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NYT Enforces Ukraine "Group Think"

By       Message Robert Parry     Permalink
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Reprinted from Consortium News


President Barack Obama talks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 18, 2014.
(Image by (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza))
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It's good that Arthur Conan Doyle didn't substitute The New York Times' editorial board for Sherlock Holmes in his stories because, if he had, none of the mysteries would have gotten solved or the wrong men would have gone to the gallows.

Thursday's editorial on last year's shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 reveals that the Times' editors apparently find nothing suspicious about the dog-not-barking question of why the U.S. government has been silent for a full year about what its intelligence information shows.

This reticence of U.S. intelligence is especially suspicious given the fact that five days after the July 17, 2014 tragedy which killed 298 people, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence rushed out a "government assessment" citing "social media" and pointing the finger of blame at ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and the Russian government.
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But once U.S. intelligence analysts had time to evaluate the satellite photos, electronic intercepts and other data, the U.S. government went silent. The pertinent question is why, although that apparently is of no interest to the Times which aimed its editorial against Russia for seeking a more inclusive investigation, which the Times does find suspicious...

"On the face of it, that looks like an accommodating gesture from the government that is backing the Ukrainian separatists believed to have fired the fatal missile on July 17, 2014, and that probably supplied it to them. It's not.

"The real goal of the draft resolution Russia proposed on Monday at the Security Council is to thwart a Dutch-led criminal investigation of what happened and a Western call for a United Nations-backed tribunal."

So, the Times castigates the Russians for seeking to involve the United Nations Security Council and the International Civil Aviation Organization in the slow-moving Dutch-led inquiry, which includes the Ukrainian government, one of the possible suspects in the crime as one of the investigators. But the Times takes no notice of the curious silence of U.S. intelligence.

Appeal to Obama

If the Times really wanted to get at the truth about the MH-17 case, its editorial could have cited a public memo to President Barack Obama from an organization of former U.S. intelligence officials who urged the President on Wednesday to release the U.S.-held evidence.

"As the relationship with Moscow is of critical importance, if only because Russia has the military might to destroy the U.S., careful calibration of the relationship is essential," wrote the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group first created to challenge the bogus intelligence used to justify President George W. Bush's Iraq invasion in 2003.

The memo signed by 17 former officials, including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, continued:

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"If the United States signs on to a conclusion that implicates Russia without any solid intelligence to support that contention it will further damage an already fractious bilateral relationship, almost certainly unnecessarily. It is our opinion that a proper investigation of the downing would involve exploring every possibility to determine how the evidence holds up. ...

"What is needed is an Interagency Intelligence Assessment -- the mechanism used in the past to present significant findings. We are hearing indirectly from some of our former colleagues that the draft Dutch report contradicts some of the real intelligence that has been collected. ...

"Mr. President, we believe you need to seek out honest intelligence analysts now and hear them out, particularly if they are challenging or even opposing the prevailing group-think narrative. They might well convince you to take steps to deal more forthrightly with the shoot-down of MH-17 and minimize the risk that relations with Russia might degenerate into a replay of the Cold War with the threat of escalation into thermonuclear conflict. In all candor, we suspect that at least some of your advisers fail to appreciate the enormity of that danger."

Along the same lines, I was told by one source who was briefed by some current analysts that the reason for the year-long U.S. silence was that the evidence went off in an inconvenient direction, toward a rogue element of the Ukrainian government, rather than reaffirming the rush-to-judgment by Secretary of State John Kerry and DNI James Clapper implicating the ethnic Russian rebels in the days after the shoot-down.

According to Der Spiegel, the German intelligence agency, the BND, had a somewhat different take but also concluded that the Russian government did not supply the Buk anti-aircraft missile suspected of shooting down the passenger jet. Der Spiegel reported that the BND believed the rebels used a missile battery captured from Ukrainian forces.

Yet, whatever the truth about those intelligence tidbits, it is clear that the U.S. intelligence community has a much greater awareness of what happened to MH-17 -- and who was responsible -- than it did on July 22, 2014, when the DNI issued the sketchy report. [See Consortiumnews.com's "MH-17 Case Slips into Propaganda Fog."]

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http://www.consortiumnews.com

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
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