Malaysia must take leading role in MH17 investigations, says Suaram

 

Published: Saturday November 22, 2014

by tan yi liang

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia must take a leading role in investigations into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, said Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong.

“The government should not put up with being sidelined in the (criminal) investigations. The airliner belonged to Malaysia, a big group of the victims were Malaysian,” said Kua.

Kua, who spoke to The Star Online after delivering a paper at Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s “World in Turmoil: Imperialism and Resistance in the 21st Century” conference here questioned the time taken to investigate the shooting-down of the Boeing 777.

He raised the issue of an alleged non-disclosure agreement drawn up by four countries – Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Ukraine regarding criminal investigations into the crash.

Kua pointed out that Malaysia has yet to question this alleged agreement, adding that foreign observers have already raised issues about it.

“Something simple like the fact that these four countries can keep the findings of the MH17 crash to themselves is unacceptable,” said Kua.

He added that it was also unacceptable that under the alleged agreement made in August, there had to be consensus between all four nations before any findings were disclosed to the public.

“I have seen things online that make sense to me such as the damage to the fuselage; you don’t have to be an expert to see the difference between damage caused by a BUK missile and bullets from a fighter,” said Kua.

He also asked why the black boxes recovered from MH17 were handed over to Britain.

“The black boxes belong to Malaysia, why were they handed over to the United Kingdom. If Malaysia was chairing the investigation team, then that is fine,” said Kua.

He added that Malaysia should rightfully be chairing the investigation team.

On Tuesday it was reported that Malaysia has yet to be involved in the criminal investigation into the downing of Flight MH17, although Dutch-led workers have already started combing the crash site in Ukraine.

Malaysian Ambassador to Ukraine Chuah Teong Ban believed that Malaysia would not be allowed to inspect the debris unless it became part of the criminal investigation team.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said recently that Malaysia had expressed its stand very clearly that it must be part of the criminal investigation team and had informed Dutch authorities of its intention.

On July 17, Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine after being allegedly shot down.

A total of 298 people on board, including 43 Malaysians, perished in the tragedy.

Who is blocking MH17 probe? Why? by Finian Cunningham

373251_MH17

Published by What’s the ‘real’ truth?

By Finian Cunningham

 Dutch and Australian police teams have this week for the second time had to cancel plans to investigate the crash site of the downed Malaysia airliner in Ukraine because the Western-backed Kiev regime is waging war on the people of that region.

This is despite earlier promises by the Kiev rulers to call a ceasefire in the vicinity.

The conclusion is obvious: the Western puppet regime in Kiev is going all-out to hinder a probe into the possible cause of the crash, which saw all 298 people on board lose their lives.

Yet, that conclusion is not at all obvious to the Western media. Absurdly, they draw the opposite, that the pro-independence militia fighting the Kiev junta are to blame for blocking an investigation. Even more ludicrous is the logic that the Russian government is to blame, and hence more sanctions are to be heaped on Moscow.

Since Malaysia Airlines MH17 went down, the Western coup-installed junta in Ukraine has stepped up its military assault on the eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, where the doomed Boeing 777 jumbo jet came down.

The self-declared government in Kiev – which came to power last February with the help of covert US and European destabilization of the elected authorities – has been waging an “anti-terror” campaign against the ethnic Russian populations of eastern Ukraine. The people of the east refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Western-backed neo-Nazi regime, which has regularly and openly called for the destruction of Russian “sub-humans”.

Over the past few months, some 1,100 people – mainly civilians – have been killed in the fighting between Kiev’s military forces and the self-defense militia set up to in the eastern regions. Over 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge across the border in Russia’s Rostov province.

In the two weeks since the MH17 crash, the Kiev regime forces have killed dozens of civilians from bombardment of towns and villages in the vicinity of the crash site. Up to 30 people were reportedly killed in the town of Gorlovka this week. Heavy violence is also taking place in the towns of Shahktarsk and Torez. Whatever happened to Kiev’s declared ceasefire last week to allow a crash probe to proceed?

This is the context in which the Malaysian airliner was brought down. The precise circumstances are not yet known. It could have been hit by an anti-aircraft missile; or blown out of the sky by a bomb planted on board. Some local eyewitnesses have claimed that they saw a fighter jet fire on the passenger plane in mid-air.

