Malaysia Airlines and NATO

This article is a translation of "Malaysia Airlines en de NAVO"

After the disasters with two planes of Malaysia Airlines the fortunes of this company have deteriorated to such an extent that the Malaysian government has nationalised it. Of MH370 we still do not know why it has disappeared, although a book has come out in which the thesis is developed that the plane was brought down during an American-Thai naval exercise. MH17 was shot out of the air by cannon of one or more Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jets, whether or not in combination with a missile; this in turn was fired either by a plane, or by a missile launched from the ground. On the basis of documentation I have cited earlier, the first option strikes me as the most probable.


Meanwhile NATO is on the war path. Yesterday, 7 August, Secretary-general Rasmussen was in Kiev to give a boost to ‘prime minister’ Yatsenyuk (who has remained in office after his announcement to resign was voted down). 

The alliance after all must keep the situation under pressure until September, when the NATO summit will be held in Wales. Would a truce be concluded in Ukraine in the meantime, we can be sure that the fundamental differences between, notably, the core NATO countries (the US, UK, and Canada) and Germany in particular, would come to the surface with full force. Hence Rasmussen discussed with Yatsenyuk a special NATO trust fund which would allow bankrupt Ukraine (also yesterday the hot water supply of Kiev was shut off to save gas) to pay for military equipment (mainly supporting communication equipment and the like; there was no reference to arms).

Once again: Germany had a different aim in Yugoslavia, did NOT participate in the invasion of Iraq; neither was it involved in Libya, and it also has a different strategy in Ukraine. The reason is that German capital for more than a century has had different interests from the Anglo-American financial world and its military-industrial complex. Of course there is also overlap, but still the strategy is different.

There are also other countries in the world resisting the Anglo-American-cum-NATO adventures. Apart from Russia and China, India and Brazil, and a whole rafter of other states, Malaysia too belongs to this category. In Kuala Lumpur, the capital, a verdict was passed in November 2011 in the case concerning war crimes committed by Blair and Bush during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, in a trial that had taken two years, unanimously arrived at the conclusion that the two men were guilty of crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity, and genocide. In their judgment the five judges ruled that this verdict must be reported to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and that the names of Bush and Blair be inscribed in the register of war criminals kept by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, which had instituted the Tribunal.

These activities and the verdict are part of a large project initiated by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohammed, a controversial figure for sure, but also an opponent of Western militarism and economic warfare. In an opinion piece for Al Jazeera, Richard Falk discusses Mahathir’s effort to outlaw war once again. Falk is fully entitled to speak on this matter because throughout his career (as a professor at the University of California and special rapporteur for Palestinian human rights) he has fought for this himself. Hence, for all his reservations concerning the figure of Mahathir, he fully supports the latter’s aspiration to unify the world in a rejection of war. 


Tribunals such as the Kuala Lumpur one are not new. At the time of Vietnam there was the Russell Tribunal, and in 1976 the Lelio Basso Tribunal was founded in Italy as a permanent body. Concerning Iraq, too, there was a precedent, the tribunal of Istanbul in 2005, which arrived at comparable conclusions. 

None of these tribunals however was so narrowly connected to a country’s governing class as Kuala Lumpur tribunal. There are currently reports circulating which claim that the fury in the US concerning the verdict on Bush and Blair must be taken into account in the investigation of the two Malaysia Airlines planes. I do not doubt that this fury exists, but would not dare myself to make such a direct connection.

It is a different matter to be curious what the reaction is in Malaysia to the endless delay of information concerning the ‘black boxes’ which east Ukrainian fighters have handed over to Malaysia, which in turn passed them on to Britain for research. Is there a task here for the Dutch ambassador?

Kees van der Pijl

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