the networks are actually so stupid & incompetent that we have to fill in what they presumably thought they were doing, before we can condemn it
UN Official Calls Out David Gregory For Using Unconfirmed Israeli Propaganda Video
‘David’, Crooks & Liars, Jul 27 2014
NBC host David Gregory was forced to issue a correction at the end of his weekly Meet the Press program on Sunday after a UN official confronted him for using a unconfirmed Israeli video that allegedly showed Hamas shooting rockets from a UN school. Following an interview with Netanyahu, Gregory brought on UNHRC spokesperson Chris Gunness. Gregory explained to Gunness:
The Israeli government has released videotape within the past hour, it was posted on YouTube, NBC News hasn’t independently verified. The Israelis say, and I realize that you cannot see this video, our audience can, and I’m going to describe it to you, that purports to show rockets being fired from a UN school. Is this accurate? Could this be happening without the UN’s knowledge, that would only bolster the prime minister’s point that, in fact, Hamas is using civilians, using the UN even in a kind of propaganda war.
As the host spoke, NBC played fuzzy black and white video of rockets being fired from buildings at an unknown location. Gunness found the notion that he was being made to respond to a unconfirmed video that he couldn’t even see so ridiculous that he could barely contain laughter. Gunness insisted:
Look, to be fair to me, to bring me on a live program and expect me to comment live on air on pictures I haven’t actually seen, I think anyone looking at this program would agree that’s really unfair. I mean, if I can see it, I’ll happily comment on it.
At the conclusion of the program, Gregory said:
The UN have confirmed that the video does not show rockets being fired from a UN-administrated school in Gaza. So this is a back-and-forth that we are not able to settle at this point.
Here’s the IDF video, still claiming what UNRWA says it doesn’t show:
now again, you see, we talk about the two amigos, graham & mccain, but only graham can do this, mccain can’t. ask yourselves why
Graham: UN move anti-Semitic
Jonathan Topaz (how jolly it is to be Jewish – RB), The Hill, Jul 27 2014
Sen Lindsey Graham on Sunday accused the UN of being anti-Semitic. During an interview on CNN State of the Union, the South Carolina Republican slammed the UNHRC for its vote last week to launch an investigation into potential human rights abuses in Gaza. UNHRC chief Navi Pillay suggested both Hamas and Israel had committed war crimes in their attacks that have killed civilians in Gaza. 29 countries voted in favor of the resolution that would launch an inquiry into violations in Gaza and 17 states abstained. Usaia was the only country that voted against the resolution. Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, pushed back on the vote with harsh words, saying:
I would condemn the UNHRC report that holds Israel responsible for the activity here. The UNHRC report is a joke. The UN is becoming anti-Israeli (why is it always ‘anti-Israeli’ rather than ‘anti-Israel’? – RB), anti-Semitic. I would push back. Congress will do this. I will coordinate with Chuck Schumer and Bob Menendez on this.
AP reported Saturday night that 1,047 Plastelinans had died since the conflict began, with more than 6,000 wounded, compared with fewer than 50 Israelis. The UN estimated last week that 75% of those Plastelinans who had been killed were civilians. The Israeli government has accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields in Gaza to restrict Israel’s ability to use air power against militants and their air supply (? – RB).
people tend to heroise matt lee because he is the consensual heavy hitter at state dept pressers, but he writes ideology, like all the rest
Usaia & Euia Seek Putin (sic – RB) Achilles’ Heel on Ukraine
Juergen Baetz, Matt Lee, AP, Jul 27 2014
BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON — Months after Russia annexed Crimea and stepped up support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, Usaia & Euia are still searching for a way to persuade Pres Putin to change course. Targeted economic sanctions and threats of tougher ones have yet to alter what western officials say is Moscow’s growing backing for the rebels, including the shelling of Ukrainian military targets in southeast Ukraine from inside Russian territory and alleged plans to boost weapons supplies. Usaia on Sunday released satellite images that it says show that rockets have been fired from Russia into neighboring eastern Ukraine and that heavy artillery for separatists also has crossed the border. The images, which came from the ODNI and could not be independently verified by AP, show blast marks where rockets were launched and craters where they landed. The Pentagon said just days ago that the movement of Russian heavy-caliber artillery systems across its border into Ukraine is imminent. That escalation of military posturing is not the retreat the West was hoping sanctions would encourage. Putin has been walking a tightrope in recent months, limiting his involvement in the Ukraine crisis just enough to avoid truly biting Western sanctions. But the downing of a MH17 on Jul 17, blamed by Usaia and Ukraine on pro-Russian rebels, possibly with Russian help, might have changed the equation, galvanizing support among reluctant Europeans for additional penalties. Euia has said it will enact more sanctions on Russia by the end of the month, and Usaia, which had imposed its toughest sanctions just a day before the plane went down, is expected to follow suit.