Already, most of the bodies of the nearly 300 victims have been recovered and sent back to the Netherlands for examination, as have the flight recorders, which are currently being analyzed by British aviation experts. That salvage effort, so far, was made possible by the pro-independence militia fighting against Kiev regime forces. Dutch and Malaysian investigators publicly thanked the militia for their efforts.

Equally important, perhaps more so, to the overall disaster investigation is the forensic examination of the actual crash site, where the fuselage of the airliner and other fragments remain strewn across fields. Shrapnel traces, rupture profile and scatter pattern of debris would give an assessment of what exactly caused the plane to crash.

Tellingly, before any probe has got under way the US and its European allies have whipped up a media frenzy to finger Russia over the airliner disaster. No evidence has been provided to support these reckless, premature claims. Indeed, some of the so-called US evidence of alleged militia phone intercepts and videos of missile launchers have been shown to be fake.

At times, Washington has even contradicted itself, claiming on some occasions that it is confident Russia is linked to the crash, while at other times saying it does not know. This vacuity has not stopped Washington and its European allies piling on accusations against Russia and moving this week to ratchet up economic sanctions on Moscow.

Russia, on the other hand, has provided verifiable satellite, radar and air traffic control data to show that the Western-backed Kiev regime forces may well have shot down MH17.

For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for the horror of Flight MH17 not to be politicized, and for all parties to allow a free and independent investigation to take place.

It is Putin’s reasonable attitude on the matter that seems to be what is really vexing Washington. The Russian leader is not acceding to Western pressure that is attempting to make him the “bad guy”.

And Putin is right. The terrible loss of human life on the Malaysian airliner would not have happened if it were not for the situation of chaos and violence that the West has unleashed in Ukraine from its illegal regime change and the ongoing military assault on the eastern regions.

It is Putin’s unwillingness to conform to the Western narrative that is agitating Washington in particular.

Tony Blinken, a national security adviser to US President Barack Obama said earlier this week: “Precisely because we haven’t seen a strategic turn from Putin, we believe it’s absolutely essential to take additional measures and that is what the US and European partners intend to do this week.”

By “strategic turn” what Washington means is that Putin is not bowing down to its dictate, not kowtowing to its bullying for hegemony.

The megalomaniacs in US government are pushing Europe and Russia on to a dangerous collision course because Moscow has no inclination to be pushed around, and especially over trumped evidence to implicate it in mass murder.

In all the bluster of Western accusations against Russia, the litmus test of credibility are the following questions: who is blocking the investigation into MH17; why?

 

MH17 victim found wearing oxygen mask – Dutch FM

Members of a group of international experts inspect wreckage at the site where the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine (Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin)

Members of a group of international experts inspect wreckage at the site where the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine (Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin)

By RT

Published time: October 09, 2014 11:31

One of the passengers of the MH17 plane shot down over Ukraine was wearing an oxygen mask, Dutch Foreign Minister Franz Timmermans has said. This new revelation contradicts assumptions that all 298 people on board the plane died instantly.

Timmermans’ comments suggest that the Boeing-777-200 shot down three months ago might not have fallen apart immediately after the aircraft was hit, killing all people aboard, if at least one passenger remained conscious and managed to pull an oxygen mask on.

“People hardly had time to notice the missile coming, but do you know that one of the victims was found with an oxygen mask over their mouth?” Timmermans said Thursday, HOC TV channel reported.

“This means that someone had time to do that,” he said. “At least, we cannot rule out this possibility.”

Dutch prosecutors have confirmed that one flight MH17 passenger, an Australian citizen, was found with the elastic strap of an oxygen mask around his neck.

It is not known “how or when the mask got around the victim’s neck,” AP quoted Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for Dutch prosecutors, as saying.

Dutch prosecutors said that no other MH17 victim was found with an oxygen mask on.

Members of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry gather and place bodies at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

Members of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry gather and place bodies at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

Magomed Talboev, Russia’s former top test pilot, told Slon.ru that finding one MH17 victim with an oxygen mask on does not necessarily contradict previously assumptions about the immediate death of everyone aboard.

