Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Turkey on brink of war with ISIS and ISIL

The entire equation of the already complicated fight with Islamic terrorists in the Middle East could change by the end of the week.
Turkey is considering sending troops into the area, and even safeguarding Kurds and others.
Kurdish leaders say they do not trust Erdogan, and the U.S. military is cool to the idea of setting up a buffer zone inside Syria. The NATO member’s parliament is going to be asked this week to send in tanks and troops, the boots on the ground U.S. commanders say are needed to destroy ISIS and ISIL.
Al Arabiya reported the situation could expode even earlier because jihadists were marching on a Turkish enclave in Aleppo, Syria. The area is home to the tomb at Turkish hero, and is guarded by its army.
Turkish Prime Minister Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the Turkish army will fight to defend it.Although hundreds of airstrikes, both in Iraq and Syria, have slowed the jihadists’ advance, their effectiveness is limited near urban areas where civilians surely will die.
Some organizations said the airstrikes already have claimed innocent lives.It is a difficult decision for President Recep Tayypi Erdogan.
He does not want to arm Kurds, who may later turn their weapons on his army in their struggle for independence.
On the other hand, the jihadists already are active in Turkey and could launch terrorist attacks.
Also, more than 200,000 refugees have fled from Iraq and Syria into Turkey, which is having to care for them.Should Turkey not only unleash the Leopard tanks it has within a few miles of the fighting, and let Kurdish militants cross into the battlefield, the jihadists could be crushed.
The fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be uncertain. Would it help him or hurt him?
Assad appears terrified of possible outcomes. "Combating terrorism cannot be carried out by states that contributed to establishing terrorist organizations, provided them with logistic and material support, and spread terrorism around the world," Syria's SANA news agency quoted Assad as saying.
Turkish Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş crossed into Kobane, an Iraq border village made up of Kurds the jihadists are seeking to seize, this week. He said if Ankara lends support to the embattled Kurds it will improve relations at home with outlawed Kurdish militants.
Demirtas met with Kurdish leaders within a couple of miles of the fighting.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bush-Cheney foster ISIS-ISIL

Once again former President George W. Bush and his careless gun-handling vice president, Dick Cheney, are getting off the hook. Let’s blame the black guy.
The lead story in Sunday’s New York Times is about how President Barack Obama said he underestimated ISIS/ISIL during an interview with “60 Minutes.”
He conceded Iraq-Syria and some other lesser known countries had become “ground zero for jihadists around the world.” 
Several years ago his military commanders had begun referring to the jihadist groups as "franchises."
Bush’s cohorts will take that to mean the United States should have stayed on in Iraq until the end of time. Republicans in the House are ready to pile on the bandwagon if Obama is persuaded to send troops. Why regional power Turkey shouldn’t be doing this remains unanswered. 
Some may wonder if America has a death wish.What it also means is that without the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it is possible al-Qaeda would never have escaped Pandora’s box. If Bush had focused on killing Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, several thousand Americans and hundreds of thousands of living breathing people might still be alive from Iraq to Kabul. Even the nation’s top news sources, including the very sameNew York Times, was coopted into the search and invasion for weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein had ditched to try to save his life.Most of the nation’s top editors and publishers live on the East Coast. They were traumatized by the 9/11. It was only natural they would seek revenge.Should they be forgiven for forgetting that when you seek revenge dig two graves.Not even the gladiator-laden Roman amphitheaters had seen the likes of what to come, though spectators couldn’t eat French fries. Giant, gas guzzling SUVs had become the dinosaurs of the land, guaranteeing Saudi Arabia and other countries could do as they pleased.Cops who couldn’t get to the fight shaved their heads, wore Kevlar, drove around in armored cars and shots black kids carrying weed. Soldiers who used to retire after 20 years became mercenaries.The billionaires who run professional sports and prisons were the only ones who could match this kind of money-making potential.The draft was eliminated, minimizing the impact on the rich and middle class. Video games drew kids to the ranks, unfortunately they did not include sequences where soldiers would be disable and unable to get timely medical care. The worst was less visible, PTSD. 
Even when it became clear NFL stars were suffering similarly, and in some cases guilty of domestic violence, it was nothing more than collateral damage.Lastly, it helped the military unload the baggage of the defeat in Vietnam.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Turkey ready to fight ISIS/ISIL terrorists

