Will MH17 be our 9/11? (3) Are governments actually searching for the truth?


An issue that has caused me a lot of soul-searching over the years is the question, Why the Russians did not bit back more much aggressively in a number of dubious, cloak-and-dagger acts of violence such as the downing of flight KAL007 by a Soviet fighter jet in September 1983. Why was it left to popular media and the tabloids to expose that the Americans for quite a while had been testing Soviet air defences to locate and map their radar systems, and that they possibly had found a Korean pilot ready to give it a try as well? The same holds for MH17, of which Moscow has been apportioned all the blame. 


Why don’t the Russians bite back? Or do they have really have something to hide?

And then a few days ago, suddenly there is a report on Russia Today that an anonymous Ukrainian source has declared to the newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, to have witnessed the take-off of three fighter jets from Dnepropetrovsk airport on the fatal 17th of July, the day MH17 was brought down. On his return, the pilot of one of the planes, a Vladislav Voloshin, was profoundly upset when climbing out of his plane because of a terrible mistake, etc.

This confirms the first reading of the Russian top brass, viz., that there had been a Su-25 jet at a distance of a few kilometres from MH17. This had been observed by both Russian military radar and by the civil air traffic control on Rostov airport, and as documented by a BBC report referred to previously, by locals on the ground. (Here I wanted to make a link to that report, which had been removed from the web by the BBC but had been ‘salvaged’ by posting it on YouTube. But now it turns out that this important information has also been removed from that source).

So be it. The new report and the fact it suddenly ‘dropped out of the sky’ and of all places, landed in Komsomolskaya Pravda, a popular tabloid linked to Gazprom, led me to consider an entirely different possibility, which is the following.

Just imagine that both Washington and Moscow know exactly how MH17 was brought down—which is most probable anyway. After all the struggle in Ukraine is also a war between these two, in which the West is trying to gain even more terrain against Russia and bring down ‘Putin’.

However, the oligarchs who control the Russian economy do no want to break off their links to the West, on the contrary; and the same holds for the large state companies. Thanks to our favourable tax regime, Gazprom has 36 subsidiaries and foundations in the Netherlands alone. The Russian state is obviously closely imbricated with the state sector (Gazprom, Rosneft, etc.) and Putin cannot afford to alienate the oligarchs. So the Russians only give a glimpse of what they know if they feel really threatened.

The Kiev parliament has been in session for several days to discuss a law terminating the country’s neutral status, or at least that part which the regime controls. That law has now been adopted and even though NATO will not admit Kiev, for Moscow this is a step in the wrong direction. Is the Komsomolskaya Pravda report a warning that more can be revealed?

In the old days at the University of Amsterdam I had a colleague, Dr Cees Wiebes, who was specialised in this sort of questions. He won international renown with, among others, a co-authored study on the duplicitous role of the Swedish Wallenberg family during the war, a study translated into many foreign languages. Most recently he authored Part 5 of the official Dutch account on Srebrenica, which deals with the role of intelligence in the run-up to this drama. In that voluminous work all thinkable information concerning Srebrenica is brought to the surface, a disturbing account. The truth and nothing but the truth.

As an accomplished specialist in this domain Wiebes in 1983-’84 also had information on KAL007 that made clear that the official reading of a cold-blooded murder was not correct. However, the Soviet authorities remained silent, bar a press conference of a top military commander, Ogarkov. Ogarkov explained that the Americans were testing the radar defences, but he was later removed from his command.

Aren’t we, both concerning the incident with KAL007 and now with MH17, making a big mistake by assuming that governments are as driven by the quest for truth as investigative journalists and academic researchers? Aren’t they in reality involved in a completely different activity, which is politics, and which includes attempts to reach compromises to which the truth is inevitably being subordinated? That would explain why (as I learned from my Ukrainian source and read about before) Poroshenko and Putin may actually be in cahoots, and that American satellites ‘have not seen anything’. Because what better outcome for NATO than that the world believes in what the media here tell us… It was ‘Putin’! But Moscow too has its reasons, so we are really on our own.

Kees van der Pijl








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