“A couple of seconds could pass before the plane disintegrated,” Talboev said. “This is enough to grab a mask that falls automatically in front of your face and put it on – this is [survival] instinct.”

The Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down on July 17, flying from Amsterdam in the Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It crashed near Torez, a settlement 60 kilometers from the Russian border, in the warzone where Ukrainian troops were fighting Donetsk self-defense forces. All 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers died.

Because most of the victims, 196 passengers, were Dutch citizens, the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) is leading and coordinating the investigation of an international group of experts.

One month ago, on September 9, the DSB issued a preliminary report into the crash, saying that the plane “broke up in the air, probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”

Everyone onboard died instantly because of immediate decompression, the report said, without mentioning any use of oxygen masks.

Because active military operations were continuing near the MH17 crash site, forensic experts were unable to recover evidence on the ground, and not all the bodies have been recovered three months on. After the Sept. 5 ceasefire agreement was reached between the warring parties, investigation activities at the crash site zone resumed.

So far, the bodies of 251 MH17 victims have been identified by Dutch officials in The Hague.

 

Kiev seeks access to MH17 site to back ‘prefabricated’ crash version – Moscow

An Emergencies Ministry member walks at a site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

An Emergencies Ministry member walks at a site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

Ukrainian Security Service seeks to reach the crash site of the Malaysian MH17 flight to fabricate at least some evidence which will allow Kiev to conceal the true causes of the catastrophe from the world, said Russia’s Defense ministry.

“One cannot but feel angry about yet another attempt by the Ukrainian security service chief to use absolutely groundless allegations in a bid to persuade the public of alleged Russian military involvement in the Boeing disaster in the skies over Ukraine,” Defense Ministry official representative, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said on Wednesday.

He referred to claims that were earlier made by Ukraine’s National Security Service Head Valentin Nalivaychenko speaking on Ukraine’s Channel 5 about Kiev’s “full understanding” of the causes of the Malaysian Boeing’s crash.

Nalivaychenko claimed that Ukrainian investigators and international experts now must visit the site of the crash only to search for “what is still missing” to back the Kiev’s version of events.

The fact that the Ukrainian security chief “fully” understands the details of the crash surprised Konashenkov, especially since the international commission’s investigation has not yet established them. However, the so-called Ukrainian investigators still have to find at least some evidence to somehow support their “full knowledge,” he added.

The attempt made by Kiev to look for the “missing evidence” to back up a version fabricated in advance confirms the well-known popular wisdom – “an uneasy conscience betrays itself,” said the General.

“I would like to recall that the commanders of the so-called ‘anti-terrorist’ operation in the southeast of Ukraine, including Nalivaychenko himself, did their utmost to prevent an international inquiry from visiting the site of the plane’s crash,” Konashenkov stated.

The Ukrainian troops launched a massive offensive against militias near Torez – close to MH17 crash site – using multiple rocket launchers Uragan, Grad and Smerch to eliminate the existing material evidence, the General said.

An armed member of self-defenses forces stands guard at the site of the crash of the Il-76 Ukrainian army transport plane in Luhansk June 14, 2014 (Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov)

An armed member of self-defenses forces stands guard at the site of the crash of the Il-76 Ukrainian army transport plane in Luhansk June 14, 2014 (Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov)

He stressed that these military actions were taken contrary to Kiev’s official statements about the suspension of hostilities and of course with Nalivaychenko in the know.

It seems that three months after the crash – upon completing the investigation of the Odessa tragedy and fire that killed over 40 people and the Maidan events – the “impartial” Ukrainian investigators found time to aid the international commission on the MH17 crash, said Konashenkov.

“One can only wonder what prevented the Ukrainian leadership throughout this period to reasonably share their ‘understanding’ [of the crash causes] with the international investigative commission into the MH-17 accident?”

“Or at least to publicly answer questions about the circumstances of the last minutes before the crash of the Malaysian aircraft, which have been officially announced by the Russian Defense Ministry?”

The spokesman of the Defense Ministry said he was confused that Kiev’s probe is being carried out by Ukrainian security service’s freshly-appointed investigators instead of experienced professionals, as opposed to international norms.

