Pepe Escobar in eastern Ukraine: Howling in Donetsk

Asia Times’ roving correspondent Pepe Escobar just returned from a reporting trip to the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the pro-Russian enclave in the Donetsk Oblast province of eastern Ukraine. The area’s been the scene of heavy fighting between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian military. Escobar traveled to Donetsk at the invitation of  Europa Objektiv, a German-based non-governmental media project. He traveled at his own expense.

I’ve just been to the struggling Donetsk People’s Republic. Now I’m back in the splendid arrogance and insolence of NATOstan.

Quite a few people – in Donbass, in Moscow, and now in Europe – have asked me what struck me most about this visit.

I could start by paraphrasing Allen Ginsberg in Howl – “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.”

But these were the Cold War mid-1950s. Now we’re in early 21st century Cold War 2.0 .

Thus what I saw were the ghastly side effects of the worst minds of my – and a subsequent – generation corroded by (war) madness.

I saw refugees on the Russian side of the border, mostly your average middle-class European family whose kids, when they first came to the shelter,  would duck under tables when they heard a plane in the sky.

I saw the Dylan of Donetsk holed up in his lonely room in a veterans’ home turned refugee shelter fighting the blues and the hopelessness by singing songs of love and heroism.

The Dylan of Donetsk

I saw whole families holed up in fully decorated Soviet-era bomb shelters too afraid to go out even by daylight, traumatized by the bombings orchestrated by Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operations”.

Soviet-era bomb shelter

I saw a modern, hard-working industrial city at least half-empty and partially destroyed but not bent, able to survive by their guts and guile with a little help from Russian humanitarian convoys.

I saw beautiful girls hangin’ out by Lenin’s statue in a central square lamenting their only shot at fun was family parties in each other’s houses because nightlife was dead and “we’re at war”.

Donetsk girls by Lenin's statue

I saw virtually the whole neighborhood of Oktyabrski near the airport bombed out like Grozny and practically deserted except for a few lonely babushkas with nowhere to go and too proud to relinquish their family photos of World War II heroes.

Bombed out Oktyabrski neighborhood

I saw checkpoints like I was back in Baghdad during the Petraeus surge.

I saw the main trauma doctor at the key Donetsk hospital confirm there has been no Red Cross and no international humanitarian help to the people of Donetsk.

Oktyabrski neighborhood, bombed hospital

Oktyabrski neighborhood, bombed hospital

I saw Stanislava, one of DPR’s finest and an expert sniper, in charge of our security, cry when she laid a flower on the ground of a fierce battle in which her squad was under heavy fire, with twenty seriously wounded and one dead, and she was hit by shrapnel and survived.

I saw orthodox churches fully destroyed by Kiev’s bombing.

I saw the Russian flag still on top of the anti-Maidan building which is now the House of Government of the DPR.

I saw the gleaming Donbass arena, the home of Shaktar Donetsk and a UFO in a war-torn city, deserted and without a single soul in the fan area.

I saw Donetsk’s railway station bombed by Kiev’s goons.

I saw a homeless man screaming “Robert Plant!” and “Jimmy Page!” as I found out he was still in love with Led Zeppelin and kept his vinyl copies.

I saw a row of books which never surrendered behind the cracked windows of bombed out Oktyabrski.

I saw the fresh graves where the DPR buries their resistance heroes.

I saw the top of the hill at Saur-mogila which the DPR resistance lost and then reconquered, with a lone red-white-blue flag now waving in the wind.

Top of the hill at Saur-moglia

Top of the hill at Saur-moglia

I saw the Superman rising from the destruction at Saur-mogila – the fallen statue in a monument to World War II heroes, which seventy years ago was fighting fascism and now has been hit, but not destroyed, by fascists.

 

The superman statue rising from the destruction at Saur-mogila

I saw the Debaltsevo cauldron in the distance and then I could fully appreciate, geographically, how DPR tactics surrounded and squeezed the demoralized Kiev fighters.

I saw the DPR’s military practicing their drills by the roadside from Donetsk to Lugansk.

I saw the DPR’s Foreign Minister hopeful there would be a political solution instead of war while admitting personally he dreams of a DPR as an independent nation.

