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More U.S. 'intel' disinfo: Ukrainian 'defector' may have shot down MH17

James Clapper

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.
U.S. intelligence officials suggest that the person who fired the missile that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 may have been "a defector" from the Ukrainian army, an apparent attempt to explain why some CIA analysts thought satellite images revealed men in Ukrainian army uniforms manning the missile battery, writes Robert Parry.

As the U.S. government seeks to build its case blaming eastern Ukrainian rebels and Russia for the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the evidence seems to be getting twisted to fit the preordained conclusion, including a curious explanation for why the troops suspected of firing the fateful missile may have been wearing Ukrainian army uniforms.

On Tuesday, mainstream journalists, including for the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, were given a briefing about the U.S. intelligence information that supposedly points the finger of blame at the rebels and Russia. While much of this circumstantial case was derived from postings on "social media," the briefings also addressed the key issue of who fired the Buk anti-aircraft missile that is believed to have downed the airliner killing all 298 people onboard.

After last Thursday's shoot-down, I was told that U.S. intelligence analysts were examining satellite imagery that showed the crew manning the suspected missile battery wearing what looked like Ukrainian army uniforms, but my source said the analysts were still struggling with whether that essentially destroyed the U.S. government's case blaming the rebels.

The Los Angeles Times article on Tuesday's briefing seemed to address the same information this way: "U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems."

Comment: Until we see the actual photos, this 'intelligence' is dubious at best. It seems like the U.S. intel community is simply hedging their bets. Maybe it was the Ukrainians? Maybe it was rebel defector dressed as Ukrainians? All this before we even have confirmation that the plane was in fact shot down. How would all this speculation and 'intelligence' hold up if it was revealed that a bomb caused the crash? It wouldn't.

Satellite

Still no U.S. spy satellite imagery from Ukraine: What did they see?

buk
© RIA Novosti / Vadim Braydov
BUK.
The U.S. media's Ukraine bias has been obvious, siding with the Kiev regime and bashing ethnic Russian rebels and Russia's President Putin. But now - with the scramble to blame Putin for the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down - the shoddy journalism has grown truly dangerous, says Robert Parry.

In the heat of the U.S. media's latest war hysteria - rushing to pin blame for the crash of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet on Russia's President Vladimir Putin - there is the same absence of professional skepticism that has marked similar stampedes on Iraq, Syria and elsewhere - with key questions not being asked or answered.

The dog-not-barking question on the catastrophe over Ukraine is: what did the U.S. surveillance satellite imagery show? It's hard to believe that - with the attention that U.S. intelligence has concentrated on eastern Ukraine for the past half year that the alleged trucking of several large Buk anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia to Ukraine and then back to Russia didn't show up somewhere.

Yes, there are limitations to what U.S. spy satellites can see. But the Buk missiles are about 16 feet long and they are usually mounted on trucks or tanks. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 also went down during the afternoon, not at night, meaning the missile battery was not concealed by darkness.

So why hasn't this question of U.S. spy-in-the-sky photos - and what they reveal - been pressed by the major U.S. news media? How can the Washington Post run front-page stories, such as the one on Sunday with the definitive title "U.S. official: Russia gave systems," without demanding from these U.S. officials details about what the U.S. satellite images disclose?
Vader

Washington sheperding the Ukrainian "crisis" towards war

General Philip Breedlove

General Philip Breedlove
Despite the conclusion by US intelligence that there is no evidence of Russian involvement in the destruction of the Malaysian airliner and all lives onboard, Washington is escalating the crisis and shepherding it toward war.

Twenty-two US senators have introduced into the 113th Congress, Second Session, a bill, S.2277, "To prevent further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia, and for other purposes." The bill is before the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Note that prior to any evidence of any Russian aggression, there are already 22 senators lined up in behalf of preventing further Russian aggression.

Accompanying this preparatory propaganda move to create a framework for war, hot or cold with Russia, NATO commander General Philip Breedlove announced his plan for a deployment of massive military means in Eastern Europe that would permit lightening responses against Russia in order to protect Europe from Russian aggression.

There we have it again: Russian Aggression. Repeat it enough and it becomes real.

