A Window for Peace 1332


There is this morning a chink of light to avoid yet more devastation in the Middle East. Iran’s missile strikes last night were calibrated to satisfy honour while avoiding damage that would trigger automatically the next round. The missiles appear to have been fitted out with very light warhead payloads indeed – their purpose was to look good in the dark going up into the night sky. There is every reason to believe the apparent lack of US casualties was deliberate.

Even more important was the Iraqi statement that “proportionate measures” had been “taken and concluded” and they did not seek “further escalation”.

I agree their response was proportionate and I would say that I regard the Iranian action so far, unlike the assassination of Soleimani by the US, legal in international law.

The entire world should congratulate Iran for its maturity in handling the illegal assassination of its General, who was on a peace mission, travelling as a civilian on a commercial flight, carrying a mediation message the US had been instrumental in instigating. If as seems possible the US actively manipulated the diplomatic process to assassinate someone on a diplomatic mission and traveling on a diplomatic passport, that is a dreadful outrage which will come back to haunt them. Life insurance rates for US diplomats no doubt just went up.

It is also worth noting the 2.8% rise in the Lockheed share price in the 24 hours immediately before the Soleimani assassination, outperforming the Dow about three times. That would bear investigation. Arms manufacturers and oil stocks have soared this last few days – and remember that nowadays the vast bulk of financial transactions are bets on the margins of movement, so vast fortunes will have been made out of all this.

The UK has been, as ever, complicit in US crimes. Our laughingly so-called “defence” industry – when were its products last used in self-defence and not colonial adventure? – is tied in to and dependent on the US military machine. The current build-up of US troops and hardware in the Gulf has Mildenhall as a major staging post. We do not have to do this. Whether officially or on a pretext, French airspace was closed to the US military build-up and the Americans have had to fly from the UK, skirting France, around the Atlantic.

In a huge Boris Johnson slap in the face to international law, extra US bombers to attack Iran have been flown into Diego Garcia, in the Chagos Islands. You will recall that is where the UK committed genocide against the population in the 1970s to clear the way for the US military base. Last year, the UK lost a hearing before the International Court of Justice and was subsequently instructed by the UN to decolonise the islands and give them back to Mauritius by last November. The UK simply persisted in its illegal occupation and now is threatening the use of the islands as the base for yet another illegal and destabilising war.

That the UK is a permanent member of the UN security council is a disgrace which surely cannot endure much longer. What the current crisis has shown us is that under Johnson the UK has no future except as a still more compliant servant of whoever occupies the White House.

Wars are easy to start but hard to stop. Trump appears to have calmed, but we cannot rule out a stupid “last word” attack by the USA. It is to be hoped that Iran now concentrates on using the immense political leverage it has gained to get western troops out of Iraq, which would be a tremendous result for all of us after 17 years. But we cannot rule out hotter heads in the Iranian government insisting on further attacks, or attacks from regional forces whose Tehran authorisation is uncertain. On either side this could yet blow up badly.

I am a sucker for hope, and the best outcome would be for the US and Iran to start talking directly again, and a deal to be made from this break in the logjam that is wider than, and Trump can portray as better than, “Obama’s” nuclear deal and would enable the lifting of sanctions. I am sure Trump will be tempted by the chance to go for this kind of diplomatic coup under the political cover provided him by Soleimani’s assassination. But the US is now so tied in to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and thus tied in to irrational hostility to Iran, that this must be extremely unlikely.

For those of us in Scotland, this is still more reason why Independence must be early. We cannot be tied in to a rogue state. As we march for Independence on Saturday, the potential for war in Iran gives the sharpest reminder why we must leave the UK and form our own, peaceful, law-abiding state.

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1,332 thoughts on “A Window for Peace

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  • Alan Dow

    According to Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi
    “…he came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered from the Saudis to Iran. The prime minister also disclosed that Donald Trump had called him to ask him to mediate following the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. According to Iraqi officials contact was made with a number of militias as well as figures in Tehran. The siege of the embassy was lifted and the US president personally thanked Abdul-Mahdi for his help. There was nothing to suggest to the Iraqis that it was unsafe for Soleimani to travel to Baghdad – quite the contrary. This suggests that Trump helped lure the Iranian commander to a place where he could be killed.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/qassem-soleimani-death-iran-baghdad-middle-east-iraq-saudi-arabia-a9272901.html

    The US action is equivalent to firing on leaders meeting under a flag of truce. A low act.

    • Diego

      I posted the very same article above.because it tells the story just like it is, unlike most of the media (including The Guardian).

    • Tatyana

      Trump does not seem to understand at all what he woke up by the murder of Suleimani and the insane twitting in cultural sites. I am afraid that Trump doesn’t understand the ancient mosques, but towers only.

  • Chris Barclay

    The Iranian Government had two possible gains from the attack it instigated before Soleimani’s assassination on the US Embassy in Baghdad: force a troop withdrawal by the US or provoke a response that creates martyrs and justifies domestic repression. It got the latter.

    • pretzelattack

      it’s not “gaining” anything, it is responding to continued aggression in the middle east by the united states empire. the gain is when that stops happening. and by “domestic oppression” you probably mean letting mek have free rein to sabotage.

    • Laguerre

      Not a comment richly adorned with knowledge. The case for the former, the troop withdrawal, has been much advanced by the crisis. Domestic repression is not much the case either, unless you naively believe western propaganda.

    • SA

      Chris
      You start halfway through the incident with the attack on the US embassy, which incidentally was carried out by Iraqis in their capital. You ignore the lprevious story of killing over 30 Iraqis supposed to be allies and the many previous incidents of US/Israeli attacks on Hashd . Could this be driven by propaganda I wonder? Or is this genuine selective blindness?

  • michael norton

    In comments published by Iran’s conservative Mehr news agency, the head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation (CAO), Ali Abedzadeh, said: “We will not give the black box to the manufacturer and the Americans.”

    “This accident will be investigated by Iran’s aviation organisation but the Ukrainians can also be present,” he added.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-51044996
    I guess Russia might be requested to take the Black Boxes for decoding.
    How strange that while these shenanigans were unfolding the President of Russia was enjoying Christmas with the President of Syria in Damascus
    and that the New President of Ukraine was spending Christmas in the Gulf of Persia?

    Most surprizing is that in an Orthodox country like Ukraine, a newly elected President, would choose to spend his first Christmas in a Moslem country in the Gulf of Persia, the only explanation I can think of is that Volodymyr Zelensky
    was meeting or hoping to meet outside of Ukraine/Russia with Vladimir Putin?

      • SA

        Laguerre
        Orthodox christmas was 7rh January. If I am not mistaken today is 9th January, unless of course Christmas 2021 is what you are talking about.

        • Laguerre

          Sorry, you’re right. I thought it was later, but the point remains that Zelensky was not spending Xmas in a “Moslem” country.

          • Tatyana

            Zelensky was spending his holidays in Oman, I don’t believe it is a ‘christian’ country. Oman is bordering with Saudi Arabia, Yemen and UAE

          • SA

            Laguerre
            You seem to have lost your incisive touch old boy.
            “….but the point remains that Zelensky was not spending Xmas in a “Moslem” country.”

