Not just corrupt, impotent too

Now there’s a surprise, eh?

The missile that downed a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine in 2014 belonged to a Russian brigade, international investigators say.

For the first time, the Dutch-led team said the missile had come from a unit based in western Russia.

All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 died when it broke apart in mid-air flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

It was hit by a missile fired from rebel-held territory in Ukraine. Russia says none of its weapons was used.

But on Thursday Wilbert Paulissen, a Dutch official from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), told reporters: “All the vehicles in a convoy carrying the missile were part of the Russian armed forces.”

He restated the JIT’s conclusion that the plane had been destroyed by a Russian-made Buk missile, adding that it had been supplied by the country’s 53rd anti-aircraft brigade in Kursk.

The bulk of this was known at the time of the incident. There were only three possibilities as to the origins of the missile:

1. Russian forces

2. Russian-backed militias in Ukraine

3. Ukrainian forces

The Ukrainians quickly stated they don’t possess this missile system, ruling out their culpability. My guess was the Russians had, with staggering irresponsibility, given the business end of a Buk anti-aircraft system to some poorly trained militia operating on Ukrainian territory who’d shot down the plane by mistake. However, I believed part of the system was still controlled by Russian forces, who would give the militia the nod to engage any targets. As it turns out, it was operated by Russian forces all along, and it was they who shot the plane down.

At a news conference in the Dutch city of Utrecht, the investigators also showed social media pictures which they said traced the route the missile convoy had taken to reach eastern Ukraine.

Shortly after the incident some investigators online worked out using mobile phone footage and satellite images exactly where the missile had been fired from. Nobody showed any interest, and the silence from what passes for western leadership over this incident was deafening. The Oilfield Expat explains why:

Considering the magnitude of the event, it is remarkable how quickly the world brushed it under the carpet and moved on, particularly the Dutch who lost the greatest number of citizens in the incident. But there are good reasons for this: it suited the interests of European and American politicians to do so.

For those who thought the shooting down of MH17 would prove to be a Lusitania event in the crisis in east Ukraine, proving beyond doubt the nature of the Russian government which the west is facing, it would have seemed unbelievable at the time that barely 6 weeks later Russian armour would be moving en masse into Ukraine whilst EU and American leaders repeat the same empty, lame, and downright pathetic bleating about “de-escalation” that has done nothing but embolden Putin thus far.

It is blatantly obvious in whose interests Obama, Merkel, Hollande, etc. are acting over this Ukraine crisis: their own. And I don’t mean their citizens, or their country, I mean their own personal interests. Any support they may receive from their citizens or corporations is purely coincidental, although in the case of Germany it is clear that Merkel’s interests have been identical to those of certain favoured German companies with large operations in Russia all along. She damned near admitted as much.

This is wholly consistent with these same individuals sucking up to Iran, and now even cosying up to Putin in the aftermath of Trump’s nixing the deal. So much for solidarity with Britain over the Skripal poisoning, eh? But it’s not just cynical commercial interests that caused the disgraceful silence over the shooting down of MH-17, it was also cowardice. There were reports doing the rounds that Putin was visibly shaken when news reached him of MH-17 being shot down, no doubt fearing a serious backlash. However, within a day or two he was back to his usual swaggering self, confident no response would be forthcoming, and the tidal wave of disinformation began. Quite simply, the feckless leaders in the west didn’t want to make any tough decisions. Here’s The Oilfield Expat once more:

In reality, the EU leaders are a bunch of shyster politicians who give a shit about one thing: their political position, and by extension the powers they wield and the personal fortune they amass. Like all politicians, they are a bunch of backstabbing, duplicitous, untrustworthy c*nts who you wouldn’t trust to look after a wet breeze block, let alone guarantee the safety and security of a nation of people they don’t know and give less of a shit about. The Ukrainians have probably worked this out by now, only it’s too late. The Baltic States should also be waking up to reality and realising that they are on their own and always were. There were times when this fecklessness wouldn’t matter so much as the US could be relied upon to step in when required (as they eventually did in the Balkans), but the current occupant of the White House is so out of his depth and so wrapped up in preserving his image that he makes the EU leadership look Napoleonic by comparison. The collective language of this gaggle of incompetents over the Ukraine crisis screams “Oh why did this have to happen on my watch? Why won’t the problem just go away?”