I saw two badass Cossack commanders tell me in a horse-breeding farm in holy Cossack land that the real war has not even started.

I did not see the totally destroyed Donetsk airport because the DPR’s military were too concerned about our safety and would not grant us a permit while the airport was being hit – in defiance of Minsk 2; but I saw the destruction and the pile of Ukrainian army bodies on the mobile phone of a Serbian DPR resistance fighter.

I did not see, as Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe international observers also didn’t, the rows and rows of Russian tanks and soldiers that the current Dr. Strangelove in charge of NATO, General Breedhate, sees everyday in his exalted dreams invading Ukraine over and over again.

And I did not see the arrogance, the ignorance, the shamelessness and the lies distorting those manicured faces in Kiev, Washington and Brussels while they insist, over and over again, that the entire population of Donbass, traumatized babushkas and children of all ages included, are nothing but “terra-rists”.

After all, they are Western “civilization”-enabled cowards who would never dare to show their manicured faces to the people of Donbass.

So this is my gift to them.

Just a howl of anger and unbounded contempt.

(Copyright 2015 Asia Times Holdings Limited, a duly registered Hong Kong company. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Who profits from killing Charlie?

 

THE ROVING EYE
Who profits from killing Charlie?
By Pepe Escobar

Putin did it. Sorry, he didn’t. In the end, it was not Russia “aggression” that attacked the heart of Europe. It was a pro-style jihadi commando. Cui bono?

Careful planning and preparation; Kalashnikovs; rocket-propelled grenade launcher; balaclavas; sand-colored ammunition vest stuffed with spare magazines; army boots; piece of cake escape in a black Citroen. And the icing on the lethal cake; faultless Paris-based logistical support to pull that off. A former top French military commander, Frederic Gallois, has stressed the perfect application of “urban guerrilla technique” (where are those notorious Western counter-terrorism “experts” when one needs them?)

They might have spoken perfect French; others said it was broken.

French. Anyway, what matters is that they uttered the magic word; “We’re al-Qaeda.” Better yet; they told a man in the street, “Tell the media that this is al-Qaeda in Yemen”, which means, in American terror terminology, al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), which had Charlie Hebdo’s editor/cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier (“Charb”) on a hit list duly promoted by AQAP’s glossy magazine Inspire. Accusation: “Insulting the Prophet Mohammed.”

And just to make sure everyone had the perpetrators implanted on their brain, the killers also said, “Allahu Akbar”; “We have killed Charlie Hebdo”; and “We have avenged the Prophet.”

Case closed? Well, it took only a few hours for French police to identify the (usual?) suspects; French-Algerian brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi. The third man – the driver of the black Citroen, 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad – then turned himself in with an ironclad alibi. So the third man remains a cipher.

They all wore balaclavas. The Kouachi brothers have not been captured. But the police seem to know very well who they are. Because they found an abandoned ID in the black Citroen (oh, the troubles of being a command in a rush …) How come they didn’t know anything before the carnage?

Right on cue, Cherif Kouachi’s bio was splattered all over. He was on a global watch list. Along with six others, he was sentenced in May 2008 to 3 years in prison for “terrorism”; in fact unloading a dozen young Frenchmen via madrassas in Egypt and Syria to none other than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the killed-by-an-American-missile former head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the spiritual father of Daesh/ISIS/ISIL.

Also right on clue, a full narrative was ready for mass consumption. The key point; French police privileges the hypothesis of “Islamic terrorism”. According to their “experts”, this could be an attack “ordered from abroad and executed by jihadis coming back from Syria that have escaped us”, or it could be “suburban idiots that radicalized themselves and concocted this military attack in the name of al-Qaeda.”

Scrap option two, please; this was a pro job. And staying with option one, this points right at – what else – blowback. Yes, they could be Daesh/ISIS/ISIL mercenaries trained by NATO (crucially, France included) in Turkey and/or Jordan. But it might get even false-flag nastier. They could also be former or current French special forces.

