The UN’s MH-17 tribunal and international anti-Russian policy

This week Russia’s vetoing of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution proposing an international tribunal  dealing with the Malaysia Airlines MH17 shootdown over Ukraine in 2014 saw widespread condemnation across the West. The anti-Russian rhetoric that we see chiefly coming from the US, Europe and Australia is in keeping with the foreign policies employed to further their own agendas with Russia.

Russia exercised its veto at the Security Council session in New York during a vote on Wednesday, while 11 other members backed the draft resolution. Angola, China and Venezuela abstained.

Russia exercised its veto at the Security Council session in New York during a vote on Wednesday, while 11 other members backed the draft resolution. Angola, China and Venezuela abstained.

While Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called the Russian veto “an affront to the memory of the 298 victims of MH17 and their families and friends,” and has vowed to pursue “an alternative prosecution mechanism” with Malaysia, the Netherlands, Ukraine and Belgium, but stopped short of elaborating in similarly emotive language Samantha Power, neo-conservative war hawk and US ambassador to the UN said that, “Russia has callously disregarded the public outcry in the grieving nations.”  This alludes to the fact that what had been proposed in the UNSC was a contrived tribunal to prosecute who was already seen as the criminal defendants, a move also likely prejudice the outcome of the as-yet unfinished air crash investigation.

Since the disaster occurred in July 2014, politicians and mainstream media alike in the US and Australia have dramatically and recklessly accused Russia and anti-regime rebels in eastern Ukraine of deliberately bringing down MH-17 with a Russian guided missile system, without – as yet – hard evidence to support the claims. Since an accident investigation should be undertaken to uncover the truth in what is supposed to be a scientific and completely impartial way, it is understandable that Russia would see a ‘prosecution tribunal’ vociferously supported by such anti-Russian sentiment as compromised from the outset. Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook,” writes that, “predictably, Russia has been decried as obstructing justice with language intentionally used to further heap guilt upon Moscow… which might perhaps be why Moscow itself had no faith in a UNSC resolution regarding MH17 to begin with.


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In addition to being yet another excuse given for furthering economic sanctions against Russia, MH-17 is becoming another tool in the West’s arsenal of anti-Russian ideologies, now being brought to bear in the United Nations Security Council. When considering the international flavour of the MH-17 political manoeuvres, it must be remembered that Russia along with the other BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) are gearing up to create an economic zone beyond the reach of Washington, London – or Canberra, for that matter. If indeed it was a foregone conclusion that Russia would veto a tribunal sponsored by opposing factions within the UN, the proposal could be seen as an attack on the Sino-Russian relationship.

Russia has also taken the recent move of enacting laws that allow action to be taken against “undesirable” international non-governmental organisations. One of the first organisations to be banned is the National Endowment for Democracy, a Washington-based non-profit funded largely by the United States. According to its website, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is “dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world” and has “funded local non-governmental organisations in more than 90 countries.”

A statement on Tuesday from the Russian prosecutor general’s office said that it “poses a threat to the constitutional order of the Russian Federation and the defensive capability and security of the government. Using Russian commercial and non-commercial organisations under its control, the National Endowment for Democracy participated in work to declare the results of election campaigns illegitimate, organise political actions intended to influence decisions made by the authorities, and discredit service in Russia’s armed forces.”

In Why Russia Shut Down NED Fronts, veteran investigative reporter Robert Parry explains:

NED is a U.S. government-funded organisation created in 1983 to do what the Central Intelligence Agency previously had done in financing organisations inside target countries to advance U.S. policy interests and, if needed, help in “regime change.” The secret hand behind NED’s creation was CIA Director William J. Casey who worked with senior CIA covert operation specialist Walter Raymond Jr. to establish NED in 1983. Casey – from the CIA – and Raymond – from his assignment inside President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council – focused on creating a funding mechanism to support groups inside foreign countries that would engage in propaganda and political action that the CIA had historically organised and paid for covertly. To partially replace that CIA role, the idea emerged for a congressionally funded entity that would serve as a conduit for this money.

It would seem that at least some Russian lawmakers have agreed that the NED serves, or at least has the potential to serve as a means of Western interests using grass-roots style “colour revolution”. American “colour revolutions” attempt to obfuscate all possible ties between themselves and their agitators in an attempt to take back the strategic initiative by maintaining maximum plausible deniability. It would seem the Russians have dealt with US subterfuge long enough that Russia’s emerging media influence on the world stage played an essential role in unmasking and disrupting America’s efforts to destabilise and overthrow the government in Armenia. The protests there were the work of  the “No To Plunder” group, led by lawyers and activists emanating from the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID.

According to Tony Cartalucci of GlobalResearch, “times are tough for America’s ‘colour revolution’ industry. Perfected in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union, and honed during the so-called ‘Arab Spring,’ the process of backing subversion in a targeted country and overthrowing a sitting government under the cover of staged mass protests appears to be finally at the end of running its course.”

 Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit in Ufa, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit in Ufa, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

It should also be remembered that, in terms of Western economic interests, that Russia is part of an emerging new order – the BRICS nations who recently held a twin BRICS/SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) summit in Ufa, Russia, aimed at actively establishing interlocking security guarantees between Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi.

In an article for The Nation, The Geopolitical Big Bang You Probably Don’t See Coming, Pepe Escobar explains that,

The New Development Bank (NDB), the BRICS response to the World Bank, was officially launched with $50 billion in start-up capital. Focused on funding major infrastructure projects in the BRICS nations, it is capable of accumulating as much as $400 billion in capital, according to its president, Kundapur Vaman Kamath. Later, it plans to focus on funding such ventures in other developing nations across the Global South—all in their own currencies, which means bypassing the US dollar. Given its membership, the NDB’s money will clearly be closely linked to the new Silk Roads. As Brazilian Development Bank President Luciano Coutinho stressed, in the near future it may also assist European non-EU member states like Serbia and Macedonia. Think of this as the NDB’s attempt to break a Brussels monopoly on Greater Europe. Kamath even advanced the possibility of someday aiding in the reconstruction of Syria.

The wrangling over investigations into the MH-17 are a flashpoint in Russian-Western relations. The UN should be seeking a truly international investigation regarding the accident, knowing that it will take the unanimous agreement of the UNSC to secure any form of future prosecution. Should the West act in a truly objective manner toward such an investigation, they may find future resolutions met with agreement rather than a veto.

MH-17 reflects a fear of the increasing strategic depth between Russia and other nations such as China which are developing economically, a reality now becoming visible across Eurasia. At Ufa, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Chinese President Xi Jinping on the record: “Combining efforts, no doubt we [Russia and China] will overcome all the problems before us.”


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