Three years after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine, crucial questions about the tragedy remain unanswered as international investigators are tied to dubious theories and seem to pay little attention to data provided by Russia.
This Monday marks three years since Flight MH17 crashed in July 2014 in eastern Ukraine amid hostilities between Ukrainian troops and anti- government paramilitary forces who rejected the Western-backed coup in Kiev earlier that year.
The tragedy killed all 298 people on board, eventually leading to an international inquiry carried out by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising aviation experts and investigators from the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Malaysia and Ukraine.
However, the investigators are still unable to reach firm conclusions and establish hard facts. They have also failed to name a single suspect, reducing hope that the truth will ever be found at all.
Western media have frequently pinned the blame for the tragedy on the rebels and, ultimately, on Russia – even though the JIT repeatedly failed to demonstrate convincing evidence to back up preliminary conclusions about the crash.
The JIT concluded that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was hit by a mid-range missile launched from a Buk air defense system located in area controlled by anti-government forces. The JIT also concluded that the launcher was transported across the border from Russia.
Investigators cited satellite imagery said to have tracked the launcher, as well as open source information, including user-generated videos and social media entries.
Last year, Almaz-Antey, the Buk manufacturer, staged a real-time experiment to examine the impact the claimed missile would have had on the airliner. The mock test revealed major inconsistencies in the JIT theory as the manufacturer concluded that the missile claimed to have brought down the plane is no longer in use with the Russian military.
Almaz-Antey also said the weapon that brought down the plane was likely fired from Kiev-controlled territory.
However, the international team opted to use a “similar” US-made missile to model the impact, though Almaz-Antey insisted it differs significantly from the Buk in critical features, including flight path and other properties.
The investigation paid little attention to comprehensive data provided by Russian authorities, which agreed to hand over all sensitive information in attempts to reach a full understanding of what had happened in July 2014 in Ukrainian airspace.
In autumn last year, Russia’s aviation authority, Rosaviatsia, provided radar data showing that no missile approached the aircraft on the day of the crash. In January, the Dutch authorities responded by saying they were unable to decipher the data as it came in an “unusual format.”
Though Russia explained that it had used the ASTERIX format to present the raw data, the Dutch claimed the Russian radar was incapable of spotting a relatively small object the size of a missile. Oleg Storchevoy, head of Rosaviatsia, dismissed the claim by saying the radar station can detect much smaller objects than a Buk missile.
“If a projectile was moving along the trajectory described in the version of ‘launch on a head-on course,’ as the Dutch party claims, its flight time would be about 35 seconds,” the official said. Accordingly, the radar would register at least two or three clear ticks, he added.
While the MH17 black box data indicates that the tragedy took place at 13:20:03 GMT, the radar last registered the aircraft at 13:20:01.87, less than a second and a half before the disaster, Storchevoy said.
Moscow has long voiced concerns over impartiality in the investigation. Despite uneven indications on Russian involvement in the crash, Moscow has been given only limited opportunities to contribute to the fact-finding effort.
Last year, Russian aviation authorities presented new criticism of the Dutch handling of the MH17 investigation and the low quality of its “vague” final report on the crash.
Storchevoy accused Dutch investigators of studying social media posts instead of performing a forensic examination of the crash site, an approach he dubbed “unprecedented.” The aviation official said that once the investigators did arrive, they did not conduct on-the-spot experiments in order to determine the exact sequence of events.
The Dutch also refused to cooperate with Almaz-Antey, lodging only a single enquiry with the arms manufacturer, and did not visit Russia, despite numerous offers to do so, he added.
“I think there is almost no hope to get answers to the bulk of questions we have because of this tragic accident,” Willy Wimmer, former vice president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told RT.
He also found it strange that questions remain over the fate of two Malaysian flights – MH17 and MH370, which went missing over the South China Sea in March 2014.
“It doesn’t fit in the experience of [investigating into] air accidents we have in Europe – I won’t mention the other parts of the world,” he said, noting the inquiry into the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525.
In that case, investigators knew the crash was deliberately caused by the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, “within days,” Wimmer added. He underlined there should have been another investigation in the case of MH17, run by a body “less politicized than we have today.”
