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Australia's Tribunal to Indict Russia, and the Great Credibility Gap

Railroading much? Australia proposed setting up a UN tribunal to hold MH17 perpetrators to account that its media and leaders have already decided are Russian

While the shooting down of MH17 develops into one of the key events of the twenty-first century, with the guilty parties continuing to push their malign agenda regardless of the consequences, it is also becoming the site of the world’s greatest credibility gap.

This crack between the West and ‘the rest’, prised open by a long-running and relentless Western media campaign, became a crevasse last year in Ukraine when it became clear that only one side in that conflict was acting in good faith.

But real crevasses are sometimes covered in snow and invisible, and so it is for the unsuspecting victims of the Western media snowstorm over who shot down MH17. Trying to bridge this gap has thus become virtually impossible, whether one uses carefully constructed ladders or resorts to shouting.

Reading today of a poll which found Ukrainians overwhelmingly preferred Vladimir Putin to their own leaders must tell us something about the universal contempt with which the Russian leader is viewed by our population here in Australia. How can we be so badly misinformed?

But this is an easy question to answer - misinformation is included in every news bulletin! 

Taking a current example on the subject of this article, we heard an interview with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who was in New York for the UN Security Council meeting considering a ‘tribunal to hold the MH17 perpetrators to account’. The ABC presenter set the scene with this:

It's almost certain now that it was Russian-backed separatists who shot the plane down.”

The inclusion of that little word ‘now’ could well be a reference to the ‘new evidence’ purportedly revealed on July 17th by the Melbourne Herald Sun; ‘evidence’ which despite its insubstantial nature had been eagerly parroted by leaders and other media to support their anti-Putin edifice – now a veritable snowman of innuendoes and false allegations.

To say ‘insubstantial’ is of course too kind – Newscorp’s ‘shock video’ did not actually present any new evidence, except quite bizarrely in support of Russia’s case that Ukraine was responsible for the crime.

While we as observers have an excuse for being misinformed, even when we follow reliable news providers, the same can surely not be said for our leaders, who have first-hand access to ‘intelligence’ from their own services as well as that from other allies and enemies. And they confirm our presumption that they are ‘well-informed’ with an official curtain of secrecy on ‘intelligence matters’.

For those of us in the West who have joined Russia ‘across the crevasse’ however, this credibility of our leaders presents a big problem and an impossible choice – we must consider whether they are misinformed or misinforming us.

In the case of MH17, our leaders’ credibility is on the line; we can have no doubt whatsoever that Russia bears NO responsibility for the shooting down yet they consistently maintain that it does, whether by implication or direct accusation. They appear convinced of that responsibility, as evidenced by occasional lapses from legal neutrality, such as this one in the interview quoted above:

- JULIE BISHOP: Last year Russia backed resolution 2166, which called for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, or the Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine, so that we could access the site to retrieve the bodies and remains.

Bishop here was citing Russia’s support for last year’s UN resolution following the crash, which also:

‘- called for investigations into the crash and they have been underway.

And thirdly, it demanded, the resolution demanded that those responsible for this atrocity be held to account and that all states cooperate in determining accountability.’

Apart from that slip of the tongue, faithfully recorded in the transcript by the ABC, Bishop’s never mentions names – she doesn’t need to because there is only one possible candidate in the minds of the hypnotised audience.

And so it is that when the UNSC session delivers the predicted result – a Russian veto – this audience can share Bishop’s ‘incandescence’ that ‘justice is being denied to the victims of MH17’. 

Thanks to the key role Australia is playing in the ‘Joint Investigative Team’, the ABC’s reporter in New York Michael Vincent got to interview Samantha Power – as a sort of epilogue to this story. We had actually just heard some of what Vitaly Churkin had to say, to ‘justify’ its veto, and it’s worth copying here:

VITALY CHURKIN (translation): “In this case, what are the grounds to be assured of the impartiality of such an investigation? Can this investigation resist the aggressive propaganda backdrop in the media?

Can it resist pressure of clear political origin when the causes for the disaster and those who are guilty of the disaster are named in advance, and such statements are made by a number of leaders of certain states which form part of the JIT?”

Continuing with the metaphor, it was a bit as if the cloud had lifted for a moment, and Vincent was worried at the sight of the crevasse. But he sought reassurance from Power:

MICHAEL VINCENT: Russia has accused the JIT, the Joint Investigation Team including Australia, of politicising this.

SAM POWER: The politicisation comes when you vote, as it were, in favour of impunity and against international justice, that's politicisation.

Which actually confirms Russia’s claim – Australia and other members of the JIT voted in favour of their own impunity and against international justice. 

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