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American Press Blames Russia for Downed Malaysia Flight MH17

Politics / Mainstream Media Jul 18, 2014 - 01:25 PM GMT

By: Walter_Brasch


Overshadowing news of the BRICS summit of July 16 and Israel's ground offensive in Gaza on July 17, came breaking news that Malaysia Air flight MH17 crashed in Eastern Ukraine near the Russian border with 298 people on board of which 154 were nationals from the Netherlands. The flight originated in Amsterdam destined for Kuala Lumpur. While proof was not forthcoming about the cause of the accident during the day, media-induced speculation quickly emerged that it was shot down by either Ukrainian forces or by pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Within hours after the tragedy, U.S. media overtly alleged without substantiation Russian complicity. By evening, unidentified American intelligence and military officials said the plane had been destroyed by a Russian SA-series missile.

To wit, the voices of American news editors:

Wall Street Journal (July 17, 2014 6:51 p.m. ET , "Malaysia Airlines Plane Was Hit by Surface-to-Air Missile, U.S. Officials Say")

"All roads lead to the Russians to some degree," said a U.S. official."

(Note: The story did not identify the "U.S. official".)

Wall Street Journal (Jul 17, 2014 3:17 pm ET, "Capitol Hill Lawmakers Call for Action After Jet Crash"

"Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), a member of the House intelligence committee, said Russia is to blame if separatists took down the plane. “If this was indeed a missile attack on a civilian airplane by pro-Russia separatists, it represents a tragic and dramatic escalation in this conflict,” said Mr. Schiff. “Russia has continued to stoke the conflict and allow violent separatists in eastern Ukraine access to an array of Russian armaments.” In response, he said, European countries should implement stronger sanctions against Russia—as the U.S. recently has.

“If reports prove accurate that this commercial airliner was shot down by either the Russian Federation or pro-Russian militants, a swift and decisive response from the international community is imperative." said Rep. Michael Turner (R., Ohio).

Sen. Mark Udall (D., Colo.) said Mr. Putin should pull military forces back from the Ukrainian border and drop his support for Ukrainian separatists.

Meanwhile, Ross Kelley filed "Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attendance at a G-20 meeting in Australia later this year could be thrown into question if pro-Russian separatists are found to be responsible for downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Julia Bishop, Australia’s foreign minister, said it still isn’t clear whether his invitation to the November meeting in Brisbane could be affected. “It’s too early to say, but we are taking this exceedingly seriously,” Ms. Bishop told reporters in Canberra. “You can’t yet point the finger of blame until there has been a full investigation.”  (Jul 17, 2014 9:15 pm ET, WSJ)

(Note: One might suggest that it is also too early to throw into question Vladmir Putin's attendance when no evidence has surfaced indicating Russian involvement.)

Wall Street Journal (7:56 pm ET, "Hillary Clinton on Jet Crash: Time for Europe to Step Up")

Uber-hawk and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton appearing on Charlie Rose's TV show said the Obama administration “has been very clear in both its criticism of Russia and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.” She added that “if there is evidence linking Russia to this, that should inspire the Europeans to do much more on three counts.” Europe must toughen sanctions against Russia, find alternatives to Russian energy sources and work more closely with the U.S. in helping Ukraine oppose Russian aggression, she said. “So, Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this,” she said. Referring to the downed plane, she said “It was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals.”

FOX News (July 17, 2014, "Lawmakers say there will be 'hell to pay' if Russia is behind Malaysia Airlines crash")

"The White House confirmed Thursday that President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin briefly discussed a Malaysian passenger plane crash that killed 295 people on board during a telephone call the two leaders had earlier in the day. White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed the call took place but suggested that Putin did not pass on a lot of details to Obama. What Putin passed on – or did not pass on - to the president may be significant as more information comes out on possible Russian involvement.

(Note: The conclusion drawn is by Fox editors.)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took a similar tone. He said there would be “hell to pay” if the plane was shot down by the Russian military – but added, “to leap to conclusions could be very embarrassing and really inappropriate until we have more information.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. added, “It’s been clear from the beginning that notwithstanding Putin’s duplicitous statements to the contrary, Russia has continued tostoke theconflictand allow violent separatists in eastern Ukraine access to an array of Russian armaments.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the crash and fueled speculation that the plane was shot down by separatists, but State Department spokesman Jen Psaki in a message on Twitter said the U.S. government cannot confirm any cause. "We do not exclude that this plane was shot down," Poroshenko said, "and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets."

Fox News (July 17, 2014, "Malaysia Airlines jet shot down: Three possible scenarios and their implications for Russia and Ukraine")

Fox News offered three possible scenarios (underlining by author):

1. The Ukrainian government had the opportunity but not the motive.

2. Pro-Russian rebel separatists in Eastern Ukraine may have the opportunity and perhaps the motive.

3. Russia has the opportunity but not the motive.

Fox writer K.T. McFarland concludes:: "If it turns out Russia has come out of the shadows, and did shoot down the Malaysian civilian aircraft, it is a game changer. The Russians will try to deny it, but no one will believe them. Even if it is Russia’s proxies in Eastern Ukraine who are responsible for this terrible act, Russia loses plausible deniability. It will be Putin’s biggest nightmare, because it could light a fire under European and American leaders to take immediate and severe action against Russia."

