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09 August 2014

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All,

The most recent piece on the MH17 shootdown put up by Robert Parry on the 'Consortium News' website is entitled 'Was Putin Targeted for Mid-Air Assassination?'

The summary reads as follows:

'Exclusive: Official Washington’s conventional wisdom on the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down blames Russian President Putin, but some U.S. intelligence analysts think Putin, whose plane was flying nearby, may have been the target of Ukrainian hardliners who hit the wrong plane, writes Robert Parry.'

The first two paragraphs of the actual story read:

'U.S. intelligence analysts are weighing the possibility that the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a botched attempt by extremists in the Ukrainian government to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin whose aircraft was returning from South America the same day, according to a source briefed on the U.S. investigation.

'If true, the direction of the investigation into the July 17 crash has veered dramatically from initial U.S. government allegations that eastern Ukrainian rebels, using a Russian-supplied anti-aircraft battery, were responsible for bringing down the plane killing 298 people onboard.'

(See http://consortiumnews.com/2014/08/08/was-putin-targeted-for-mid-air-assassination/ .)

As I noted in my post at the start of the week, this hypothesis had seemed wildly improbable to me. And, according to Parry, the hypothesis of a 'false flag' attack is still being taken seriously.

However, I can now see certain strands of evidence that suggest that the hypothesis of a botched attempt to assassinate Putin is at least worthy of serious consideration:

1. While repeated expressions of vitriolic hatred for Russians in general and Putin in particular by Ukrainian nationalists – even supposedly 'moderate' figures like Timoshenko – have been discounted in Western coverage, there is no obvious justification for this. It may be that in at least some cases, the impression of out-of-control hatred should be taken at face value.

2. The pictures of the airliners produced by Parry suggest that it would be by no means impossible, given the short time they would have had to identify the target, for Ukrainians convinced they had a golden opportunity to destroy Putin to confuse Flight MH17 with his plane.

3. The Russians claim that Ukrainian Buks were in an area from which they could have shot down the plane, and that they observed radar activity from these, and also that two Ukrainian fighter planes were close to Flight MH17 when it was shot down. If – as seems likely – these claims were accurate, the hypothesis of an attempt to shoot down Putin's plane might provide a more economical interpretation than alternatives.

4. If it does turn out that some of the damage to MH17 is only capable of being explained by cannon fire – which remains very much a moot point – then again, the hypothesis of an attempt to shoot down Putin's plane might provide a more economical interpretation than alternatives.

A critical point moreover remains that as of this writing the failure of the Kiev authorities and Western governments to produce any convincing evidence whatsoever in support of their allegations of insurgent responsibility, or indeed an explanation of their failure to do so, provides strong grounds to suspect a cover-up. And this would suggest that the hypothesis of a catastrophic bungle by the insurgents now has to be regarded as the less probable among the realistic alternatives.

If this is the case, the most obvious hypotheses have to be a 'false flag' operation, or an attempt to assassinate Putin. I think it is at least worth contemplating the possibility that the publicly available evidence meshes better with the latter hypothesis than the former.

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