Ankara - With even Russia offering to help, the biggest player near the battlefield is finally ready to intervene against Muslim terrorists. And it has a powerful Army.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Hurriyet Daily: “Related countries are now planning a ground operation.”Turkey has NATO’s second-largest standing army.Erdogan said, “We will protect our borders ourselves.”
The New York Times, which had said Saturday morning that Turkey was relucant to get involved, updated their story to say: "After intense lobbying by the Obama administration at the United Nations General Assembly last week, Turkey finally appears ready to take a more active role in the fight."  Islamic terrorists are near the Turkey border, seeking to take towns and cities in the area.Many Arabs live in the country, as well as some Europeans, but its diverse population means it cannot be seen as a Western power.The situation is complicated and dangerous for Turkey. They fear arming Kurds opposed to Erdogan’s government, the president himself has strong opposition within his country, and 200,000 refugees have fled into Turkey from Syria and Iraq.At the same time, the U.S. and NATO are pushing Ankara to perform a role that Western nations cannot.The terrorists had held 49 Turkish diplomatic personnel from the Mosul, Iraq, consulate, releasing them only after 101 days.More than 96 percent of Turks are Muslims, mostly Sunni. ISIS/ISIL is compromised mostly of Sunnis."There is a clear interest for Turkey to be involved in this, and we do anticipate that they will be working constructively with the broader international coalition to combat ISIL," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Turkey has “absolutely pledged to be effective.”U.S. military leaders have said it is unlikely ISIS can be stopped without ground forces. oint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey has told the press.No Western country is likely to be able fill that role. Neither is Russia, though it has acknowledged it could be a target of its own citizens fighting on behalf of ISIS. Turkey is best suited for the job, though Saudi Arabia and other countries could provide token forces as well as participate in airstrikes.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

iPhone 6 off to a wobbly start

Apple’s decision to finally match Samsung and others by producing mobile phones big enough to be easily used was off to a fast start.

Ten million were ordered on the first weekend of sales, Macworld reported. The big phone was off to warp speed, literally.

The problem is that many users, including technical writers, have reported that the phones tend to bend or warp easily.

USA Today reported "Apple spearheaded a sharp drop in technology stocks" because of problems with the iPhon.

An ATT representative told a customer that it is only if a user puts the large iPhone 6 in a pocket. Many iPhone users have been putting the phones in their pockets for years.

The latest fiasco recalls the incident when the design of an earlier phone blocked the antenna because the user’s hand covered it. Covers, called “bumpers” were handed out free to solve the problem.

Could this be a result of Apple’s practice of hiding designs and then rushing phones to markets.

They fell way behind Samsung when it became clear that people were using phones to text and even browse the Internet.

Even now Samsung claims its screen is bigger.

Tony Bradley wrote in Forbes: There are some potential benefits to a larger iPhone aside from the display itself—like more space for a larger battery. 

Even with that in mind, though, I stated in a recent blog post, “I’m still adamantly opposed to Apple simply replacing the existing iPhone with a gargantuan model. I like the current size. It fits in a pocket nicely.”

He said the phablet-size iPhone is not likely to catch the Android or even Windows Phones. It will be a “niche.” Isn’t that what Apples used to be?

Success may have gone to the head of those Cupertino folks. The arrogance of Apple store staff has become legendary. Who hasn’t asked a staffer a question and seen him or her walk over to the nearest machine and type the question into Google.

For some they will still prefer Apple because the much-ballyhooed Android system differs depending on which band you buy. Get an LG phone and a Samsung tablet and you will find differences in the Android system.

Windows is off to a slow start, with few apps to offer, but some of its phones, especially the Nokias, are attractive and developers are rushing to the market to offer the beloved apps.

Will Russia be next ISIS target?

Despite being proposed by President Barack Obama, Russia supported a Security Council resolution condemning the Islamic jihadist group ISIS.
Could that make Moscow a target?

