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False Flags & Dull Facts


The shooting down/crash of a Malaysia Airlines (yes, them again) plane over the disputed Eastern Ukraine has got the conspiracy theory bandwagons rolling again. There are three main theories:

  1. It was an accident
  2. Russia did it
  3. The Ukrainians did it

Whichever view you are drawn to, will of course simply be reflecting your emotional disposition to the various actors in the above list.

If you think that Malaysia is a racist society that uses a system of affirmative action to reserve pilot jobs for ethnic Malays, then Number One looms larger. The main objection with this and the accident theory in general – or even with theories that it may just have been the usual Muslim passenger blowing himself up – is the location.

The crash occurred very precisely in a comparative sliver of rebel held territory close to the Russian border. As Bogart says in Casablanca, “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the World . . .” Weird coincidences sometimes happen, but they only allow us an awed silence. They are not suitable material to base our deductions on.

This leaves the other two possibilities – the Russians or the Ukrainians. This inevitably will be the real Rorschach test. Most debates on this matter will grab at factoids, snatches of news, technical details to “prove” that their side couldn’t have done it:  “They simply didn’t have the right kinds of missiles on that particular Thursday” or “The smoke plume from the crash site couldn’t possibly have been caused by the plane being hit by one of our missiles,” etc., etc. Yes, it will get that tedious – and then it’ll get tedious some more.

The fact is that both Russia and the Ukraine have the clear possibility of having missiles or other devices that could shoot down a Boeing 777. Technical details will simply serve to obfuscate the issue.

Next, we have to state just what is meant by each of these groups. The Russians are the Russian state (presumably under Putin’s direct control although he may have been bear wrestling at that precise moment), but it also includes the separatist rebels, supported by Russia but having a certain degree of freedom of action.

The Ukrainians are a trickier problem, as the Ukrainian state is looked on by those who loathe it as a mere puppet of America – and even of Israel! One of the main memes to emerge already is the synchronicity of the plane crash with the Israeli ground offensive against Gaza.

We can perhaps shear off some of the wilder excrescences of the theory that the Ukrainians did it by stating that Israel has never previously felt the need to start WWIII in the past just to cover up its minor border wars, and that, anyway, with Iraq and Syria falling apart, there is plenty of other Middle Eastern noise to offset Israeli brutality in the media.

Now, even if we concede that the Ukrainian government is part of a wider Western conspiracy, what purpose does shooting down a 777 full largely of Dutch people have for them?

There are two possibilities:

  1. To cause a rift between the Russian state and the Russian separatists in the Ukraine
  2. To serve as a false flag justifying Western action

Causing a rift between the Russian state and the Russian separatists in the Ukraine, could lead to a lessening of military support or at least supplies of certain weapons, so there is a rationale behind this theory, although wiping out a planeload of innocent passengers seems too high a price to pay even in the deepest pits of Realpolitik for this marginal gain.

Also, with Russia being very well informed of who has what among the rebels, as well as excellent surveillance of the area, it is unlikely that such an effect could be achieved in the first place.

More intriguing is the second possibility, a false flag in order to launch Western action. The only problem here is that apart from sanctions, which they can step up anytime, and which are constrained by wider economic interests, the West clearly has no will to involve itself militarily in the Ukraine. There is no point in having a false flag unless you have your panzer columns parked over the border revving their engines or your mighty fleet vectoring in on the enemy shore.

The only conditions under which the West engages in war these days is when a state is so weak, destabilized, and Third World that they can’t lose. There also seems to be a sensible racial rule in play. Arabs, Africans – yes! Whites, East Asians – no! Persians – maybe. But even here – as we saw with Syria last year – there is a skittishness and trepidation when it comes to hard action rather than soft destabilization.

If the West is currently engaged in an active struggle against Russia, the frontline will not be the frontline. The West is losing the qualities that once suited it to fight on frontlines. Instead its efforts will be aimed at destabilization in Russia or in supporting one clique against another. Escalating the conflict in the Ukraine in a way which directly pits NATO against Russia is simply not on the menu.

“Cui bono?” must be our guide here. Apart from a little PR – offset by a thousand and one conspiracy theories – the Ukraine and the West gain little from this tragic incident.

