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Australia: Give Us the Russians Accused of Shooting Down MH-17 for Kangaroo Court

Australia has suggested that the Russians who killed 38 Australians on MH17 could face a Lockerbie-style tribunal there, if they could be extradited. Not to worry - a prominent human rights lawyer says they would receive a fair trial

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has suggested that the Russians who shot down MH17 could be tried by a tribunal, perhaps in Australia, which would avoid the problem of UN authorisation for a trial at the ICC. She rather foolishly cited the precedent of the Lockerbie bombing tribunal, where Scottish judges conducted a long show trial of some supposed Libyan suspects, and where there was more evidence of criminal activity by the prosecution than could be produced against the defendants.

But then perhaps it's actually a good comparison - consider this:

Even if MH17 was brought down by a BUK missile, and even if this missile was brought in from Russia, and even if Vladimir Putin himself instructed that it be sent to Donbass to help the 'separatists' fight the Ukrainian army and militias, it still could not be claimed that there was an intention to commit the murder of 298 innocent civilians by shooting down a passenger plane.

At the time MH17 was shot down the Donbass militias were having some success in repelling the Ukrainian army onslaught, having shot down a number of fighter jets and a military transport plane, so clearly they would have had an interest in a functioning BUK missile system. But at no time has anyone actually claimed that the separatists or their supposed Russian assistants had any intention to hit MH17 - clearly the idea is recognised as ridiculous even by people who otherwise show little ability to draw such logical conclusions.

On the first anniversary of the MH17 atrocity, Newscorp media in Australia produced a 'scoop' - a 'previously unseen video' taken by one of the 'separatist' commanders at the scene shortly after the crash. Showing remarkable skill in diverting the reader's attention from the video's real revelations, the report focused on the careless way in which the 'pro-Russian rebels' had rifled through the personal baggage of Australian victims as they sought to discover what plane 'they had just shot down'. But alongside that emotive story was the complete transcription of the conversation between the men, which revealed their reaction to what had happened, with this quote repeated four times in the article:

They brought down the passenger plane, and we brought down the fighter".

The transcript includes also this quote from one man - "they decided to do it this way, to look like we have brought down the plane." It also is clear from the transcript that two Sukhoi fighter jets were brought down by the separatists, who were looking for the pilots seen parachuting down not far away. One of these Ukrainian jets was apparently the one seen by witnesses near MH17 when it was hit.

Yet it's almost as if the producers of this critically-timed Murdoch-press propaganda hadn't even watched or understood their own 'world-exclusive shock video' - which they say 'reveals the rebels believed they had downed a Ukrainian fighter jet.' There were already videos showing the remains of one of the Sukhois being examined by these 'rebels', so 'believed' isn't quite the right word.

All of which confirms what any rational observer already knows - that if the Donbass resistance had really shot down MH17 it could only have been by accident; they were evidently as shocked as anyone to discover what had happened. But they were also quick to realise that the downing of the jet was no accident, and that they would be blamed for it because that was the clear intent of those responsible for this game-changing war-crime.

That of course is a simplification because the unnamed separatists did not actually get the blame - Putin did!

Not only did Vladimir Putin, Commander in Chief, get blamed for shooting down MH17, as if he had planned the whole operation and personally given the order to fire the BUK missile, but his intention to kill innocents was implicit in the subsequent punishments meted out to 'Putin's Russia'. Ironically it is this very presumption of guilt without evidence or trial, that establishes the guilt of the organisers and accomplices of this vile crime against humanity.

And there is no evidence. If MH17 was not brought down by a BUK missile - and we know beyond reasonable doubt that it was not because of the complete absence of witnesses, photos or video of the launch and con-trail - then the silly stories of Mr Bellingcat about the cross-border movements of BUK missile launchers must also be dismissed as irrelevant, even if they were true. These concoctions of 'open-source' (or empty headed?) 'citizen journalism' also cast more light on the identity of the actual perpetrators of the crime - those who had a motive to make up and spread such propaganda to facilitate their illegal and covert agenda in Ukraine.

In an interview with the ABC conducted just after her return from the UNGA sessions in New York, Julie Bishop presented the Australian case on MH17 like this:

"Now, the joint investigation team has confirmed that it was shot down by a Russian missile that came in from Russia to eastern Ukraine, to the Russian-backed separatist area and that's where the plane was brought down. The next step is to identify those responsible, the chain of command within the Russian military and all those who were involved in making the decision and actually operating that missile. That is under way and I expect that by the end of the year, maybe early next year, the list of those that we believe should be held accountable will be confirmed and then there must be a prosecution."

Note that Bishop says the DSB 'confirmed' the details of the shooting down, which were still  mostly referred to as 'alleged' before this final report. Also she completely ignores the most basic legal necessities of proof, both of culpability and of intent to commit murder. While her ABC interviewer appears a bit more cautious, he has already shown no doubt that Russians of some kind were responsible:

Barrie Cassidy: "Now, you mentioned the chain of command, they made no findings on that to this point about whether Russia, as a country, was in any way implicated but where does that leave Putin in all of this?"

Julie Bishop: "The investigation has confirmed that it was a Russian military BUK missile that came in from - they know where it left in Russia and they know where it ended up when it went back to Russia."

Barrie Cassidy: "That could have been a rogue act, and not in any way associated with the country as such?"

Just to clarify - Cassidy is not talking about a rogue act by the Ukrainian army or foreign agents, but seems to have some strange idea about Russians 'not associated in any way with the country as such', yet Bishop understands what he means, and makes these astonishing assertions:

Julie Bishop: "I will leave that to the final investigation. You're right, there could be other possibilities but I think from the outset the Australian Government has been of the view that Russia has questions to answer. And this puts the spotlight back on President Putin. They are already trying to discredit the investigation, in fact they've been doing that for some time. And seeking to deflect focus from Russia on others, their theories are improbable, implausible.

Theories? Since when did Russia's radar evidence, produced two days after the crash, constitute a 'theory', and an 'improbable, implausible' one at that?

Isn't this actually a description of the whole case that Australia, Holland and their US masters concocted, kept alive for two years, and now have had 'confirmed' by their own rigged 'investigation'? Was there anything at all in the DSB report that was NOT a theory, or a selective interpretation of the physical evidence designed to confirm the presumption of Russian guilt?

But then who needs evidence for a 'Kangaroo court', where the actions and guilt of the Russian Bears in the dock has already been decided, simply because bears are known for doing that sort of thing? We only have to look at Aleppo to see that!  Julie Bishop again:

"I believe that all options have to be on the table. It seems that Russia has given up any pretence of a ceasefire at this point and the violence and the atrocities going on in Aleppo are unprecedented."

Of course she's right in a sense - the 'accidental' strike on the Syrian army in Deir al Zour was unprecedented, as it was also a precedent. But the ABC didn't ask her about that!

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