The murder of 100 pro-West demonstrators in January launched the Revolution. Now many say it was a false flag.
Exhaustive analysis by reputable academic, Canadian Ukraine specialist
Challenges narrative of Western media, which alleges the exact opposite
Alleges subsequent government cover-up
Makes substantial contribution to multiple other media reports alleging the same thesis
This academic paper first appeared on the respected blog, Johnson’s Russia List.
We are publishing it here in full, despite its length, because it is by far the most detailed and thorough investigation of the Kiev Sniper Controversy, drawing on a mass of sources and materials, some of which were previously unpublished.
It is the work of a well-known Canadian political scientist at the University of Ottawa, who is a native of Ukraine. His specialization is Ukrainian politics and history.
The study concludes that, though there is some evidence that some of the protesters killed during the Maidan disturbances may have been accidentally shot by police snipers, the great majority were killed by snipers controlled by the pro-West demonstration leaders in a false flag operation.
The study suggests this was a pre-planned provocation to discredit the then government and that these same leaders both before and especially after they seized power have engaged in a systematic cover up of the facts to conceal their own guilt.
By Ivan Katchanovski, Ph.D. School of Political Studies & Department of Communication University of Ottawa
Paper presented at the Chair of Ukrainian Studies Seminar at the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, October 1, 2014
[With visuals and footnotes here academia.edu/8776021/The_Snipers_Massacre_on_the_Maidan_in_Ukraine]
The question is which side organized the snipers massacre. This paper is the first academic study of this crucial case of the mass killing. Analysis of a large amount of evidence in this study suggests that certain elements of the Maidan opposition, including its extremist far right wing, were involved in this massacre in order to seize power and that the government investigation was falsified for this reason.
Evidence used in this study includes publicly available but unreported, suppressed, or misrepresented videos and photos of suspected shooters, live statements by the Maidan announcers, radio intercepts of the Maidan snipers, and snipers and commanders from the special Alfa unit of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), ballistic trajectories, eyewitness reports by both Maidan protesters and government special unit commanders, public statements by both former and current government officials, bullets and weapons used, types of wounds among both protesters and the police, and the track record of politically motivated misrepresentations by the Maidan politicians of other cases of violence during and after the Euromaidan and historical conflicts.
In particular, this study examines about 30 gigabytes of intercepted radio exchanges of the Security Service of Ukraine Alfa unit, Berkut, the Internal Troops, Omega, and other government agencies during the entire Maidan protests. These files were posted by a pro-Maidan Ukrainian radio amateur on a radio scanners forum, but they never were reported by the media or acknowledged by the Ukrainian government.
The timeline of the massacre with precision to minutes and locations of both the shooters and the government snipers was established in this study with great certainty based on the synchronization of the sound on the main Maidan stage, images, and other sources of evidence that independently corroborate each other.
The study uses content analysis of all publicly available videos of the massacre, in particular, an unreported, time-stamped version of a previously widely seen, long video of the massacre on Instytutska Street, videos of suspected snipers and reports of snipers in live TV broadcasts and Internet video streams from the Maidan (Independence Square), time-stamped and unedited radio intercepts of SBU Alfa snipers and commanders, and radio intercepts of Internal Troops on the Maidan.
The analysis also uses live Internet broadcasts. Recordings of all live TV and Internet broadcasts of the massacre by Espresso TV, Hromadske TV, Spilno TV, Radio Liberty, and Ukrstream TV, were either removed from their websites immediately following the massacre or not made publicly available. These recordings were mostly made by Maidan supporters, but they got very scant attention or removed from public access.
Similarly, official results of ballistic, weapons, and medical examinations and other evidence collected during the investigations concerning this massacre have not been made public, while crucial evidence, including bullets and weapons disappeared under the post-Yanukovych government. This investigation relies on such evidence reported by the media and reliable information in the social media. An on-site research on the site of the massacre on the Maidan itself and on Instytutska Street was also conducted for this study by the author.
An Academic Investigation
A recently released time-stamped version of an over 40-minute-long video, which was filmed at a close distance on Instytutska Street starting at 9:06am, covers, with some unexplained omissions, the most intense parts of the killings. It confirms that the mass killing of Maidan protesters on February 20 began on the adjacent Instytutska Street around that time.