            Oman is a Muslim country, Zelensky flew there with his family I am not quite sure when but flew back on the 8th after the plane crash, he was very likely in a Muslim country on an 7th which is the Orthodox Christmas.

          • Laguerre

            Yes, he was in a so-called “Moslem” country, but he was not spending Christmas there.

          • SA

            Generally, when in a hole, stop digging.
            He left on 8th January, so he must have been there on 7th January 2020 which is the Orthodox Christmas day. He was in a Muslim country and was there during Christmas, so he spent Christmas in a Muslim country. Is that so difficult to understand?

          • Laguerre

            SA
            you must be an enthusiast of pedant’s corner in Private Eye. I wasn’t defending myself.

      • michael norton

        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke on Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky following the cancellation of the secretary’s planned trip to the region over the spiraling situation in the Middle East.

        The State Department on Monday said Pompeo discussed the situation in the Middle East with Zelensky and thanked the Ukrainian president for condemning the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

        Pompeo also reiterated the strong U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and underscored the long-term strategic partnership between the two countries.

        Pompeo was set to travel to Ukraine on Jan. 3, at a time when President Trump is set to face an impeachment trial over his push for Kyiv to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

        But Pompeo was forced to postpone his trip following the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31 by Iranian-backed militias.
        https://thehill.com/policy/international/476998-pompeo-speaks-with-ukrainian-president-zelensky

        This is too much of a coincidence.
        P. was due to go to Ukraine to put a wedge between the unfrosting of relations between Ukraine and Russia but because of the unfolding “uncertainties P. and Vlad and Assad and Zelensky seem to spend Orthodox Christmas in the Middle East.
        Then an American aircraft owned by Ukraine falls out of the sky in Iran.
        Is it a warning, perhaps or an Omen?

        • Rowan Berkeley

          Ukraine names Iran plane crash theories, including missile strike, Natalia Zinets, Reuters, Jan 9 2020

          KIEV – A top Ukrainian security official on Thursday set out what he said were the four main theories for why a Ukrainian airliner crashed in Iran the previous day killing 176 people, including a possible missile strike and terrorism. Alexei Danylov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, made his statement as an initial report by Iranian investigators said the plane, a Boeing 737-800, had been on fire immediately before it crashed. Ukraine is looking at various possible causes of the crash, including a possible missile attack, a collision, an engine explosion or terrorism, he wrote in a Facebook post. The crash happened hours after Iran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq, leading some to speculate that the plane may have been hit. But an initial assessment by Western intelligence agencies was that the plane had suffered a technical malfunction and had not been brought down by a missile, security sources told Reuters. Danylov said Ukrainian investigators in Iran wanted to search the crash site for possible debris of a Russian missile after seeing reports about its possible existence on the internet. He referred to an unverified image being circulated on Iranian social media purportedly showing the debris of a Russian-made Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile of the kind used by the Iranian military. Danylov separately told Ukrainian news site Censor.net: “Our commission is talking to the Iranian authorities about visiting the crash site and is determined to search for fragments of a Russian Tor air defence missile about which there was information on the internet. We will draw on expertise gained from our investigation into the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 over eastern Ukraine.”

    • SA

      Michael
      Zelenskiy may not be orthodox. Orthodox Christmas is not 25th December but 6/7 January.
      I am not sure of what you are trying to imply but again what does that have to do with the price of coffee?

    • Tatyana

      Michael Norton, I guess Putin may visited Damaskus for several reasons.

      On January 8 was also funeral of General Soleimani, there are rumors that Soleimani was that same person who convinced Putin to support Syria.

      Spending orthodox christmas in the Umayyad Mosque may seem strange, until you learn it is dedicated to John the Baptist, also known as muslim prophet Yahya. Okay, well, they also visited orthodox Patriarch of the East in St. Virgin Mary cathedral, so no issue with celebrating christmas 🙂

      btw, the cathedral was built as far ago as century II. Long before Columbus was even born, I suppose. Maybe reckless threats in someone’s Twitter alerted Putin, and he decided to visit the cathedral maybe for the last time?

      • Baalbek

        The pathetic Trudeau government will milk this “scandal” for all it is worth and the pathologically dishonest Canadian media, which regularly churns out propaganda pieces about Russia and China, can now add Iran to its list of countries to demonize.

        The Canadian government (and opposition parties) take their foreign policy cues from the American DoS and, despite his clownish SJW virtue signalling, the neoliberal Trudeau is a loyal supplicant to Zionist neocons and has his tongue lodged firmly in Trump’s (and Netanyahu’s when required) sphincter. The Canuck mainstream media and its 3-4 corporate owners absolutely never challenge US/Canadian foreign policy and neither does the “state owned” CBC or what passes for alternative media there.

        The Canadian public is shockingly ignorant about their country’s subservience to the Great Satan south of the border and truly believes Canada is all about fairness and peace and that every “third world” peasant dreams of relocating there. Several academic studies have demonstrated that Canadians are uniquely blinkered when it comes to assessing their nation’s role on the world stage. At least in the UK, and even in the US, there are still people who are skeptical of the self-serving nonsense peddled by the establishment friendly media.

  • SA

    An innocent observation.
    In 2001 Siberian airline flight 1812 was shot down over the Black Sea in error by Ukraine. Initially this was denied but subsequently was admitted.
    In 2014 Malaysia air flight MH17 was shot down over the war zone in east Ukraine. It is disputed as to who the culprit was.
    In 2020 Ukrainian civilian flight crashed after a possible explosion soon after takeoff. Too early to know what happened.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Nobody seems to have anything much to gain from blowing this plane up so I’m going to go with the accident theory on this occasion.

    • Martinned

      In 2014 Malaysia air flight MH17 was shot down over the war zone in east Ukraine. It is disputed as to who the culprit was.

      This is disputed only in the same way that global warming, tobacco causing cancer, and the benefits of austerity are. One side is evidence-based consensus, the other side is a bunch of people typing things on the internet because they are paid to do so or because the are useful idiots supporting previous.

      • pretzelattack

        lofl at sneaking in “the benefits of austerity” at the end there. the evidence based consensus is the opposite on that one.

        • Martinned

          Nope. No economist, regardless of their politics, endorses austerity. And pretty much none have since the errors in the Reinhardt-Rogoff paper were exposed.

          And you don’t have to take my word for that. There are all sorts of surveys among academic economists about questions like this. (Lefty) Simon Wren-Lewis summarises as follows:

          In the US, which for macroeconomics dominates and leads the UK, we have the IFM forum survey of leading economists. This has consistently shown a large majority believing that Obama’s 2009 stimulus helped reduce unemployment. In 2015 only 2% thought otherwise. In the same year the UK CFM survey showed that 66% disagreed with the statement that austerity had helped GDP. In the Financial Times (FT) survey at the end of 2013, 10 out of 12 academics said the 2013 recovery did not vindicate austerity. A report by the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office in 2014 said that IMF calls for stimulus in 2008/9 were “timely and influential”, but 2010 calls for fiscal consolidation were “premature” and the recommended policy mix “inappropriate”.