The existence of "Russian aggression" is assumed, not demonstrated. Neither Breedlove nor the senators make any reference to Russian war plans for an attack on Europe or any other countries. There are no references to Russian position papers and documents setting forth a Russian expansionist ideology or a belief declared by Moscow that Russians are "exceptional, indispensable people" with the right to exercise hegemony over the world. No evidence is presented that Russia has infiltrated the communication systems of the entire world for spy purposes. There is no evidence that Putin has Obama's or Obama's daughters' private cell phone conversations or that Russia downloads US corporate secrets for the benefit of Russian businesses.

Nevertheless, the NATO commander and US senators see an urgent need to create blitzkrieg capability for NATO on Russia's borders.

Senate bill 2277 consists of three titles: "Reinvigorating the Nato Alliance," "Deterring Further Russian Aggression in Europe," and "Hardening Ukraine and other European and Eurasian States Against Russian Aggression." Who do you think wrote this bill? Hint: it wasn't the senators or their staffs.
Blackbox

Genocide or justice - which side are you on?

America today is the main sponsor of the Israeli regime and all its decades-old crimes against humanity. These crimes are once again on display in the most despicable and barbaric way. American citizens therefore have a heavy responsibility to bear. They must decide which side they are on: that of genocide or human rights.
John Kerry
© unknown
Kerry traveled to Cairo Monday to discuss concerns about the violence and “loss of more innocent life” in Gaza with senior officials from various international partners including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Arabi.
US top diplomat John Kerry says a ceasefire deal in Gaza is close but there is still a way to go for one to be implemented.

What's the hold-up? Men, women and children are being slaughtered in their hundreds. Hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, the wounded are being attacked against all norms of international law and morality.
Bullseye

Toddler killed in ICU as Israel bombs Gaza City hospital - again

Navi Pillay
© AP
UN rights chief Navi Pillay said Wednesday that Israel's military actions in the Gaza Strip could amount to war crimes.
A toddler was killed and dozens of other Palestinians were injured in a Gaza City hospital late Thursday as an Israeli bomb struck the area, medics said.

Ibrahim al-Sheikh Omar, two-and-a-half years old, was in the ICU of Muhammad al-Durra hospital when an Israeli strike hit outside.

Medical sources said the boy was hit by shrapnel from the explosion, killing him on the spot.

Thirty other Palestinians were injured in the strike.
Eye 1

Premeditated murder: the Shuja'iyya massacre and Israeli criminality

Shuja'iyya
© EPA/OLIVER WEIKEN
Palestinian men carry a dead person as they flee their homes in the Shuja'iyya neighbourhood in east Gaza City, 20 July 2014.
65-year-old Ahmed Suleiman Akram al-'Atawai and his 10-year-old grandchild Tala were running from Israel's onslaught on Shuja'iyya. As they fled, they were hit by Israeli artillery shells, and died.

They were among the dozens of victims Sunday, when Israeli forces pulverised the Gaza City district. Some, like Ahmed and Tala, were cut down in the streets; others were killed when shells hit their homes. A paramedic, killed as he attempted to rescue the wounded. The 'Ayad family, hit by a missile from an Israeli warplane, killing ten, including three children.

Palestinians and reporters who visited the scene reported scenes of total devastation. An estimated 72 were killed Sunday in Shuja'iyya, including "at least 17 children". Amnesty International described the impact of "intense Israeli bombardment", with "more than 200" wounded as "civilians were forced to flee under fire". A man who went back to look for his family was shot dead by Israeli forces in front of human rights observers.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doctors working in Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City reported that "women and children comprised most of the wounded" arriving Sunday morning. Audrey Landmann, MSF medical coordinator in Gaza, said Israel's ground offensive has meant "indiscriminate" bombing, and noted that "those who die are civilians".

The shocking fact is that these dozens, hundreds, of personal horror stories are the result of deliberate decisions taken by the Israeli army. On the day of the attack, IDF officers boasted that they were "taking off the gloves". Even as the ground offensive got underway late Thursday, Israeli tanks had "received an order to open fire at anything that moved".
Hourglass

How many Nakbas? The ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine

israel-palestine map

Palestinian Land losses since 1946
More than ever, there is a need today to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict

Gaza burns while the international community sits quietly, doing nothing about it. Israel has bombarded the territory for two weeks, killing more than 700 Palestinians and wounding well over 3,000. As I write this, I am aware that the death toll will only increase.

