The US TV networks --the West's Ministry of Truth organs--and other media have been blabbering all morning almost nonstop about the Malaysian airliner downed in Eastern Ukraine, blown clear out of the sky, as Joe Biden so delicately put it, by some malevolent force. Events of this nature taking place in areas where the two long contending blocs clash and overlap almost invariably mean trouble for world peace, so, brothers and sisters, fasten your seat belts.
Beyond the immediate tragic loss of life, this latest casualty in the Malaysian civil aviation fleet packs a great deal of peril for the prospect of European independence from intensified American meddling in the Continent's politics.
The plane fell apart over a zone where an unfurling civil war is raging, involving a proxy of the West with highly dubious moral and political credentials, and an almost preternatural eagerness to please its Washington sponsors. (It's curious that no one seems to have alerted the Malaysian pilots to the danger of overflying a part of the world where surface-to-air projectiles are becoming common.) That alone and other contradictions should have given a professional press some pause before proceeding to indict the Russian and the pro-Russian militias, but we don't have such a press in the United States. What we have is a very biased and smooth machinery of state propaganda in private hands. This ostensible separation of jurisdictions gives the American press (along with the rest of the media in capitalist nations) the illusion of independence from the commands of the state or any ruling class.
In any case, as is by now customary for the American media, its assets immediately swung into action. Hence from the earliest coverage on CBS, ABC, CNN, etc., it was easy to perceive a marked tendency to suggest "Russia or her proxies did it", as fingers were pointed at the separatists in East Ukraine, a rabble (judging by the invidious tone of the reports) that supposedly "had been shooting at planes" indiscriminately. Now, as these lines are being written (it's almost 17:00 EST in the US), the US media are cheerfully parroting the convenient statements supplied by the puppet Ukrainian military (Kiev), talking openly of the plane having been downed by a Russian missile. Need we say any more? The perfidy has been demonstrated.
This latest accusation seems to be a strong card in the propaganda approach being used by the West to assassinate the character of the Russian government and its allies. CBS anchor Scott Pelley, for one, a man loyal to his duties, was insistent on the fact that the plane could have been brought down only by a missile from an antiaircraft battery provided by the Russians, in direct contravention, mind you, to Washington's pleas not to make such weapons available to the Ukrainian rebels. Tsk, tsk, those irresponsible, childish and untrustworthy Russians, always up to no good and defying the maximum goodness emanating form the American president. The sheer sanctimoniousness and hypocrisy implicit in such type of posturing is clear (and I hope revolting) to those who understand the way American news manipulation works.
Indeed, as the accusations fly, it is noteworthy that the context for these events remains nebulous for most Americans--perhaps the developed world's worst informed people. The American media, in full compliance with the US government's line, has shielded Washington's new client regime in Kiev from any sort of real criticism by blatantly under-reporting or simply ignoring the savagery of its offensive against lightly armed separatist militias in the Eastern provinces of Ukraine, a campaign conducted by President Peroshenko quite probably on direct instruction and counsel from his Western advisors.
Cherchez the motive, or, rather cui bono?
Who stood to gain?
It's easy to determine several scenarios in varying degrees of plausibility and culpability. While it's very plausible the plane was shot down by Eastern Ukraine separatists, it's also obvious they (and Russia) have little to gain from such an act. So at worst, even if "they" did it, we can still argue it was simply an error, a miscalculation on their part.
Plausibly guilty but no criminal intent
Indeed, in the heat of battling Kievan air force assets that have been brutally and indiscriminately pounding their positions--an offensive that has often deliberately rained bombs and death on scores of civilian targets and devastated entire villages and townships--East Ukraine rebels could have easily fired the fatal missile, especially since many in their ranks apparently lack the professional expertise to properly manage some of these weapons. This is a militia, after all. [Update: Reports seem to confirm it was an Eastern Ukraine militia that shot the plane, albeit, by accident. Hold your faith in these reports until absolutely certified by reliable sources.--Eds]
But that's not where the argument should end. While the culpable missile may have indeed be of Russian design and even manufacture, what does that prove?
The Ukraine, and much of the world, is awash in Russian arms (not to mention US weapons, the biggest seller of such items), and the Kievan regime certainly has such weapons in their arsenal as all former Warsaw Pact nations shared many weapons designs, maintained similar arsenals, and probably even manufactures some to this day. More to the point, its own forces are currently operating deep inside Eastern Ukraine territory, which cannot discount them as the folks behind the dastardly deed. Hell, even the CIA maintains huge stockpiles of all types of such weapons, from AK-47s to sophisticated ground-to-air systems, for reasons we can only imagine given the sordid nature of the CIA and its sister agencies. If necessary, could a specialist team have done it? You bet.
