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Independent investigation of the crash of Flight MH17 needed

By David Hungerford

Newark, NJ – The destruction of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 has generated a huge furor from the U.S. government and the corporate media. It is a convict-by-stampede campaign to blame Russia and the anti-fascist People’s Republics of the Donbas for the disaster.

Within 24 hours of the July 17 crash U.S. President Barack Obama was reported by the BBC as saying, “Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine.”(1)  The BBC report cited no evidence, nor did it say how any could have been gathered. There has been a storm of empty allegations against Russia. Some of them have already been discredited, and some are ridiculous on the face of it.

To some, facts don’t matter. The U.S. government and the Nazi-infested regime it installed in Kiev are determined to convict Russia of the crime no matter what, and force European countries to join in tough sanctions against Russia. Despite all the noise, the game is not playing out well.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on the July 18 it was too soon to take a tougher stand on sanctions, as demanded by the U.S.: “The events with the plane, as far as I remember, were not even 24 hours ago and at the moment we need to sort out an independent investigation.”(2)

The next day Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the telephone and “agreed that an international, independent commission under the direction of ICAO [the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization] should quickly have access to the site of the accident... to shed light on the circumstances of the crash and move the victims,” according to a German government statement.(3)

The German response is a major policy divergence with the U.S. It is based on differences of national interests. Mainstream coverage has been kept low key.

At a July 21 press conference the Russian military showed a recorded radar track from a civilian source. According to Gen. Andrey Kartapolov, the track shows an unidentified aircraft gaining height towards the MH17 flight. It came within 3 to 5 kilometers of flight MH17, and remained visible on the track until the crash. Kartapolov said an SU-25 fighter aircraft, a type the Ukrainian air force possesses, could have shot flight MH17 down with an R60 air-to-air missile. He said Kiev must explain why a military jet was tracking the passenger airplane. He also said the Kiev military forces had BukM1 missile systems in the area, and that there was a great deal of radar activity from these systems on the day of the tragedy.(4)

Unlike the vaporware U.S. claims, these are substantive allegations. They can be confirmed or denied by an independent investigation.

The possibilities for investigation further improved by an agreement reached between Alexander Borodai, a leader of the People’s Republic of Donetsk, and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.(5) Mr. Razak said in a statement, “Under difficult and fluid circumstances, we have been discussing the problems that have occupied us all: securing vital evidence from the aircraft, launching an independent investigation, and above all recovering the remains of those who lost their lives. Tonight, we have established the basis of an agreement to do just that.”

The agreement concerns transport, forensic work and the return home of remains of Malaysian victims. Bodies from the crash site were collected by People’s Republic of Donetsk authorities and transferred to a refrigerated train, after they had lain decomposing in summer heat for three days while Dutch crash scene investigators were kept in Kiev. Western media have despicably said the People’s Republic of Donetsk has been “tampering with the crash site.”

Mr. Razak’s statement further said, “I ask that all parties continue to work together to ensure that this agreement is honored; that the remains of our people are returned, that the black box is handed over, and that the international team is granted full access to the site. Only then can the investigation into MH17 truly begin; only then can the victims be afforded the respect they deserve. We need to know what caused the plane to crash, and who was responsible for it, so that justice may be done.”

The black box flight recorders have been handed over to Malaysia.

The U.S. campaign of hysteria is still going on but already it has lost a lot of steam. A July 22 on line report in the U.S. media quoted two unnamed “senior U.S. intelligence officials” as saying that “the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.”(6)

How, with charges flying in every direction, can one’s bearings be found? One basic thing is to ask who benefits.

Russia does not conceivably benefit. Given the formidable technical level of its air defenses the possibility that it shot the plane down by accident is negligible.

The anti-Nazi People’s Republics have no conceivable reason to have done such a thing on purpose either. There is a small possibility that they captured Buk anti-aircraft systems from the armed forces of the Kiev neo-Nazis. Also the U.S. has claimed -with, as usual, no real proof – that Russia transferred Buk equipment to the People’s Republic of Donetsk. Russia has denied it did so. The possibility that the anti-Nazi armed forces destroyed the airliner by accident is very slight, but it requires investigation to make sure.

Even in the very unlikely case that the crash traces to the anti-Nazi Donbas militias, U.S. imperialism bears the main responsibility. If the U.S. had not interfered with a sovereign country to set up a puppet junta of its own devising, none of this would be happening.

The U.S. and its neo-Nazi stooges have a lot of reasons to perpetrate the incident. The coup that overthrew the elected government in February has met with failure after failure. 7 million people in Ukraine died in World war II at the hands of the Hitler fascists. They died in battle, they died from famine, they died from genocidal atrocities and they died from deportations to work as slave laborers.

The very existence of the Donbas People’s Republic is a heroic mass refusal of the people to be governed by neo-Nazis. The armed forces of the former Ukrainian state have shown time and again that they do not want to kill their fellow citizens on the orders of fascists. The militias of the Donbas republics have fought valiantly despite being greatly outnumbered and outgunned. They have repeatedly defeated the junta’s military attacks.

The U.S. and the junta need time to try and pull their armed forces together and stave off military defeat.

Further, Ukraine is closely tied economically to Russia. The disruption of these ties means that a disastrous economic breakdown is only a matter of time.

At this point, an international incident like the shooting down of an airliner is just the thing for U.S. imperialism and the Kiev junta. It puts Russia on the defensive, helps to stall for badly needed time, and distracts from the Israeli-perpetrated atrocities in Gaza.

There must be an independent investigation of the crash of flight MH17.


BBC, 18 July 2014, “MH17 hit by missile from rebel-held Ukraine – Obama,”

UK Guardian, July 18, 2014, “Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: world demands answers from Russia,”

AFP, 19 July 2014, “Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash: Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin agree on international probe of MH17 crash,”

Russia Today, July 21, 2014, “Ukrainian Su-25 fighter detected in close approach to MH17 before crash – Moscow,”

“Flight MH17 Investigation. Malaysia will Collaborate with Donetsk People’s Republic: Full Statement of Malaysian PM Najib Razak,” posted July 21, 2014,

Huffington Post, July 22, 2014, ”U.S. Officials: No Evidence Of Direct Russian Link To Malaysia Plane Crash”

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