Blast Islam, will travel
Predictably, Islamofascism peddlers are already having a field day/week/month/year. For simpletons/trolls/hordes exhibiting an IQ worthy of sub-zoology, when in doubt, demonize Islam. It’s so convenient to forget that untold millions from Pakistan’s tribal areas to street markets across Iraq continue to feel pain devastating their hearts and lives as they are expendable victims of the jihadi mindset – or “Kalashnikov culture”, as it is known in Pakistan – profiting the “West”, directly or indirectly, for decades now. Think ritual droning of Pakistani, Yemeni, Syrian, Iraqi or Libyan civilians. Think Sadr City witnessing carnages over 10 times worse than Paris.

What French President Francois Hollande defined as “an act of exceptional barbarism” – and it is – does not apply when the “West”, France in the front line, from King Sarko to General Hollande himself, weaponizes, trains and remote-controls assorted mercenaries/beheaders from Libya to Syria. Oh yeah; killing civilians in Tripoli or Aleppo is perfectly all right. But don’t do that in Paris.

So this, in the heart of Europe, is what blowback feels like. This is what people feel in the Waziristans when a wedding party is incinerated by a Hellfire missile. In parallel, it’s absolutely impossible that the oh so sophisticated Western intel network had not seen blowback coming – and was impotent to prevent it (how come the scapegoats du jour, the Kouachi brothers, were not in the gallows?)

Of course the ultra-elaborate Western counter-terrorism expert network – so proficient at strip-teasing us all at every airport – saw it coming; but in shadow warland, portmanteau “al-Qaeda” and its myriad declinations, including “renegade” Daesh/ISIS/ISIL, are used as much as a mercenary army as a convenient domestic threat “against our freedoms”.

Who profits?
US Think Tankland, also predictably, is busy spinning the drama of an “intra-Muslim” split which provides jihadis a lot of geopolitical space to exploit – all this sucking the Western world into a Muslim civil war. This is absolutely ridiculous. The Empire of Chaos, already during the 70s, was busy cultivating jihadi/Kalashnikov culture to fight anything from the USSR to nationalist movements all across the Global South. Divide and Rule has always been used to fan the flames “intra-Islam”, from the Clinton administration getting cozy with the Taliban to the Cheney regime – helped by Persian Gulf vassals – advancing the sectarian Sunni/Shi’ite schism.

Cui bono, then, with killing Charlie? Only those whose agenda is to demonize Islam. Not even a bunch of brainwashed fanatics would pull off the Charlie carnage to show people who accuse them of being barbarians that they are, in fact, barbarians. French intel at least has concluded that this is no underwear bomber stunt. This is a pro job. That happens to take place just a few days after France recognizes Palestinian statehood. And just a few days after General Hollande demanded the lifting of sanctions against the Russian “threat”.

The Masters of the Universe who pull the real levers of the Empire of Chaos are freaking out with the systemic chaos in the racket they so far had the illusion of controlling. Make no mistake – the Empire of Chaos will do what it can to exploit the post-Charlie environment – be it blowback or false flag.

The Obama administration is already mobilizing the UN Security Council. The FBI is “helping” with the French investigation. And as an Italian analyst memorably put it, jihadis don’t attack a vulture hedge fund; they attack a satirical rag. This is not religion; this is hardcore geopolitics. Reminds me of David Bowie: “This is not rock’n roll. This is suicide.”

The Obama administration is already mobilized to offer “protection” – Mob-style – to a Western Europe that is just, only just, starting to be diffident of the pre-fabricated Russian “threat”. And just as it happens, when the Empire of Chaos mostly needs it, evil “terra” once again rears its ugly head.

And yes, I am Charlie. Not only because they made us laugh; but because they were sacrificial lambs in a much nastier, gruesome, never-ending shadowplay.

Pepe Escobar’s latest book is Empire of Chaos. Follow him on Facebook. He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2015 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

 

The Caliph fit to join OPEC – By Pepe Escobar

ASIA TIMES

THE ROVING EYE
The Caliph fit to join OPEC
By Pepe Escobar

 

Islamic State leader Caliph Ibrahim – aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – never ceases to amaze us – and most of all his powerful petrodollar-stuffed backers. The Caliph is for all practical purposes now an oil major worth of membership of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). His takfiri/mercenary goons – in theory – have for some time been extracting, refining, shipping and/or smuggling and clinching juicy deals involving vast quantities of oil, reaping profits of roughly US$2 million a day.

