leaders’ credibility is on the line; we can have no doubt whatsoever that Russia bears NO responsibility for the shooting down yet they consistently maintain that it does, whether by implication or direct accusation. They appear convinced of that responsibility, as evidenced by occasional lapses from legal neutrality, such as this one in the interview quoted above:
Julie Bishop: “Last year Russia backed resolution 2166, which called for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, or the Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine, so that we could access the site to retrieve the bodies and remains.” Bishop here was citing Russia’s support for last year’s UN resolution following the crash, which also: “- called for investigations into the crash and they have been underway. And thirdly, it demanded, the resolution demanded that those responsible for this atrocity be held to account and that all states cooperate in determining accountability.”
Apart from that slip of the tongue, faithfully recorded in the transcript by the ABC, Bishop’s never mentions names – she doesn’t need to because there is only one possible candidate in the minds of the hypnotised audience. And so it is that when the UNSC session delivers the predicted result – a Russian veto – this audience can share Bishop’s “incandescence” that “justice is being denied to the victims of MH17”.
Thanks to the key role Australia is playing in the “Joint Investigative Team”, the ABC’s reporter in New York Michael Vincent got to interview Samantha Power – as a sort of epilogue to this story. We had actually just heard some of what Vitaly Churkin had to say, to “justify” its veto, and it’s worth copying here:
Vitaly Churkin (translation): “In this case, what are the grounds to be assured of the impartiality of such an investigation? Can this investigation resist the aggressive propaganda backdrop in the media? Can it resist pressure of clear political origin when the causes for the disaster and those who are guilty of the disaster are named in advance, and such statements are made by a number of leaders of certain states which form part of the JIT?”
Continuing with the metaphor, it was a bit as if the cloud had lifted for a moment, and Vincent was worried at the sight of the crevasse. But he sought reassurance from Power:
Michael Vincent: “Russia has accused the JIT, the Joint Investigation Team including Australia, of politicising this.”
Samantha Power: “The politicisation comes when you vote, as it were, in favour of impunity and against international justice, that’s politicisation.”
Which actually confirms Russia’s claim – Australia and other members of the JIT voted in favour of their own impunity and against international justice.
Pitfalls of an MH17 Tribunal
by Kennedy Applebaum
Whatever diplomatic terms it might be couched in, the real reason to veto a UN Tribunal on the MH17 airline tragedy was that the wrong parties were likely to be blamed. A kangaroo court of international jurors would have only the mass media to go by, since the Dutch investigation team, illegally established from the outset, had classified their results, fueling suspicions that they found the “wrong parties” guilty.
One of my own concerns about the Tribunal stemmed from an apparently doctored or misinterpreted video that was posted all over Twitter by pro-Kiev sources shortly after the crash. The video allegedly implicated certain people based on a few vague utterances, spoken while a column of smoke rose on the horizon. Two Twitter reports last week suggested that this video was the basis for the expected verdict.
This may be a rumor, of course. But the point is, the “evidence” against any culprit other than Ukraine is so flimsy that a questionable video, the premise of which has been repeatedly disproven, was scraped up from the bottom of the barrel to justify Western accusations. If those protecting Ukrainian interests are this desperate for evidence, they must not have much to go on.
The danger Moscow may have seen in the proposed Tribunal, of course, is not that Russia or the “rebels” are guilty, but that the true guilty parties were likely to go scot-free.
One piece of crucial evidence has, to my knowledge, gone unexamined by “official” investigators: the Twitter feed of Air Traffic Controller Carlos @Spainbuca. A thorough investigation would establish beyond doubt the validity @Spainbuca’s tweets. (For those who have not read them, Carlos’ Twitter feed, believed posted from the Kiev Air Control Tower while the crash was taking place, gave details about the Ukraine military’s role in the shootdown.)
First, wherever Carlos is, he should be respected by the world community and guaranteed protection as a key witness. Second, his original Twitter feed should be made publicly available. (I do not know if it now is. The cache we saw no longer exists.) Third, there are no doubt many witnesses world-wide who read @Spainbuca’s Twitter feed as it was being tweeted. Their testimony would constitute proof that Carlos was tweeting in real-time. And if he was tweeting in real-time about the downing of the MH17, he could not have known about it unless he was there. He may not have had all the facts right, but it couldn’t have been a hoax. And fourth, barring such witnesses, programmers at Twitter should be consulted about whether they have a record on their servers, and if not, how plausible it is that a time-stamped Twitter feed could be fabricated after the fact. All of the above assumes an honest investigation, in stark contrast to what is actually happening.
The timing of Carlos’ tweets is the crux. According to Global Research, “The fatal event occurred somewhere in the interval between 17:21:28 and 17:22:30 Moscow Time. The exact time of the crash is believed to be at 5:23pm.” This would be 14:23 UTC, in agreement with the Malaysian Airlines estimate. In our file confirmed by Google cache, Carlos’ tweets, around the moment of the crash, show time stamps of 10:21 to 10:24. However, time-stamps on Twitter reflect the local time of the reader, not UTC or the local time of the sender. This means that whoever cached the tweets we saw was probably in a US time zone.
See our commentary below, presenting a theory on Ukraine’s motive for the MH17 shootdown. A translation of Carlos @Spainbuca’s tweets from July 17, 2014 is available at our backup website Integrative*Mind.