The Berkut anti-riot police and Internal Troops units, which were besieging, storming, and blocking the Maidan for almost three months, hastily abandoned their positions and fled by 9:00am, while protesters then started to advance from their stronghold on the Maidan up Instytutska Street.
This and other videos show members of the special elite unit of the Berkut anti-riot police and “Omega” Internal Troops special unit, including two snipers, temporarily halting the advance of protesters near Zhovtnevyi Palace starting at 9:05am, shooting with both live ammunition from the Kalashnikov assault rifles (AKMS) and rubber bullets, and pointing sniper rifles in the direction of the protesters and then retreating along with Berkut and Internal Troops units, who were resting in Zhovtnevyi Palace.
After retreating to these barricades under fire, respectively, at 9:20am and 9:28am, Berkut and Omega were doing the same from two barricades on Instytutska Street and nearby buildings of the National Bank and the Club of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Directions of many bullet holes and their impact marks in the electric poles, trees, and walls of Zhovtnevyi Palace and the Hotel Ukraina also indicate that the police fired at the direction of the protesters and the protester-held buildings. SBU snipers were located in the Cabinet of Ministers, the Presidential Administration, and neighboring buildings.
The new Ukrainian government and the head of the parliamentary commission publicly stated that “snipers,” who massacred the unarmed protesters, were from these units. Specifically, the Prosecutor General Office announced on September 12, 2014 that its investigation found a Berkut commander and two members of his unit responsible for killing 39 Euromaidan protesters, or the absolute majority of some 50 protesters killed or mortally wounded on February 20, 2014.
Fascinating details emerge. Leading US-funded think-tanks and German secret service are accessories. Attempted suppression by legal threats. Blackout in German media.
These revelations, together with the Snowden uproar, will further decouple the US from Germany
Exclusively for RI, Dutch journalist Eric van de Beek interviews the senior German editor who is causing a sensation with his allegations that the CIA pays German media professionals to spin stories to follow US government goals.
We wrote about this two weeks ago, and the article shot up in views, becoming one of the most read articles on our site.
Udo Ulfkotte reveals in his bestseller Bought Journalists, how he was “taught to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public.”
The former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which is one of Germany’s largest newspapers, was secretly on the payroll of the CIA and German secret service, spinning the news in a way that was positive for the United States and bad for its opponents.
In his latest interview, Ulfkotte alleges that some media are nothing more than propaganda outlets of political parties, secret services, international think tanks and high finance entities.
Repenting for collaborating with various agencies and organisations to manipulate the news, Ulkotte laments, “I’m ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this.”
Some highlights from the interview:
Here’s more from the interview:
“Bought journalists”, who are they?
“We’re talking about puppets on a string, journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what’s really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets.”
And you were one of them, and now you are the first to blow the whistle.
“I’m ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this. Although my superiors at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung approved of what I did, I’m still to blame. But yes, to my knowledge I am the first to accuse myself and to prove many others are to blame.”
How did you become a bought journalist?
“It started very soon after I started working at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. I learned to regard luxury invitations as quite acceptable and to write positive articles in return. Later on I was invited by the German Marshall Fund of The United States to travel the United States. They paid for all my expenses and put me in contact with Americans they’d like me to meet. In fact, most journalists from respected and big media organisations are closely connected to the German Marshall Fund, the Atlantik-Brücke or other so-called transatlantic organisations. Many of them are even members or ‘fellows’. I am a fellow of the German Marshall Fund. The thing is, once you’re connected, you make friends with selected Americans. You think they are your friends and you start cooperating. They work on your ego, make you feel like you’re important. And one day one of them will ask you ‘Will you do me this favor’ and then another will ask you ‘Will you do me that favor’. Bye and bye you get completely brainwashed. I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the Bundesnachrichtendienst.”
Serena Shim, 1984-2014
“On Friday, October 17, Serena went on air for Press TV. She was rattled in the broadcast. Serena said that Turkish intelligence officials had accused her of spying. She had reported that Islamic State fighters had been smuggled over the border in trucks with logos from the World Food Programme. No one had seen this before or made such allegations.”