The Caliph’s oil prices are to die (be beheaded?) for; after all, he’s implementing the same low-price strategy concocted by the people he wants to dethrone in Mecca, the House of Saud. The caliphate’s GDP across “Syraq” has only one way to go: up.

And oh, the irony Top customers for The Caliph’s cheap oil happen to be “Sultan” Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Earthly paradise, aka Turkey – a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally – and that King “Playstation” Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein’s domain impersonating a country, aka Jordan.

Meanwhile, the awesome, immensely sophisticated military apparatus/intel agency acronym fest deployed by “free” US/NATO somehow is simply unable to register/intercept this racket.

Not surprising, when they somehow had not previously registered/intercepted The Caliph’s goons taking over large swaths of “Syraq” this summer with their cross-desert version of rolling thunder – that gleaming white Toyota promo ad.

As for the Empire of Chaos “solution” to intercept The Caliph’s oil profits, the only decision so far has been to bomb oil pipelines that belong to the Syrian Arab Republic, that is, ultimately, the Syrian people.

Never underestimate the capacity of US President Barack Obama’s “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine to soar towards unreachable stupidity heights.

Yo sheikh, talk to the hand
Then there’s that fateful Secretary of State John Kerry/House of Saud capo hand-kissing fest that took place in Riyadh last month.

In this masterful piece, William Engdahl goes no-holds-barred on the supposed Saudi-US cheap oil/bomb Bashar al-Assad/undermine Russia deal. Yet there may not have been a direct deal; more like Washington and Riyadh working in tandem towards common objectives: regime change in Syria in the long term, and undermining both Iran and Russia in the short term.

As for that crucial Pipelineistan gambit central to the Syrian riddle – a gas pipeline running from Qatar to regime-changed Syria, instead of Iran-Iraq-Syria – that’s not exactly a Saudi, but a rival Qatari priority.

What Kerry did give was the Master’s Voice seal of approval to the Saudi strategy of low oil prices, thinking short-term about US oil consumers at the pump, and medium-term on putting pressure on the revenues of both Iran and Russia. Yet he obviously played down the blow to the US shale gas industry.

The Saudis, for their part, have other key considerations, not least how to recover their market share across Asia – where their biggest customers are located. They are losing market share because of discounted crude sold by both Iran and Iraq. Thus, both must be “punished”, on top of the House of Saud’s pathological aversion to all things Shi’ite.

As for the big picture in Syria, Obama’s capo for dealing with The Caliph, General John Allen, laid down the law to Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awasat. He said, “[T]here is not going to be a military solution here [in Syria]”. And he also said, “The intent is not to create a field force to liberate Damascus.”

Short translation: those old goons of the previously “winning against Assad” Free Syrian Army (FSA) are now six feet under. And the new FSA goons to be trained in – of all places – Saudi Arabia are not exactly being regarded as holy saviors. For all practical purposes, the medium-term scenario spells out more US bombing (of infrastructure belonging to the Syrian nation); no regime change in Damascus; and The Caliph steadily consolidating his wins.

And finally, the Hollywood factor
Imagine if shabby “historical” al-Qaeda had these ultra-slick PR skills. Bearded has-beens with old Kalashnikovs in Afghan caves is so passe. The Caliph not only smuggles tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day undetected, but he also deploys a British hostage turned foreign correspondent (and who may have converted to the Salafi version of Islam) reporting from a hollowed out Kobani about to be totally captured by a bunch of takfiris and mercenaries (they certainly are not mujahideen).

One’s gotta marvel at the production values. The Caliph’s special report opens with drone footage of Kobani. Is it an American drone? Was it captured in Iraq? Is it an Israeli drone? Turkish? Brit? The “mujahideen” certainly are not on Lockheed Martin’s speed dial – yet.

Meanwhile, on the ground, only now has Ankara allowed roughly 200 peshmergas from Iraqi Kurdistan – whose slippery leaders do business with Turkey – to cross the border to, in theory, help Kobani. No soldiers, weapons or supplies are allowed for the Kurdish PKK/PYD forces which have been actually defending Kobani all along. Sultan Erdogan’s endless procrastination will be judged by any independent investigation as the key element in allowing the possible fall of Kobani.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu once again has laid down the “conditions” for his country to help with the – so far spectacularly innocuous – US campaign against The Caliph; the possible liberators of Kobani must only be Iraqi peshmergas, and remaining FSA goons, not “terrorists” (as in PKK/PYD).