“Of course, only such ‘professionals’, as Ukraine’s National Security Service investigators can find – in the area plowed by Ukrainian Grads and Uragans – the evidence sought by Nalivaychenko, which, according to his plan, will help conceal from the International Commission the true causes of the tragedy,” the General concluded.

The Malaysia Airlines plane on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people aboard crashed in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on July 17. The majority of those on the plane – which was allegedly shot down – were citizens of the Netherlands.

The preliminary report on the Malaysian jet crash made by the international team headed by Dutch experts in September only confirmed that the plane was shot down. Following the report, Russia’s UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said that with so many blank spots it “did little to advance our understanding of what happened.”

MH17 broke up in mid-air due to external damage – Dutch preliminary report

A Malaysian air crash investigator works at a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 24, 2014 (Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)

A Malaysian air crash investigator works at a crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 24, 2014 (Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)

The MH17 crash was a result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that struck the Boeing from the outside, the preliminary report into the Malaysia Airlines disaster in Ukraine said.

“Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside,” the Dutch Safety Board said in its preliminary report.

Dutch investigators added that “there are no indications” that the tragedy was triggered “by a technical fault or by actions of the crew.”

“Damage was consistent with damage that would be expected from large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”

‘We need more analysis to investigate the crash” – Malaysian minister

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said on Tuesday that more analysis was needed to investigate the crash.

“We want to further analyze the data and the wreckage,” he said, adding that more details were needed so that the authorities “will bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The Malaysia Airlines plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people aboard crashed in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on July 17. The majority of those on the plane – which was allegedly shot down – were citizens of the Netherlands.

Plane was ‘split into pieces during flight’

The cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder and data from air traffic control all suggest that flight MH17 proceeded as normal until 13:20:03 GMT, after which it ended abruptly.

The cockpit crew made no emergency call, the radio communications with Ukrainian air traffic control shows.

“The final calls by Ukrainian air traffic control made between 13.20:00 and 13.22:02 [GMT] remained unanswered,” the report said.

he plane was “split into pieces during flight,” the investigators said, based on the analysis of the pattern of wreckage on the ground. The Dutch investigators said that “available images show that the pieces of wreckage were pierced in numerous places.” The report emphasizes that investigators haven’t yet had the chance to recover the components for forensic investigation. However, the photos taken from the wreckage “indicated that the material around the holes was deformed in a manner consistent with being punctured by high-energy objects,” the report said. “The characteristics of the material deformation around the puncture holes appear to indicate that the objects originated from the outside the fuselage.” The fact that the plane was damaged from the outside “also explains the abrupt end to the data registration on the recorders, the simultaneous loss of contact with air traffic control and the aircraft's disappearance from radar,” the report says.

he plane was “split into pieces during flight,” the investigators said, based on the analysis of the pattern of wreckage on the ground.
The Dutch investigators said that “available images show that the pieces of wreckage were pierced in numerous places.”
The report emphasizes that investigators haven’t yet had the chance to recover the components for forensic investigation.
However, the photos taken from the wreckage “indicated that the material around the holes was deformed in a manner consistent with being punctured by high-energy objects,” the report said. “The characteristics of the material deformation around the puncture holes appear to indicate that the objects originated from the outside the fuselage.”
The fact that the plane was damaged from the outside “also explains the abrupt end to the data registration on the recorders, the simultaneous loss of contact with air traffic control and the aircraft’s disappearance from radar,” the report says.

he plane was “split into pieces during flight,” the investigators said, based on the analysis of the pattern of wreckage on the ground.

The Dutch investigators said that “available images show that the pieces of wreckage were pierced in numerous places.”

The report emphasizes that investigators haven’t yet had the chance to recover the components for forensic investigation.

However, the photos taken from the wreckage “indicated that the material around the holes was deformed in a manner consistent with being punctured by high-energy objects,” the report said. “The characteristics of the material deformation around the puncture holes appear to indicate that the objects originated from the outside the fuselage.”

The fact that the plane was damaged from the outside “also explains the abrupt end to the data registration on the recorders, the simultaneous loss of contact with air traffic control and the aircraft’s disappearance from radar,” the report says.