Washington Post

Headlines July 17, 2014 11pm ET

"Kiev accuses pro-Russian rebels of an ‘act of terror’ "

"Ukraine claims video shows rebels talking about strike"

Washington Post (July 17, 2014 8:36pm ET, "Act could escalate tension between Russia and West ")

" 'World leaders, including among U.S. allies in Europe, that have seen the conflict as a regional one and been reluctant to turn on Moscow, could be forced to reassess their position,' said Damon Wilson, an expert on Ukraine at the Atlantic Council and who worked on European policy at the White House between 2007 and 2009. 'It’s pretty difficult to continue playing that game if you have clear Russian fingerprints on the shooting down of a civilian airliner,' he said.

"The United States and its allies were hesitant to quickly assign blame, and there was no overt suggestion that a civilian aircraft had been intentionally targeted. But there was a clear undercurrent in the Western response that the separatists were believed to be responsible."

New York Times Editorial

From the Editorial Board (July 17, 2014, "Vladimir Putin Can Stop This War.

Downing of Malaysia Jet Is a Call to End Ukraine Conflict"

"The Ukrainian conflict has gone on far too long, and it has become far too dangerous. There is one man who can stop it — President Vladimir Putin of Russia, by telling the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to end their insurgency and by stopping the flow of money and heavy weaponry to those groups. But for all his mollifying words and gestures, Mr. Putin has only continued to stoke the flames by failing to shut down those pipelines, failing to support a cease-fire and avoiding serious, internationally mediated negotiations. President Obama was fully justified in announcing tough new sanctions; the European Union imposed its own less-stringent measures.

"The Russian leaders prefer not to accept that the C.I.A. did not engineer the preference of many Ukrainians for what they see in the West. They prefer to proclaim that Russia is the victim of American designs and manipulation — a claim Mr. Putin invoked again in response to the sanctions. The new sanctions from Washington, which target some of Russia’s largest energy companies and banks and more of its senior officials, are not likely to change Mr. Putin’s mind. But they, along with lesser but still significant European sanctions, should make clear to him that the West will not back down."

(Note the out-of-place exoneration of the CIA in particular and emphasis on energy and banking.)

New York Times Headline (July 17, 2014, 10:20 pm ET, "Jetliner Explodes Over Ukraine; Struck by Missile, Officials Say" New York Times)

"A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 298 people aboard was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, American officials said. The furiously unfolding investigation is centering on Ukrainian separatists or Russian troops as the missile operators. American intelligence and military officials said the plane had been destroyed by a Russian SA-series missile, based on surveillance satellite data that showed the final trajectory and impact of the missile but not its point of origin. Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, blamed Ukraine’s government for creating what he called conditions for insurgency in eastern Ukraine, where separatists have bragged about shooting down at least three Ukrainian military aircraft. But Mr. Putin did not specifically deny that a Russian-made weapon had felled the Malaysian jetliner."

Reuters US (July 18, 2014 12:08 am ET, "International probe demanded after Malaysian airliner downed over Ukraine, 298 dead")

"One U.S. official said Washington strongly suspected a surface-to-air missile that downed the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday was fired by Ukrainian separatists backed by Moscow. There was no evidence Ukrainian government forces fired a missile, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott appeared to go further than other Western leaders in apportioning blame, demanding on Friday that Moscow answer questions about the 'Russian-backed rebels' that he said were behind the disaster.

"Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who had stepped up an offensive in the east, spoke to Obama and sought to rally world opinion behind his cause. 'The external aggression against Ukraine is not just our problem but a threat to European and global security,' he said in a statement."

"Russia, which Western powers accuse of trying to destabilize Ukraine to maintain influence over its old Soviet empire, has accused Kiev's leaders of mounting a fascist coup. It says it is holding troops in readiness to protect Russian-speakers in the east - the same rationale it used for taking over Crimea.

"As word came in of what might be the worst ever attack on a civilian airliner, Obama was on the phone with Putin, discussing a new round of economic sanctions that Washington and its allies have imposed to try to force Putin to do more to curb the revolt against the new government in Kiev.

Obama warned of further sanctions if Moscow did not change course in Ukraine, the White House said."

* * * *

How Russia Media reported the story:

RIANovosti (July 17, 2014, "Donetsk Militia Leader Blames Ukraine for Downing Malaysia Boeing")

"The leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine has traded accusations with Kiev saying it was responsible for downing the Malaysian airliner since local militia doesn’t have the required technologies. 'I think it’s all crystal clear. The militia has only Manpads [portable air defense systems] and missile systems. Their fire range is only at 2-3 kilometers. So it was either Ukrainian aviation or anti-missile defense,' Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) leader Alexander Borodai said."

