Ray’s segment goes from minute 1:35 to 16:35 (15 min.)
An analogous set of circumstances existed 33 years ago after the Soviets downed Korean airlines KAL-007 on Sept. 1, 1983.That, too, was a highly tense time in U.S.-Soviet relations, and government propagandists and media allies laid on all the Sturm und Drang they could to promote the lie that the Soviets had known KAL-007 was a civilian passenger plane before they shot it down. Exploitation of the tragedy brought a steep rise in tensions, and almost led to a nuclear exchange just two months later. There is an important lesson in this 33 years later, as the “mainstream” media manufacture fear and hatred of Russia.
On Wednesday (Sept. 28) new “evidence” blaming Russia for the downing of Flight KH17 over Ukraine was made public – brought out of the oven, as it were, at a Dutch Maid bakery employing Ukrainian confectioners. Biting into the evidence, it immediately dissolves like refined sugar, leaving a foul, artificial taste in the mouth.
The Dutch-Ukrainian charade played by the “Joint Investigation Team” is an insult to the relatives and friends of the 298 killed in the shoot-down on July 17, 2014, who long for the truth and accountability. The Dutch/Ukrainian confectioners should be dismissed and the bakery shut down for serving empty-calorie fare.
After the Dutch findings were made public, RT asked for Ray’s reaction. After skimming through the released data, it became clear that some instructive points of a general nature could be made at once. Brian Becker of RT’s Loud and Clear interviewed Ray for 15 minutes. Ray again bemoaned the absence of the “evidence” Kerry said “we” had from the outset. He noted that John Kerry told Meet the Press just three days after the shoot-down:
“We picked up the imagery of this launch; we know the trajectory; we know where it came from; we know the timing and it was exactly at the time this aircraft disappeared from the radar. …”
Ray also called attention to Kerry’s risible claim that “social media” is an “extraordinary tool.” The question, of course, is a tool for what? Equally laughable – but not really – is the fact that one of the major suspects for having shot down MH17, Ukraine, is pretty much running the inquiry.
Robert Parry’s investigative reports on Sept. 28 & 29 scrutinized the Dutch report data presented – and the data conspicuously left out. We recommend both pieces to those interested in exploring the findings and seeing how dubious and diaphanous they are.
On Sputnik Radio, Ray tried to fit all this into the bigger picture of vilification of Russia, and pointed to a similar sequence of events over three decades ago, when the Soviets shot down KAL-007 after it wandered far into the interior of the USSR. U.S. propaganda, led by the U.S. Information Agency, went into high gear and doctored the evidence to “prove” the Soviets knew KAL-007 was a civilian aircraft and shot down deliberately. “Barbaric” was the word used (and in recent days U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers has recently taken to using the same epithet).
As soon as KH17 went down on July 17, 2014, the eerie parallel with the KAL-007 shoot-down struck Ray hard, so he weaved what follows into the article he posted the following day.
The following is quoted from Ray’s article of July 18, 2014:
But the death of all 298 people onboard the Malaysian Airline flight, going from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, will surely provide plenty of fuel for the already roaring anti-Russian propaganda machine. Still, the U.S. press might pause to recall how it’s been manipulated by the U.S. government in the past, including three decades ago by the Reagan administration twisting the facts of the KAL-007 tragedy.
In that case, a Soviet fighter jet shot down a Korean Air Line plane on Sept. 1, 1983, after it strayed hundreds of miles off course and penetrated some of the Soviet Union’s most sensitive airspace over military facilities in Kamchatka and Sakhalin Island.
Over Sakhalin, KAL-007 was finally intercepted by a Soviet Sukhoi-15 fighter. The Soviet pilot tried to signal the plane to land, but the KAL pilots did not respond to the repeated warnings. Amid confusion about the plane’s identity — a U.S. spy plane had been in the vicinity hours earlier — Soviet ground control ordered the pilot to fire. He did, blasting the plane out of the sky and killing all 269 people on board.
The Soviets soon realized they had made a horrendous mistake. U.S. intelligence also knew from sensitive intercepts that the tragedy had resulted from a blunder, not from a willful act of murder (much as on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes fired a missile that brought down an Iranian civilian airliner in the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people, an act which President Ronald Reagan explained as an “understandable accident”).
But a Soviet admission of a tragic blunder regarding KAL-007 wasn’t good enough for the Reagan administration, which saw the incident as a propaganda windfall. At the time, the felt imperative in Washington was to blacken the Soviet Union in the cause of Cold War propaganda and to escalate tensions with Moscow.
Falsifying the Case
To make the blackest case against Moscow, the Reagan administration suppressed exculpatory evidence from the U.S. electronic intercepts. The U.S. mantra became “the deliberate downing of a civilian passenger plane.” Newsweek ran a cover emblazoned with the headline “Murder in the Sky.”
“The Reagan administration’s spin machine began cranking up,” wrote Alvin A. Snyder, then-director of the U.S. Information Agency’s television and film division, in his 1995 book, Warriors of Disinformation.
USIA Director Charles Z. Wick “ordered his top agency aides to form a special task force to devise ways of playing the story overseas. The objective, quite simply, was to heap as much abuse on the Soviet Union as possible,” Snyder recalled.
Snyder noted that “the American media swallowed the U.S. government line without reservation. Said the venerable Ted Koppel on the ABC News ‘Nightline’ program: ‘This has been one of those occasions when there is very little difference between what is churned out by the U.S. government propaganda organs and by the commercial broadcasting networks.’”
On Sept. 6, 1983, the Reagan administration went so far as to present a doctored transcript of the intercepts to the United Nations Security Council. …
“The tape was supposed to run 50 minutes,” Snyder said about the recorded Soviet intercepts. “But the tape segment we [at USIA] had ran only eight minutes and 32 seconds. … ‘Do I detect the fine hand of [Richard Nixon’s secretary] Rosemary Woods here?’ I [Snyder] asked sarcastically.’”