The plane was “split into pieces during flight,” the investigators said, based on the analysis of the pattern of wreckage on the ground.

The Dutch investigators said that “available images show that the pieces of wreckage were pierced in numerous places.”

The report emphasizes that investigators haven’t yet had the chance to recover the components for forensic investigation.

However, the photos taken from the wreckage “indicated that the material around the holes was deformed in a manner consistent with being punctured by high-energy objects,” the report said. “The characteristics of the material deformation around the puncture holes appear to indicate that the objects originated from the outside the fuselage.”

The fact that the plane was damaged from the outside “also explains the abrupt end to the data registration on the recorders, the simultaneous loss of contact with air traffic control and the aircraft’s disappearance from radar,” the report says.

Part of the inside cockpit roof, indicating penetration with objects outside (Image from onderzoeksraad.nl)

Part of the inside cockpit roof, indicating penetration with objects outside (Image from onderzoeksraad.nl)

“The initial results of the investigation point towards an external cause of the MH17 crash,” he said. “More research will be necessary to determine the cause with greater precision. The Safety Board believes that additional evidence will become available for investigation in the period ahead.”

 

 

Joustra said that the Dutch Safety Board’s full report will be published in summer 2015, “within one year of the date of the crash.”

In the meantime, the Russian Federal Aviation Agency said that the Dutch report marks the beginning of a thorough investigation of the plane crash.

“The investigation of the crash site and the wreckage should be an important part of this work,” said Oleg Storchevoy, the agency’s deputy head. “[We] need to investigate all the radiolocation data, perform forensic expertise…. Without this information one can’t speak of any preliminary conclusions concerning the tragedy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By RT

Published time: November 21, 2013 16:03

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.)

Ukrainian Air Defense Exercises Might be Behind Malaysian Aircraft Crash – Source

Malaysia Airlines Boing's crash site

Malaysia Airlines Boing’s crash site

BY RIANOVOSTI

Topic: Malaysia Airlines Boeing Crashes in Ukraine

MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – A system mix up during a Ukrainian air defense units’ rocket launch exercise could be the cause of the Malaysia Airlines crash in southeast Ukraine, a source from one of the Ukrainian defense departments told RIA Novosti.

“On July 17 the commanding officer of 156th Anti-Aircraft Regiment was instructed to conduct a training exercise of ground troops stationed near Donetsk, which involved deploying the troops, and carrying out a routine tracking and destroying of targets with the Buk-M1 missile,” the source said.

The source added that the actual launch of the rockets was not intended.

Two Sukhoi Su-25 combat aircraft on a reconnaissance mission participated in the exercise. It is likely at some point, the routes of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 and a Su-25 jet overlapped. Despite flying at different levels, they became a single dot on the radar of the missile system. Of the two, the system automatically chose a larger target.

The reasons for the actual missile launch taking place remain unknown and are still under investigation, as practical exercises with the Buk missiles has been prohibited since 2001, when a Russian Tu-154 passenger airplane en route from Novosibirsk to Tel Aviv was shot down by the Ukrainian military.

At the moment, an international team of 24 experts is investigating the plane crash. The B777-200 aircraft had a clean maintenance record and was last checked on July 11 at Malaysia Airlines’ hangar at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed on July 17 near the city of Donetsk in Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Kiev placed the blame on the independence supporters in eastern Ukraine for shooting the plane down, but the latter insisted they did not have the means to shoot down an aircraft flying at 32,000 feet.

Flight MH17 Crash Resulted From Ukraine’s Disregard of ICAO Regulations

BY RIANOVOSTI

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crash site

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crash site

MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) – The Ukrainian government is responsible for the tragic Malaysia Airlines plane crash as Kiev is under binding international legal obligations articulated in the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and ICAO regulation DOC 9554/932.

Ukraine ratified the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation in 2003, which automatically classifies Ukraine as a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with all the associated legal obligations applicable upon signing.