My twitter feed has become a memorial for the death of journalists from Iraq to Turkey. The latest tragedy was the death of Serena Shim, a US citizen who is of Lebanese origin and worked for Press TV. Last year I had met Serena in Beirut. It is commonplace for journalists to meet each other, to learn where one has been and whether there are stories out there that help give wider context and confirmation for stories that one follows. It was in that context that I met Serena, who had been covering the conflict in Ukraine, Iraq and of course Lebanon. She was a warm person, very smart and very well informed. Her bravery impressed me. Others of her ilk and of her age bracket include the fabulous Radwan Mortada (al-Akhbar) and Jenan Moussa (al-Ain). These are reporters who go into dangerous situations with no “security advisors” – I worry for them daily.
Ten days ago, Serena’s employer Press TV sent her to Turkey to cover the story of the Kobane conflict and to look into the allegations of Turkish help to the Islamic State. This is a story that takes one to Urfa, a city that is linked to Syria through the border crossing at Akçakale. At Urfa’s Balıklıgöl State Hospital, evidence for the treatment of Islamic State fighters is not camouflaged – it is there in plain sight. The Islamic State wounded from the battle of Kobane cross over for treatment here. Any journalist who covered this aspect of the war knows that Turkish intelligence (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı) has been mighty skittish about the story. They are quick to show up, and quick to make gestures of ill will.
On Friday, October 17, Serena went on air for Press TV. She was rattled in the broadcast. Serena said that Turkish intelligence officials had accused her of spying. She had reported that Islamic State fighters had been smuggled over the border in trucks with logos from the World Food Organization. No one had seen this before or made such allegations. It came to the heart of the suspicion of various forms of assistance being provided to the Islamic State through Turkey. Barzan Iso, a Syrian Kurdish journalist, had already reported that Qatari charities have been using the Jarabulus crossing to get aid to the Islamic State. I had also reported on this but did not have any evidence that trucks with logos from international organizations were being used for this purpose.
From the Turkish towns of Mardin, Kilis and Urfa, the foreign jihadis made an easy transit into Syria. Until recently, Turkish authorities did not try to hide this “rat line.” Oğuzeli Airport in Gaziantep (Turkey) had come to resemble the old airport in Peshawar (Pakistan), as the bearded wonders disembarked with a glint in their eyes to join what they saw as a holy war. Pakistani intelligence had the same steel in their walk as Turkish intelligence – the parallels seemed to me more and more appropriate when a Kurdish commander told me that the Islamic State is to Turkey as the Taliban is to Pakistan.
In her last broadcast via Skype, Serena told Press TV that she had footage of the IS militants making across the border in broad daylight. The pressure from Turkish intelligence worried her. Reporters Without Borders had called Turkey the “largest prison for journalists.” Because of that she said, “I’m a little bit frightened.” She felt that the pressure had come for her forthright reports from Turkey about the war in Syria.
Two days later, on Sunday, Serena was traveling in a rental car from the border to the town of Suruç, when her car collided with a “heavy vehicle,” likely a cement mixer. The driver and truck vanished. Serena was killed. Her cameraman was injured and is now at Suruç State Hospital.
Turkish authorities say that the driver of the cement mixer has been arrested. An investigation is ongoing.
Serena’s name joins a long list of journalists killed in the war in Iraq-Syria – the Islamic State murdered Mohanad al-Akidi and Raad Mohamed al-Azzawi this month. This was in Iraq.
The Kobane fight has raised tensions in Turkey. It has threatened the “Imrali Process,” a peace negotiation between the Turkish government and the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK). Protests inside Turkey for action to defend Kobane resulted in the death of at least thirty people. Pressure has also come on the pro-Kurdish media. On October 2, demonstrators in the town of Diyarbakir attacked four reporters for the pro-Kurdish press – Bisar Durgut and Nihat Kutlu of the daily Azadiya Welat and Beritan Canözer and Sarya Gözüglu of JINHA. Bisar Durgut had eight stab wounds. On 14 October, in Turkey’s Adana, Kadri Bagdu was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle as he distributed the Kurdish daily papers Azadiya Welat and Ozgur Gundem.
Serena Shim, who leaves behind a family that includes her two young children, found herself chasing the truth in a highly charged situation. Evidence that Turkey is assisting the Islamic State is awkward for Ankara. It is as awkward as the evidence of collusion between al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Navy uncovered by my friend and Asia Times colleague Saleem Shahzad (1970-2011). He was killed for his fearless journalism. It is my feeling that Serena met Saleem’s fate.
The interview is in English with French subtitles.