A massacre appals, disgusts, leaves one short of breath. It is a time for mourning, protest, but also education. Without an understanding of what is taking place in Palestine, we cannot put an end to this horror.

This is not a cycle of violence, or a tribal tussle. It is not a mutual embrace of revenge, or a childish tit-for-tat playground fight. It is none of those or other clichés used so readily and unthinkingly by politicians and journalists. This is settler colonialism and its consequences.

There is a line that connects the destruction of homes and displaced in Gaza today, back to the ruined villages and columns of refugees in 1948. The Palestinians call it Nakba - the catastrophe brought upon them by the Zionist movement that sought to establish a Jewish majority state in a land where there was none.

Look at Gaza, its bleeding, defiant population. Where are these Palestinians from? For many, they are from villages and land a matter of a few miles away; refugees still, because they are not Jewish. Old men and women in the camps of Gaza were forced from their homes at the point of a bayonet by the same armed forces that now use drones to achieve the same result.
Light Saber

Max Blumenthal discusses Israel's assault on Gaza: 'There's never been hopes for a lasting ceasefire, Israel won't keep any agreements'

Raw footage of Max Blumenthal, author of Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel discussing Israel's assault on Gaza with Al Jazeera English

Stop

Infanticide deniers: Israel bans radio advert listing names of children killed in Gaza

Palestinian rescue
© Khalil Hamra/AP
Aid agencies said on Wednesday that a child had been killed in Gaza on average every hour for the preceding two days.
Human rights group B'Tselem will petition Israel's supreme court after advert was deemed to be 'politically controversial'

The Israeli Broadcasting Authority has banned a radio advertisement from a human rights organisation which listed the names of some of the scores of children killed in Gaza since the conflict began 17 days ago.

B'Tselem's appeal against the decision was rejected on Wednesday. It intends to petition Israel's supreme court on Sunday in an effort to get the ban overturned.

The IBA said the ad's content was "politically controversial". The broadcast refers to child deaths in Gaza and reads out some of the victims' names.

In its appeal, B'Tselem demanded to know what was controversial about the item. "Is it controversial that the children [aren't] alive? That they're children? That those are their names? These are facts that we wish to bring to the public's knowledge."

In a statement, the human rights group said: "So far more than 600 people have been killed in bombings in Gaza, more than 150 of them children. But apart from a brief report on the number of fatalities, the Israeli media refrains from covering them." By Thursday morning, the death toll in Gaza had exceeded 700.

B'Tselem went on: "IBA says broadcasting the children's names is politically controversial. But refusing to do so is in itself a far-reaching statement - it says the huge price being paid by civilians in Gaza, many of them children, must be censored."
Book

Confrontation looming ahead if Obama delays release of torture report?

obama torture report

CIA Torture Report Hidden by Obama
Sometime this summer, probably when as many Americans as possible are tanning on a beach and not paying attention, the White House is expected to release a version of a classified report on torture during the Bush years. Actually, what's likely to become public is only the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report; the entire thing, five years in the making, clocks in at about 6,700 pages, making it the most exhaustive account yet of what really went on in secret CIA prisons around the world.

President Obama has repeatedly said he favors declassifying the report, which the public really ought to see. And should he release the summary in something close to the form in which it was sent to him, then his decision will likely end an unusually public standoff between top senators and the CIA, each of whom accused the other of spying illegally as the report was being compiled and written.

If, on the other hand, Obama delays the release much longer, or bows to the intelligence community and decides to black out the report's most damaging findings, then we may find ourselves on the brink of a serious escalation between the legislative and executive branches in Washington - a war over what kind of secrets the government should be allowed to keep and, more to the point, who gets to decide.

Comment: Considering that Obama has followed in the footsteps of the Bush administration by waging covert wars and murdering countless unarmed civilians, it will be surprising if this report, when and if released, contains any more information than is currently known.

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