          The only real question is why the academic consensus was misrepresented to such a dramatic extent.

          http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/SPERI-Paper-36-What-Brexit-and-austerity-tell-us-about-economics-policy-and-the-media.pdf

  • Mary

    Raab has gone over to the US to give the nod to Pompeo.

    Dominic Raab says ministers ‘looking very hard’ at Iran nuclear deal after Donald Trump demands UK pull out
    https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/news/108934/dominic-raab-says-ministers-looking-very-hard-iran-nuclear

    Will that nuclear deal signed with Iran’s Mohammad Jarad Zarif in 2013 be torn up so that the world does become more dangerous?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_nuclear_deal_framework
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_nuclear_deal_framework

    • SA

      Tails I win heads you loose. The west’s relationship with Iran is highly abusive. A very fair nuclear deal was reached with Iran and the trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal. The country that should have been sanctioned is the US who broke their word and not Iran. The rest of those who signed the deal should have ignored the US sanctions on Iran who did nothing wrong in this regard. Every step taken by Iran has since then been defensive with regards to the economic strangulation but of course everyone in the west blames the victim.

    • Martinned

      Which sanctions does the EU have, exactly? Don’t paint Trump and the EU with the same brush, they have very different policies towards Iran.

      • Jack

        EU have the sanctions imposed with the americans through the UN and also additional sanctions EU themselves have put on Iran.

          • Andyoldlabour

            Martinned

            On 23rs August 2018, British Airways cancelled its Heathrow – Tehran service, saying that it was not economically viable. That was a blatant lie, they were doing it to fall inline with US sanctions imposed by Trump. There is currently an EU oil embargo on Iran and the SWIFT banking system was withdrawn by the EU from Iran.

          • Martinned

            Yes, the oil embargo is still in place, I think.

            BA doing things because they’re worried about US sanctions is not the same as the EU imposing sanctions. That is even true in the financial space, where US sanctions have particularly strong extraterritorial effects. (Because of the importance of New York as a financial hub.)

            BTW, by “show me” I ideally meant a link to the actual sanctions decision. Those are all published, because the EU doesn’t do secret lawmaking.

          • Martinned

            P.S. It turns out that the Commission has a super-snazzy “sanctions map”. There’s still quite a list for Iran, though it’s not always clear how hard these bite, and how they have changed over time. (That is, I’d expect them to be substantially weaker than the sanctions that were in place before the JCPOA, because that’s what Iran got out of that deal.)

            https://sanctionsmap.eu/#/main/details/17,18/?search=%7B%22value%22:%22%22,%22searchType%22:%7B%7D%7D

    • Baalbek

      Exactly. Cockburn at the Independent wrote an excellent piece a few months ago likening punitive US sanctions to siege warfare. People who keep praising Trump for his ‘restraint’ and reluctance to launch a shooting war forget this. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

    • Harry law

      Yes Jack, 500,000 children dead through sanctions, US Secretary of State M Albright said “It was a price worth paying”.

  • Al Dossary

    The mystery of the reason for the Ukranian flight aside, this whole sorry episode is a disaster for the US.

    The Patriot missile system has been shown to be completely ineffective, both in the Abquaiq attack and the one on the airbases yesterday. All those countries using Patriot as their primary defence system against aerial attack must now be worried. They now know that this system can not protect them.

    Contrast that to the 126 or so missiles targeted on Syria last year some 80% of which were destroyed by the Syrian defenses. The S300 ans S400 systems must now be tempting them.

    Perhaps the US could take out some of the Iranian missiles, but the response would be huge from Iran. In the meantime the fake news has been circulated that the Iranians threatened to take out Dubai!

    The entire arab region now knows that Trump and the US can not be trusted to their word. Not now, not ever. Trump is reported by the former Iraqi PM as having demanded that Iraq give 50% of its oil revenues as payment for its “protection”. He is suppsed to have threatened to station Navy Seals around Baghdad to take out both civilian and military targets during the protests (Ukraine / Croatia anyone?).

    Never mind the fact that they have been acting as air cover for the various rebel factions in Syria and Iraq. They are pure and simple the biggest funder of terrorist activity in the world.

  • SA

    A window for peace
    And this window may soon disappear. The falling into place of the ‘landslide’ election of Johnson and his well know affinity with Trump does not bode well for world peace. The only hope for that is that Europe, including Britain, stand up against the belligerence of Trump and refuse to offer a fig leaf. This shows no sign of happening. Those of us concerned about how the issues we care about will soon be swept away should please heed the call by Kim Sanders-Fisher and in recruiting others in this forum
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/forums/topic/elections-aftermath/
    Please could all who are interested read what Kim has been doing because even if there may not be proof of actual stolen elections this time, she has made two things clear, that there is creeping unsupervised privatisation of the electoral process, and that the Electoral commission lacks real teeth.
    We need a constitutional lawyer to look at these issues, we need data analysts to try and analyse the data and we need to bring this to wide notice. This is extremely important because of the overarching nature of the consequences.
    The other day, I think it was the 7th, there was a meeting in Parliament where Johnson was not present and Ben Wallace, the defence secretary stood up for him. In answer to Corbyn’s question as to the whereabouts of the PM at this time of crisis, he said something to this effect “The PM is busy running the country, unlike you who never will, he does not need to attend parliament.”
    This is a very strong signal that Johnson has now done away with any form of parliamentary scrutiny because of his majority. This is extremely sinister and is something that was hinted on during the election. If Parliament has become toothless then this is a downward spiral to autocracy.

    • SA

      Jack
      What is the purpose of your answer to my above note? Your obsession with the EU and that they are the instrument of the US id becoming rather tedious. We all know that the US blackmails and controls everyone because of their financial control and their destructive power, but the answer is not for UK to leave itself open to the US as has happened as a result of Brexit and the Tories winning this election through some sort of collusion between the press and other agencies. You ignore the main message of my post and indulge your obsession. I think you should focus on real issues.

      • Jack

        SA

        Weird response I havent even brought up Brexit?

        My response is to this claim “The only hope for that is that Europe, including Britain, stand up against the belligerence of Trump and refuse to offer a fig leaf”.

        I then told you that this wont happen since European nations are not against what US are doing.If you agree with that, why do you hope for europeans to act against Trump?

  • DiggerUK

    I don’t see how the USA has any significant strategic interest in the Middle East anymore beyond keeping it unstable. They are net energy exporters at home, and are on the brink of controlling the biggest global oil reserves in Venezuela. The Monroe doctrine is once again being played out it seems, I think that’s a game Trump could go for gladly.

    It looks as if there are a range of negotiating positions for most of the players involved in the Middle East, it’s not yet clear which player is going to be thrown under the bus though…_

  • Republicofscotland

    A few points on the Iranian plane crash that might point to foul play, firstly, the plane reached an altitude of at least eight or nine thousand feet, generally ruling out a collision with a flock of birds rending both engines useless.

    Secondly as some have already pointed out the widespread scattering of small pieces of debris from the plane, and over a significant area.

