Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 (2001) Now Malaysian Airlines MH 17 (2014)
Oleksandr Kuzmuk, pictured above, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense who resigned after the shooting down of Siberian Airlines Flight 1812.
WAS PUTIN THE INTENDED TARGET OF THE MISSILE ATTACK
Times of India one of many media organizations reports that there is speculation that Vladimir Putin’s aircraft may have been the intended target of the missile battery that brought down MH 17. Both planes are painted in similar colours and if visual contact was required to take out the target, the colours of a Malaysian Airlines aircraft are eerily and deceptively similar enough to look like Putin’s Illyushin IL 96 aircraft.
Whats interesting is that the Times of India once owned by Bennett Coleman is a very pro western paper with one of the largest if not the widest circulation of any publication in the English speaking world.
The claim or suggestion by the Times of India is no more a conspiracy theory than that being floated by US vice president Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott about what and how MH 17 met its end.
Perhaps the Air India pilots who flew within visual range of the ill fated MH 17 could shed some light on what occurred. They were only 25 Kms behind MH 17.
ANOTHER UKRAINIAN SHOOTING OF A CIVILIAN AIRLINER? LEST WE FORGET
The precedent for the shooting of Malaysian Airlines MH 17 in the Ukraine is the shooting down in 2001 of a Russian built Tupolev passenger jet a TU 154 by Ukrainian Armed Forces missile batteries on October 4, 2001.
In that crash 64 Siberian Air passengers and 12 crew on board the ill fated aircraft en route from Novosibirsk to Tel Aviv were killed when the plane was shot down over the Black Sea by a Ukrainian missile. No reason was cited for the shooting down of the plane except for the speculation that it was a military exercise gone wrong. The victims were mainly Jews.
There was an outpouring of grief and the Ukrainians were described as anti Semites by various Jewish groups following this event (and for their history of supporting Hitler and their documented careless disregard for human life in world war 2). It did not help that at the time of the crash their denials over the shooting down of a civilian airliner were equally careless as it is with the crash of MH 17.
More notably the Ukrainian armed forces then too offered speculative reasons as to what happened attempting to blame others for the shooting down of the Air Siberia TU 154.
DENIALS THEN AS THEY ARE NOW
It took a while for the Ukraine to admit that it had in fact shot down the aircraft. And that too after considerable pressure was brought to bear on the Ukrainian leadership by Russian investigators.
Ukraine’s then-president, Leonid Kuchma, eventually conceded that the Ukrainian military was responsible for the shooting down of the Russian passenger jet.
The day of the shoot-down of the aircraft occurred at a time the Ukrainian military was conducting a massive exercise which involved shooting down 23 missiles at drones.
“Experts say that the radar-guided S-200, among the farthest-flying and most capable anti aircraft missiles in the arsenal of former Soviet nations (at the time), simply locked onto the Russian airliner after it raced past the destroyed drone some 20 miles off the Crimean coast,” the New York Times’ Michael Wines reported then.
Then President of the Ukraine Leonid Kuchma accepted the resignation of his Minister of Defense, Oleksandr Kuzmuk, following the admission that the military was culpable.
From 2003 to 2005, Ukraine paid a total of $15.9 million to families of victims following a deal with the government of Israel.
Oddly enough the Ukrainians today rush to play what they say (without independent verification) that they intercepted radio conversation between Russian backed separatists discussing the shooting down of an aircraft at the same time MH 17 went down.
The west likewise keen to demonize the Russians and to take the heat off the Ukraine on one side whilst conveniently taking the attention off Israel’s butchering of Palestinians by Israel’s military on the other is playing up that smokescreen of Ukrainian “evidence” that Pro Russian separatists brought the aircraft down.
If it indeed was a Russian mistake then how different a mistake would it be to that of the US shooting down an Iranian Air civilian passenger aircraft in the late 1980’s? In that particular instance, the US claimed its radar could not distinguish between civilian and military aircraft. How criminally convenient. But the west bought that excuse till the Pan Am disaster over Lockerbie believed to be revenge for the downing of the Iranian passenger jet. But the US un willing to test the resolve of the Iranians if they went toe to toe over that incident chose Libya instead to pin the tail on for Lockerbie.