But Snyder had a job to do: producing the video that his superiors wanted. “The perception we wanted to convey was that the Soviet Union had cold-bloodedly carried out a barbaric act,” Snyder wrote.
Only a decade later, when Snyder saw the complete transcripts — including the portions that the Reagan administration had hidden — would he fully realize how many of the central elements of the U.S. presentation were false.
The Soviet fighter pilot apparently did believe he was pursuing a U.S. spy plane, according to the intercepts, and he was having trouble in the dark identifying the plane. At the instructions of Soviet ground controllers, the pilot had circled the KAL airliner and tilted his wings to force the aircraft down. The pilot said he fired warning shots, too. “This comment was also not on the tape we were provided,” Snyder wrote.
It was clear to Snyder that in the pursuit of its Cold War aims, the Reagan administration had presented false accusations to the United Nations, as well as to the people of the United States and the world. To Reagan’s people, the ends of smearing the Soviets had justified the means of falsifying the historical record.
In his book, Snyder acknowledged his role in the deception and drew an ironic lesson from the incident. The senior USIA official wrote, “The moral of the story is that all governments, including our own, lie when it suits their purposes. The key is to lie first.”
Military Exercise Almost Gets Us Fried
A former colleague and senior manager of Soviet analysis, Mel Goodman, wrote last October about a “war scare” in the Kremlin, and asked if history may be repeating itself.
Mel’s prose has always been super, so I will simply cull several paragraphs from his highly interesting/disturbing article, including the role he personally played in persuading President Ronald Reagan to ratchet down the tension. What follows is from Mel:
“… 1983 was the most dangerous year in the Soviet-American Cold War confrontation since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. President Reagan declared a political and military campaign against the “evil empire” … Soviet leaders believed that the “correlation of world forces,” Soviet terminology for the international balance, was unfavorable to Moscow and that the U.S. government was in the hands of a dangerous anti-Soviet crowd.
In response to Reagan’s references to the Soviet Union as the “focus of evil in the world” … the new Soviet general secretary, Yuri Andropov, a former KGB chief, suggested that Reagan was insane and a liar … Andropov would take no chances. Soviet leaders believed the Reagan administration was using a mobilization exercise called “Able Archer” in November 1983 to prepare a nuclear surprise attack. The KGB instituted a sensitive collection effort to determine if the United States was planning such an attack. …
Provoking the Russian Bear
In addition to the Able Archer mobilization exercise that alarmed the Kremlin, the Reagan administration authorized unusually aggressive military exercises near the Soviet border that, in some cases, violated Soviet territorial sovereignty. The Pentagon’s risky measures included … naval exercises in wartime approaches to the USSR where U.S. warships had previously not entered. Additional secret operations simulated surprise naval attacks on Soviet targets.
One of the great similarities between Russia and the United States was that both sides feared surprise attack. The United States suffered psychologically from the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor; it has still not recovered from 9/11. Yet, the United States has never appreciated that Moscow has similar fears due to Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion in the same year as Pearl Harbor, a far greater nightmare.
Russia’s fear of surprise attack was accentuated in 1983, when the United States deployed the Army’s Pershing-II missile and land-based cruise missiles in West Europe as a counter to the Soviet Union’s SS-20 missiles. The SS-20 was not a “strategic” weapon because of a limited range (3,000 miles) well short of the United States. The P-II, however, could not only reach the Soviet Union, but it could destroy Moscow’s command and control systems with incredible accuracy. Since the Soviets would have limited warning time–less than five minutes–the P-II was viewed as a first-strike weapon that could destroy the Soviet early warning system.
In addition to the huge strategic advantage from the deployment of P-II and numerous cruise missiles, the U.S. deployment of the MX missile and the D-5 Trident submarine placed the Soviets in an inferior position with regard to strategic modernization. Overall, the United States held a huge strategic advantage in political, economic, and military policy.
The Pentagon’s psychological warfare program to intimidate the Kremlin, including dangerous probes of Soviet borders by the Navy and Air Force, was unknown to CIA analysts. Thus, the CIA was at a disadvantage in trying to analyze the war scare because the Pentagon refused to share information on military maneuvers and weapons deployments. In 1983, the CIA had no idea that the annual Able Archer exercise would be conducted in a provocative fashion with high-level participation. The exercise was a test of U.S. command and communications procedures, including procedures for the release and use of nuclear weapons in case of war.
Enlisting President Reagan’s Help
I [Mel Goodman] believed that Soviet fears were genuine and Reagan’s national security advisor, Robert McFarlane, was even known to remark, “We got their attention” but “maybe we overdid it.” … Casey took our analysis to the White House, and Reagan made sure that the exercises were toned down.
For the first time, the Able Archer exercise was going to include President Reagan, Vice President Bush, and Secretary of Defense Weinberger, but when the White House understood the extent of Soviet anxiety regarding U.S. intentions, the major principals bowed out. … Soviet military doctrine had long held that a possible U.S. modus operandi for launching an attack on the USSR would be to convert an exercise into the real thing.
Three decades later, history seems to be repeating itself. Washington and Moscow are once again exchanging ugly broadsides over the confrontations in Ukraine and Syria. The Russian-American arms control and disarmament dialogue has been pushed to the background, and the possibilities of superpower conflict into the foreground. Pentagon briefers are using the language of the Cold War in their congressional briefings, referring to Putin’s Russia as an “existential threat.” …
END of excerpts from Mel Goodman’s account of “Able Archer.” Note that it followed the furor over KAL-007 by just two months. Happy Thanksgiving.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (Santayana)