Propagande médiatique – les révélations d’Udo Ulfkotte
18 Oct. 2014 – Le journaliste allemand Udo Ulfkotte a donné cette semaine une interview tonitruante sur la chaîne Russia Today, à l’occasion de la sortie de son dernier ouvrage Gekaufte Journalisten (Journalistes achetés).
Dans ce livre, il détaille la manipulation des médias et des journalistes par les agences de renseignement étasuniennes et notamment comment le Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung sert « comme une prostituée les intérêts de Washington en manipulant ses lecteurs au profit des États-Unis » au travers de multiples organisations pilotées depuis Washington, comme l’Atlantic Bridge, la Commission trilatérale, le German Marshall Found, l’American Council on Germany, l’Aspen Institute, etc.
Ces informations ont été depuis confirmées par Willy Wimmer, ex-secrétaire d’État du ministère allemand de la Défense, qui a accusé le département d’État américain d’ingérence dans le travail de la presse allemande.
Texte écrit par LeLibreCenseur sur le rap…
Le rap est à l’art poétique ce que la modernité la plus décadente est à la Tradition. Et ce n’est pas sans raison qu’on peut le qualifier très sérieusement et très objectivement d’art dégénéré, tant il réalise le potentiel de brutalité barbare, de régression morale et esthétique impliqué dans la dégénérescence civilisationnelle. Certes, c’est d’abord une musique proprement inécoutable : je ne supporte pas 10 secondes de rap, quel qu’il soit. Mais ce rejet épidermique, qui provoque jusqu’à la nausée et l’ahurissement devant les gesticulations verbales débilitantes de la Fouine ou d’un autre rappeur, procède de plusieurs questions fondamentales sur le statut de l’art, de la Tradition et de l’humanité.
Parmi les nouvelles pratiques « artistiques », le rap est sans doute celle qui fait le plus honte à l’esprit traditionnel européen. C’est d’abord une pratique américaine d’importation et d’impérialisme culturel sous la forme la moins civilisatrice. Si la barbarie a souvent été évoquée par divers polémistes traitant des «quartiers sensibles », ce n’est pas tant par la rencontre des parents travailleurs de ces zones, mais en référence à la musique qu’écoutent leurs enfants sur Skyrock. C’est un art de crâne vide. Des petites frappes qui se prennent pour des grosses cailleras en martelant des mauvaises rimes ; avec un ton de fausse virilité, un mauvais ton ; pas de musique, des paroles indigentes, soit violentes soit démagogiques. Niveau mélodie : zéro. Bref, une véritable régression culturelle. Ce n’est pas de la virulence politique ou sociale pensée : c’est de la brutalité, de la violence barbare faite son.
Plus grave : le rap n’est qu’une fausse musique produite par des sous-hommes en mal de virilité, qui jouent à être les hommes qu’ils ne sont pas et qu’ils ne seront jamais. Le rappeur et l’amateur de rap se caractérisent, non certes par leur rapport à l’art (puisque ce ne saurait en être), mais par une crise profonde de l’identité masculine. Musique ou poésie ? Ni l’une ni l’autre ! C’est une parodie de musique, du non-Art, l’art du sous-homme, c’est la sous-humanité faite art. C’est le sous-homme qui, ayant pris conscience de son absence de virilité, ou vertu (virtus) réelle, la compense par le « flow » décérébré, dénué de sens, d’intelligence et de lyrisme véritable, dans la mise en scène avilissante d’une virilité fictive et surjouée de la manière la plus grossière possible. Si la poésie lyrique est une sublimation de la virilité, le rap est la fausse sublimation d’une absence de virilité. Le comble de la virilité étant la subtilité la plus profonde, et en même temps la plus puissante, le rap en est la négation la plus absolue : c’est de la brutalité sans puissance et sans subtilité, un gueulard qui débite des débilités inintelligibles, mièvres ou absurdes. Le rap substitue à l’élaboration mélodique et au raffinement poétique la brutalité du ton. Il substitue à la simplicité noble de l’épopée les récriminations verbeuses et les vociférations bestiales. Il compense souvent l’indigence des paroles et la nullité musicale par la violence des sons et l’accumulation de mauvais calembours criés massivement plutôt que suggérés avec l’humour subtil qui conviendrait à ce projet. Les phrases, ou plutôt les formules aheurtées sont scandées comme des cris rauques, et déstructurent le langage, comme il se doit dans un art de la dégénérescence. L’envie de « faire passer un message » se lit dans la naïveté revendicatrice du ton du rappeur, naïveté confondante et quasiment puérile qui tranche avec sa prétention viriliste. Le rappeur rappe au lieu de chanter, comme l’enfant crie et pleure au lieu de verbaliser ses sentiments : c’est le même fonctionnement régressif. Le rythme ne sert qu’à cracher des paroles ineptes dont la vacuité intellectuelle est tellement évidente que seuls l’aveuglement et l’amour de la modernité la plus décadente peuvent expliquer son attrait.