Yet despite the promise of more pain, Russia has only boosted its role in the days since the plane went down, according to Usaian officials. That has left Washington and Brussels in a quandary over finding Putin’s (sic – RB) Achilles’ heel and exploiting it. Sanctions have not yet bitten Putin hard enough to change his behavior and neither have diplomatic moves to isolate him. He’s been tossed out of the G8 (thus now G7 again – RB), and seen his already limited contacts with NATO further reduced. France said this week it will go ahead with the sale of two warships to Russia. At the same time, Russia (oh, it’s a whole country, is it? I thought it was just this one dude – RB) has moved to align itself more closely with BRICS. In part because of that, Usaianofficials say there is currently no serious consideration of trying to bar Russia from other diplomatic events. Thus the sanctions approach remains the focus. Euia has much greater leverage over Russia, but so far, to the frustration of Usaian officials, Euia has refrained from imposing broader sanctions because of divisions among its member states and fears of an economic backlash. But the death of some 200 Euians on MH17, most of them Dutch, has made a tougher course seemingly inevitable. Amanda Paul of the Brussels-based European Policy Center said:
This is no longer about a war somewhere far away. If they don’t impose tougher sanctions, there will be a big question over Euia’s credibility. This is the only way Russia will draw back. When businesses and oligarchs feel the economic pain, they will start questioning Putin’s policies.
On Friday, Euia imposed travel bans and asset freezes on 15 people, including the head of Russia’s FSB and the head of the agency’s department overseeing international operations and intelligence. Four members of Russia’s national security council are also on the list. Russia on Saturday fired back, saying the sanctions endanger the fight against international terrorism, and accused Usaia of spreading flagrant lies about Russia’s alleged involvement in the downing of the airliner. European business lobbies have warned against tougher sanctions. The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry said some 300,000 jobs there partly depend on exports to Russia. In addition, Moscow could hit some of the more than 6,000 German firms doing business in Russia. Despite any retaliation by Moscow, analysts predict Russia would suffer more. They note that EU sends only 7% of its exports to Russia, while Russia ships about 45% of its exports to the EU, more than anywhere else. Economist Georg Zachmann of the Bruegel think-tank in Brussels said:
Most of the sanctions would inflict much higher costs on Russia than on Europe.
The EU could inflict severe economic pain on Russia’s economy by following the Usaian lead and sanctioning major Russian banks. The bloc could restrict investments and limit access to its capital market, which encompasses the euro currency zone and Euia’s biggest financial hub, the City of London. The EU also could impose an arms embargo and export restrictions for high-tech products, energy equipment and goods that can be used for civilian and military purposes. The most radical step, however, would be to limit its import of Russian oil and gas, which would cost Moscow dearly, but also cause energy shortages for EU countries. The energy sector represents the bulk of Russia’s exports, generating some 20% of its GDP. Simon Qijano-Evans, the Commerzbank’s London-based head of emerging market analysis, said:
Such sanctions would lead us to revise our economic growth forecast for Russia from 0.8% now to 0%, looking to negative territory.