(TFC) – The League of the South, David Duke, Jared Taylor, Sam Dixon (Richard Spencer’s lawyer), Kevin McDonald, the American Freedom Party, and the Traditionalist Youth Network. It reads like a list of attendees for a conference of Alt-Right and White Nationalists. Add the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Golden Dawn of Greece, Issuy-Ka of Japan, Dayaar Mongol of Mongolia, The Russian Imperial Movement, and a litany of other groups from around the world and it’s a collection of nationalist organizations that have nothing in common except nationalism. Each organization proclaims they are the defenders of their respective nations. Except they do have one thing in common; they have membership histories in a single organization: The World National-Conservative Movement.
Editor’s Note:A document dump provided exclusively to The Fifth Column by “Spartacus”, an activist engaged in activities similar to those described in a recent article by TFC, provided context for seemingly unrelated events. To protect the identity of the source, The Fifth Column has located many of those same documents, or documents showing the same evidence, online. They are linked throughout the article.
A roster of people and organizations involved in the movement was provided to The Fifth Column. Almost identical rosters can be found on the Russian watchdog The Sova Center’s website, the Vanguard News Network’s forums (a news organization sporting the tagline: “No Jews. Just Right”), and on the Nordic Resistance Council’s website. The Nordic Resistance Council declined to join the movement formally but was “open to cooperation”. According to Spartacus and renowned scholar on the Far-Right, Anton Shekhovtsov, The World National-Conservative Movement (WCNM) sprang forth during the International Russian Conservative Forum in 2015.
The WCNM seeks to create a worldwide nationalist movement in which each nation’s groups act as a state subordinate to the movement. In other words, The nationalists are really globalists. Seeking to create a Nationalist World Order. The organization’s manifesto states national differences should be put aside so global cooperation can begin:
Between many of us remain many unforgotten historical grievances, religious disagreements, territorial claims and other conflicts. However, in the presence of such serious menaces on the global scale, as a result of which we all suffer, these conflicts are less important to the existence of our nations, cultures and religions.
Victory of the conservative revolution even in one country without fail will provide an example for other countries. For this reason it is necessary to support each other in terms of information and organization. For that purpose it is necessary to form a worldwide national-conservative movement.
According to Shekhovstov WNCM is a different breed than typical nationalist groups because it is transnational and because it seeks to create “training camps”:
In particular, the WNCM is going to create an information network consisting of the web-sites and pages on social networks as a platform for exchanging information and experience, defend “persecuted national-conservatives and activists” by petitioning the governments, provide “humanitarian help” to Serbs in Kosovo, Christians of the Middle East, and “inhabitants of Novorossia” – a region in Eastern Ukraine occupied by Russia-backed separatists. It should be noted that, in April 2014, Rodina and the Russian Imperial Movement formed the All-Russian Social Movement “For Novorossiya” that called for the annexation of not only Crimea but most of Ukraine’s territory too.
A more frightening part of the programme is the intention of the WNCM to organise “joint camps for military and athletic instruction” and form volunteer international brigades that would be used in zones of military conflict. This is hardly surprising that one of the organisations invited to take part in the WNCM is “Unité Continentale” that was formed in summer 2014 by French and Serbian ultranationalists who volunteered to go to Eastern Ukraine to support Russia-backed separatists. Moreover, in July-August 2015, the Russian Imperial Movementadvertised a week-long military camp called “Partisan” and invited men to learn survival techniques, urban guerrilla tactics, military topography, as well as practicing with Kalashnikovs and other weapons.
As mentioned earlier, the idea for WNCM is believed to have its genesis at the 2015 International Russian Conservative Forum (IRCF). A second IRCF was held in April of this year. Indeed many of the organizations on the roster were present at the 2015 event, as revealed in emails of the British government released under the Freedom of Information Act. According to the emails:
St Petersburg hosted the “International Conservative Forum” over the
weekend of 21-22 March, a gathering of European far-right political parties
organised by Rodina (Russian right wing party). The aim of the event
according to the organisers was to unite Russian and EU conservative forces
“in the context of European sanctions against Russia and the US pressure on
European countries and Russia”. There were representatives of far-right
political parties or organisations from the following countries:
2. Nick Griffin and Jim Dowson (a Scottish anti-abortion campaigner) formed the
UK delegation. The French National Front was absent, reportedly because
they felt attendance could jeopardise results at the forthcoming French
Although the United States was not listed in the British emails, The Fifth Column obtained a copy of a resolution signed at the conference. It bears the signature of a Jared Taylor representing the American Renaissance. Both Jared Taylor and American Renaissance are on the roster for the WNCM.
