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Did Obama push Dutch & Australian govts to start war with Russia after MH17?

by John Helmer at Dances with Bears

NOTE: bold emphases are ours -OffG

President Barack Obama and his advisors spent at least a week, and as much as three weeks, planning to send up to 9,000 combat troops into eastern Ukraine, on the border with Russia, following the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 two years ago. The scheme, which was to have involved Dutch and Australian army units, with German ground and US air support, plus NATO direction, has inadvertently leaked from the publication of a report this week by a former Australian Army captain.

The military plan, according to James Brown, now head of research at the US Studies Centre of the University of Sydney, “would have consumed the bulk of the Australian Army.” Captain Brown also claims “planning for these military options consumed Australia’s intelligence agencies. The National Security Committee of [the Australian ministerial] Cabinet met every day for more than three weeks , and staff and agencies produced a frenzied stream of briefings on Ukraine, Russia and the intentions of [President] Vladimir Putin.”

According to Dutch sources, the military plan of attack was aborted when Germany refused to participate directly, or allow its bases and airspace to be used. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the Dutch were pulling their troops out of the plan on July 27. He said at the time: “Getting the military upper hand for an international mission in this area is, according to our conclusion, not realistic.” That was ten days after the MH17 crash. But Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his cabinet continued, Brown and his sources reveal, to plan the operation with the US for another 10 days.

MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014, killing 298 passengers and crew. Of the lives lost, 193 of them were Dutch; 43 Malaysian; and 27 Australian (plus 11 dual nationals or residents). From the first hours, the Malaysian government suspected elements of the Ukrainian military had been involved. Kuala Lumpur was reluctant to endorse the claims of the Ukrainian and US governments that Russia had been culpable, and that Russian-backed forces were directly to blame. That story can be read here.

The Dutch and Australian governments were, and continue to be, the most supportive of blame for Moscow. This was adopted as the official policy of the European Union (EU) states when they joined the US in introducing new sanctions against Russian oil companies and banks between July 16 and 31, 2014. For more details of the disagreements between political leaders on what had caused the shoot-down, read this.

Left: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak with Rutte, The Hague, July 31, 2014; right: Najib with Putin, Sochi, May 21, 2016

Left: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak with Rutte, The Hague, July 31, 2014; right: Najib with Putin, Sochi,
May 21, 2016

Rutte and Abbott combined to pressure Prime Minister Najib to drop his public scepticism, and join the police and prosecutors group known as the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Najib is the only one of the three to discuss with Russia its assessment of the causes of the MH17 crash.

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The report by Brown (pictured left) was cited in an Australian newspaper on Monday as an attack on ex-prime minister Abbott for “grand aspirations [which] could have exposed Australian troops to substantial danger in pursuit of lofty objectives misaligned with national interests”. Abbott lost his job when the MPs of his party combined to replace him with the current prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on September 14, 2015. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko then appointed Abbott one of his “international advisors”.

In 2014, according to Brown, Abbott “calculated that the best way to encourage the United States to retain an active role in world affairs was for Australia to lead by example: as an ally encouraging, reassuring, and perhaps even occasionally shaming the US into taking action.” The full Brown report can be read here.

Brown reveals that “military planners worked up options for Abbott that involved deploying up to a brigade’s worth of troops to Eastern Ukraine, a formation of as many as 3,000 troops”. Another proposal, which he reports as coming from Abbott’s office, was “to commit uniformed Australian military logistics personnel to help the Ukrainians improve their own systems”.

Poroshenko (left) meets in Kiev with his international advisors (centre to right): ex-Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski; Abbott; and Melanne Verveer, a Ukrainian-American protégée of Hillary Clinton.

Poroshenko (left) meets in Kiev with his international advisors (centre to right): ex-Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski; Abbott; and Melanne Verveer, a Ukrainian-American protégée of Hillary Clinton.

Brown, who favours special forces operations himself and the command of the Australian Army by former spetznaz officers, says “nearly 200 [special force troops] were eventually sent to Europe to support the MH17 recovery operations, staging from bases in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to provide close support to investigators and backup for further crisis or contingency.” Less than four weeks later, according to Brown, one hundred of these men were moved to Iraq instead.

