On 17 July 2014 a Malaysian airlines flight MH17 was in transit from the Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. On board were 196 Dutch citizens, 38 Australian citizens or residents, and a smattering of other nationalities apart from a predominantly Malaysian crew.
While transiting Ukraine the plane was shot down, killing all passengers and crew. The part of Ukraine where the tragedy occurred was over the predominantly Russian speaking region of Dombass. An American inspired and financed coup against the legitimate Ukrainian government had taken place in February of that year. That led to a civil war between the United States backed Kiev regime and the Russian speaking and Russian supported region of Dombass. That civil war was ongoing then (as now) at the time that MH 17 was shot down.
Also of critical relevance at this time was a declaration by the Crimea region that they no longer wished to be part of the Ukraine, given the events in Kiev and the civil war that had ensued. Crimea held a referendum which voted overwhelmingly for that region to re-join Russia. The word “re-join” is used advisedly because the history of that region is highly relevant, as were the circumstances under which it became part of Ukraine. In the light of the consistent misrepresentation by the western media of the relevant history, a brief historical summary is required.
Crimea became part of the Russian region in the 18th century when it was acquired from the Ottoman empire. In 1950 the then leader of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev, (himself Ukrainian) gifted Crimea to Ukraine, without consulting either the Soviet parliament or the people of Crimea. As they were all part of the greater Soviet alliance at the time, it did not have a great practical consequence.
The USSR dissolved in 1991. Part of its historical baggage was that there was a predominantly Russian speaking region in eastern Ukraine and of course in the former Russian territory of Crimea. The relationship between the Ukrainian speaking Western region and the Russian speaking Eastern region, including Crimea, was at best an uneasy one. The 2014 coup ended what had been an uneasy relationship.
This relevant history is almost completely missing from contemporary western media and political descriptions of the Ukrainian situation, of which the destruction of MH17 became an integral part. Instead, western media consistently refers to the “annexation” of Crimea by Russia, completely ignoring or misrepresenting the factual sequence of events.
It was within this context that the destruction of MH17 occurred. Again, key features of the sequelae to that tragedy have been either ignored by the western media, or comprehensively misrepresented. We now know, thanks to the Malaysians, that they immediately sent a team to the crash site where they recovered, with the assistance of the Dombass insurgents, the flight’s black box, and took it back to Malaysia for a preliminary investigation.
The Malaysians were also excluded from the four country investigation team set up to investigate the shooting down of MH 17. Astonishingly, that team included representatives of the Ukrainian government which, to express it neutrally, was then at the very least a potential suspect in the shooting down of the aircraft. In the light of subsequent events that inclusion became less astonishing and the reason is that far from being an honest and transparent determination of the cause of the tragedy, it rapidly emerged that the objective of the whole fraudulent exercise was to allocate blame to the separatists in general and their Russian backers in particular.
In the now nearly 6 years since the tragedy, nothing has appeared in the western mainstream media to rebut the presumption that the whole “investigation” was nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on Russia. A few simple points illustrate this contention beyond reasonable doubt.
The then United States secretary of state John Kerry had immediately announced that, thanks to their satellites overhead at the time, the United States knew exactly what had happened. In any real investigation worthy of that description, that satellite evidence would have been produced, thereby quenching any alternative theories from getting off the ground. Instead, for six years the Americans have refused to produce that satellite data. No plausible explanation for that refusal has ever been offered.
The second factor of critical importance at the time was the evidence of multiple private citizens who testified as to seeing two Ukrainian fighter jets in the air at the time and location of MH17’s passage. The significance of this fact was exponentially increased by the denial of the Ukrainian government who claimed that none of their fighter jets were operational on that day. Again, if an innocent explanation is available, why lie about a fact attested to by multiple eye witnesses?
The third factor of critical relevance was the nature of the damage to the plane itself. There is no concealing the difference between damage caused to a plane by a ground to air missile, and the damage caused by multiple firing of a fighter jets machine guns. Again, the evidence is overwhelming. MH17 was destroyed in flight by the firing of a machine gun(s) of a type found on fighter jets. In short, MH17 was shot down by aircraft fire. The only fighter planes known to be in the vicinity at the relevant time with those of the Ukrainian Air Force.
Nothing in the preceding paragraphs is a revelation to those who have endeavoured to follow the actual events as they have been progressively disclosed. Neither is it a revelation to discover that the bodies with the motive to shoot down a civilian aircraft and then lie about it for six years, are those governments and organisations that have had a vested interest in discrediting and destroying the Russian government.
The travesty of the MH 17 investigation by the Dutch and their allies, including Australia, has not finished. As this is being written there is what might fairly be described as a travesty of justice being perpetrated in an Amsterdam court. Three Russians and one Ukrainian citizen are charged with complicity in the shooting down of MH17 and the consequential murder of the passengers and crew.
The Australian citizen, but Moscow resident investigative journalist John Helmer is one of a very small number of writers who have consistently followed this tragedy and exposed the multiple flaws in the so-called investigation.
There is no guarantee that the farcical proceedings now taking place in an Amsterdam courtroom will ever produce a result that equates to anything resembling justice for the innocent victims of MH17. Instead, they will remain pawns in the much larger geopolitical game being played out.
Elementary principles of justice, a fair trial and evidence-based conclusions are all being sacrificed to a much wider geopolitical game. We are all the poorer for this travesty.
James O’Neill, an Australian-based Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.