Resolution from the IRCF 2015
This document begins to set the tone for what may be the greatest Russian intelligence operation of all time. A .pdf of the document is available on the IRCF’s website. The entire text of the document is meant to establish Europe as a Russian sphere of influence. It calls for an end to NATO and for the creation of a European collective security organization. Then it makes certain to note that Russia is “a member of the extensive European family”. The document’s “main goal”, however, is to establish a “progressive world order”. All of this was done against the backdrop of the 2015 Ukraine crisis.
Shortly after this conference, one of the driving forces behind the WNCM, the Russian Imperial Movement, began funding nationalist groups in other countries. It should be noted these same people provided 30 million Rubles in “humanitarian aid” to far-right fighters in Ukraine. The aid consisted of drones, combat boots, and communication equipment.
The Czechs have had their own issues with the WNCM and the IRCF. On page 23 of a document detailing Russian connections to far-right paramilitary groups in their country, it begins spelling out the connections between WNCM, the IRCF, and Rodina (a Russian political party):
ND joined the “World National-Conservative Movement” in 2015. According to Anton
Shekhovtsov, 46 the political party Motherland (Rodina) stands behind the creation of this movement.
A member of Motherland Yuriy Lyubomirskiy is the chair of the organising committee of the World National-Conservative Movement. Its members are far-right political parties and organizations from Europe and the USA, such as the Golden Down, Falanga, the National Democratic Party of Germany,
Jobbik, British Unity and the American Freedom Party. It has more than 50 members altogether.
Some of the parties invited to participate in the Movement had already been participants in the International Russian Conservative Forum, which took place in St. Petersburg in March 2015. The forum was organized by the party Motherland (Rodina), which was founded by current Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
While Russian backing of far-right paramilitaries is known in intelligence and some academic circles, the Western reader may be surprised to find out the Kremlin’s activities are not limited to Eastern Europe, or even Europe at all. In 2016, the Kremlin paid tens of thousands of dollars to put up secessionists from not just the thought of places like Northern Ireland, Basqueland, Catalonia, and so on; but also from Texas, California, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii.
Unremarkably, Alt-right and white nationalists groups have championed the same cause. Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party was headed to Cleveland around that same time in 2016. A contemporary article mentions his organization’s goals:
“Heimbach’s party promotes a handful of hard-right goals, ranging from the creation of ethnically separate polities to the revocation of birthright citizenship in the US. It also seeks the removal of US authority from “occupied territories” – including states like Hawaii.”
Heimbach spoke of attending a nationalist conference organized by the Russian Imperial Movement in the same article. Heimbach said it was the “first step towards creating an official nationalist umbrella organization for Traditionalists around the globe.”
At this point, the connections between White Supremacists in the United States and the Russian Imperial Movement are plain, admitted, and exposed. The reader can’t visit many of the Alt-Right’s or White Nationalist’s websites without finding some article praising the Russian Imperial Movement. So, what is the Russian Imperial Movement?
It’s the Russian government. As noted above in the Czech document, the Imperial Movement was the brainchild of the Rodina Party. One of its co-founders was Dmitry Rogozin, a Russian Ambassador to NATO and Deputy Prime Minister for Defense and Space Industry in Russia. In fact, when a member of the Legislative Assembly in St. Petersburg objected to the IRCF being held there and asked for an investigation, she was shut down by the prosecutor’s office. The IRCF brags about it on their site:
“St. Petersburg Prosecutor S.I. Litvinenko did not find ‘reason to initiate in front of the Russian Federation General Prosecutor’s Office the issue of recognition activities of such organizations undesirable in the Russian Federation.’”