Seigneur, délivrez-nous du rap !
Message personnel à l’attention des rappeurs de la dissidence : fuyez cet art avilissant et faites plutôt de la poésie, si vous en avez le talent ! Ne vous gâchez pas dans cette débilité américaine qui continuera de vous stigmatiser comme barbares !
Le Libre Censeur
Source: le libre penseur
Generally historical revision takes place long after events unfold and the victors attempt to bury humiliating or inconvenient truths. Today, in the age of information, these would-be victors are finding it increasingly necessary to revise history in real-time through a strategy of increasingly repetitive, but decreasingly effective propaganda.
Phase I: Justifying Chaos
It was only in 2007 that US foreign policy openly sought to pursue war against Iran, Syria, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, while undercutting pro-Iranian factions in Iraq which at the time the US was still occupying. Failing to accomplish this directly, the US planned a not-so-covert proxy war that would include funding, politically backing, and even arming groups ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to militants aligned with Al Qaeda itself.
This is perhaps best summarized by the prophetic 2007 report “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh and published in the New Yorker.
It stated (emphasis added):
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Hersh would also go on to chronicle American political and financial support that was being provided to the Muslim Brotherhood, even then under then US President George Bush. In all, the supposedly “spontaneous” uprisings referred to by the Western media as the “Arab Spring” in 2011 were being engineered years ahead of time – not in an attempt to promote peaceful pro-democratic aspirations, but to serve as cover for ultra-violent foreign-backed insurrections that would leave a trail of destruction stretching along Africa’s northern coast, all the way to the borders of Iran, Russia, and even China.
Phase II: The War
After denying any role in the “Arab Spring” unrest, the US would soon not only openly support the protesters in the streets, but also support armed militants that followed in the wake of protests. This support included that of a military dimension – with militants in Libya being provided aircover and special forces initially, to eventually the air-dropping of weapons, equipment, and other supplies.
US Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) would even travel to the terrorist capital of Libya – Benghazi – and offer US support in person. He would stand literally upon the footsteps of Benghazi’s courthouse where Al Qaeda rallies would be held shortly after, promising weapons to men who would later slaughter a US ambassador in that very city.
After the destruction of Libya’s government amid NATO’s intervention, Benghazi would serve as a terrorist epicenter where weapons, cash, and fighters were being staged before being sent to NATO-member Turkey and then to fight in northern Syria. Among these terrorists were seasoned militants of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an official Al Qaeda franchise in North Africa. One of their leaders, Abdelhakim Belhadj would eventually find himself in power in Tripoli after the collapse of the Libyan government, and even have his photograph taken with Senator McCain.
Predictably, as NATO shifted resources and attention from the overthrow of Libya to the overthrow of Syria, the conflict aimed at Damascus escalated. It did not however succeed. Instead, the West found itself in a protracted proxy war in which its role in arming, aiding, and abetting hardcore sectarian extremists became increasingly obvious.
Phase III: The “Rise” of ISIS
Clearly, the rise of the so-called “Islamic State” or ISIS, did not happen overnight, nor by accident. It was not only the logical result of the United States continuing its strategy of proxy warfare it had carried out against Libya, now unfolding in Syria, it was also the premeditated, documented result of what veteran journalist Seymour Hersh had warned about in 2007.
It is a threat that not only Syria understands all too well, but a threat its allies including Iraq, Iran, and Russia fully understand and are mobilizing against.