RIANovosti (July 17, 2014, "Russia Says Ukraine Responsible for Flight Safety in Boeing Crash Air Space")

"A Malaysian passenger plane was in the Ukrainian zone of flight safety control when it crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday killing all 295 people on board, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) said. 'The plane has not contacted Russian air traffic controllers in Rostov,' Rosaviatsiya head Alexander Neradko said in an interview with Rossiya-24 television. 'The responsibility [for flight safety] falls on the Ukrainian side,' Neradko said."

ITAR-TASS (July 17, 2014, "Putin places responsibility for Malaysian jet crash on Ukraine")

Russian President Vladimir Putin has put responsibility for the crash of a Malaysian Airlines Boeing that took place on Thursday on Ukraine. 'Obviously, the state over which this incident took place is responsible for this terrible tragedy,' Putin said late on Thursday. 'This tragedy would have never happened should this land was peaceful, if combat operation had not been resumed in Ukraine’s southeastern regions.' "

ITAR-TASS (July 17, 2014, "DPR accuses Ukraine’s armed forces of Malaysian airliner crash")

"Self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic rebuffed allegations about its involvement into Thursday’s crash of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, a spokesman for the DPR prime minister Sergey Kavtaradze told reporters on Thursday. 'The [DPR] militia does not have the armament that might down the plane flying at an altitude of ten kilometres,' Kavtaradze said. 'We have shoulder-carried missile launchers that might shoot down planes at an altitude of three or maximum four kilometres.'

"DPR blames the Ukrainian armed forces for the Boeing crash. DPR government offers condolences over Malaysian airliner crash."

RT (July 17, 2014, " Kiev deployed powerful anti-air systems to E. Ukraine ahead of the Malaysian plane crash")

"The Ukrainian military has several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, in the Donetsk region where the Malaysian passenger plane crashed, Russian Defense Ministry said.

“According to the Russian Defense Ministry information, units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine located in the crash-site are equipped with anti-aircraft missile systems of "Buk-M1” ... These complexes in their tactical and technical characteristics are capable of detecting air targets at ranges of up to 160 kilometers and hit them at full altitude range at a distance of over 30 kilometers,” the ministry’s statement reads as cited by Ria.

"Earlier, Itar-Tass and Interfax news agencies were citing a source familiar with the issue, who said that another battery of Buk systems is currently being prepared for shipment to Donetsk region from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov."

Interfax (July 17, 2014, "Bukov division of Ukrainian Armed Forces re-deployed to Donetsk area yesterday - source"

"According to objective control systems information, the Bukov division of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was re-deployed to the Donetsk area yesterday, an informed source said. One more Bukov division is currently being loaded in Kharkiv, the source said. Only 'S' class or Buk [SA-10, SA-17, NATO reporting name Grizzly] family of munitions can hit aircraft at altitudes of over 10 kilometers, the source said.

"The militia does not and can not have such arms, the source said. The militia does not have SA-17 Buk air defense means as Kyiv alleges, DPR First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin said."


Later on Thursday, July 17, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a comprehensive and transparent international probe into the crash of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing over Ukraine. He said he was closely watching the development of the situation and expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the crash.


Postscript: Let us remember that less than five months ago, March 7, 2014, another Malaysia Airlines flight saw tragedy losing 227 passengers flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Coincidence?

Let us remember that the 6th BRICS summit was held in Brazil on the day following the end of the World Cup, July 14, ending a day before this current tragedy, July 16 (coincidence?). A BRICS monetary stabilization fund and development bank were initiated to counter the dominance of IMF, World Bank and western financial institutions. More so, it "served notice" that the global shift to a multipolar world, at least financially, was occurring.

Let us remember that American news editors created, manfactured and incited war fever against Russia beginning with the fall of Ukraine to Maiden and Right Sector forces and today are fanning fires that can lead to World War. Clearly, America is threatened financially, broken from its constitutional mooring, acting behind the backs of a sleeping populace, seeking to dominate energy resources and transmission channels surge-style - wherever and whenever it can.

But whether it will be the "Asian Century" or the BRICS Century, the near future will be a multipolar world. And no amount of U.S. nuclear arsenals, invasions, occupations, drone killings, assassinations, puppet governments, provocation of Russia and China, sanctions, cyber totalitarianism or militarizing proxy nations will ever stop the rotation of our planet. Multipolar is upon us.

Dear America: A wise person named Cerithous once told me: "When ego swells the head and fills the body with artificial glee, ask to be shown a way back to humility. If not, humility will conquer pride in its own way, eventually."

[Dr. Brasch’s current book is Fracking Pennsylvania, which looks at the impact of fracking upon public health, worker safety, the environment, and agriculture. The book--available at local bookstores and amazon. com--also looks at the financial collusion between politicians and Big Energy.]

By Walter M Brasch PhD

Copyright 2014 Walter M Brasch

Walter Brasch is a university journalism professor, syndicated columnist, and author of 17 books. His current books are America's Unpatriotic Acts , The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina , and Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture . All are available through,, or other bookstores. You may contact Dr. Brasch at

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