To recap, elements within Russia’s defense apparatus founded Rodina, which in turn founded the Russian Imperial Movement. The Russian Imperial Movement funds far-right militants all over the world and pressures them into signing documents that support the creation of a Russian sphere of influence in Europe and a weakening of the United States. Prominent Alt-Right and White Nationalists have ties to the Russian Imperial Movement, and at least one has signed such a document. These are verifiable facts.
Just as the United States intelligence community seeks out and sponsors dissidents in foreign countries to spark rebellion and increase the US sphere of influence, the Russian government does the same thing. In this case, it appears it built a movement incorporating nationalists from all over the world and conned them into becoming tools of Russian foreign policy.
Groups whose members consider themselves patriots have been co-opted by the Russian government and are simply fulfilling the wishes of Moscow. Those in the Alt-Right and White Nationalist movements who consider Russia an ally should remember the moment they allied with the Russian Imperial Movement, they became intelligence assets for the Russian government. Intelligence assets are used and then discarded. Whether intentional or not, these “patriots” have given up on their country and are serving a foreign power’s wishes.
Incidentally, the only advertisement on the IRCF website is a permanent ad in support of the campaign of now President Donald Trump. It directed users to a website that has been taken offline but is archived here. Readers will notice the only two links on the site are a link back to the IRCF page and one to GoDuma.Ru.
A special note to members of these co-opted groups: Our sources and informants were able to put this together. Why wasn’t your leadership capable of doing the same?
TEHRAN (FNA)- The World Food Programme warned that more than 80,000 children under the age of five living in majority-Muslim areas of Western Myanmar are wasting and will need treatment for acute malnutrition over the next year.
The report from the United Nations agency was based on an assessment of villages in Western Rakhine state, where some 75,000 Muslim Rohingya people have fled a bloody army crackdown, The Guardian reported.
Those who remain are now reeling from a food crisis, with WFP finding one-third of homes are experiencing extreme food deprivation in Maungdaw, one district particularly affected by the violence. This includes episodes of no food in the house or not eating for 24 hours.
A quarter of all households composed of only one female adult as the men had left due to the military campaign. These households had the highest frequency of episodes of severe hunger, WFP said, adding that no children under the age of two met minimum adequate diet requirements, while 225,000 people need humanitarian assistance.
“It is estimated that 80,500 children under the age of five are expected to be in need of treatment for acute malnutrition over the next twelve months,” the WFP report said.
A WFP Spokesperson in Myanmar stressed that this “wasting” — condition of rapid weight lose that can become fatal — impairs the functioning of the immune system.
“The survey has confirmed a worsening of the food security situation in already highly vulnerable areas following the security incidents and ensuing violence in late 2016,” the WFP report added.
The WFP assessment found that in area affected by the violence, nearly half of the markets were not or only partially functioning.
“Food prices were highly volatile, and supply of affordable dried fish, a main source of proteins for the population, was scarce,” the report said.
“Under these circumstances and with the upcoming rainy season that may aggravate an already fragile situation, the capacity of the most vulnerable population to access sufficient food in the long-term is severally undermined and will depend on the humanitarian assistance in the near future,” the report added.
Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi has also expressed concerns about the poor living conditions of Rohingya Muslim refugees, who have fled a “very dire state” in their homeland Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh.
“The conditions are very minimal, very basic. I would say that this is quite worrying especially for those that have been here for a long time, and for the new arrivals that come from very traumatic situations; this is worse perhaps,” Grandi said in Dhaka.
He added that Rohingya refugees may stay “for some more time” in squalid Bangladeshi camps as Myanmar officials had said the verification procedure for refugees before any repatriation would be lengthy.
Last October, the army launched a crackdown in Rakhine after a deadly attack on the country’s border guards left nine policemen dead, as the government blamed the Rohingya for the assault.
There have been numerous accounts by eyewitnesses of summary executions, rapes and arson attacks against Muslims since the crackdown began, while the military blocked access to Rakhine and banned journalists and aid workers from entering the zone.