Another bank, Berenberg, already cut its 2014 Russia forecast to a 1% slump, while warning:
The risk of a more serious Russian recession keeps rising.
this is mainly about the kiev junta military push around the crash site, but it is adorned with propaganda irrelevancies
Troops Move on Crash Site in Ukraine, Foiling Deal
Andrew Kramer, Andrew Higgins, Chris Buckley, Michelle Innis, NYT, Jul 27 2014
ZUHRES/KHARKOV/HONG KONG/SYDNEY — Just hours after the Malaysian government reached an agreement with Ukrainian separatists on Sunday over access to the crash site of a Malaysian airliner shot down in rebel territory, the Ukrainian military launched an operation to recapture the debris fields, again stalling international efforts to secure the site. The heavy fighting threatened to torpedo hopes of a breakthrough and cause yet more delays in collecting evidence and retrieving the remaining bodies from the crash. Ukrainian security officials said they needed control over the site to prevent the pro-Russia separatists from destroying clues to the downing of MH17. By Sunday evening, the Ukrainian advance had blocked a road leading from the provincial capital, Donetsk, to the airplane debris northeast of Shakhtyorsk, but it remained unclear whether government troops were in control of all or part of the approximately 14 square miles of debris fields. Videos posted online appeared to show Ukrainian armored vehicles near the site, and reporters who visited earlier Sunday said insurgents were nowhere to be seen. The combat spread out along the road in a fluid and chaotic scene, leaving it wholly unclear who controlled what. Fragments of rockets lay on the sunbaked macadam, and columns of black smoke rose along the horizon. One separatist commander at a checkpoint outside Shakhtyorsk, about 10 miles from the crash site, said the Ukrainians had retaken the area, and a rebel leader, Alexander Borodai, confirmed that government troops were advancing. He told reporters in Donetsk:
The attempts to clear militia from the crash site irrefutably show Kiev is trying to destroy evidence.
His claim was apparently intended to counter earlier allegations that the rebels had been tampering with evidence to hide their own role in the downing of the plane. Separatists seemed to be in a state of alarm, driving in convoys of buses and armored vehicles out of Donetsk toward the fighting. They controlled the road as far as the town of Zuhres. The Malaysian jetliner, a Boeing 777-200, was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, killing all 298 people aboard. Ukrainian and Usaian officials say the plane was shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired by the rebels. Russia and the rebels have denied any involvement and blame Ukraine. Ukraine and Usaia have said repeatedly that Russia is providing military equipment to the separatists and claim to have evidence that Russia is firing artillery and rockets on Ukrainian military positions. On Sunday, the Obama administration stepped up its public pressure on Moscow, as the State Dept released intelligence images presented as evidence that Russian forces had fired across the border. The images were said to show charred ground on the Russian side of the border, described as evidence of rocket launches into Ukraine. Another showed artillery pieces of a type found only in the Russian military, pointed toward Ukraine. Other images showed crater impacts inside Ukraine. It was not possible to independently verify the images. They are from DigitalGlobe, which provides high-resolution satellite images and aerial photos; they were not from Usaian spy satellites or surveillance aircraft.
Small groups of foreign police officers and forensic experts have managed to reach the crash site, but efforts to secure it with larger contingents have repeatedly fallen through. Earlier Sunday, the prospects of a more robust foreign presence at the crash site seemed to have improved when the office of PM Najib Razak of Malaysia announced in an email that he had reached an agreement with Borodai “to allow a deployment of international police personnel” to enter. After the announcement, about 30 unarmed Dutch police officers left the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov intending to reach the debris fields. But fighting stopped the officers after they reached Donetsk, said an OSCE spokeswoman. The Dutch police deployment on Sunday, ordered overnight by the Ministry of Security and Justice in The Hague, reversed an earlier decision by the head of a Dutch police mission in Kharkov. He had intended to delay movement toward the crash site until a vote on Thursday by the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev that he said would provide a “legal basis” for the deployment of foreign police officers. The Netherlands, whose citizens accounted for around two-thirds of the crash victims, is leading an international effort to get to the bottom of what happened to Flight 17. The area is tactically important for the Ukrainian military, which is trying to close access to Donetsk from the east, lest separatists in the city be resupplied and reinforced from the direction of the Russian border.