THE MYTH OF THE AUDIO INTERCEPT
The latest from the “audio intercept” as the Ukrainians claim to have in their possession is one which requires very close scrutiny for what it does not say rather than for what it purports to.
The Russians have one of the most sophisticated field radio systems for communication in a battle zone which is designed to hop frequencies and to avoid detection.
The Russian made anti aircraft radio or wire guided missile batteries (BUK) which the Ukrainians and the Americans say brought down MH 17 is in the military inventories of both nations.
The BUK (s 300 or its predecessor S 200) is a Russian designed and built anti aircraft system often marketed to client states via Belorussia and the state arms corporation Rosoboronexport. To “brother states” like the Ukraine it is sold directly. Most former Soviet states have these missiles in their inventories.
It seems that social media is attributing many absurd claims about the crash of MH 17 to a pro Russian military commander. And the US and Australia appear to be lending credibility to these absurd comments each time they appear in the press.
IT WAS ” (THE MUSLIM) COSSACKS” AND THE GRU- GOOD GUYS BAD GUYS
The rush to blame Russia and the Cossacks (the ethnic Muslim Russians who live in the Ukraine supporting Russia) in the “intercepted radio messages” is suspect. Being Muslims they the Cossacks are an easy target of hatred worldwide. The apocryphal so called radio message “audio intercept” released by the Ukraine does not support Russian (or any other trained army) protocols for communication on the battlefront in the field.
The Russians and their allies do not contact the GRU directly just as the filed operatives of US backed militia in Iraq, Afghanistan or other battle zones do not contact the CIA and its director directly to report an event. It is highly improbable and would be unprecedented if it did occur.
NEW IDEAS NEW TACTICS- NO SUCH THING AS AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER
There was no such radio intercept of the downing of the 3 other aircraft supposedly downed by Pro Russians separatists in the Ukraine. Suddenly all sides change tactics radically with the Pro Russian separatists speaking to the head of the GRU Igor Sergun and a Russian Major in the armed forces of the Russian Federation we are asked to believe by Holland and the US.
Then we have the paradigm shift in Ukrainian tactics of intercepting highly classified but uncoded open line communications between pro Russian separatists and Moscow.
What is tragic about this incident coming so close to the heels of the yet unsolved MH370 incident is that civilians are now more than ever coming to grips that there is no such thing as “innocent bystanders in a conflict”. That phrase coined by a Palestinian hijacker who hijacked a BOAC VC 10 aircraft in the early 1970’s told his passengers appears to have been prophetic indeed.
A LESSON FOR MAS AND THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT
It is time the government of Malaysia and its national Airline learned how to deal with the world and the western media by engaging professional media consultants regardless of their race colour class or creed when dealing with such disasters.
There is nothing wrong in an investment in quality, impressive public speakers (without the fake US accents) personnel, trained, knowledgeable and savvy when dealing with the international media.
As it stands the prime ministers own ability to impress is impaired following the MH 370 incident. The then acting minister Hishamuddin Onn although not incompetent was short of what the media had expected. There is a special skill required to deal with a media organizations and agencies run by sensationalists ready and waiting to bait an ill prepared minister or other official in such situations. And that damage from not being prepared in such situations may be irreversible.
There is an art and a skill not present within the existing Malaysian media scrum. Neither is it present in Malaysia’s government apparatus capable of dealing with such a situation. And that’s a disaster in itself.
Government needs spokespersons who are skilled. People who are informed, with a legal background, international current affairs specialists who are forensic, articulate and possessed of people and crisis management skills sufficient for them to be able to interact amiably with the diverse and often hostile international media that throng to KL each time something like this occurs.
The Staccato Malaysian accent is horrible and for most of the time not understood. With punctuation and expressions all misplaced in what should otherwise be a short and sharp response is often dragged on, disabled by the accent, the diction, mispronounced words and inappropriate analogies.
It is best that Malaysia give the media a plausible explanation of events than for them to make up their own minds and lend their own interpretations in frustration from dealing with incompetent spokespersons.
Such a situation always ends up causing untold damage to a nation that has gained so much in a short time and has so much to lose in a shorter time by the poor handling of these events.