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Tuesday, 22 July 2014 13:27

Wars, spin and MH 17 Featured

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As I write this, we are nearly one week into the Malaysian Airlines tragedy in which almost 300 lives were lost. The mainstream media coverage and commentary from Western political leaders of the downing of MH 17 over Ukraine is nothing short of appalling. In short, we are being subjected to an overt attempt to lie us into another war.

What? You may ask. What do you mean lie us into another war?

Oh, you know – like the way we were lied into the war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist. Like the way we were nearly lied into a war with Syria, over toxic gas attacks that supposedly originated from the Assad Government but in fact were perpetrated by US backed rebels.

So here we go again, after a commercial airliner was blown out of the sky at 10km altitude by an obviously highly advanced surface to air missile, within hours the Western mainstream media and Western political leaders were pinning the act on Eastern Ukraine separatists and their Russian backers.

What we were told to accept without question is that the plane was shot down by a Russian made Buk missile system captured by separatists from the Ukraine military in the Donetsk region. As this radar guided system was highly complex and required several months of training to operate, we were told Russian military personnel must have done the shooting.

Here in Australia, where we lost many poor souls in this event, in The Netherlands, which lost many more, and the rest of the Western world, Presidents, Prime Ministers, and opposition parliamentarians lined up in bipartisan fashion to publicly voice condemnation of Russia and President Putin.

The mainstream media, of course, without any serious analysis, simply parroted the sound bites and hubris emanating from political quarters. Not once were any questions raised as to why the Russians or the Separatists would want to shoot down a commercial Malaysian airliner. Apparently, unlike in most crimes, motive is not important in this case. The implication is that the Russians and their mates did it because, unlike us, they’re evil.

Of course there was no mention in the media or on the political stage of the fact that the Ukraine Government and its military have plenty of Buk missile systems in their armoury – and the trained personnel to operate them. You don’t believe me? You can simply look up the Buk operators on Wikipedia or for more details go to the website of the Ukraine state-owned company that imports the systems.

So if the Russians and the Separatists had no motive to shoot down a commercial plane, then who may have had? Well of course you don’t really need an answer to that question do you? Who would want to make the Russians and the Separatists look bad? Who had the weapons and the knowhow to perpetrate the event? Who are now banging their fists on tables in the media and halls of parliaments calling for Russian blood?

Before we get to the mainstream media’s sordid role in this affair, we must first explore an equally worrying and related aspect of the social discourse of this matter. In Australia at least, we have not heard any dissenting voices in either Federal or State Parliaments.  All political parties and factions are lined up as one.  The only competition appears to be which leader of which party can spew the greatest level of vitriol. Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten was even stronger is his condemnation of Russia than Liberal PM Tony Abbott.  If you were looking to the further left for balance, forget it. Greens Parliamentary leader Christine Milne was as robust in her anti-Russian invective as the rest of them. Historically, the last time this sort of bipartisanship was on display was during World War 2.

As bad as our politicians are, however, they can only be this bad if they are not held to account. For this, the Western mainstream media, including the Australian media, must shoulder the blame. In my nearly 30 years as a professional journalist, I have never seen such poor, unbalanced coverage of such a tragic event. Where is the analysis of the Ukraine Military and its possible involvement? Where are the questions about possible motives? Where are the stories about the ultra-right wing, antisemitic Russian-hating Svoboda and Right Sector factions of the Kiev Government? It is as if the media has become just a propaganda arm of the political establishment in the attempted demonisation of Russia.

To find any dissenting voices against the establishment line, you have to go online and visit the alternative media sites. Of course, if you do visit and quote from these sites you’re labelled a conspiracy nut. Alternatively, you can visit some of the overseas news sites outside the Western media establishment like RIA Novosti. Of course, then you’re supposedly buying into Russian propaganda.

So what is the bottom line? Led by the US like lap dogs, the Western world, including Australia, are once again being lied into a war that ordinary citizens do not want or need. This time, however, the antagonist that is being demonised is a militarily capable nuclear power. In a nuclear war there are no winners, regardless of what anyone tries to tell you. Do we really want to be led into a nuclear war?

Having strayed somewhat from the usual topics I write about, I have lately been asked: “Aren’t you supposed to be writing about technology?” Well, in a sense I am. If you happen to be one of the few who survive a nuclear war, it is a fair bet that you won’t be worrying about when Apple will finally release a 5.5 inch screen iPhone.

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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