In the end, Kobani – precisely on the border between southeast Anatolia and northern Syria – is highly strategic. The situation on the ground is dire. There may be a little over 1,000 residents left, barricaded in their houses. Protecting them, a little over 2,000 Syrian Kurd fighters, including the female Ishtar brigade. Only 200 peshmergas coming from Iraqi Kurdistan are not going to make a huge difference against a few thousand heavily weaponized caliph goons deploying as many as 20 tanks. It does not look good, even though, unlike in the Caliph-approved Brit hostage report, the fake “mujahideen” are not in total control.

The Caliph, anyway, is bound to remain on a roll. Absolutely none of the above would be remotely possible without US/Western overt/covert complicity, proving once and for all that The Caliph is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving in the eternal GWOT (Global War On Terra). How come the Dick Cheney regime never thought about that?

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Vanishing point … By Pepe Escobar

[As Pepe says the silence is telling us everything we need to know. If it was a BUK missile and/or the pro-independence fighters and/or the Russian military that fired it we would have 24 / 7 coverage. But it was the Ukranian Government Forces/Obama Administration that downed the plane therefore nothing further needs be said about it. The Western press couldn’t care less about the truth.  They have become the governments’ mouthpiece.]

 

ASIA TIMES online
 
THE ROVING EYE
By Pepe Escobar

First, passenger airliner MH370 vanished from Planet Earth. Then MH370 vanished from the news cycle. First, MH17 was shot down by “Putin’s missile” – as Planet Earth was told. Then MH17 vanished from the news cycle.

Where’s Baudrillard when we need him? Had he been alive, the dervish of simulacra would have already deconstructed these two Malaysian planes as mirror images; from absolute vanishing to maximum exposure, then vanished again. They might as well have
been abducted – and shot – by aliens. Now you seem them, now you don’t.

Black boxes, data recorders – everything MH17 is now floating in a black void. The British are taking forever to analyze the data – and if they have already done so, they are not talking. It’s as if they were singing, I see a black box / and I want it painted black … void.

The Pentagon, with 20-20 vision over Ukraine, knows what happened. Russian intelligence not only knows what happened but offered a tantalizing glimpse of it in an official presentation, dismissed by the “West”. The best technical analyses point not to “Putin’s missile” – a BUK – but to a combination of R-60 air-to-air missile and the auto-cannon of an Su-25.

A reader led me to this fair assessment by former USAF and Boeing engineer Raymond Blohm: “With proper vectoring, a Su-25 need not be quite as fast as a Boeing 777 in cruise. It just has to get to a missile-firing position. Since the 777 was not maneuvering, it would be simple to pre-calculate when to get in a certain spot in the sky below the 777. From there, it’s the missile that has the speed and altitude capability to hit the 777. (The R-60 is a very capable missile.) After the missile takes out an engine, both the 777’s max speed and its max altitude are well within the Su-25 fighter’s speed & altitude capabilities. Then, the Su-25 can show off its cannon power.”

Follow the engine wreckage. Follow the cockpit wreckage. Follow the motive. One cannot even imagine the tectonic geopolitical plates clashing were the Kiev regime to be deemed responsible. It would be the vanishing point for the whole – warped – notion of the Empire of Chaos’s “indispensable” exceptionalism.

So as MH370 totally vanished, the MH17 story must also totally vanish. The Dutch and the British might eventually come out and hold a high-profile press conference telling the world what His Master’s Voice finally redacted. Still, one may count on certified, residual outrage, if not puzzlement, by a large number of grieving Dutch families. And one may count on certified outrage by Malaysia as a nation. As in Why Us? And not once but twice?

Moscow, after deconstructing the “logic” of the ongoing Russia/Putin hysterical demonization, knows that whatever they say will be invalidated by the Orwellian Thought Police. Yet as much as His Master’s Voice controls what the Dutch and the British might eventually reveal, Russia can counterpunch by leaking the crucial scenario to Malaysia. And Malaysia will talk.