They want the status, salary, and trappings of power that come with the position but don’t want to take the decisions and carry the responsibility that comes with it.

At the time of the incident – and not much has changed, at least on one side of the Atlantic – the western leadership was not only corrupt, but impotent too. The results of the investigation will only serve to illustrate this fact.

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16 thoughts on “Not just corrupt, impotent too

  1. “So much for solidarity with Britain over the Skripal poisoning, eh?”

    Well, apart from some inconsequential gestures, the British government has not shown much solidarity with Britain on this issue either, has it?

  2. Ivan,

    Indeed, one would think Trump was the greater enemy than Putin judging by the remarks of British politicians and rather too many of the public.

  3. Some Russians in England (within the small part of Southern England that contains both Nuclear and chemical weapons research as well as both military and MI5/6 training establishments) are poisoned by other Russians……or not. It’s really not that big a deal compared with the rest that goes on here,believe me!

  4. but the current occupant of the White House is so out of his depth and so wrapped up in preserving his image …

    At first glance I assumed he meant Trump; in fact it was written during Obama’s presidency.

  5. One of many problems is the inconsistency of the approach taken.

    As a thought experiment, consider the response if an ICRC aid convoy in Gaza was mysteriously destroyed with significant loss of life. Analysis of the post-strike imagery strongly indicated that the attack was conducted with air-dropped munitions, probably US-designed Mk 82 bomb bodies (guidance kits unknown) – so the available evidence was that either the Israeli Air Force, or the US had struck the convoy (which did appear to be a legitimate aid convoy), destroying it and killing twenty people.

    Reactions? Likely to be outrage, denunciations on mainstream news, calls for sanctions and action, vast volumes of virtual ink expended in spittle-spraying tirades about the evils of the West for permitting / supplying this outrage…

    However, compare and contrast to the ferocious worldwide anger that this incident caused.

    Analysis of Syrian Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack

    If nothing else, remember this – There’s no votes in military matters.

    The media will, as a rule of thumb, only report if (a) the victims enjoy preferred status, (b) the West is to blame. Anyone heard much news reporting about the ongoing civil war in the Yemen, other than that evil Britain sold bombs to the Saudis and so It’s All Our Fault?

    The public don’t care about anything not pushed right into their face and sometimes not even then, nor do they care about the military other than dutifully buying a poppy every November and an occasional charity wristband: the idea of “we’re having to delay your nice new hospital wing so the Army can replace its ancient armoured vehicles” is electoral suicide.

    Politicians want simple, cheap, risk-free solutions or they want to do nothing, so guess what they usually do?

    One of the better books on the subject is “The Utility of Force” by Rupert Smith, who (slightly tongue-in-cheek) proposed the formula that:

    Capability = Means × Way^2 × (Will x 3)

    Having the kit is necessary but not sufficient: having some way to actually bring it to bear is essential[1], but actually being prepared to commit and see it through is decisive.

    Putin is a very smart operator precisely because he picks his places to push, such that there’s not an easy option to push back (denying the ways) and – if it turns into a shoving match – he’s willing to escalate further than we are. Until he hits somewhere we actually care about (Ukraine, clearly not: Baltics, grudgingly supported because they actually are NATO members and there’s a clear commitment on record)

    [1] Smith used the example of “something must be done” about the genocide in Rwanda, and the problems of how little that “something” could be in the time available with the limited logistics and transportation, even before you hit the problem of “so how many Hutus can we shoot to stop the killing?”.

    This was expanded later by a colleague, who spoofed the story of how “British government to face war crimes charges for failing to intervene in Fumbuckstan genocide” because we stood back and let them hack children to bits with machetes, would quickly be followed by “British troops charged with murder of Fumbuckistani civilians” when they shot some locals to stop them chopping up children – and that the same person would be bringing the charges.

  6. My guess was the Russians had, with staggering irresponsibility, given the business end of a Buk anti-aircraft system to some poorly trained militia operating on Ukrainian territory who’d shot down the plane by mistake.

    I thought the same. But it was the Russians themselves, you say? Question: was it a mistake on the part of the Russians, or some deliberate shenanigans?