    Thirdly the plane was just four years old, it had been checked over a couple of days earlier and on the fateful day, it was flown by experienced pilots. Also what could have been so catastrophic, that the experienced crew were unable to make an emergency call before going down.

    Reading experts opinions on the matter, some have said a missile or onboard bomb, would’ve led to the pilots fighting for control of the aircraft, leaving them little time to tell anyone on the ground what was going on.

    One less sinister event couldve occured that is catastrophic mechanical failure of the engines, though for both engines to go out at the same time possibly with unrelated reasons is very rare indeed.

  • Robyn

    I wonder what the hold-up is with finding Iran fully responsible for the plane crash. Russia’s responsibility for MH17 was determined within 24 hours.

    • Tatyana

      surprising unanimity, Ukraine from the first hours rejected the version of the attack, and even Western intelligence managed to stick its nose in and reported back – there’s nothing to look at. That all makes me invent the wildest ideas.

    • John Pretty

      Which is one reason why I think still think that this was probably an accident. The US is not usually slow to pin blame on innocent parties if it can get away with it.

      Had there been any sort of missile hit this plane I am confident that it would have been detected already and we would be seeing “open source” footage of it.

      With MH17 there was little doubt that it had been brought down by a missile. The only question was whose missile was it. Immediately blaming it on Russia was crass and politically motivated.

      This seems to me a reasonably good piece from the BBC, which does not apportion blame:
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-51044996

      • Paul Barbara

        @ John Pretty January 9, 2020 at 12:30
        There was also evidence pointing to it being brought down by fighter machine gun fire.There was also a whistleblower who worked on an airbase who said he saw a plane take off with anti-aircraft missiles, then return without them, with the pilot looking visibly shaken.
        So it may have been a belt & braces job, with the perps intent on bringing MH 17 down.

        • Cap'n Klonk

          Yes, I was also going to remind John that the fighter gunfire explanation was actually more plausible on a number of questions than s-a missiles.

          Worth remembering that that UAF pilot was suicided not long after,

          • Kempe

            Except that there were over 800 holes in the fuselage and neither of the aircraft said to have shot it down carries more than 250 rounds for its onboard cannon.

          • Cascadian

            30mm cannon shells are explode on penetration – the result being that, for a single entrance hole there are a multitude of exit holes. I have pictures of this effect somewhere – taken on Nicosia airport following the 1974 war, there were some Nissen huts and hangars peppered with this kind of damage from Turkish aircraft strafing them.

    • Tom Welsh

      Maybe this attack was unplanned or planned at short notice. MH17 was planned months ahead.

      • John Pretty

        Attack by whom Tom and for what purpose?

        There is a lot of speculation about this tragedy, but i am still not clear on who it is that most people consider is likely to have carried out the atrocity (assuming for a moment that it was not an accident) and what they hoped to gain from it. Killing civilians is always a war crime.

        I’m not an expert on MH17, but I am not aware that it was months in the planning.

        • Tom Welsh

          This relatively short video explains. http://thesaker.is/the-truth-about-what-happened-to-mh17-a-video-investigation/

          In brief, MH17 was shot down deliberately by a BUK missile fired by the Ukrainian armed forces. The atrocity was elaborately planned for months beforehend, with such little tricks as recording Donbas militiamen talking on their phones, then editing the recordings to make them appear to refer happily to shooting down planes. British intelligence agents were apparently on the scene, and I suspect the CIA too – although they were careful not to leave traces as the British did.

          On the big day, Ukrainian flight control directed MH17 to fly right over the conflict zone where the UAF men waited with their BUK. By an odd coincidence both civilian and military radar covering the area were both down at the time! American stallites certainly saw and recorded everything, but oddly enough that data has never been published.

          Nevertheless Obama, Kerry and other popped up literally within minutes to blame Russia. Kerry claimed to have “a mountain of evidence” – none of which ever materialized. Then the investigation was rigged to exclude Russia and give Ukraine a veto over all information – rather like giving a man on trial for murder the right to exclude any evidence he didn’t like.

          The purpose? Obviously to embarrass and obstruct Russia. At the time the UAF was pressing Donbas hard, and there was fear in Kiev and Western capitals that Russia might intervene with a military invasion of Easten Ukraine. (In fact, the Russians were clever enough to see that provocation coming and Mr Putin refused to take the bait).

          • Kempe

            Not fighter aircraft then? (See above)

            It’s the multiple alternative theories that prove the Russians are lying.

          • John Pretty

            @ Tom, @ kempe

            Thank you both, but for me the matter is not entirely settled.

            With respect Tom, I don’t think it was planned, but Kempe nor do I think that the Russians did it.

            I personally will keep an open mind as to the party who was responsible for MH17.

          • Martinned

            Yes, that’s definitely what happened to MH17.

            But seriously, what happened to you that you got so enthusiastically stuck in such obvious conspiracy theories that are so obviously propaganda? Have you been laid off work under unfortunate circumstances? War vet with PTSD? American who watches too much Infowars?

          • Spencer Eagle

            Tom Welsh…that should be compulsory viewing for anyone still shouting it was Russia.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Kempe January 9, 2020 at 16:13
            There could well have been both – a (Ukranian) Buk hit it but it was still flying, and then a fighter aircraft went in and finished the job. That was definitely muted at the time.
            Belt and braces.

    • Doghouse

      It’s the perfect opportunity to lay some serious beat down on Iran and for the Western masters of the beat down en mass to refuse the opportunity amid such a critical crisis along with their media orks, at a time when sanctions are being dished out with no end, is quite frankly unprecedented in this millennium. They could even lay a few revenge beats on their favourite whipping boy Russia into the bargain. Nada.
      Difficult to account for it……

      Although a couple of reasons spring to mind.

  • N_

    This is on-topic because it’s about decision making at the core of the state, which includes in times of “international crisis” and war: people should read this piece by Dominic Cummings on “high performance government” and “cognitive technologies”. I hope the mods leave this contribution up, because said work by Cummings, the real head of the British government, directly and explicitly concerns for example the operation of the Cabinet Office Briefing Room, “Cobra”.

    I read that article for the first time only yesterday. It seems I was right when I wrote in a comment here that “I would wager a pound to a penny that Cambridge mathematician and notorious self-regarder Timothy Gowers will be given some work in the State of Dominic.” (I also wrote “I smell Trinity College, Cambridge.”) It turns out that towards the end of the above-referenced article Cummings writes that “someone like David Deutsch or Tim Gowers” should be appointed to the cabinet as its “chief rationalist”. It had already occurred to me that on Cummings’s suggestion Gowers could be appointed not merely as an adviser or as the head of some unit at the Cabinet Office, but to the cabinet itself. I will not be at all surprised if he is.

    Cummings also suggests that Scott Alexander could be appointed as Gowers’s or Deutsch’s deputy. Alexander had not yet crossed my radar. He has a blog here: Slate Star Codex.