MH370 vanished as in a video game. MH17 was hit as in a video game. Now their respective narratives are being vanished. It’s as if we are living a tiny rehearsal of the black hypothesis of post-history.

Postmodernist star Jean-Francois Lyotard and later Flemish thinker Lieven De Cauter were the rarified few who dabbled in studying the black hypothesis. The black hypothesis is the ultimate dystopia – playing out in the cosmological time of the death of the sun, something like 4.5 billion years away. Basically this is about techno-science surviving the death of the sun and the death of humanity itself.

So MH370 may have vanished into an antechamber of the black hypothesis. But MH17 is much more prosaic; it could have been just a false flag gone wrong. Thus, under Empire of Chaos’s rules, it must also vanish. The question is whether global civil society will accept it – or has already entered its own vanishing point.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

RT: ​It was Putin’s missile? by Pepe Escobar

 

RT: ​It was Putin’s missile? by Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

Published time: July 19, 2014 15:29

 

Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev

Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev

Here’s the spin war verdict: the current Malaysian Airlines tragedy – the second in four months – is “terrorism” perpetrated by “pro-Russian separatists” armed by Russia and Putin is the main culprit. End of story. Anyone who believes otherwise, shut up.

Why? Because the CIA said so. Because Hillary ‘We came, we saw, he died’ Clinton said so. Because crazy Samantha ‘R2P’ Power said so – thundering at the UN, everything duly printed by the neo-con infested Washington Post.

Because Anglo-American corporate media – from CNN to Fox (who tried to buy Time Warner, which owns CNN) – said so. Because the President of the United States (POTUS) said so. And mostly because Kiev had vociferously said so in the first place.

Right off the bat they were all lined up – the invariably hysterical reams of ‘experts’ of the ‘US intelligence community’ literally foaming at their palatial mouths at ‘evil’ Russia and ‘evil’ Putin; intel ‘experts’ who could not identify a convoy of gleaming white Toyotas crossing the Iraqi desert to take Mosul. And yet they have already sentenced; they don’t need to look any further, instantly solving the MH17 riddle.

It doesn’t matter that President Putin has stressed the MH17 tragedy must be investigated objectively. And‘objectively’ certainly does not mean that fictional ‘international community’ notion construed by Washington – the usual congregation of pliable vassals/patsies.
And what about Carlos?

A simple search reveals that MH17 was in fact diverted 200km north from the usual flight path taken by Malaysian Airlines in the previous days – and plunged right in the middle of a war zone. Why? What sort of communication had MH17 received from the Kiev air control tower?

Kiev has been mute about it. Yet the answer would be simple, had Kiev released the Air Traffic Control recording of the tower talking to flight MH17; Malaysia did it after flight MH370 disappeared forever.

It won’t happen; SBU security confiscated it. So much for getting an undoctored explanation as to why MH17 was off its path, and what the pilots saw and said before the explosion.

The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, has confirmed that a Kiev-controlled Buk anti-aircraft missile battery was operational near the MH17’s crash. Kiev has deployed several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers; these are all perfectly capable of bringing down jets flying at 33,000 ft.

Radiation from a battery’s Kupol radar, deployed as part of a Buk-M1 battery near Styla [a village some 30km south of Donetsk] was detected by the Russian military. According to the ministry, the radar could be providing tracking information to another battery which was at a firing distance from MH17’s flight path.

The tracking radar range on the Buk system is a maximum of 50 miles (80km). MH17 was flying at 500mph. So assuming the ‘rebels’ had an operational Buk and did it, they would have had not more than five minutes to scan all the skies above, all possible altitudes, and then lock on. By then they would have known that a cargo plane could not possibly be flying that high.

For evidence supporting the possibility of a false flag, check here.

And then there’s the curiouser and curiouser story of Carlos, the Spanish air traffic controller working at Kiev’s tower, who was following MH17 in real time. For some Carlos is legit – not a cipher; for others, he’s never even worked in Ukraine. Anyway he tweeted like mad. His account – not accidentally – has been shut down and he has disappeared. His friends are now desperately looking for him. I managed to read all his tweets in Spanish when the account was still online. And now copies and an English translation are available.