This leaves the Russians. The Eastern Ukraine has been transformed into a war zone, whether rightly or wrongly, thanks to the policies of Vladimir Putin. The shooting down of a Malaysian jet over the area reminds us of this but serves no Russian interest. They clearly lack a nefarious motive. But in warfare, once it is under way, most actions happen with a brutal randomness that no one fully intended. In this case the airline was either mistaken for an enemy plane or was just shot at by some ill-disciplined irregular because it was there. Fact sometimes is a lot duller than fiction.



  1. Lew
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    The conjecture I believe is most likely true based on the known facts to this point is that the separatists accidentally shot down the plane using Russian hardware.

    The United States, as usual, has no moral standing to object or express outrage over the loss of innocent life. The US military supposedly accidentally shot down an Iranian passenger jet with about 300 civilians on board including 60 children. Predictably, until it became impossible to sustain a cover-up, the US government tried to blame the incident on Iranians.

    Also, but for subversion and de-stabilization by the US government and- -that’s right–Jews yet again, the region would not be a war zone in the first place. The US government is responsible for this tragedy, with key contributions from well placed Jews like Victoria Nuland. Wars are the Jews’ harvest.

    The question is: did the world just see the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand?

  2. Ea
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Obama speech was neutral. The circus is still on going.

  3. Iryna
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    If you are writing about one country involved, it would be nice to, at least, learn its name. While reading the article, it was offensive for me, as a Ukrainian, to see THE Ukraine. Please DO investigate/research and find out why it is UKRAINE and not THE Ukraine.

  4. John M.
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    Good article. My first reaction to this news (an emotional one) was of “wild excrescence” which Mr. Liddell has rationally dispelled. Of course, our government and “state run” mass media are placing the blame squarely on the Russians. One thing that has not been mentioned (which I’ve not heard put forward by any of the so called “senior security analysts” on “JNN” talking this thing to death) is the possibility of a drone collision, although the Russians (as far as I know) are not putting it forward either. One thing is certain, one cannot believe what our elected officials say (people who lie through their teeth and who everyone with a thinking brain knows lie as a matter of routine but who suddenly expect these same people to be forthright and “honest” when it comes to foreign policy issues! Kerry is a born liar but when he stands behind the podium to discuss dastardly deeds done by those awful Russians he expects to be viewed as an honest and truthful official.. lol)…I was very cheered however by the fact that distrust of these creatures has reached a very high level as the comments sections of any mainstream news article will indicate. Some of the dumbest people are at the very least becoming more and more distrustful of the state, it’s stooges, and their pronouncements.

  5. Razvan
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    It is offensive on one too many levels. No matter who did it, too many white beautiful people died. Don’t care that Obama has no moral right to talk on this issue, (even less Putin). But I care that beautiful white people died. Look at these two:
    (The girl was German and the boy was a Canadian of Romanian origins).

    As an historical fact the soviets shot down KAL flight 902 and 007. Along with some strange aviation incidents over the Russian territory when people like Lech Kaczyński died.

    In my opinion it might be the end for the Open Skies treaty. and an escalation of fights in the east of Ukraine. Where of course many more white people will die.

    The blow was clearly against Ukraine because Ukraine needs stability not corpses, while Putin and Obama do not care as long as white people are killed.

    Now, what are we fighting for?

  6. Oksana
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    It’s easy to resolve the problem! Hire a Boeing, invite aboard your family & best friends and make a tour around that territories. After that, – come & write a new article about your new and exciting experience & may be about profound new thoughts that can serge very deep inside! (ONLY ONE CONDITION – DO IT NOT FOR MONEY, DO IT FOR YOURSELF & THOSE WHOM U LOVE)

  7. Fynn
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    The MSM is shouting that this is a “game-changer” meaning what we can go full throttle on WWIII? On an optimistic note, maybe the two sides will use the tragedy as a focal point to stop shooting at each other now rather than later. The regime in charge may surmise that with backing and arms from the west, Putin can be made to say uncle, which would mean there is no quick fix.

  8. Glen
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Ulterior (U.S.) motives may have been behind the recent missile strike on that Malaysian airliner flying over the Ukraine:

    What Happened to the Malaysian Airliner? — Paul Craig Roberts

    “There is considerable circumstantial evidence in support of this second explanation. There is the youtube video which purports to be a conversation between a Russian general and separatists who are discussing having mistakenly brought down a civilian airliner. According to reports, expert examination of the code in the video reveal that it was made the day before the airliner was hit.”

