Cross-posted from Smirking Chimp
-- Bill Van Auken, "US lies and hypocrisy on Gaza and Ukraine," World Socialist Web Site
"Mendaci neque quum vera dicit, creditor."
-- Cicero ("A liar is not to be believed even when he speaks the truth.")
Without a shred of public evidence to support their claim that Moscow was involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the United States and Europe have levied a new round of sanctions on Russia. The sanctions, which are designed to restrict Russia's access to both capital and technology, will be imposed as soon as August 1, despite the fact that Moscow has repeatedly denied either involvement in the incident or of providing material support for the militants fighting in east Ukraine.
Not surprisingly, Russia will not be given a chance to defend itself in court or present its case before an independent tribunal. Due process and the presumption of innocence are breezily jettisoned whenever US interests are involved. Instead, Washington will act as judge, jury and lord high executioner arbitrarily imposing penalties on the country that has provided hard evidence of what actually transpired prior to the crash, using data it compiled from radar and satellite imagery.
In contrast, the US hasn't lifted a finger to help the investigation even though it has the most advanced, state-of-the-art surveillance systems in the world and even though it had a satellite -- capable of reading a license plate from outer space -- hovering directly overhead at the time the aircraft blew up. And here's something else to consider from blogger Moon of Alabama:
"Pentagon officials told CNN (on Tuesday) that the Ukrainian government fired three ballistic missiles towards the federalists during the last 48 hours." (Moon of Alabama)
If the Pentagon picked up the ballistic missile launches on their radar, they certainly saw the surface-to-air missiles that brought down MH17. Case closed.
So why hasn't Washington been more forthcoming with the information they have? Why are they basing their judgment on the nonsense they've gleaned from social media and Twitter feeds instead of spy-in-the-sky photos and satellite imagery? Why are they dragging their feet and obstructing the investigation? And why, for God sakes, why has Europe agreed to go along with this charade when they know there's not a scintilla of evidence linking Russia to the downed plane?
These are just some of the questions that remain unanswered a full two weeks after MH17 was downed by what appears to have been a surface-to-air missile launched from a BUK platform somewhere in east Ukraine. (Although even that fact is now in dispute given that MH17 was allegedly being shadowed by two Ukrainian warplanes. Some analysts believe the aircraft was actually destroyed by air-to-air missiles fired from one of the two Su25 interceptors.)
One thing that's clear, is that the lack of public evidence hasn't stopped the Obama administration from smearing Russian president Vladimir Putin in the media or blaming Moscow for the tragedy that killed 298 passengers. The campaign to hold Moscow responsible started just hours after MH17 crashed and has only intensified over the last two weeks. This is amazing considering that, most of what we know about the incident has been provided by Russia. For example, it was Russia that provided the information about the two Su25 interceptors and the US satellite. It was also Russia that came up with the photographic evidence that showed Kiev had deployed anti-air missile systems (BUK) around the area where flight MH17 was downed. The Kiev government has repeatedly denied claims that it had BUK systems in the area, but on Friday, Russian military analysts released satellite images that made mincemeat of those denials. Here's the story from RT:
"Satellite images Kiev published as 'proof' it didn't deploy anti-aircraft batteries around the MH17 crash site carry altered time-stamps and are from days after the MH17 tragedy, the Russian Defense Ministry has revealed.
"The images, which Kiev claims were taken by its satellites at the same time as those taken by Russian satellites, are neither Ukrainian nor authentic, according to a Moscow statement.
"The Defense Ministry said the images were 'apparently made by an American KeyHole reconnaissance satellite, because the two Ukrainian satellites currently in orbit, Sich-1 and Sich-2, were not positioned over the part of Ukraine's Donetsk Region shown in the pictures."
"At least one of the images published by Ukraine shows signs of being altered by an image editor, the statement added." ("'Wrong time, altered images' Moscow slams Kiev's MH17 satellite data," RT)
Ask yourself this, dear reader: Why would you provide "altered" photos that were taken on a different day to prove your innocence if you weren't guilty as hell? And why would the US go along with this farce unless they were involved too?