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6 Jul, 2020 16:43

We need the truth on MH17: The court’s decision to investigate ALL versions is a welcome break from finger-pointing

We need the truth on MH17: The court’s decision to investigate ALL versions is a welcome break from finger-pointing

The decision by the judges in the MH17 trial to accept a defense request that other explanations for the downing of the airliner are investigated is the right one, as legitimate questions remain over the ‘official narrative’.

What is billed as the ‘likeliest’ scenario often proves to be the correct one. While it might be different in Agatha Christie, in real life the most obvious suspect is very often the person who ‘did it’. But not always. Evidence can be planted or tampered with. Witnesses lie. Alibis could be false. Who would have thought for instance there might be two murderers at 10, Rillington Place? 

For some, the mystery of Flight MH17 was solved straight after the Malaysian airliner came down over Ukraine, on July 17 2014, with the tragic loss of all 298 people on board. ‘Putin’s Missile’ was the splash on Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun the day after. 

The plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatist rebels, directed and supplied by the Kremlin. That was, and remains the ‘official’ Western narrative which we‘re not really expected to question. If you do deviate from the party line, chances are you’ll be labeled a ‘conspiracy theorist’, or a ‘Kremlin stooge’. 

‘MH17: Can Russia be held to account?’ asked The Economist, as if there was absolutely no doubt Russia was responsible. It was clear that old Cold War Russophobia was again being deployed. “We are very unhappy, because from the very beginning it was a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing,” Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed said. “Even before they examine, they already said Russia. And now they said they have proof. It is very difficult for us to accept that.”

Of course, the fact that anti-Russian geopolitical agendas are being pursued, doesn’t automatically mean that pro-Russian separatists didn’t shoot the plane down – albeit accidentally. But there’s enough inconsistencies in the ’official narrative’ to warrant proper judicial investigation of other theories. It‘s interesting to note too that the four men currently on trial at The Hague in absentia are not actually charged with pulling the trigger on the missile launcher. 

The two main ‘alternative’ explanations are that (a) MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian jet or (b) it was shot down by Ukrainian ground forces using a BUK system. 

The judges have allowed the defense to investigate the wreckage of the aircraft which might provide some clues. We certainly need to dig a little deeper.  

In his book ‘Western Mainstream Media and the Ukraine Crisis: A Study in Conflict Propaganda‘, Oliver Boyd-Barrett notes that Russia’s own investigative committee confirmed the testimony of a Ukrainian airbase worker that on the day of the disaster he had seen the departure of a Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 combat jet from an airbase in eastern Dnipropetrovsk carrying air-to-air missiles and that the jet had returned later on without them. Now you might say a Russian investigative committee would be bound to confirm those claims and we should accept the JIT investigation line but if we’re looking at potential conflicts of interests it is surely pertinent to point out that Ukraine was a member of the JIT team. 

The Ukrainian pilot who was accused of shooting down the airliner was one Captain Vladyslav Voloshyn, who called the allegations made against him a lie. Perhaps it would be good to call him to court for cross-examination? Except it won’t be possible. Voloshyn is dead.  

In March 2018 the 29-year-old reportedly shot himself at his home, though a ‘premeditated murder‘ investigation was also launched. Voloshyn’s wife said a mysterious phone call her husband had received the day before his death “dramatically changed his mood” and that he went from being “cheerful and talkative” to “depressed.” 

Voloshyn was in charge of a Ukrainian airport at the time of his death and there were apparently problems involving repairs made there which received the attention of state auditors. It could well be that it was these issues which provoked his suicide but might it have been something else? Whatever caused his sudden death, it certainly doesn’t help the MH17 trial defense case that he is no longer with us. 

Additional questions remain that as yet have not been satisfactorily answered. The most obvious is this: Why wasn’t the airspace over the eastern Ukraine war-zone closed? 

As Oliver Boyd-Barrett (whose book is highly recommended) points out, 

“If Russia had provided BUK missiles with a range of 70,000 feet, as known to both Kiev and Washington beforehand, why was MHI17 ordered to fly within their range?” “And why did the Ukrainians have their own BUKs in eastern Donetsk?”

Also on rt.com Dutch MH17 trial: Court to consider report from Russian missile producer that points to Ukraine as culprit

Were the ‘separatists’ being set up in order to ‘sin-bin’ Russia ?  

A reminder of the geopolitical context. Russia was successfully thwarting neocon-imperialist plans for regime-change in Syria. Payback for this impertinence came by means of the West sponsoring anti-government protests in Kiev, which led to the fall of the Yanukovych administration, which had pursued a ‘neutral’ policy between East and West, and it‘s replacement by a US-approved government. 

"The MH17 tragedy contributed to the demonization of Putin and served to distract public attention from issues of the legitimacy of the February 2014 coup (in Ukraine), the West’s intervention and the intensification of hostilities between nuclear powers” writes Boyd-Barrett. If we ask ourselves the simple question ´Who benefited’ from the tragedy, it clearly wasn’t Russia, which was subject to further sanctions. 

We owe it to the families and loved ones of those whose lives were lost to discover exactly what happened that fateful July day. That‘s why no honest actor should object to the proper investigation of ALL the theories which might provide us with some answers.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.