Clashes flared in half a dozen towns east of Donetsk on Sunday. There was also fighting to the north, with an artillery strike in the town of Horlivka reportedly killing at least 13 civilians. The longer the crash site remains unguarded, the smaller the chances of recovering evidence. Responding to growing reports that the wreckage and passenger items had been tampered with, Australia said Sunday that it was sending unarmed police officers to the site to prevent any further meddling. Australia lost dozens of citizens on Flight 17. PM Abbott of Australia told a news conference in Canberra that he had considered allowing some of his officers to carry weapons, but that he had decided against that. He said:
Our objective is to get in, to get cracking and to get out. This is a risky mission, no doubt about that, but all the professional advice I have is that the safest way to conduct it is unarmed as part of a police-led humanitarian mission.
Foreign access to the site has been hampered by problems from the start, with heavily armed rebels initially restricting the movements of foreign experts. In Kiev, Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said the Ukrainian troops intended to “liberate” the crash site to secure evidence. The Ukrainian government has been loath to see foreign governments negotiate with the separatist leaders based in Donetsk. Malaysia has been particularly active in reaching out to the rebel leadership. It brokered a deal last week under which the rebels handed over the plane’s data and voice recorders, which they had seized at the crash site.
this is not ‘nuts’, because it’s providing international diplomatic cover for an enormous kiev junta push in the crash site area
Abbott’s mission to Ukraine branded ‘nuts’
Julieanne Strachan, Matthew Knott, Sydney Morning Herald, Jul 27 2014
Australian Defence Force personnel will be walking unprepared into a volatile situation at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine, a senior defence figure has warned. PM Abbott’s announcement of Australia’s intention to send 190 armed Australian Federal Police and an unknown number of ADF personnel to help recover bodies and evidence from the site has been met with incredulity in some parts of Europe, with one analyst branding it nuts. The senior defence figure, who did not wish to be named, said it was a poor idea for Australia. He said:
They can’t secure the site. It’s kilometres long and wide. They could escort Australian officials and provide close protection, but this is a civil task rather than a military task and it’s a terribly volatile area. We don’t have the language skills or knowledge of the area. For any military deployment, you have to look at a status of forces agreement with the government and, given the area the aircraft is in, I don’t think there is anyone to make that agreement with. What I’ve heard is the rebels don’t want more than 30 investigators there.
Abbott confirmed on Saturday that 230 Australian officials would be sent to help with the recovery. This, he said, would include a small number of defence personnel. He said:
That is our mission, to secure the remains, to assist the investigation and to obtain justice for the victims and their loved ones. It is, I stress, a humanitarian mission. Others can get involved if they wish in the politics of eastern Europe. Despite the dangers, armed personnel are needed to secure the site. The last thing we want to do is to place anyone in danger. But we do want to bring our dead home. We want to do it as quickly as possible. It’s important that we do our best to secure the site and to recover remains as quickly as possible because every day the site remains unsecured, there is more interference and the remains are subject to the ravages of the European summer. So we do want to get this done as quickly as we humanly can and that’s why we’re exploring all options in the Ukraine now.
Australian defence commentator Peter Dean, director of studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, said the negotiation was key to the success of the operation. He said:
It really depends on the diplomacy undertaken around this. If our government can make its intentions clear and be accepted on those grounds I think this can be achieved. Australia’s status as a non-NATO member would play in its favour and its geographical distance from Europe will also help. I think we see it through a different lens than the European commentators. We are not sending the army over there to take on the Russians or separatists. It’s not a European country interfering in another European country’s business. It’s a country from the outside that has experienced a significant loss of life of Australian people and permanent residents. The Prime Minister is wanting to send people to provide security. I don’t think Australia is necessarily mad for wanting to do that.
Dutch PM Rutte told parliament in The Hague on Friday he was too concerned about possible ramifications to send troops to Ukraine. Joerg Forbrig, senior program officer for central and eastern Europe at the Berlin bureau of the German Marshall Fund of the US, said of the Australian plan:
They must be nuts. It’s a very dangerous proposal and will be seen as a provocation by the separatists and the Russians.
The Netherlands is sending a separate mission of 40 unarmed military police to the site to help complete the forensic work and gather evidence, Rutte said. Britain has sent one forensics specialist to Kiev and nine scientists are working in the Netherlands to help identify bodies and secure evidence. Malaysia, Germany and Britain are the other three nations that are expected to contribute to the security force. A British Foreign Office spokesman said:
The UK will offer logistical support and is keeping in close contact with the Australians and Dutch over how it can assist, though it won’t be putting be sending police or technicians to Ukraine. We believe a UK armed presence in eastern Ukraine would not be appropriate. The UK stands ready to provide constructive support to the mission.