Guilty with a cause?
The second type of suspect involves not mere error but direct and deliberate intent and therefore moral culpability. What folks in the judiciary trade call, "malice aforethought." I'm talking here about an act carried out by agents provocateurs working for the West.
Here the lineup is clear, and pretty short, with Kiev's regime itself the chief suspect, as the shot could have come from Kievan forces in the region seeking to heighten tensions as per script, or a third party also working for the West. Kiev had something to gain by such treachery. Kiev needs the world's approval and support to pursue its campaign of pacification throughout Eastern Ukraine, an effort that has already yielded some minor victories but which may require, in their eyes, the administration of a higher level of brutality. The unspoken motto is "No more Crimeas!"
Kiev also aspires to brownie points with its American masters, by serving loyally as a pawn to draw Putin into a regional war, an invasion, no matter how risky, since such a development would successfully block Moscow's plans for closer collaboration and integration, economic and political, with the European Union. This is something that Washington is very much eager to forestall, by any means necessary. Conveniently, and almost on cue, Kiev's puppets are already saying without hesitation that the culprits sit in Moscow.
And yes, there are other scenarios, but they fall more and more into the realm of implausibility. Some might say the plane disintegrated as a result of a loco bomb placed in the aircraft by one of the many Jihadist factions at play in the world these days, or a suicide bomber, but if so, why a Malaysian plane instead of an American, Israeli or Western European plane? Makes no sense from "their" angle. I'm simply applying here the cui bono rule. And some more extravagant souls have even suggested that Israel did it. Now, Israel has a lot of bad karma on its ledgers, but this is a long shot, too much risk for a nation that depends literally on American opinion. Still, Israel is now embarked on a genocidal expedition against the Palestinians, one of its periodic "in-depth" ethnic cleansing paroxysms, a criminal ground offensive on a captive population, so it does have something to gain by averting the eyes of the world away from Gaza, but as I say, it would be a major risk to its image (whatever is left at this point) were it to be shown that her intel services were the actual perp. My feeling therefore is that Israel is innocent on this one.
Conclusion: The Godfather did it
My bet here is similar in logic, in fact identical, to the argument used by our colleague historian Eric Zuesse in his own article on the topic. Let's assume therefore that the American media's main interpretation prevails, and that the public gets the idea that it was indeed Eastern Ukraine fighters in the Donbass region who felled the plane--by mistake. (But not as an act of terror, as Kiev's new head, Peroshenko so obligingly insists). Is that all we have to say about this disaster?
That is all we would say if our noses remained stuck on the wall, but when we look at the situation from the broader perspective the picture changes. In the larger context, it is the US that clearly emerges as the principal and very real cause, albeit at one remove, of this sad event. Too bad that this simple truth will be lost to most Americans. The fact that probably some advanced anti-aircraft missile system given by Russia to the rebels --in lieu of an outright invasion--was the actual, immediate cause of the incident will be brandished everywhere as proof conclusive of Russian perfidy, etc., etc. We know the drill.
But if that is indeed "the gun that did it", so to speak, who loaded the gun? The Russkies and their allies may have pulled the trigger, but someone else loaded the weapon. So we must ask: Which superpower reneged on its promise to dissolve the NATO alliance and literally expanded it wantonly to tighten the noose around Russia's neck? Which of the powers maneuvered, agitated, and paid for the terrible instability and civil war that engulfs Eastern Ukraine today, in fact that entire unfortunate nation? Again, you hardly need to guess. But if Washington did it, what are the motives? The motives are related to the preservation of US hegemony over the globe, to the continuance of enjoying the catbird seat with no contenders. Jack Rasmus, a highly original and insightful thinker recently penned a piece that pretty much summed up the stakes for the US empire in this game. It's darned worth a read. (See Putin, Ukraine and the Future of Europe.)
So there we stand. Exactly 100 years after the start of the Great War, the world is again in unnecessary disarray actively courting disaster. True democracy--based on truthful information-- is nowhere to be seen, especially in those precincts where it is invoked the loudest. Welcome to the new, even higher stakes Cold War, courtesy of the usual plutocratic elites at work in Washington, their accomplices and tentacles around the world, and our seemingly indefatigable tax dollars.
The problem for progressives now is how to counter the inevitable warmongering propaganda sure to follow. Brace yourselves for a veritable barrage of hypocrisy and sanctimonious invective to pour out of Washington's mouthpieces. All of which represents a mountain of trouble for President Putin. It's a contemptible, revolting world. How's that rule by a handful of billionaires working for ya yet?
Patrice Greanville is The Greanville Post's founding editor.