    In recent days I had been teetering on the edge of deciding that Cummings was not a nutter after all! But even a quick skim of Alexander’s work suggests that Alexander is seriously mental. Anyone who wants such a person appointed to a senior role in the British state, as its deputy “chief rationalist”, is as mad as a hatter and dangerous with it. Mark Sedwill needs to take a bloody close look at this,

    Another prediction I’d like to offer is that unless Cummings is stopped “Total Information Awareness” (remember “Terrorism Futures”, a market for betting on terror attacks?) will make a comeback, this time in the heart of the British state. These guys are serious about deciding a) long-term government strategy, b) policy, and c) what to do in times of crisis, by means of cooperation/averaging among (AI-enhanced) “super-experts”. That is exactly the kind of thinking that has caused computer programs to soar ahead of human competition in the worlds of both chess and go. But extrapolating from that very narrow area of human activity – basically a play hobby for a small minority of men who like working with systems which, while extremely complex, rest on known fixed assumptions – to the area of government and society in general is obviously insane. We are so deeply in need of a radical women’s movement that doesn’t talk sh*t!

    • S

      What makes you think Gowers would take up such a post? Deutsch’s politics is well known, but I don’t know Gowers’?

      • N_

        Gowers was strongly pro-Remain as late as the EU election and has backed the Greens. That’s no impediment for Cummings. Is there any reason to think it would be for Gowers?

    • Stuart MacKay

      That’s immensely interesting. I read Scott Alexander’s blog for a while and I believe it and he is well regarded in tech circles – at least in California. What we are most likely seeing is the “Googlization” of government where the believe that data, algorithms and automation can make a better fist than fleshy, fallible humans. There’s a also a strong smell of China’s technocratic approach which I think a lot of Western governments secretly admire.

      Is this a good thing? Well if you believe in democracy, then for all it’s faults, then the answer is a resounding “No!”. Will it make a difference? Well it might and it might be for the better. Will this new approach be accountable? I guarantee it won’t – just look at Google’s famously callous customer service. Will it be used to justify all kinds of outrange? You can bet on it. Data is the new religion.

      • N_

        In this talk (starting at 25:00), Dominic Cummings talks (positively) of “people from Silicon Valley” taking over the “communications industry” the way they’ve taken over other “industries”.

        He knows where he’s coming from. His geopolitical understanding isn’t still in the days of Bismarck. He wants to avoid the Thucydidean “trap” of trying to keep Sparta China in its place, especially when much of the Chinese elite sends its offspring to be educated in the West anyway. He wants to create a global monster that includes China, its (soon to be) smaller partner the US, and both powers’ little brother Britain (known for science in Oxford and Cambridge – oh yes and for a massive Google HQ in London but he doesn’t mention that). Remnants of the EU once it supposedly breaks up will also be asked in. If successful it will realise George Orwell’s nightmare of a boot stamping on a human face forever.

        In his oeuvre he doesn’t seem to say much about Google. Instead he refers to PARC a lot and he has praised Apple as very well managed – a high compliment indeed, given how he criticises the terrible management in the British state machine and typically at large companies too – and he has praised Mark Zuckerberg at least by implication and also Peter Thiel, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett. His relative silence about Google is remarkable.

        Does he basically belong to Google?

        Those who raise an eyebrow at that question should ask what percentage of say the top 100, or the top 10, scientists in the field of “data science” are either employed by Google directly or indirectly or are as good as working for Google insofar as they assume that anything they come up with that has any mileage will be bought or wielded by Google. Does anyone compete with Google in any field where Google doesn’t want them to?

        I reached the view a while back that the Marxist understanding (even mine) of the state needs to be revised so as to conceive of Google (and probably Facebook too, but Google in particular) as part of the state. That does not mean the company takes its orders from the official government of the US or any other country. It means it is part of the administrative and strategic (and ever MORE administrative and strategic) machine that we call “the state”, including in the sense that that machine has interactive or “democratic” or “public” (“public” becoming an increasingly outdated word) “arms” which it has made considerable use of in most advanced countries for a century or so. The ramifications of this observation have yet to be worked out. From Montesquieu’s “separation of powers” to the software engineer’s “separation of concerns”?

        Marx’s take on the “concentration of capital” does not need to be revised to such an extent. The financial investment concept of “alpha” after which Google’s parent company “Alphabet” is named basically IS Marx’s concept of the concentration of capital under a different name.

        There’s little theoretical opposition to how things are going. About the best we’ve got at the moment is Carole Cadwalladr who observes (accurately) that “Facebook broke democracy” but doesn’t connect the dots.

        It’s interesting that Cummings who has so much to say about so many subjects and who is clearly someone who seeks a profound understanding of stuff, should use “gender studies” as a kind of stock subject that he sneers at. I’m no cheerleader for any faction of academia, in science or social science or the humanities, but what a strange habit that is for a man like Cummings who is so keen on “behavioural genetics”! 🙂 (He wants to kill off most of social science, sending half of what’s still alive to biology and the other half to art. Art for the privileged, that is. I guess even Silicon Valley billionaire tossers want to go to concerts sometimes. Or their wives do.) It’s especially strange, given how the whole “next stage of evolution” “data science and AI” riff is so deeply about male domination.

        • Stuart MacKay

          It will be domination by a small cadre of males – the ones that either write and maintain the decision making systems that run the country or the ones that supervise the whole process. There simply won’t be much room for anyone else in this highly efficient, techno-utopia. Without being overly dramatic, it was IBM’s tabulating machines that made the Holocaust possible. This is simply a re-run but the people who are building don’t have enough of a worldview to understand the implications of what they are doing. There’s a reason Abraham Lincoln’s statement of “… government of the people, by the people, for the people…” is so vitally important. Diversity of thought has nothing to do with being nice to minorities or giving the under-privileged a say and has everything to do with not painting yourself into a corner where you start to do things that you really ought not to. Oceania is being created before our eyes and it’s going to take a lot of blood and tears to stop it if it gets too far.

          “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” C.S Lewis.

        • MartinMerseine

          “I reached the view a while back that the Marxist understanding (even mine) of the state needs to be revised so as to conceive of Google (and probably Facebook too, but Google in particular) as part of the state.”

          The State Ideological Apparatuses

          In order to advance the theory of the State it is indispensable to take into account not only the distinction between state power and state apparatus, but also another reality which is clearly on the side of the (repressive) state apparatus, but must not be confused with it. I shall call this reality by its concept: the Ideological State Apparatuses.

          we can for the moment regard the following institutions as Ideological State Apparatuses … :

          – the religious ISA (the system of the different churches),
          – the educational ISA (the system of the different public and private ‘schools’),
          – the family ISA,
          – the legal ISA,
          – the political ISA (the political system, including the different parties),
          – the trade-union ISA,
          – the communications ISA (press, radio and television, etc.),
          – the cultural ISA (literature, the arts, sports, etc.).

          Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses
          Louis Althusser
          “Lenin and Philosophy” and Other Essays, 1970

          https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/althusser/1970/ideology.htm

    • Spencer Eagle

      N-..Glad the mods have kept this up, good piece. Cummings seems to have cottoned on to processes and systems that have been used by business and manufacturing for 70 years, only he alarmingly thinks they can be applied to running a government. Someone should send him that poster of midsize SUV’s, all photographed from the side, and ask him why you can’t tell them apart.