An amendment to the Chicago Convention, the so-called Article 3bis, obliges the signatories to “refrain from resorting to the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight,” as such behavior goes out of line with the standards and norms regulating cross-country interactions. Hence, no country can use ongoing military confrontation on its territory as a right to attack a commercial plane or other types of civil aircraft

Additionally, the ICAO clearly defines in its Manual Concerning Safety Measures Relating to Military Activities Potentially Hazardous to Civil Aircraft Operations, that “the responsibility for initiating the co-ordination process rests with the States whose military forces are engaged in the conflict,” pursuant to Paragraph 10.2 of the respective international agreement. In other words, safe passage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 through Ukrainian airspace should have been coordinated well in advance, as stipulated in the manual.

Better yet, incomplete coordination or lack thereof does not relieve the state of its safety obligations, as “the responsibility for instituting special measures to ensure the safety of international civil aircraft operations remains with the states responsible for providing air traffic services in the airspace affected by the conflict, even in cases where coordination is not initiated or completed.” This excludes any loophole that might be used by Ukraine to evade being held accountable for the tragedy.

A Malaysia Airlines plane heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed July 17 near the city of Donetsk in Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. United Nations, Russia and heads of several countries stressed an importance of a transparent international investigation to determine the circumstances and causes of the accident.

Meanwhile, Kiev accused the independence supporters in the turbulent Donetsk Region of downing the passenger plane with a surface-to-air missile. The leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic said local militia did not have the means to shoot down a target at flying at such a high altitude.

In a July 21 briefing, representatives of the Russian military released some of the data gathered as part of the probe into the July 17 crash, stating that Russian monitoring systems detected up to four Ukrainian Buk M1 air defense systems in the vicinity of the crash on the day of the accident. Compounded with increased activity of Ukrainian radars and a military aircraft approaching the passenger plane sometime before the disaster, it looks like Kiev has more questions to answer.

While the investigation into the crash is still underway, Kiev’s breach of international agreements provoking the tragedy can hardly be denied.

“Globally, there are hundreds of artists under far greater threat to their freedom and lives who deserve the same attention.”

Pussy Riot members. Photo: Misha Japaridze, file/ AP

There are hundreds of artists who perform under threat to their freedom and lives, who also deserve our solidarity.

After Pussy Riot, artists everywhere must stand up for each other

By Mark LeVine

It’s impossible to know yet whether the wave of international support received by the Russian punk collective Pussy Riot during their just completed trial impacted the verdict in any way. But it’s clear that the plight of the three young women who each now face the remainder of two years’ imprisonment has ignited the passion of US and European artists, from Sting to Madonna, who have publicly called for their freedom.

Western artists can and should support their Russian comrades. But the support received by Pussy Riot is sadly an aberration. As a rule, European and US artists have been strangely – and inexcusably – silent when it comes to recognising the plights suffered by their fellow musicians and performers around the world, where freedom of expression receives little protection, censorship is prevalent and artists routinely face the threat of prosecution and jail from their governments, and more dangerously, threats to their physical safety and even lives by conservative social forces.

Ole Reitov, of the international NGO Freemuse, which advocates on behalf of freedom of expression for musicians and composers – including Pussy Riot – believes the problem is rooted in the reluctance of managers and lawyers to encourage political engagement by their A-list artists. “But even when you reach them, a lot of ‘great names’ have a blind spot in terms of freedom of expression for fellow artists, which was in fact one of the motivations for creating Freemuse.”

System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian agrees, declaring that “too few organisations organise just around musicians”. In his view, “Artistes should boycott performing in countries that do not allow free expression of their opinions. This is one reason System of a Down has never played in Turkey. If we can’t use the word genocide on stage without threats of arrest or worse, it is not a conducive venue for artistic expression.”

In focus: Russia’s Pussy Riot

Certainly, the right to artistic freedom is one of the most basic human rights, enshrined in Articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declare in part: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers… Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association”.

Human rights, but not for artists?

Well-known artistes, including Bono, Adam Yauch, Bruce Springsteen and others, have long lent their name to human rights organisations and campaigns such Amnesty International and the Campaign to Free Tibet. But many have generally remained silent when it comes to supporting fellow artists under threat. If musicians are all “from the same tribe”, as the world music pioneer Manu Dibango put it, the richer members of the tribe have not been nearly as kind to their poorer relations as they ought to be.

