Workers Vanguard No. 1050

8 August 2014


On Malaysia Airlines MH17 Disaster

The crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on July 17, apparently brought down by a missile, has been seized on by the Ukrainian government and its U.S./NATO backers as an enormous boost for their military campaign in the region. The moment the plane hit the ground, the Obama administration and its allies began howling that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is to blame for the deaths of 298 innocent civilians on the plane, claiming that it was brought down by pro-Russian insurgents, who control areas of eastern Ukraine, using anti-aircraft missiles supplied by Moscow. Such touching concern for the lives of civilians is consummate hypocrisy on the part of the NATO imperialists. They brokered a fascist-infested coup in Ukraine in February and have backed the Kiev regime to the hilt as it organized the May 2 massacre of more than 40 people in Odessa and launched a provocative military assault in eastern Ukraine. Indeed, if not for Kiev’s war against the eastern insurgents, which includes aerial bombing of the civilian population, the tragedy of flight MH17 could never have happened.

We are in no position to know what brought down the plane. We do know that Washington and its mouthpieces have not produced a shred of credible evidence for their claim that it was shot down by the insurgents. We also know that it is notable that the Kiev government did not close this airspace following the shooting down of a Ukrainian Army transport plane only days before the MH17 disaster. And we know that, as things currently stand, the only forces to benefit from this horrific disaster are the Ukrainian authorities and their imperialist supporters.

If a civilian aircraft loaded with passengers was knowingly targeted, that would be a heinous atrocity. And, in fact, the Western imperialists are more than practiced in carrying out such atrocities. On 3 July 1988, the U.S. warship Vincennes, which had crossed into Iranian waters, shot down an Iran Air Airbus A300, incinerating 290 people. Five years before, on 1 September 1983, the U.S. sent Korean Airlines flight 007 into Soviet airspace on a spy mission. The South Korean 747 airliner refused to identify itself. Soviet forces assumed it to be the RC-135 spy plane that the U.S. flew on an overlapping route with the civilian plane and shot it down. To the imperialists, the deaths of the KAL 007 passengers were acceptable collateral for a provocative spy mission against the Soviet degenerated workers state.

Regardless of what happened with the Malaysia Airlines disaster, it does not change our position in defense of the right to self-rule for Donetsk and Luhansk, up to and including independence and/or amalgamation into Russia. Marxists are not neutral—we stand militarily with the people in Donetsk and Luhansk fighting against the Kiev regime. At the same time, we do not give any political support to their reactionary leadership, which is characterized by Great Russian chauvinism and riddled with anti-Jewish bigotry. Kiev government troops out of eastern Ukraine! U.S./NATO imperialists hands off! Down with imperialist sanctions against Russia!