The US has found itself revising history, attempting to explain the existence of ISIS lurking in the footprints of its massive support of so-called “moderates” in Syria’s ongoing conflict. The US has attempted to claim ISIS has built itself on “donations,” selling oil to the black market, and by taking hostages for ransom. If only building a multinational terrorist mercenary force was that easy, we could imagine Syria, Iraq, and Iran would likewise have vast mercenary armies to outmatch ISIS in an afternoon.
The reality is, to explain how the US and its regional partners have provided “moderates” with billions in aid only to have ISIS rise up and displace these “moderates,” we must realize that there were never any “moderates” to begin with, and that the US intentionally armed and funded terrorists, just as Hersh warned in 2007, to create a terrorist mercenary army that “espouses a militant vision of Islam” and is “sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
ISIS didn’t displace the “moderates,” the truth of what America has done in the Middle East has displaced the lies the West has been telling the public starting in 2011 at the height of the so-called “Arab Spring.”
It is essential that people around the world continue to spread this this truth faster than the West can spread its chaos.
A Malaysia Airways’ Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)
Exclusive: For months, Western governments and media have accused Russia of supplying the anti-aircraft missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 killing 298 people. But now German intelligence has reportedly determined the missile came from a Ukrainian military base, writes Robert Parry.
The West’s case blaming Russia for the shoot-down of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last July appears to be crumbling as the German foreign intelligence agency has concluded that the anti-aircraft missile battery involved came from a Ukrainian military base, according to a report by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.
The Obama administration and other Western governments have pointed the finger of blame at Russia for supposedly supplying a sophisticated BUK missile system to ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine who then allegedly used the weapon on July 17 to shoot down what they thought was a Ukrainian military plane but turned out to be Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing all 298 people onboard.
The Russians denied providing the rebels with the weapon and the rebels denied shooting down the plane. But the tragedy gave the U.S. State Department the emotional leverage to get the European Union to impose tougher economic sanctions on Russia, touching off a trade war that has edged Europe toward a new recession.
But now the narrative has shifted. The German intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND, asserted that while it believes rebels were responsible for shooting down the plane, they supposedly did so with an anti-aircraft battery captured from a Ukrainian military base, according to Der Spiegel.
The BND also concluded that photos supplied by the Ukrainian government about the MH-17 tragedy “have been manipulated,” Der Spiegel reported. And, the BND disputed Russian government claims that a Ukrainian fighter jet had been flying close to MH-17 just before it crashed, the magazine said.
None of the BND’s evidence to support its conclusions has been made public — and I was subsequently told by a European official that the evidence was not as conclusive as the magazine article depicted.
Der Spiegel said the information given to members of a parliamentary committee on Oct. 8 included satellite images and other photography. What’s less clear, however, is how the BND could determine the precise command-and-control of the anti-aircraft missile system amid the chaotic military situation that existed in eastern Ukraine last July.
At the time, the Ukrainian army and allied militias were mounting an offensive against ethnic Russian rebels who were resisting a U.S.-backed coup regime that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February, touching off what quickly became a nasty civil war.
Spearheading Kiev’s summer offensive were pro-government militias, some of which were filled with neo-Nazi extremists and financed by Ukrainian billionaire oligarchs including Ihor Kolomoisky, who had been appointed governor of the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk Region. The ethnic Russian rebels also were a disorganized lot with poor command and control.
Rushing to Anti-Russian Judgment
Yet, the Obama administration was quick to pin the blame for the MH-17 crash on Russia and the rebels. Just three days after the crash, Secretary of State John Kerry went on all five Sunday talk shows fingering Russia and the rebels and citing evidence provided by the Ukrainian government through social media.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” David Gregory asked, “Are you bottom-lining here that Russia provided the weapon?”
Kerry: “There’s a story today confirming that, but we have not within the Administration made a determination. But it’s pretty clear when – there’s a build-up of extraordinary circumstantial evidence. I’m a former prosecutor. I’ve tried cases on circumstantial evidence; it’s powerful here.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Kerry’s Latest Reckless Rush to Judgment.”]
But some U.S. intelligence analysts offered conflicting assessments. After Kerry’s TV round-robin, the Los Angeles Times reported on a U.S. intelligence briefing given to several mainstream U.S. news outlets. The story said, “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mystery of a Ukrainian ‘Defector,’”]
A source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that some analysts had concluded that the rebels and Russia were likely not at fault and that it appeared Ukrainian government forces were to blame, although possibly a unit operating outside the direct command of Ukraine’s top officials.