And so even now, as artistes – most recently, including Madonna – are flocking to support Pussy Riot, they continue to ignore the plight of other artistes presently in jail. If you go to the Freemuse website, you can see how many artists are under threat and how broad the range of countries is in which their rights are repressed. According to their latest estimate, violations are occurring in some 120 countries, with Afghanistan, Cameroon, China, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkey among the most repressive.

As I discussed in a column last month on the plight of Moroccan rapper El Haked, well-known artists continue to perform in countries where others have been jailed in much the same manner as the members of Pussy Riot, without saying or doing anything on their behalf. It’s easy to support a cool riot girl band in a country that is a traditional adversary of the “West” and where a primary concern seems to be women’s rights, but when it comes time to support a rapper jailed by a “friendly” Arab monarch, suddenly even the most extroverted singers seem to get stage fright.

Writers take the lead

We can compare the lack of uniform support for fellow musical artists to the far more developed and coherent support for writers world-wide by fellow members of their craft – as embodied in the organisation PEN, the world-wide association of writers, which for ninety years has acted “as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned and sometimes killed for their views”.

PEN is run by journalists and writers, who are generally more articulate and well connected to their writing colleagues than musicians. Musicians have neither the organisation nor social and political power (or often education) to similarly promote their interests. Even the most political artists, from Marcel Khalife to Rage Against the Machine, focus on broader political issues rather than their fellow music-makers.

At the level of the music business, it’s even harder to get people involved, since, as a “business” – especially one whose century-old model is crumbling beneath it – music industries in most countries need airplay on government-controlled radio stations and support to fight against piracy, to stay afloat. This situation provides little incentive to rock the political boat.

As one activist put it, rarely you might get a music executive such as Richard Branson who will sign the Sex Pistols and use their political “infamy” to help sell records and brand his company as hip and cutting edge, but such figures are increasingly rare these days in the mega corporate-dominated music industry.
Putin weighs in on Pussy Riot case

The problem is that, as long as long as artists, and the music industry more broadly, don’t take this seriously at the organisational and institutional levels (when is the last time that the Grammy Awards, ASCAP, BMI, SECAM, or even the X-Factor or American Idol ever mentioned artists under threat?), musicians will continue to face the same and even graver threats to their freedom as Pussy Riot, without anyone in the wider world taking notice or helping to publicise their plight.

A uniform code of conduct, now

In order to change the dynamics, musical artists, singers, composers, producers, arrangers, engineers, DJs, managers and music industry professionals need to together adopt a universal code of conduct that will ensure that they are aware of the situation in all countries in which they work, perform and sell their products and provide a standard set of guidelines and references for behaviour to prevent the continuation of the present situation, in which some artists get global attention to their plight while others suffer in silence.

Such a code could include the following provisions:

A declaration of support for all artistes who engage politically. As Madonna put it in supporting Pussy Riot, “art should be political”, and even artists who aren’t willing to put themselves on the line benefit when there is greater freedom for their colleagues to do so. The musical community must no longer sit idly by and allow fellow musicians to face such challenges and threats alone.

Artists need to stay abreast of developments affecting fellow artists and music industry professionals around the world and use their often extensive social media, concert and other appearances to help publicise specific threats or actions as they arise.

They should develop much more coordinated relations with organisations, such as Freemuse, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, to ensure that they are aware of threats to artists in countries in which they are touring, recording, or otherwise appearing professionally, and to use all means available to support them and call attention to their plight while in these countries.

Artists need to encourage their fans to become more involved in the plight of musicians globally and in their own countries, and educate them about the dangers of censorship and how to fight it.

Most important, artists need to support all artists who are being persecuted because of their race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, political affiliations, non-violent social and political activities, or expression of personal, social or political views, even when their views might not agree with their own.

Boycotts, a divisive issue

There is one issue that will no doubt divide artists and that is the call to refuse to perform in a country in response to its policies on various issues. Here the obvious example is the BDS, and specifically boycott, campaign against Israel, which has led some big name artists to cancel performances in the country in protest of its ongoing occupation.

Russian Orthodox Church organises against Pussy Riot punks

As of now, there are few if any calls for artists to boycott performances in a country besides the Palestinian BDS call, and artists such as Tankian, who have a special commitment to a particular issue such as the Armenian genocide or Tibet. As one A-list manager explained to me: “The most important thing for most artists first is to be heard, and boycotting goes directly against that.”

