The title of this piece is a reference to a scandalous headline put out by the UK’s Daily Mail on Saturday. Less than 48 hours after flight MH17 crashed in Eastern Ukraine, without any proper evidence, and before the investigation began, the Mail published the headline “Putin’s Killed my Son”. I have already commented on the implications of this type of reporting here, and the headline of this piece is more a suggestion for a headline the Mail might like to print in the coming days.
The reason is that after squawking that Russia was behind this, and warning Putin of the consequences of his actions in the most bellicose, chest-thumping language they could muster, the US Government has now issued what is nothing short of a spectacular climb down from its previous rhetoric with its intelligence community now telling the world that there is no direct evidence linking Russia with the MH17 disaster. Really? Why didn’t they say so before the world got carried away and the media began their frighteningly woeful, fact-free reporting of events?
In fact, according to one official, in terms of who fired the missile, “we don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100% sure of a nationality.” Even the Mail reported on that, but they don’t appear to have issued an apology to Mr Putin for jumping the gun just yet. Nor has The Sun which reported on the day after the tragedy that it was “Putin’s Missile”. I can’t wait to see their retraction, if it comes. Something like “Sorry Vlad, we got it wrong” no doubt!
Actually for me, the US climbdown poses more questions than ever. Here are just a few things that are nagging me, and which I would like to see answers to:
#1 The US Government had said they were certain who did it, and that they had satellite images. However, now that they have climbed down, I still want to see those satellite images. Why are they not forthcoming?
#2 They claimed that the evidence (which they have admitted came almost entirely from social media) shows BUK missile systems going back into Russia on July 18th. These videos have been utterly discredited, and actually appear to show the missile systems being driven through Krasnoarmeisk — a Ukrainian city which has been under the control of Kiev since May. If that is the case, the question that Russia apparently needed to answer — why was the missile system heading for Russia on July 18th — must surely be asked of the Kiev regime. Surely they now need to explain what it was doing there and why it appears to have had missiles missing.
#3 Why would the US climbdown after having claimed they had strong evidence that Russia was behind the tragedy, including satellite images proving it was shot down from the rebel area? I’m not 100% sure, but one possibility is that the images they do have looked to them at first to incriminate the rebels, but on closer examination may actually appear more likely to incriminate Ukrainian forces. The US Government is welcome to release these satellite pictures un-doctored at any time in the near future.
#4 We were repeatedly told that the rebels got their BUK from Russia. But now US intelligence folks appear to have backed off from this claim, the question still remains that if it was the rebels who mistakenly shot the plane down — which is what the US Government is now saying — where did they get it from and who trained them on it? Not from the Ukrainian government, if the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Vitaly Yarema is to be believed, since he said on 18th July: “After the passenger airliner was downed, the military reported to the president that terrorists do not have our air defense missile systems Buk and S-300. These weapons were not seized.” So if not stolen from Ukraine, and now according to US intelligence sources not from Russia, from where? Something doesn’t stack up there, does it?
I am not pointing the finger at anyone, but I would say that there seems to be an awful lot of questions that need to be put to the Ukrainian military and Ukrainian regime.