  • John Pretty

    I found an interesting piece by Alex Christoforou and Alexander Mercouris of the Duran a couple of days ago in which the likely diplomatic role of Russia in this crisis was discussed. The piece is around 20 minutes long, but only the first 20 minutes is relevant to the topic under consideration.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY5wKnVdcrA
    [Russia ramps up diplomacy to provide off ramp options to Iran & USA]

    • John Pretty

      “If it weren’t for #QasemSoleimani’s efforts, you wouldn’t enjoy security in London today”.

      That’s interesting Jay. Do you have any information on what Rouhani was referring to? The fight against ISIS?

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Americans are evacuating bases in NE Syria and retreating to the Barzani fiefdom of Iraqi Kurdistan.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200109-syria-us-forces-withdraw-from-2-bases-in-hasakah/

    Let’s be analytical as to what just happened. The IRGC fired around 20 medium range ballistic rockets straight down the throats of American, Patriot anti-missile batteries and not ONE was shot down. If the Patriot system had been able to claim even a 50% success rate, Trump’s press conference could have gone in a radically different direction.
    The question that cannot be tolerated by the MSM is “WTF didn’t our mega-expensive weapons system work?”. Saved by the greed and incompetence of the American MIC.

    • Kempe

      I thought the US had stated its intention to pul out of Syria months ago, the picture in the article is dated 21st October.

      Still waiting for proof Patriot was deployed at the base.

    • Fedup

      At last someone has noticed the almost non event of IRGC hitting two American bases 15 missiles land on alasad and 7 missiles land on altadji , given the accuracy of the hits from the commercial satellite images available. Also given that alasad is the most advanced and well equipped base in Iraq, and fact that since the night of the strikes no Iraqi personnel have been allowed access to the base or even near the base.

      Meanwhile back at the ranch we have been subject to the smoke up our collective nether regions treatment by the echo chamber media. We are led to believe that IRGC have bussed the missiles by land as near as they could get to the target (30 miles) then jemmy the transported missile onto the ground during which the side of the missile has been torn off and this is to hide its origins !!!! (BBC) Attention must be drawn to the fact that the missile is in three pieces and either this is only due to ingenuity of the Iranian engineers to have manufactured an almost indestructible, and robust missile that even after impact it stays intact. Or the former proposition that it ls been transported by land.

      Picking anyone of the options above, however the dud missile not exploding has been incapable to even singe the dry shrubbery around it (Sky), clearly points to lack of know-how on the part of the Iranian engineers. That their state of the art missile cannot even be used as an oversized matchstick!

      On the other hand the altadji base hits have produced not even a decent sized pothole on the ground although it has been a great source of income for for the local Iraqi scrap collectors even though in other images we are led to believe that the amount of scrap is not much either.

      The infantile narrative fed to us all by the echo chamber media holds that despite the green shrubs around the missile impact site, and the obviously dry tinder like shrubbery around the missile were not set alight by the useless missile that flew and glided to the ground and didn’t even manage to set the tinder dry bushes alight*. On the other hand when it managed to explode having impacted and done its job it has clearly left no damage at all!

      Therefore we can safely conclude that eight tonnes of high explosives landing dead on target in alasad base obviously has not caused as much as even a scratch on the paint work of a truck on that base!

      Although these contradictions somehow are of no concern for those debating here and elsewhere. Instead all the attention is being diverted to the crash of the airliner and the theories thereof. Not a diversion at al! That is why Adam Bolton was trying to get the reporter he was talking to say; “the explosion before the fire” on the film clip circulating around the internet, to which the reporter on live broadcast responded; “I have not seen anything like that”!

      * Noticing the discolouration of the ground around the missile of course is not any indication of the photos having been taken from Saddam’s old scuds that were destroyed. We are not to trust our sense and reasoning even though the clear patch of dried up bushes around the missile are different to the back ground greenery. Despite these inconsistencies, and contradictions we are to assume it was a miserable none functioning IRGC missile that did not even mange to make a pothole! These operatives should think of us all as dumb as a post to treat us all to such an infantile narrative, don’t anyone find that a tad insulting?

      • Spencer Eagle

        Fedup…why no ‘bomb craters’? the damage in the photos is from the impact of missiles debris. Even when they are intercepted there is still several thousand pound of junk hurtling into the ground at mach+ speed – they don’t disappear in a puff of smoke when hit.. A successful hit from a scud type missile with a 900 kg warhead would leave a very obvious crater 15m in diameter and around 10m deep and extensively damage buildings for up to 400m around, the damage in the satellite photos is very local. We can conclude missiles were intercepted.

  • Q

    Many of the Canadian victims of the plane crash in Iran were from one city: Edmonton, Alberta.

    https://globalnews.ca/news/6383835/memorial-service-edmonton-victims-tehran-iran-plane-crash-friday/

    This air tragedy is the greatest loss of Canadian lives since the 1985 Air India terror attack.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadian-victims-by-disasters-1.5419591

    A CBC radio report today revealed that one of the victims sent a message as the plane was going down, saying, “I’m leaving now,” and asking for a promise that there will be no war. I am unable to find a transcript of the radio report.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Donald Trump – the bad driver
    Some friends got together and set out to have a good time. When it was time to go home they designated one to be the driver. His name was Donald Trump.
    Before they set out each told Trump the best route to travel to get them home easily and safely. Much to their surprise Trump set out on a path unknown to all of them.
    As they drove along they explained to Trump, quite sagaciously, that he would encounter a few things along the road which should be left in place. They emphasised the importance of health care and the JCPOA, one for reasons of health and the other for reasons of security. Much to their surprise, when Trump arrived at the juncture of health care, he tried to overturn it in its entirety. Next, as he continued driving he reached to directional sign named JCPOA and this time he stopped and removed the entire sign with nothing to put in its place. The passengers began to wonder if he was in his sound mind.
    Further down the road they noticed that he was speeding and that a pedestrian was crossing. They warned him to be careful. As he came nearer to the pedestrian, he increased his speed, drove directly into him and killed him. The pedestrian’s name was Soleimani. In consequence, the pedestrian’s family upon learning of the death vowed to take revenge against Trump and all the passengers.
    The passengers became very fearful and one even asked Trump to stop and let him out, although he was several miles away from his home. For his own safety he thought it better to walk than continue with this reckless driver. Despite other protestations – would Trump listen? Instead he just kept speeding on as he liked with his erratic driving.

  • KD

    I wonder what each and everyone of the 600 + Americans he killed were doing on the days they died by his hands/orders. I’m sure they were thinking about their lives, children, jobs etc. He’s a terrorists!! He lived and died that way.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Surprisingly, he was a partner with the US in the fight against terrorists.

      Fact – not fiction.

    • Jack

      I wonder how anyone could defend acts of war, murder on a blog’s comment section. Whats going on in such twisted mind? How was the upbringing for such indivudal?