While politically engaged artists such as Jello Biafra came to support BDS after examining all the arguments, less militant artists have been turned off by the sometimes aggressive attempts to persuade them. For the record, Pussy Riot supporter Madonna played Israel on May 31, while the Chili Peppers are scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv in September.

But if calls for boycotts were to multiply – if, for example, there was a call to boycott Russia by activists in response to the jail sentences handed down against Pussy Riot – artists would be in a very difficult situation.

Today more than ever, artists survive on touring rather than selling records. If a group tours globally the chances are high that they will perform in a fair number of countries with problematic records on issues such as freedom of speech (China, Russia, Morocco, Poland, Dubai, Turkey, Abu Dhabi, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Cameroon and many other countries come immediately to mind).

And of course, for “anti-imperialist” artists there would be little choice but to boycott the US and most NATO countries – some 50 countries presently contribute troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, for example – as well as Russia and China, given their clearly imperialist foreign policies.

Such a list would, of course, leave very few countries left to tour.

Because of this, it is unlikely that most artists will begin agreeing to boycott systemic human rights violators; nor is it that clear that citizens in such countries would prefer artistes to stay away until the situation improves (in Morocco, for example, most activists I’ve spoken with do not advocate boycotting its famed festivals – with the exception of the giant Mawazine festival, which is clearly used as a propaganda tool by the government).

Moreover, artists from smaller global south countries who literally must survive on a few prestigious festivals each year would find it practically impossible to boycott them on political grounds, no matter how sympathetic they might be to the plight of local artists.

Ultimately, individual performers will have to determine whether the situation in a particular country is serious enough for them to sacrifice the income and experience of performing there in order to support fellow artists or oppressed citizens or occupied peoples.

But particularly today, when the internet and social media have made it so much easier to spread the word about oppression to fans and the broader public, it’s no longer excusable for artists to remain silent most of the time, and only lend their support when the world is already watching or the artists involved are particularly media-friendly. Certainly many Russian artists feel this way. As dance-pop artist Sasha Gradiva explained when she heard I was writing this column: “I feel a deep connection with these girls… and would welcome the creation of a community of artists and musicians whose aim was supporting artists who have been persecuted because of their art.”

I’m sure the members of Pussy Riot were thrilled that Madonna wore a balaclava in their honour at her Moscow concert, and that Red Hot Chili Peppers donned Pussy Riot t-shirts at their Russian concerts (we’ll see if the Chilis show a similar concern for Palestinian prisoners – inclusing artists – when they perform in Israel). But, globally, there are hundreds of artists under far greater threat to their freedom and lives who deserve the same attention.

It’s time to pull the mask off music censorship globally; if the trial of Pussy Riot can encourage greater attention and solidarity from privileged Western and global artists to the plight of their comrades living in the cultural and political trenches, the group will truly have earned their place in the pantheon of musical, and political, heroes.

Published by Al Jazeera

About the author:

Mark Levine is professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine and distinguished visiting professor at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden and the author of the forthcoming book about the revolutions in the Arab world, The Five Year Old Who Toppled a Pharaoh.

His book, Heavy Metal Islam, which focused on ‘rock and resistance and the struggle for soul’ in the evolving music scene of the Middle East and North Africa, was published in 2008.

In focus: Russia’s Pussy Riot

Published on Aug 7, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish

In Moscow, the trial of the activist-feminist group known as Pussy Riot continues into its second week. The case has captured both domestic and international attention, with the Russian opposition rallying around them as an anti-Putin symbol. Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan takes a closer look at what these women are all about.

Russian Orthodox Church organises against Pussy Riot punks

Published on Apr 22, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish

Thousands of Orthodox Christian worshippers have turned out in the Russian capital Moscow for a prayer to support the controversial Church in what it perceives to be an attack on its authority.

They refer to a confrontation involving Pussy Riot, a local punk rock band who took over the capital’s main cathedral to sing their songs in a political statement in February.

Al Jazeera’s Sue Turton reports from the Russian capital.