    Please see the following article regarding the date-time code in the video

    Here is a screenshot of the page that reveals the descrepancy:

    Posted July 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    The British media is pushing for WAR every day now, And don’t forget the Neo-Cons, They wanted war over Georgia in 2008.

    “History is littered with wars which everybody knew would never happen.”
    ~ Enoch Powell

  10. Karen
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Greg, unless you’re privy to information we hoi polio aren’t, you’re playing a bad hand and the whites you claim to speak for are going to turn on you flinging epithets such as Shabbos goy.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted July 20, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Not sure what your point is Karen. Would you care to restate?

      • Stronza
        Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        Yah, who are the “hoi polio”?

  11. 1RW
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I take exception with Collin’s assertion that eastern Ukraine is a war-zone because of Putin’s policies. There are plenty of other factors:
    – violent overthrow of the Ukrainian government by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who are hostile to Russia, and Russian speakers, which many Ukrainian regions have in large numbers.
    – Visible US involvement in the internal politics in The Ukraine, which Russia can only interpret as hostile, and in need of countering.
    -escalation of the intensity of military operations by the (illegal) Ukrainian government, including aerial bombardment of civilian targets, which makes air defense a necessity for the rebels and creates a danger zone for air travel

    The last point is particularly sticky, as it was Ukrainian ATC that redirected the jet to fly over the war-zone, where aircraft were brought down with regularity. Kiev therefore shares at least some of the blame.

    Another mis-conclusion that Collin draws is that the US or Kiev cannot benefit from this tragedy. They obviously can use it to emotionally blackmail any European government into supporting deeper sanctions, and in general to isolate Russia in international politics. For example, there is the French sale of Mistral warships to scuttle.

  12. Posted July 21, 2014 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I never understand why the radical right thinks it needs to construct elaborate an unlikely conspiracy theories around incidents such as this one.

    The undeniable truths are as bad as any malevolent convert black op.

    MH17 was probably shot down by the Ukrainian rebels. Such things happen when your being relentlessly bombed by your own government. Particularly when you’re a rebel SAM unit which is not linked into AWACs systems or even a coordinated air defense radar network and lacking even the mobile radar systems the battery was designed to operate with. If you’ve got ten seconds to make the call on whether or not you shoot where the only certainty is that if you don’t heavy ordinance in going to rain down on your people what choice is there?

    That’s the absolute worst the rebels can be accused of. Such a situation does not remotely compare to the USS Vincennes’ blasting an airliner out of the sky when the Vincennes was engaging Iranian skiffs in Iranian waters with no justification at all and when the worst consequence was a warship was hit rather than civilians. Particularly when the Vincennes, an Aegis cruiser, had the technology to track that plane from about 500 miles away.

    So the “crime” of the rebels in no way compares to the similar actions committed by the USG itself.

    But even that is a moot point when the acknowledged truth is that even if Putin had armed the rebels with effective SAM systems then he would have done nothing NATO hasn’t just done itself repeatedly but is doing right now in Syria. Where it is arming rebel groups openly with SAMs as they fight to overthrow Assad’s regime in an exact mirror of the Ukrainian situation which differs only in that it is almost certain that the conflict there was also instigated by the West rather than the Kremlin.

    On top of which the missile would never have been fired had the Ukrainian government not broken the ceasefire last week, had the rebels not been under an aerial assault why would they have been firing anything much less SAM missiles?

    And had the EU and friends not been recklessly and senselessly pursuing their insane imperialist project absolutely none of this would have happened at all.

    Meanwhile about a thousand Russian Ukrainian civilians have been killed while the Western media has been whinging its hands over a quarter that number on a plane. Moreover while they stumble around a few fields wailing about “the horror” a few miles away innocent people are being killed at the same moment. The passengers of MH17 are beyond help, that tragedy has reached its limit, but rather than make any attempt to save people who are dying now they focus on something which is beyond any power to avert since it has already happened.

    The hypocrisy of all this is blatant and sickening to any thinking person. Yet instead of pointing any of this out the radical right will spend the next five years trying to pin the whole thing on Mossad or the CIA.

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