Russia is not backing down to play Washington’s Fall Guy over the Malaysia Airlines disaster – and that «truculence» by Moscow to not meekly accept the assigned guilty role is earning it increasing pariah status in official American eyes.
The Washington Post reported at the weekend: «Instead of Mr Putin de-escalating the conflict after the Malaysia Airlines tragedy, ‘he’s actually taken a decision to escalate,’ Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the [US] Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a security forum» in Aspen, Colorado.
Those words convey a sense of arrogant disbelief among American leaders, who have asserted Russian complicity in the downing of the civilian jet last week over Ukraine… Washington spared no time in rushing to heap blame on Moscow within hours of the crash near the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, with the loss of all 298 on board.
Washington has so far provided no specific details to support its finger pointing against Moscow or «Russian-backed separatist militia» in eastern Ukraine. Washington has been relying arrogantly on the presumption that what it says is all that matters, and that it is not obliged to disclose any details of its «intelligence» to verify its claims – no matter how provocative those claims are.
Meanwhile, the Russian military command has furnished European Union officials in Brussels with a dossier of its own evidence, based on satellite, radar and air traffic control communications that tend to show a completely different set of circumstances over the downing of the airliner. Russia’s information, which is verifiable unlike Washington’s with-held «secret intelligence», strongly suggests that Malaysia Airlines MH17 was taken down by Western-backed Ukrainian military forces under the command of the Kiev regime.
Russia’s stoic resolve to keep calm amid the maelstrom of US-led accusations following the crash seems to be now provoking even more reckless claims from Washington to open up a second front in the information war.
On Thursday, the US State Department said that Russian forces were guilty of firing artillery shells across the border into Ukraine. Spokeswoman Marie Harf would not disclose what evidence the US had to support such a tendentious claim. Harf was, in effect, accusing Russia of committing an act of war on a sovereign state, which the US is allied to, yet she was unwilling to provide the substance to support this grave implication.
As with the airliner incident, the only discernible sources of US information are what its client regime in Kiev is telling it; and a variety of dubious social media references. The Kiev regime’s capacity for telling lies and fabrication has been proven countless times in recent months since its illegal coup against the elected Yanukovych government on February 23. For example, the regime continues to deny that its military forces are attacking civilian centres in Donetsk and Lugansk, even though the United Nations has reported hundreds of civilians killed during the past months from Kiev’s so-called «anti-terror operations» in the region.
Even the pro-Western rights group Human Rights Watch has lately come out to condemn the Kiev regime for crimes against humanity over its indiscriminate firing of Grad rockets. In spite of video evidence of these projectiles being fired and horrendous civilian casualties, the Kiev regime continues to deny it has Grad rockets in region. A spokesman for the regime forces turned reality on its head this week and has accused «terrorists» of bombing their own people to put the blame on Kiev.
The Kiev junta has also denied having deployed anti-aircraft Buk M1 missile launchers in Donetsk, which may have been involved in shooting down the civilian airliner. Washington says it accepts Kiev’s assurance on this, even though verifiable Russian intelligence has shown that the Kiev military did in fact deploy these missile systems in the vicinity and at the time of Malaysia Airlines MH17 going down.
Since the US State Department refuses to evince its latest «proof» of Russia’s alleged cross-border shelling, we may speculate that it is based on social media photographs posted on the site VKontakhe hours before Washington announced its latest claim. The photographs were ostensibly posted by a Russian soldier who bragged about «shelling Ukraine all night long».
A Russian soldier, by the name of Vadim Grigoriev, has since declared publicly that his social media site has been hacked into, and that the posted photographs have no relation to the alleged incidents of shelling cited by Washington or the Kiev regime.
Why Marie Harf at the US State Department press briefing would not elaborate on what the sources of intelligence were for her claims of Russian cross-border artillery fire is no doubt because similar American social media «evidence» implicating Russia over the downing of the Malaysia airliner were quickly shown to be fake. US «intelligence» was subsequently scoffed at in many media around the world for its amateurish attempt to incriminate Russia.
Reeling from that public relations embarrassment, the Washington Post reported one anonymous US official as saying: «We are seeing a full-court press by the Russian government to instruct affiliated or friendly elements to manipulate the media environment to spread Russia’s version of the story.»
In other words, the US is irked by the fact that its narrative on the airliner, implicating Russia, is not working to whip up a worldwide frenzy against Moscow based on America’s say-so. And also by the fact that US intelligence is being exposed as relying on crumby social media for its «high confidence» pronouncements.
Having seen its Putin-is-to-blame narrative failing to impress world opinion on the downed airliner, Washington now seems intent on opening up a second propaganda front – namely, that Russia is escalating the conflict in eastern Ukraine by conducting cross-border attacks.
It is telling that US General Dempsey made his accusations against Russia within hours of the State Department «revealing» the alleged cross-border shelling. Dempsey did offer some hesitation by saying «if these reports turn out to be true» but that did not stop him from rushing headlong with reckless accusations against Russia.
Nor did the US State Department’s undisclosed, tenuous claims act in any way to restrain American media.
Under the headline ‘Russia Steps Up Help for Rebels in Ukraine War’, the New York Times reports this weekend: «Rather than backing down after last week’s downing of a civilian passenger jet, Russia appears to be intervening more aggressively in the war in eastern Ukraine in what American and Ukrainian officials call a dangerous escalation that will almost certainly force more robust retaliation from the United States and Europe.»
Note the repetition of General Dempsey’s peeved phrase, «rather than backing down after last week’s downing of a civilian passenger jet».
Also note that the NY Times can only go as far as saying: «Russian appears to be intervening more aggressively in the war in eastern Ukraine». That necessary qualification «appears to be» is because there is no intelligence or evidence, apart from the unreliable word of the US-backed Kiev regime and dodgy social media accounts. Nevertheless, that does not stop the NY Times and other American media slyly stepping up the accusations against Russia to a definitive level.
The irony in all this is that the evidence shows that incidents of cross-border shelling in eastern Ukraine are actually being conducted by the US-backed Kiev forces – against Russian territory and civilians. During the past two months there have been at least 10 separate cross-border mortar or artillery attacks carried out by the US-backed Ukrainian military on Russian territory. In one such attack on 13th July, a Russian civilian was killed when shells hit the city of Donetsk in Rostov region (a Russian city with the same name as its Ukrainian counterpart).
On Friday just past, a Russian team of criminal investigators came under mortar fire from pro-Kiev forces when they entered the village of Primiussky in Rostov to conduct a probe into a reported mortar attack the day before. A total of more than 70 mortars were fired from inside Ukraine into Russia.
These deadly incidents of cross-border shelling of Russian territory have been previously confirmed by monitors belonging to the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Yet rather than dealing with the verifiable facts, the US government and its news media are leaping to unsubstantiated claims against Russia that are unsupported by any evidence.
Reckless American accusations that Russia is escalating conflict in Ukraine would seem to be a substitute for failed attempts to implicate Moscow over the downing of the Malaysia airliner. Despite Washington’s intense goading, the European Union has not gone along with the narrative to impose the punitive economic sanctions against Russia that are desired by the US.
Having lost the propaganda battle over the doomed airliner, Washington seems intent on opening up a second front in the information war, alleging cross-border shelling by Russian forces.
But such is American arrogance and deceit, this information war runs a very real risk of inciting a full-on shooting war between world powers.