President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.(AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky )

These are some of his crucial tweets:

“The B777 was escorted by 2 Ukrainian fighter jets minutes before disappearing from radar (5.48pm)”

“If the Kiev authorities want to admit the truth 2 fighter jets were flying very close a few minutes before the incident but did not shoot down the airliner (5.54)”

“As soon as the Malaysia Airlines B777 disappeared the Kiev military authority informed us of the shooting down. How did they know? (6.00)”

“Everything has been recorded on radar. For those that don’t believe it, it was taken down by Kiev; we know that here (in traffic control) and the military air traffic control know it too (7.14)”

“The Ministry of the Interior did know that there were fighter aircraft in the area, but the Ministry of Defense didn’t. (7.15)”

“The military confirm that it was Ukraine, but it is not known where the order came from. (7.31)”

Carlos’s assessment (a partial compilation of his tweets is collected here: the missile was fired by the Ukraine military under orders of the Ministry of Interior – NOT the Ministry of Defense. Security matters at the Ministry of the Interior happen to be under Andrey Paruby, who was closely working alongside US neo-cons and Banderastan neo-Nazis on Maidan.

Assuming Carlos is legit, the assessment makes sense. The Ukrainian military are divided between Chocolate king [President Petro] Poroshenko – who would like a détente with Russia essentially to advance his shady business interests – and St. Yulia Tymoshenko, who’s on the record advocating genocide of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. US neo-cons and US “military advisers” on the ground are proverbially hedging their bets, supporting both the Poroshenko and Tymoshenko factions.
So who profits?

The key question remains, of course, cui bono? Only the terminally brain dead believe shooting a passenger jet benefits the federalists in eastern Ukraine, not to mention the Kremlin.

As for Kiev, they’d have the means, the motive and the window of opportunity to pull it off – especially after Kiev’s militias have been effectively routed, and were in retreat, in the Donbass. And this after Kiev remained dead set on attacking and bombing the population of eastern Ukraine even from above. No wonder the federalists had to defend themselves.

And then there’s the suspicious timing. The MH17 tragedy happened two days after the BRICS announced an antidote to the IMF and the World Bank, bypassing the US dollar. And just as Israel ‘cautiously’ advances its new invasion/slow-motion-ethnic-cleansing of Gaza. Malaysia, by the way, is the seat of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, which has found Israel guilty of crimes against humanity.

Washington, of course, does profit. What the Empire of Chaos gets in this case is a ceasefire (so the disorganized, battered Kiev militias may be resupplied); the branding of eastern Ukrainians as de facto ‘terrorists’(as Kiev, Dick Cheney-style, always wanted); and unlimited mud thrown over Russia and Putin in particular until Kingdom Come. Not bad for a few minutes’ work. As for NATO, that’s Christmas in July.

From now on, it all depends on Russian intelligence. They have been surveilling/tracking everything that happens in Ukraine 24/7. In the next 72 hours, after poring over a lot of tracking data, using telemetry, radar and satellite tracking, they will know which type of missile was launched, from where, and even produce communications from the battery that launched it. And they will have access to forensic evidence.

Unlike Washington – who already knows everything, with no evidence whatsoever (remember 9/11?) – Moscow will take its time to know the basic journalistic facts of what, where, and who, and engage on proving the truth and/or disproving Washington’s spin.

The historical record shows Washington simply won’t release data if it points to a missile coming from its Kiev vassals. The data may even point to a bomb planted on MH17, or mechanical failure – although that’s unlikely. If this was a terrible mistake by the Novorossiya rebels, Moscow will have to reluctantly admit it. If Kiev did it, the revelation will be instantaneous. Anyway we already know the hysterical Western response, no matter what; Russia is to blame.

Putin is more than correct when he stressed this tragedy would not have happened if Poroshenko had agreed to extend a ceasefire, as Merkel, Hollande and Putin tried to convince him to do in late June. At a minimum, Kiev is already guilty because they are responsible for safe passage of flights in the airspace they – theoretically – control.

But all that is already forgotten in the fog of war, tragedy and hype. As for Washington’s hysterical claims of credibility, I leave you with just one number: Iran Air 655.

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