Posted: July 20, 2014 in Current Events

The most damning evidence against Russia in the recent attack on the Malaysian airliner is not all of the factual reports of missiles and telephone conversations. It is their response. Even if all of the other evidence was in question, even if there was some question of the Ukrainian government itself being responsible, the way that Russia has responded to this tragedy speaks volumes.

Russia was in a position to act in a humanitarian manner in response to this crash. It could have called for a cease fire and could have facilitated access to the site in many other ways. It could even have provided resources and transportation. (Whether the Ukrainian government and the western powers would have accepted it is another matter.)

Russia is the only authority which could have reigned in the pro-Russian Rebels and facilitated access to the site by proper authorities and investigators. Putin and the Russian handlers connected with the rebels have influence if not control over these rebels and could have paved the way to access for relief and investigation personnel.

Russia has significant forces close to the Ukraine / Russia border and would have been able to mobilize assistance quickly.

They did neither of these things. They sat back and did nothing while pro-Russian rebels impeded access to the site and the actions of the investigators. Agents that needed to get to the site were unable to because of fear of planes or helicopters being shot out of the sky by rebel forces. This is the principal reason for the slow pace of reaction in this case.

Reports of heavy weaponry being withdrawn to Russian soil suggest that Russia is much more concerned with spinning the information about this incident than they are with assisting in any way. Now there are even reports that the airliner’s black box, found not by legitimate investigators, but by rebels, may be on its way to Moscow rather than to the airline or the international investigators. If this is true, then it is nothing short of theft.

You don’t need a smoking gun to point a finger of blame in this case (although that smoking gun will almost certainly be found). The way in which Russia has responded to this crisis, and the way in which Ukrainian pro-Russian have impeded and obscured the evidence, are damning all by itself. It is almost more of an offense than the original act. It is quite feasible that the airliner was shot down by mistake, rebels thinking it was a cargo plane. I don’t think that anyone would bring that kind of grief to the world and eventually to themselves, intentionally. That Russia provided such a powerful weapon to such a group of immature and incompetent rebels is reprehensible, but I’m sure they never intended for this kind of outcome. However, the reaction and response is not an accident; it is quite deliberate, and demonstrates the true stripes of the people involved.

In the meantime, the fact that a bunch of probably half drunken, incompetent rebels can operate a sophisticated weapon and shoot down an airliner flying at over 30 000 feet, is just a touch disturbing.


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