After a speech from Obama, the United Nations adopted a binding resolution requiring all members to prevent their nationals from joining the group or aiding in any of its activities. In addition to thousands of Iraqis, ISIS is responsible for the deaths of American, British and French nationals. Some Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, have joined in attacks on the terrorists. Russia approved the resolution. President Vladimir Putin has put himself in a tough position because he has opposed bombing raids on ISIS targets in the homeland of his ally, President Bashar Hafez al-Assad. The Syrian president himself has supported air strikes on ISIS. But ISIS leaders have threatened to “dethrone” Putin and overthrow the government the Russian president installed in Chechnya. Putin’s support of Russian separatists in the Ukraine and allegations of involvement in the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner, which cost 298 lives, have made Russian a pariah. “No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force,” Obama said. A Europe that seemed unlikely to take firm action against Moscow now has joined the U.S. in supporting sanctions that are hurting an already weak economy. Obama offered Wednesday to remove sanctions if Putin would back off. Far from it, he has been making threats of being able to capture as many as five capitals in two days. Despite his control of the media, thousands turned out in a Moscow rally last weekend to oppose Russia’s involvement in the war. "Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition," Obama told the General Assembly with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the audience. Obama denounced the seizure of Crimea by Moscow, saying: "Russia's actions in Ukraine challenge this post-war order.” Lavrov’s response was to say the United States had no business getting involved in Ukrainian affairs. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon concluded that "Cold War ghosts have returned to haunt our times."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vegetable gardens and Internet firewall first line of defense for Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin is counting on the 40 percent of food produced by “dacha gardens” to fend off food sanctions. Yes, Russia claims 40 percent of its food and animals from such gardens.
The U.S. and Britain had similar gardens in World 2, but they were mostly a morale lifter. The two counties relied more on factories churning out more than 650,000 tanks and 242,000 planes. The Russian combined total was 242,000. Russian media are full of reports of how these gardens will make Western sanctions useless. For those who might question this logic, there will be nowhere to turn. Putin already has a stranglehold on the media, and plans to shut down the Internet. Putin is going to be under more pressure to shut down all media after a report was leaked to a Russian news outlet of the massacre of 80 soldiers sent into the Ukraine with no idea where they were headed. A BBC TV crew was brutally attacked in Russian for investigating a New York Times report of the deaths of hundreds of soldiers in this maskivora operation. Except for three nationally televised funerals so socalled volunteers, the dead Russians are buried before dawn so no can see them. Lev Shlosberg, a regional lawmaker who was beaten and hospitalized last month after he began documenting the deaths of soldiers who were based in Pskov, said no one is to know. Putin appears to be believe that spreading thousands and thousands of people on social media sites and socalled Web news sites to spread lies covers him. The pathetic record of U.S. President George W. Bush gave him a head start. Putin’s strategy didn’t work for Hitler and Goebbels. Putin has expanded his boasts, claiming he can take five capital cities in five days. Yet, his forces remain at a standstill in the Ukraine. Maximum use of force does not allow “lttle green men” in unmarked uniforms. Lines of tanks are easily spotted. NATO is ready, and though it was good bet they would have stood still six months ago, who knows what will happen now. The new axis of evil is Russia, North Korea and the ISIS caliphate.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Will Wales, England, Northern Ireland kick the Scots out

Oh for those living with the constant news coverage _ even across the pond,  if that were only true. Separatist attempts have become the plague of the day from Canada to the Ukraine.

The Scots may have to pay for what Robert Burns said was, “To see ourselves as others see us.”

Surely it is time for countries to have the power to throw people out. Many are dying on boats or in gullies, trying for a new dream.

Now that Scotland apparently has decided to stay in the United Kingdom perhaps that won’t be the end of it.

Some in Wales, England and Northern Ireland may want a vote on whether to keep the Scots. Has the government in Westminster given away powers to Scotland that the rest of the country does not have?

What will the European Union think. William the concessions to Scotland interfere with the way the EU is set up?

After all the Scots bagpipes are as annoying as hell, and the thought of men not wearing belts under their kilts is unthinkable.

Bravehart is more like Bravefart, though Mel Gibson really has some Scottish in his family tree.

Too often British food is confused with haggis, which the Free Dictionary says is: 
A Scottish dish consisting of a mixture of the minced heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep or calf mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the slaughtered animal.

England could reclaim Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and it would know longer be the dreaded “Scottish play.”

Half the time the Scots sound more like Russians than Brits, and thus are prime candidates for the U.K.’s British spies, although the Welsh are a close second.

The plague may have started in Scotland.

