Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eventually the Truth Comes Out

For the past week the world has been treated to a quadruple serving of some of the greatest calumny ever devised. A Malayan airliner was felled by what is believed to have been an air-to-air missile over the war zone in the eastern part of Ukraine. While the wreckage was still smoking the Ukrainian government intelligence service in Kyiv was distributing transcripts, in a number of languages, of what it said were "intercepts" of phone communications between rebels and 'Russian' commanders discussing the downing of an aircraft and then, later, attempting to 'cover up' by removing the supposed guilty rocket unit involved,  "back to  Russia."

While the wreckage cooled, apparently that was done and a series of out-of-focus and unclear photographs, ascribed to Ukrainian "spies" and observers were given as proof of the flight of the evildoers. Added to feeble and ill-coordinated attempts to deal with an humanitarian disaster dropped from the sky into the backwaters of an active battle field, the Eastern Ukrainians and their 'Russian' commanders were pilloried in the world press. Charged with everything from preventing observers from viewing the wreckage, to pilfering belongings, to abusing the dead, the few rescue workers (Ukrainian Rescue Service) and armed rebels on the scene were clearly overwhelmed by a crash site that extended over an area of 15 kilometers.

Almost first on the scene, aside from the local villagers, were the Ukrainian Rescue Service and firemen. They set up operations at the site and started work. At the end of day one they were criticized for not moving the dead to shelter. On day two, with the help of volunteer miners, they extended the search for the dead and began transporting some to facilities in Donetsk (the off-site dead, picked up from main streets, fields, and back yards, a nursery playground, a garden, a green house, etc. some 90 bodies in all.) On day three a supply of body bags permitted the gathering of corpses for transportation and on day four they were moved to a train of refrigerated cars pending transport to a larger centre. The Kyiv government claimed that moving the bodies was "tampering with evidence". That moving them on a truck was an indignity. The people at the scene were accused of removing parts of the aircraft and the black boxes and  refusing to let the international experts, waiting in Kyiv, attend the scene (government artillery began shelling an area within sight and sound).

After the bodies were removed, the site was virtually open to anyone - reporters from a number of organizations attended, one - from British Sky News -was filmed opening and sorting through a piece of luggage before he realized how inappropriate that was and stopped. Sky News made a public apology. Before they left (an observation made by OSCE) the Ukrainian rescue people had brought equipment in to move the larger pieces of wreckage, probably in search of bodies. That prompted more complaints from Kyiv, echoed in western media. Whoever ordered them to leave is not clear. The Rescue Service had been unaffected by the 'armed guard' and had not been interfered with. They seemed to be in contact with Kyiv.

Delegations from Malaya showed up first, and from Holland later the same day. The rebels released the bodies and the black boxes. The bodies were taken to Kharkov for 'preparation' by Ukrainian authorities - who were told they wouldn't be doing the forensics. The bodies were to be returned to Holland for identification and repatriation. The black boxes went to England.

 The site is apparently "deserted",  aeronautical experts from Malaya have appeared, but the Australian PM is 'demanding' that the UN mount an 'international force' to secure the crash site and the investigation. There are artillery battles going on in the immediate area - two more Ukrainian warplanes were downed nearby to-day. The site may fall into the hands of Ukrainian forces before an international force can get there.

The world is now being treated to the standard 'honoring the dead' thing that grew to such proportions during the Afghan War. That will probably take all week, to be followed by a protracted period which could last until Christmas, before all the dead are identified. Human interest stories on the dead are rife.

Playing counterpoint to it all however - the evil that is Putin and the badness he has done.

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