Australian troops in Iraq in August 2014. No photograph or press report of Australian troops in Ukraine at the time has appeared.

Australian troops in Iraq in August 2014. No photograph or press report of Australian troops in Ukraine at the time has appeared.

Abbott himself told Australian state radio in February 2015: “We did talk to the Dutch about what might have been done in those perilous circumstances, because certainly they were perilous circumstances. There was talk with the Dutch about a joint operation.” Abbott claimed this wasn’t his initiative. “This arose out of the most important and the most necessary discussions between the Dutch military and our own.”

This week’s report by Brown breaks news in identifying how large the Australian force was to have been. He does not report the Dutch, German and NATO planning which was going on at the same time. When asked, Brown declined to say whether he and his sources knew, or didn’t know, that Abbott was acting in concert with the others.

On July 25, 2014, the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported that the 11th Airmobile Brigade (unit flash, below right, red) was being mobilized for action in eastern Ukraine. That’s 4,500 troops, and part of a division-sized German military force called Division Schnelle Kräfte (Rapid Forces Division – unit flash, silver) of about 9,000 men.

The cover story, according to the Telegraaf, was “to ensure the 23 Dutch crash investigators and 40 unarmed military police officers can do their job.” The real objective, according to one of Telegraaf’s sources, was: “if our commandos are there, they should certainly try to arrest those responsible. [Russian] Colonel Igor the Terrible Girkin [Strelkov] and his associates.” For background on Girkin’s role in Russian plans and operations in eastern Ukraine, read this.

The Dutch newspaper didn’t reveal the Dutch troops would be deployed alongside the 3,000-man Australian force, and that the German command of Division Schnelle Kräfte would also be involved. Telegraaf claimed the operation was “not expected at the NATO headquarters in Brussels”, although it had been presented to “the authorities in Kiev before the green light [was given] and cooperation promised.”

Two days later, on July 27, the BBC reported Dutch Prime Minister Rutte as calling off the operation. “ Getting the military upper-hand for an international mission in this area is, according to our conclusion, not realistic, “he said, conceding it would be “such a provocation to the separatists that it could destabilise the situation”. With almost two years in retrospect, Brown concludes, without mentioning the Dutch, Germans, or other NATO forces, “the potential for harm to Australian troops was all too real. The logic of deploying large numbers of troops into an active war zone alongside the border of a major global military power was entirely shaky.”

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Russian analysts in Moscow do not regard the Australian and Dutch governments as capable of planning military action without prior encouragement by the US. The Russians did not realize at the time, they now say, that the US may have been planning a military operation in the wake of the MH17 crash. Yevgeny Krutikov (right), military analyst for Versiya and Vzglyad, recalls there were reports in the press “about the organization of protection for the crash site. Then Abbott offered to send about 1,000 Australian troops to cordon off the crash site. By definition, that was unrealizable stupidity.”

The number of 9,000 is not real. For the protection of the aircraft wreckage that had fallen, the requirement is less than a militia company. The area was open fields where [the locals] had planted potatoes and sunflowers. There was no talk about the arrival of armed forces from NATO. Air support was even more unreal. By this time, Ukraine has already lost all of its aircraft, and ‘cooperation’ was not technically feasible.

The omissions in the Dutch and now the Australian report suggest the close coordination of US and EU officials on introducing new sanctions against Russia immediately after the MH17 crash was not matched by coordination of any kind between the Obama Administration, the US command of NATO, the Dutch, Germans and Australians. To Russian observers this is not credible. Preposterous, they believe, is that the Dutch and the Australian governments, at the urging of the White House, went as close as they did to war on the Russian frontier.