The Scots may be wishing for the luck of the Irish. Potato famine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Christians okay with Spartacus approach to disciplining kids

It is not clear where spanking would fit in the Beatitudes of their leader, but Christians from the right say physical punishment of children is okay.
In fact, as is often the case, these Christians rely on the Old Testament for their guidance on moral issues. Even Pontius Pilate was loath to rely on that code.
The Daily Beast points out that the U.S. and Somalia are the only countries not to sign a U.N. convention on the rights of children. 
In a column published by Time, Dr. Jared Pingleton, a clinical psychologist who works for Focus on the Family’s counseling department, states that spanking, a physical punishment, is an effective way to modify behavior and is acceptable if the parent does not lose control.
At no point in the column does Pingleton discuss whether different rules would apply to a professional athlete, who perhaps is many times more powerful than the average adult, and may be under the influence of steroids. 
What about a boxer? 
Under the law, they can be held to a higher standard in assault cases than the average Joe the Plumber. 
Should running backs, boxers, or perhaps a special forces soldier, be allowed to administer punishment, often in privacy with no one to intervene on behalf of the child? 
The Army doesn’t take kindly to its soldiers using the training they provided to injure ordinary people.
Charles Barkley has defended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who used a switch to inflict injuries that some believe are more consistent with giving Spartacus lashes than dealing with a child. 
Barkley admitted that things may have changed since he was brought up in the South, and perhaps need to be re-evaluated.Some in the media have repeatedly referred to Ray Rice punching his wife as“cold cocking” or “sucker punching.” This as if it would have been okay if he had told his wife he was going to deck her. Of course she probably well knew what would happen when she spit in his face, but that also does not make it right.
Was it partly the child's fault for not crying, as the New Yorker has suggested Peterson was arguing in an interview. If the kid cried then Peterson would have known he was going too far. 
Apparently the support of Christians isn't enough these days. With the NFL under the threat of losing major advertisers, the Vikings changed their minds Wednesday and decided Peterson cannot be part of the team until the charges he faces are resolved.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How to behead ISIS

The latest terrorist murder of an innocent by ISIS has come as the U.S. government has been forced to send representatives to TV news shows to deny it had threatened families of hostages to stop them from raising ransom money.

The representatives of the administration of President Barack Obama say they merely warned the families that it was against the law.

The administration’s efforts makes it seem even more likely that the terrorists had sought ransom money.

If so, why not give it to them. Nothing corrupts more than money, and giving them millions likely would destroy them from the inside.

CNN dutifully reports that the paying of ransom leads to more kidnappings and more ransoms.

The New York Times says the paying of ransoms, mostly by France, has resulted in the payment of $125 million since 2008 to al Qaeda and others seeking to brand themselves as promoters of true Islam.

This should be what the West is telling the world on social media. It is a message that would destroy any credibility the terrorists had.

The one thing ISIS and the others cannot function without is money. Letting the world know the truth about them might be more powerful than a dozen JDAM “smart bombs.”

Shower them with dollars and Euros. It is easy to make fun of the French, but they have retained their ties with their former colonies, including in Muslim North Africa. They found in Algeria that even the toughest special forces units and most brutal tactics only served to strengthen their enemies.

The one thing no one can compete with the West in doing is selling and branding. It played a major role in bringing down the Berlin Wall.

There could even be a ransom channel. Money would be raised, and lives would be saved. For once money would be doing good, at least for awhile.

No need to wait for eternity to have those dozens of virgins in tree-lined gardens. And it needn’t be just on the Internet, and no need to chat only with Russian girls.

If only Robin Williams was here to do a movie. Good Morning Syria.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sports body says convicted killer Pistorius can run

Oscar Pistorius has been a huge money-maker for the Paralympic Games and the group wasted no time in declaring him fit to run despite his conviction for manslaughter in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

From the start the International Paralympic Committee has said it would separate the private life of Pistorius from the court case.

“Oscar’s done a great deal for the Paralympic movement, he’s been an inspiration to millions, but obviously his priority now is to see (what) the judge decides. And then if he wishes to resume his athletics career then we wouldn’t step in his way, we would allow him to compete again in the future,” said Craig Spence, the IPC media director. There was no immediate word from the Olympic Committee, which representes able-bodied athletes.

The Paralympic reaction was a stark contrast with the reaction in the past week of the U.S. National Football League, which in past has been accused of slapping violent athletes on the wrist. It suspended indefinitely football star Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens for punching his wife on the face, kicking her, and then dragging her from an elevator. The outrage among football fans, many of whom are women, led to the Ravens cutting the star running back from its roster. The Ravens has had problems with past stars being accused of involvement in violent acts.