Rakhine has also been the scene of communal violence at the hands of Buddhist extremists since 2012. Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands forced from homes to live in squalid camps in dire conditions in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
According to the UN, the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
In the aftermath of the migrant crisis, integration of the newcomers has become an uphill struggle for many European nations. Sweden, which recently ranked as the world’s best country for immigrants, is not afraid of trying unorthodox solutions. Of late, the Nordic nation has even turned to professional clowns to help integration.
In a recent bid to improve the integration process, a total of 25 million SEK ($3mln) has been allotted to various organizations, including Clowns Without Borders, the Swedish Migration Board wrote in a press-release. The organization is expected to improve integration through fun and games.
By their own admission, Clowns Without Borders work with such initiatives as “Welcome to Sweden,” where various activities are being arranged at refugee accommodations. According to their website, asylum seekers may also try their hand as circus performers.
“Other organizations help people survive. We get people to start living again,” Clowns Without Borders wrote on their website.
The idea of the new allotment is that the clowns will “create meetings through playing.”
“The new projects now receiving support will contribute to an improved integration process for third-country nationals,” Migration Board executive Mikael Zaar said in a press-release. The term “third-country nationals” implies people who are not citizens of the EU.
Other beneficiaries include the Jämtland-Härjedalen Sports Federation and the Red Cross. The money allotted to the sports federation will be used to provide asylum seekers the opportunity to develop and integrate socially. Among other things, asylum seekers will get acquainted with athlete training programs, practice the Swedish language and build up a network of contacts.
The money originates from the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), which has a budget of over 3 billion dollars for the period 2014-20.
Another peculiar integration initiative is a camel park, which is being built in the city of Gothenburg with hope of creating jobs for immigrants. The camel park in the migrant-dominated suburb of Angered is expected to provide “low-carbon” jobs for foreign-born Swedes who are otherwise struggling to find a place in the Nordic country’s labor market.
According to project developer Géza Nagy, the park will become a major tourist attraction, where visitors will be able to pet and ride camels, as well as try camel milk and other camel products. The choice of venue was anything but accidental. According to the organizers, Angered is rich in migrants from the Middle East and Somalia, who possess “extensive knowledge” of camels.
However, the project sparked a major controversy and was slammed as “racist” and “showing a colonial mindset” towards migrants. According to Catholic refugee organization Caritas Sweden director Gun Holmertz, the organizers simply wanted to turn Angered into “some kind of exotic circus with immigrants and animals.” The plans provoked a negative reaction from local immigrants and unleashed a storm of comments in social media.
Commander Qasem Soleimani of the IRGC’s Quds Force with Shia Afghani troops in Aleppo, May 2016
By Barak Ravid (Paris)
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov responds to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who told reporters that Israel is ‘utterly opposed’ to the arrangement as it perpetuates Iran’s presence in Syria
PARIS – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday, that Russia and the United States would do all they could to address Israeli concerns about the creation of de-escalation zones in Syria.
He was responding to comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who told reporters in Paris late on Sunday that the arrangement perpetuated Iran’s presence in Syria and that Israel was therefore “utterly opposed” to it.
The public objection was rare for Netanyahu, who has sought to avoid confrontation with Moscow and Washington over Syria.
A senior Israeli official who asked not to be named due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the matter said on Sunday Israel is aware of Iranian intensions to substantially expand its presence in Syria. Iran is not only interested in sending advisers to Syria, the official said, but also in dispatching extensive military forces including the establishment of an airbase for Iranian aircraft and a naval base.
“This already changes the picture in the region from what it has been up to now,” the senior official said.
Netanyahu discussed the cease-fire deal with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by phone Sunday night.
A week and a half ago, Russia and the U.S. announced that they reached an agreement on a cease-fire in south Syria which included a no-man’s lands along the border between Syria and Jordan and the border between Syria and Israel. During the last month Israel held talks with senior officials in the U.S. government over the agreement. As part of these talks both Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS Brett McGurk and U.S. Special Envoy for Syria Michael Ratney visited Israel.
During these talks, Israel presented a list of demands for and issues with the agreement. Israel asked that the no-man’s land would be used to keep Iran, Hezbollah, and the Shiite militias away from its borders. In addition, Israel made let it be known that it was unhappy with the fact that the Russian army will be responsible for the keeping of the cease-fire in these border zones.