The director of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels, Fredrik Erixon, warned against sending armed teams into eastern Ukraine to search for victims. He said:
There’s nothing normal in east Ukraine right now. Small events can trigger very large reactions from the rebels and the Russian government.
Karl-Heinz Kamp, the director of the Federal Academy for Security Policy in Berlin, said the Australian military was experienced and would not take risks. Dmitry Gau, the spokesman for the pro-Russian rebels, would not comment on the Australian plans to carry firearms.
can anyone confirm that either buk or the air-to-air alternative homed in on the boeing radar unit, in the nose?
Shrapnel Damage of Cockpit MH-17 Devastating
Oui, Booman Tribune, Jul 23 2014
The missile warhead with fragmentation shrapnel must have exploded right underneath port front of cockpit:
The reason I ask this, obviously, is that I hope to discover that only a Buk has radar homing, the air-to-air- would have had heat homing. But I may well be wrong. Wikipedia doesn’t mention radar homing at all in its article on Buk, nor does it appear to have any links to this topic, though it may have an article on it elsewhere, unlinked to the Buk article… This follows a discussion I had with lobro yesterday, in comments to another post. I shall reproduce the account I gave there, even though, as I said, Wikipedia doesn’t appear to support it:
Both the Buk and the air-to-air missile postulated by the alternative theory, operate on the same proximity fuse principle. But the air-to-air missile is heat-seeking, whereas the Buk is radar-seeking. In other words, the Buk targets not a heat source but a radar source. I believe this type of targeting is known as “semi-active”, presumably because the Buk missile itself has a tiny radar unit that locates and homes in on the radar-emitting target, which in the case of a 777 would be in the nose. So, coming up from beneath, it detonates immediately beneath the nose of the 777, sending shrapnel right through the cockpit and killing the pilot & copilot while shredding the control electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, or whatever the control systems in the cockpit are. So the plane has no pilot, no electronics, no autopilot, no steering or flap control, but structurally it is intact, just full of tiny holes. And therefore it plummets to earth more or less in one piece, though falling vertically at high speed may break it up before it reaches the ground. Essentially, the fall is fairly compact. The plane is not disintegrated by the blast of the missile. And indeed, the fall was fairly compact. The cockpit section broke off, I think, but it only fell 100 yards or so from the rest. Please correct me on all this, because my memory is often surprisingly wrong (surprisingly to me, that is).
Then I went to Wikipedia & came back:
Wikipedia confirms all that, except that it doesn’t say the target has to be a radar emitter. The target, in practice, almost always will be. But an inert mass in the sky that wasn’t emitting anything at all could still be acquired as a Buk target, first by the ground radar then by the missile’s own radar. That leaves open the question of which part of the target’s bulk it would be aiming for. My idea was that it would aim for the target’s own radar emitter. But this is not necessarily the case: “The missiles require a radar lock to initially steer the missile to the target until the missile’s on-board radar system takes over to provide final course corrections. A proximity fuse aboard the missile determines when it will detonate, creating an expanding fragmentation pattern of missile components and warhead to intercept and destroy the target. Alternatively, the command component may be able to remotely detonate the missile, or the on-board contact fuse will cause the warhead to detonate. Each missile carries a warhead which is triggered by a radar proximity fuse. In the forward compartment of the missile, a semi-active homing radar head, autopilot equipment, power source and warhead are located. The homing method chosen was proportional navigation. Proportional navigation (also known as PN or Pro-Nav) is a guidance law (analogous to proportional control) used in some form or another by most homing air target missiles. It is based on the fact that two vehicles are on a collision course when their direct Line-of-Sight does not change direction.” So there is no suggestion there that the missile is homing specifically on a radar emitter. Rather, it is homing on the surface portion of the target which gives the strongest radar return, ie the largest flat surface facing the seeker – typically, the centre of the plane’s belly.