    • Magic Robot

      KD
      January 9, 2020 at 16:26
      What a peculiar comment.
      The US and UK weren’t supposed to be there – the invasion of Iraq was illegal.
      If you entered someone’s house, for example on a bogus pretext, do you believe you could then complain about your treatment from the householder?
      How was the invasion of Iraq any different (apart from the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s murderd in the illegal venture)?

    • Andyoldlabour

      KD

      When did the 600 die then, I must have missed that. Where abouts in the US were they killed?

    • craig Post author

      There is not, to my knowledge, a single American civilian death linked to Soleimani. The 600 figure is simply the number of American troops killed during the invasion of Iran which the Pentagon attribute to Shia militias.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The 600 figure is simply the number of American troops killed during the invasion of Iran which the Pentagon attribute to Shia militias”.

        Or, as I would slightly amend that,

        The 600 figure is simply the number of American troops killed during the illegal invasion of Iran which the Pentagon attribute to Iraqi patriots.

        As the invasion was an unprovoked war of aggression – the supreme international crime – everything stemming from it was the fault of the aggressor (the USA).

        Any Americans who were killed or injured have only themselves to blame, as they were committing the supreme international crime for which men were hanged at Nuremberg.

        And please don’t say, “but they were only following orders”.

        • Tom Welsh

          For “Iran” please read “Iraq”.

          Thank you, Kempe.

          That will teach me to quote without critical attention.

  • Duncan

    Craig, I admit to being paranoid, but sometimes paranoid people are indeed followed.
    What if?

    Fragments of the US drone that was used to assassinate Soleimani were recovered by the Iranians and deposited at the crash site near the fallen Ukrainian 737.
    The drone positively identified as a US military weapon, which of course is undeniable.
    I imagine there are quite a few US satellites looking at Tehran anyway. ( Yes, I realise they are at a higher altitude, but the US using drones would not be too much of a stretch.)

  • Q

    If the air tragedy can be expressed in a single image, it is the image of a little red shoe, found here:

    https://amp.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/chilling-first-photos-of-the-ukrainian-plane-crash-site-in-iran/news-story/cbb698569f37d281ef0178162b696642

    I hope that Iran allows Canada to join the team investigating this incident. It won’t change what has already happened, but the grief needs answers that Iran alone cannot provide.

    https://www.iheartradio.ca/newstalk-1010/news/trudeau-138-people-on-board-the-plane-that-crashed-in-iran-were-connected-to-canada-1.10407124

    • Andyoldlabour

      Q

      It was Canada who decided to break off diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012, not the other way around. The reason was that Iran was helping Assad in Syria, so we can only presume that Canada was supporting Daesh.

      • Q

        The Stephen Harper government was sent packing in 2015. Damage done in closing embassies and terminating diplomatic relations is not easily undone. Harper now chairs the International Democrat Union.

  • Jack

    Coverage went from US aggression against Iran to the airplane crash with western victims and Iran that must be blamed for it. Its like the US assassination is already forgotten by the mainstream media.

    • Martinned

      Welcome to the 24-hour news cycle. Do you also want to complain about Kids And Their Phones?

      • Jack

        Its not about news coverage 6 12 or 24 hours but what the news organisation choose to cover certain topics.

        • Martinned

          Their business model is basically to keep talking about something until the next story comes along. If you want to gripe about anything, a better target is to complain about Harry & Meghan pushing everything else off the front pages, because that doesn’t really seem to be at par with war in the Middle East.

          • pretzelattack

            their business model often loses money, see the washington post. when they cover the middle east they often lie.

          • Martinned

            Well, yes, that’s why they often lie/misrepresent the truth. If they tried to be more precise about the truth, they’d lose even more money. (Because then the news would be less entertaining.)

    • Jack

      They havent attacked Iraq, they have attacked a US base. US breached not only the sovreignity of Iraq but murdered iraqi citizens, and have for months.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Jack,

        ” US breached not only the sovreignity of Iraq but murdered iraqi citizens, and have for months.”

        Consider that from 2003 the US was not invited into Iraq and the US did violate the UN Charter and international law.

        That is a fact.

        • Martinned

          @Courtenay Barnett: Indeed. (But that is irrelevant for the question of whether the Iranian attack was lawful.)

      • Martinned

        Yes, but the US violating Iraqi sovereignty doesn’t excuse Iran doing the same. Flying bombs over Iraqi territory without consent violates Iraqi sovereignty, regardless of the ultimate target. (Which, for the avoidance of doubt, was also Iraqi territory.)

        • Courtenay Barnett

          Martinned,

          “Flying bombs over Iraqi territory without consent violates Iraqi sovereignty, ”

          You are not getting it – if – again – is the situation – I give you a green light to fly over my air space – then – where is the violation under international law?

          Cuba has an air corridor and international flights pass through same – ergo – since Cuba granted permission – where is there any violation of Cuban sovereignty?

          Now – do you get it?

          • Tom Welsh

            When the Russians fired cruise missiles from the Black Sea at terrorists in Syria, the Iraqi government gave permission. I am quite sure they did so in this case, too. Especially as there was a high-level meeting of all Iraqi anti-American groups the day before – and it was held in Tehran.

            When a nation has been illegally invaded, had its government illegally dissolved and its President illegally murdered, and when that nation gathers its strength to eject the invaders – it does not complain about foreign friends who help it.

        • John Pretty

          Martinned, surely the point here is to ask whether the Iraqi government have protested about Iran targeting US military bases on their territory?

          My guess is they haven’t and they are not going to. It is the United States that Iraq wants to be removed from it’s territory.

          • Martinned

            No the point is to ask whether Iraq gave prior consent for this operation, which they don’t seem to have done. (If they had, the matter would be different.)

          • fedup

            Iranians had informed the Iraqis about use of their air space by their missiles. This suspect character arguing here is shooting the breeze to obfuscate. It is his job!

          • Martinned

            You mean other than those bombs that exploded on Iraqi territory? Or are we going have to have an argument about whether there actually were bombs, or whether the Americans blew up their own bases?

          • Doghouse

            No need to argue a thing. Fact is this character has absolutely no idea whatsoever what agreement was reached between Iran and Iraq. Last person they would take into their confidence would be a Brit troll.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Martinned,

      ” if for no other reason than that they violated Iraqi sovereignty”

      If, as was the case, Iran forewarned Iraq that there would be an attack on US bases in Iraq – then let us think it through:-
      1. Is there any evidence that Iraq ( i.e. its government) objected to such attack?
      2. If, as is the case, there is no indication that the Iraqi government is raising any protest through the normal international channels – then?

      So – ergo – where is the violation of international law?

      • Martinned

        You may want to be cautious about an “if you don’t object it’s OK” kind of rule. The country most likely to argue that way is the US…

        • pretzelattack

          so you have no evidence. you didn’t do a very good job of creating uncertainty and doubt here.

          • Martinned

            O, Iran’s attack was illegal in any event, for the reasons discussed in the EJIL:Talk! post I linked to originally. (Simply put, you can’t claim self-defense when you’re no longer being attacked.)

            Whether you’re convinced by my point about Iraq’s sovereignty or not is entirely up to you.