    As for nobody caring: several Australians died, and then PM Tony Abbott said he was going to “shirtfront” Putin about it, and all anybody in the chattering classes down here could do was laugh. Now we have chattering class charter member Malcolm Turnbull in charge, so there’s no danger of us ever confronting anybody about anything.

  7. I’d always thought it was the Russians as I doubted they’d trust their proxies with anything that sophisticated, but that they made a mistake. They thought it was a Ukrainian plane.
    The reason I think the Russians did the Skripals is that past performance led you to believe the British Government would do all it could to avoid blaming the Russians, so if they screwed their courage up over this the Russians really were behind it.
    See that the European Commission have let Gazprom off scot free? No? It’s not much in the news as it is too embarrassing for the Germans, Merkel herself, the EU and the Commission

  8. Question: was it a mistake on the part of the Russians, or some deliberate shenanigans?

    A mistake, most certainly.

    PM Tony Abbott said he was going to “shirtfront” Putin about it, and all anybody in the chattering classes down here could do was laugh.

    Ah yes, witness the chattering classes here wishing Trump ill in his dealings with North Korea. They hate Trump so much they’re willing to back a murderous, Stalinist dictator rather than see him make progress on ending the Korean War.

  9. The reason I think the Russians did the Skripals is that past performance led you to believe the British Government would do all it could to avoid blaming the Russians, so if they screwed their courage up over this the Russians really were behind it.

    Indeed, and one of the reasons I was so unimpressed with the British government’s posturing over the Skripals was they’d uttered not a squeak when MH-17 was shot down. That was the time to hit them with sanctions, expel the oligarchs, etc. Anything that came after wouldn’t be taken seriously, and sure enough, it hasn’t been.

  10. “THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Netherlands and Australia said Friday that they are holding Russia legally responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17”

    Putin must be hiding in the darkest corner of the Kremlin right now, trembling with fear.

  11. “The Netherlands and Australia today asked Russia to enter into talks aimed at finding a solution that would do justice to the tremendous suffering and damage caused by the downing of MH17,” Blok said in a statement.

    I sure hope they did not neglect to add “pretty please”.

  12. What are Putin’s ultimate goals? Murdering a few ex-pats, confiscating some Western assets, bombing indiscriminately to support a (replaceable) tyrant, saying niet at the UN, stirring the shit in the near abroad, supporting nuclear proliferation in a regime which hates him, etc. does not look like a grand strategy to me. Meanwhile the simple riposte of shutting Russia out of the dollar system (look at Deripaska) will make the oligarchs wonder if they should change horses. I wonder how well he sleeps at night.

  13. What are Putin’s ultimate goals?

    1. Staying in power
    2. Entering the history books as important a Russian leader as Katherine the Great.

    He’s a lot better at 1 than 2.

  14. I’m not sure if he’s even good at 1. staying in power.
    Even tyrants have to secure and protect their base. Getting oligarchs blacklisted is not a good look. As for other stuff, a lot put into the stupid tray (Syria, Iran) and a lot put into the too diificult tray (Chechnya, N Caucasus) with potential to backfire.
    Meanwhile Nordstream, planned even before Schroder left office, has adnanced not one inch.

  15. Putin may be a case of excellent tactics, but poor strategy, and the occasional complete screw up leading to a belief for many he is far more menacing than he really is.

  16. Putting the sanctions on the oligarchs is highly unlikely to endanger Putin for a variety of reasons.

    The first is that they don’t have primacy of power any more. They haven’t really since Khodorkovsky. The state, and he President and security services in particular, are in charge.

    The second is that the sanctions mean that they suddenly start to depend on Putin, as their protector. Traditionally they salted away cash offshore, because they felt that western legal systems would keep their assets safe and free from arbitrary expropriation.

    Now, that’s no longer the case. Those assets are threatened. So they keep more in Russia. (Some Asian countries remain an option but they aren’t as appealing for the bulk of your wealth for various reasons). So now they need Putin to protect them and their wealth more than ever.

    Yes, they will probably quietly lobby for detente. But their support of Putin will grow much more committed, as they rely on him exclusively now.

    I’m not saying sanctions were wrong, but let’s not kid ourselves about a liberal, oligarch-led change of regime.

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