Obama and Abbott meet in Beijing, November 10, 2014. Obama said: “Obviously, the men and women of the Australian armed forces have terrific capabilities and on many occasions have made extraordinary sacrifice. So first and foremost, I want to thank [Abbott] for the security partnership that we have.”  Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/10/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-abbott-australia-after-bilate

Obama and Abbott meet in Beijing, November 10, 2014. Obama said: “Obviously, the men and women of the Australian armed forces have terrific capabilities and on many occasions have made extraordinary sacrifice. So first and foremost, I want to thank [Abbott] for the security partnership that we have.” Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/10/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-abbott-australia-after-bilate

Brown declines to identify or corroborate his sources for the size of the Australian armed force intended for the Ukrainian operation. He was asked to explain “that the prime minister, his advisors, the National Security Committee of Cabinet meeting every day for three weeks, the Australian intelligence agencies, and the Australian military staffs failed to ask for US assessments, US policy guidance, US logistic and other support in the event of engagement between Australian and Russian forces, and US approval of the plans and proposals considered at the time. If the Australians did obtain the US responses, would you say the proposals you attribute to Mr Abbott had US backing, at least at the outset?”

Brown refuses to answer. Was it possible for two prime ministers, the Australian and the Dutch, to start mobilizing for a combined Ukraine operation without US and NATO participation in the planning? Brown won’t say.

Instead, he ends his report with an endorsement of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech of 2009: “There will be times,” Obama said then, “when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified… For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world.”

12 Comments

  1. elenits says

    The European EU political establishments are owned lock stock and barrel by their US paymasters. More to the point, the US and NATO bases ‘occupy’ European EU countries. This is – as DeGaulle warned – the Trojan Horse that explains acquiescence.
    To put things in a strategic ‘realism’ perspective, the EU is simply secondary: it is the economic arm of NATO. Decked out with flags, anthems and unending propaganda.

    As for the Australians, they signed a treaty with the USA that whatever wars the US engages in, Australia will too. Thus sacrificing an independent foreign and military policy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unfortunately the truth will not be out while ever the puppet government of Ukraine [a suspect in the shoot-down] continues to be allowed to be part of the investigation.

    Ukraine are in the insane position of being able to veto any information they do not wish to be made known. The US has gone along with this as they need to support their regime in Kiev. Malaysia don’t believe in the investigation and neither do most critical observers as the process is broken.

    This broken process suits the US as it enables them to sit back and fan the flames of disorder which eventually can lead to war in Europe.

    Like

  3. Jen says

    “… MH17 was shot down on July 17, 2014, killing 298 passengers and crew … From the first hours, the Malaysian government suspected elements of the Ukrainian military had been involved …”

    Kuala Lumpur was right to suspect Ukrainian military involvement. On July 16, 2014, about 5,500 – 6,000 pro-Kiev fighters were surrounded and trapped by Donetsk fighters in southern Donetsk oblast (in an area near Saur-Mogila and Marynovka). The downing of MH17 may have been intended as a ploy to stop the fighting in eastern Ukraine in a temporary truce to allow the Southern Cauldron to open and enable the trapped soldiers to leave.
    https://slavyangrad.org/2014/07/17/briefings-july-16-2014/

    The Southern Cauldron fell to Novorossiyan fighters and at least half the Ukrainians trapped died in the fighting.
    https://slavyangrad.org/2014/08/09/the-boiling-southern-cauldron/

    Like

  4. “Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko then appointed Abbott one of his “international advisors”.

    I can’t help but laugh every time I read that. The man is witless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jen says

      How does that saying go again? … “Birds of a feather flock together”.

      They’re both witless.

      Like

    • Richard Le Sarcophage says

      Abbott once masqueraded as a ‘journalist’ at Murdoch’s Sydney operation. My father was working there at the time, and averred for years, long before the laughable catastrophe of Abbott becoming Prime Minister, that Abbott was one of the stupidest and most ignorant fools he’d ever met.

      Like

    • nexusxyz says

      Tony Robot could have had hundreds of Australians killed as a result of his stupidity.

      Like

  5. Guest says

    Nothing would surprise me regarding the noble peace prize winner obama.
    He has all of Europe obeying his policy on sanctions even though it hurts them, anything is possible.

    Like

  6. HERSTEL DE REPUBLIEK says

    “For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world.”

    Yes, he’s talking about Corporate D.C now. Make no mistake: Washington has proven since 1776 to be the menace of this world and its population.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Richard Le Sarcophage says

      As Chomsky once described it -‘The Real Evil Empire’. Today more Evil, deranged and aggressive than ever, and the Europeans are utter toadies.

      Liked by 1 person

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