    • Magic Robot

      Martinned
      January 9, 2020 at 17:19
      Bit late to worry about ‘Iraqi sovereignty’.
      16 years late.
      I imagine you would have been all for the invasion, at that time.
      What a faker.

      • Tatyana

        On the question of Iraqi sovereignty:
        the night of the attack I was surprised by the list of countries that hastened to withdraw their troops from Iraq.
        Germany, Spain, Croatia are withdrawing troops to Kuwait; the British military were not affected by the strike; 2 American military bases are under attack; etc.
        How much of them foreign troops there?

  • Martinned

    BTW, off topic, but is there any interest for outrage that the Spanish Supreme Court ignored the ECJ’s judgment and ordered that Oriol Junqueras should stay in prison? I don’t see how that’s not a violation of EU law, but it will be interesting to see how that can be fixed, given the Commissions’s shameful lack of appetite to get involved.

  • Laguerre

    I see the US is back at it again, only 24 hours later, with a very heavily splashed report about only anonymous intelligence analyses suggesting that the Ukrainian plane really was shot down by a missile. It’s being so heavily pushed that it’s occupied about half the Radio 4 PM programme so far.

    This is the next round from the War Party in the US – they are not going to let Trump off the hook. They’ll have him uttering more threats of war within 24 hours.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Laguerre – surely – if same comes from Trump’s lips – it must be true ( chuckle).

    • Laguerre

      By the way, re the suggestion I made yesterday that the plane could have been taken over and crashed externally, using a backdoor installed to prevent a hijacked plane repeating 911 (8th Jan 16:20), two people on Moon of Alabama kindly confirmed that Boeing aircraft are indeed so equipped.

      https://www.flightglobal.com/diagrams-boeing-patents-anti-terrorism-auto-land-system-for-hijacked-airliners/70886.article (haze | Jan 9 2020 7:38 utc | 411)

      and
      “Boeing planes had this function already before 9/11. Lufthansa, before 9/11, didn’t like it and requested it be removed/deactivated for their fleet – quite prescient and plucky for a vassal flag carrier. Remote control technology is old news and has been available at least since the 1960s. Remember it was a central element of the Operation Northwoods plan to crash US passenger planes via taking over remotely, then as a pretext for war blame it on Cuba to have shot them down.”(Boeing planes had this function already before 9/11. Lufthansa, before 9/11, didn’t like it and requested it be removed/deactivated for their fleet – quite prescient and plucky for a vassal flag carrier. Remote control technology is old news and has been available at least since the 1960s. Remember it was a central element of the Operation Northwoods plan to crash US passenger planes via taking over remotely, then as a pretext for war blame it on Cuba to have shot them down. (Posted by: Leser | Jan 9 2020 9:37 utc | 427)

      However I rather doubt this perfectly realistic suggestion is going to get as much attention, as the blame it puts is rather inconvenient.

      • Magic Robot

        Well put, Laguerre.
        We already have self-driving lorries and cars, remotely flown drones, even proportional radio control of large model aircraft was readily available to any schoolboy in the 1970’s.
        All modern aircraft are ‘fly by wire’, meaning no human need be present to operate the controls, at all.

      • Q

        Craig Murray’s Disappearing Aircraft thread covered this extensively back in the day, pertaining to MH370.

        Another couple of threads from back in 2012 covered the still-unsolved assassination of a British family of Iraqi origin in France, Not Forgetting the Al-Hillis, and Not Forgetting…Continued.

        Here we are again, with a story involving an Iraq angle and a Boeing crash, all rolled into one, eight years on.

        • Laguerre

          Exactly, I don’t fly on 737s any more, except in case of dire necessity. Airbus for me, though I should really do a Greta Thunberg and limit myself to surface transport.

  • Mary

    Just up on the BBC website. Categorical. No arguments.

    ‘Iran ‘mistakenly shot down Ukraine jet’ – US media
    18 minutes ago
    Iran mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian plane that crashed on Wednesday near Tehran with 176 people on board, US media report.
    US officials say they believe the Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800 was hit by a missile, CBS says.’

    CBS says, so it must be true. The BBC is more pathetic by the day.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-51055219

  • Clive P

    My guess would be that the airliner was shot down by a US stealth fighter that was monitoring movements in Iranian airspace. It would not be odd for the US to have surveillance (perhaps an AWACS as well) when they were expecting retaliation. It was shot down either by mistake or perhaps deliberately. But the US will not admit responsibility and instead Have got their client state, Ukraine, to blame Russia.

    • Kempe

      Cracking! Yes let’s start the conspiracy theories before we’ve even seen the evidence, well who needs evidence anyway.

      If, if, the US media reports are true then best course of action would be for Iran to apologise and fork out the compensation. There’s also the possibility this dreadful tragedy might cool things down and get the US and Iran back to talking but that might be a long shot.

      The report says the aircraft was destroyed by a Tor missile and what looks like the nose cap from one was allegedly found close to the crash site.

      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/1d79a7d4bdb3c78775b3c83924108cfccaef2e7e/0_0_3444_2067/master/3444.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=f6b38be21d84d8064b6ea7a94cd08fb6

      • Laguerre

        Of course, the US media reports are unlikely to be true. Why would they bother with the truth, when war party can simply push its agenda easier with half-lies and indeed full lies, as we’ve now discovered happens so easily in UK with Johnson? The US intelligence agencies have a lot, really a lot, of experience with faking imagery.

        • Kempe

          They are acknowledging that it was an accident, hardly very warlike, and the Iranians aren’t helping by trying to cover it up.

      • J

        The United States of America lure a celebrated Iranian General from Iran (a country they’ve persecuted for at least seventy years) to his death in Iraq, blowing him up in a big ball of fire, while pretending he is the terrorist even as they kill him in an act of terrorism in front of the worlds press. We watch spellbound as Iran ‘retaliates.’ An Iranian passenger plane crashes at the same moment.

        And here you are explaining and apologising for them and calling for evidence of implausible conspiracies.

        But dude, you yourself, you’re implausible. Your level of credulity should not exist at all. But since it does we may as well ask, why does it never seem to believe an incredible story at the expense of America? I mean, since we’re recalling the many official lines you’ve swallowed, why not any other kind?

        Asking for a friend.

  • Q

    In case I haven’t made it clear, my faith in the U.S. and their concern for the well-being of Canadians has been greatly diminished ever since the Meng Wanzhou affair. Two Canadians languish in Chinese prisons in apparent retaliation for Canada’s forced hand in enforcing our treaty with the U.S., while Wanzhou walks the streets of Vancouver in designer clothes, albeit under conditions, with an ankle bracelet. Hardly sharing a cell with dozens of others under 24-hour illumination, and likely not sharing one open toilet with that many in her mansion.

    And now, the plane crash in Iran, with so many Canadians killed, many of whom were dual Iranian citizens. Who to believe, Iran or the U.S.? How about neither? These were real people, with real families left behind, who deserve answers. I don’t expect they’ll get them. Perhaps the best outcome would be no war. It is what one passenger requested as the plane was in its final minutes.

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