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Downed Malaysian Jet Intensifies Russia Bashing

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In Thursday's USA Today, self-described liberal Democratic strategist Bob Beckel wrote, "(Earlier) empires tried to dominate the world, mostly by military aggression. The United States has never sought to be an empire."

You hope that most people would laugh at Beckel's silly claim, but they probably won't if they live in the US.

Earlier in the week, a Pew Research Center poll revealed that 51% of Americans side with Israel in their current offensive in Gaza, while only 14% side with Palestinians. It seems illogical that Americans would have such a view, but given what they hear from their elected officials and from the establishment media, it is sadly understandable.

This naivety makes it easy to see how the US government will exploit the Malaysia Airline catastrophe and how the American people will willingly accept, without question, whatever story the government tells them about the crash.

The US has been demonizing, poking and prodding Russia for so long regarding Ukraine, it shouldn't be surprising to see how quickly the tragic crashing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 has been exploited to further US goals in Central Asia. And how most Americans will probably approve of whatever military action the US-supported government of Ukraine carries out in the eastern part of the country in the name of fighting Russian-backed rebels.

Indeed, on Friday, President Obama said pro-Russian fighters couldn't have shot down the Malaysian aircraft "without sophisticated equipment and sophisticated training, and that is coming from Russia."

The "working theory" in the U.S. intelligence community is that the Russian military supplied a surface-to-air missile system to pro-Russian rebels, a senior defense official told CNN.

Additionally, Ukraine's state security chief accused two Russian military intelligence officers of involvement. However, it turns out the audio may be a fake, as it was actually created one day before the crash.

Neither government mentioned that the Ukrainian military has several batteries of surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, and that those systems were recently moved into eastern Ukraine.

Regardless of the facts, in the coming days, the US government will no doubt offer "proof" that the airliner was targeted by rebels who received the missiles from Russia.

They will then use this as justification for Ukraine's military offensive in the east in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. This is key because the US desperately wants Ukraine to regain control of Donetsk and Luhansk -- two regions who recently had referendums declaring independence from Ukraine. (Lucky for Poroshenko the Malaysian airplane incident occurred above Donetsk, the exact place in which he's been planning a military offensive.)

And even though their claims will be just as dubious as the "evidence" they offered for Saddam Hussein's WMDs and just as sketchy as the "proof" they had that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people, they'll get away with it because of how well the US has demonized Russia.

In all likelihood, Ukraine will couch their military interventions into Donetsk and Luhansk as payback for the Malaysian Airlines crash, even though such plans have been in the works for weeks. Most recently, on July 5 Ukrainian President Poroshenko tweeted: "My order is now in effect - tighten the ring around the terrorists. Continue the operation to liberate Donetsk and Luhansk regions."

In fact, in the week prior to the Malaysian plane crash, at least 30 civilians were killed in Ukraine's military offensive in the east. This follows the Ukrainian government's incursion into Slovyansk where hundreds of civilians were killed, and another military operation where 270 people who were killed in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk region in June.

Given the sanctions leveled on Russia by the US, the false claims of Russian troop buildups, and the scapegoating of Russia for deaths inside Ukraine, Putin has shown remarkable restraint. He certainly knows that the US is trying to lure him into a trap.

In addition to revoking his authorization to deploy Russian troops inside Ukraine in June, Russia has repeatedly asked the UN Security Council to come up with a plan for a ceasefire. But Ukraine never wanted a ceasefire, in part because the US has strongly backed Ukraine's offensive against the mostly ethnic Russian rebels in the east.

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Chris Ernesto is cofounder of St. Pete for Peace, an antiwar organization in St. Petersburg, FL that has been active since 2003. Mr. Ernesto also created and manages OccupyArrests.com and USinAfrica.com.

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The US has been looking for reasons to bash Russia... by Chris Ernesto on Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014 at 10:20:20 AM