The sporting public, and sponsors, appear less willing to accept players who are accused of violence, even if they manage to escape jail. Rice has escaped jail because his wife refused to testify against him. U.S. law prevents spouses from being forced to testify against each other.

The decision of Judge Thokozile Masipa to interpret all the evidence in such a way as to allow Pistorius, who had a history of recklessness with guns, to fire four bullets into his condo bathroom on Valentine’s Day and kill Pistorius outraged women.

One commenter on Tweeter said she wouldn’t be surprised if Steenkamp was convicted of getting into the way of Oscar’s bullets.
“It’s a sad day for women of this country and actually for all of us, to actually be coming up with a judgment like this. For us it’s a miscarriage of judgment. ... We’ll see what happens to the culpable homicide, how many years is the man going to get. But if judgements like this will be going on now and then, our women in the country and our daughters are not safe,” said Jackie Mofokeng, a spokeswoman for the provincial branch of the ruling African National Congress.
She said Steenkamp’s parents, who attended the verdict hearing both days, are “not happy. They are not in a good state. They are not happy their daughter is no more.”
The judge, who accepted the Pistorius claim that he thought an intruder had entered his condo in a gated community,  punctured a huge hole in her reasoning when she said Pistorius could have called the police, security guards or “run to the balcony and screamed for help” as he had done after he shot Steenkamp.
Masipa’s reasoning led to the expectation that Pistorius might even avoid any jail time, despite the fact that he had demonstrated his recklessness with guns before, even firing a gun in a restaurant. He could face a maximum 15 year sentence as a first time offender.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tide turns against Putin

Russian human rights protestors gather outside court

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to prevent Ukraine from edging too close to the West is having the opposite effect.

The European Union continues to dangle heavy sanctions over Russia’s head despite Putin’s attempt to use a cease-fire to persuade the West it could back off.

All it has achieved so far is for Europe to delay imposition of the heaviest sanctions yet on Russia’s three state-owned energy companies.

And in the Black Sea, the Ukraine navy has begun maneuvers with the U.S. and NATO. Twelve ships are conducting exercises for three days, not far from the Crimea that Putin’s forces seized in March. Some of the Ukrainian ships had been among those seized by Russia.

Putin doesn’t think he is in trouble, writes Brenda Shaffer on the New York Times editorial page. The professor of political science at the University of Haifa writes that Putin already has picked his next “frozen conflict,” a Russian term for unresolved arguments. It is a dispute in the south Caucasus between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Any border region, particularly any one near energy producing areas, is in play in Putin’s mind, particularly if an “ethnic” conflict can be exploited, writes Shaffer. He seems to fail to understand that there is a glut of energy. It’s like an algorithm that won’t stop running. A some point a human hand needs to intervene.

Putin’s support of rebels in the eastern Ukraine did stop the Dutch government from completing its investigation of the downing of a Malaysian Airliner, which claimed 298 lives. But the report Amsterdam released Tuesday made clear the Boeing 777 had been hit a special missile designed by the Russian military.

Even within Russia resistance has begun to build, first from mothers of soldiers sent to the Ukraine secretly. Now even a business has gone to court to try to get Putin’s blockage of European imported food stopped.

Pressure from Moscow has led Kiev to move from requesting only delivery of some weapons to saying it wants to join NATO and would welcome direct assistance.

The Moscow Times, which claims to be independent from the Kremlin, reported Tuesday that a judge had knocked down a government decision to label an election monitoring group, known as Golos, as an agent of a foreign government.

The controversial law passed in 2012 that allows rights NGOs to be labeled "foreign agents" if they receive foreign funding and are involved in loosely defined "political" activities is the latest tactic being used to silence human rights NGOs, the country's veteran rights defenders say.

Reuters reports that Putin told Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday that Russia is committed to what has been a shaky truce. Though there has been less fighting, there has been no sign of withdrawal of Ukrainian forces Moscow had demands in the cease-fire agreement.

U.S. President Barack Obama remains under pressure from both parties in the Congress to prevent Putin from dismembering the Ukraine, one of the very few things the two parties agree on.

Missile or high-flying pointy beak birds brought down Malaysian Airliner

The Dutch government has released a report on its investigation of the downing of a Malaysian Airliner, at a cost of 298 lives, though it admits the presence of Russian-backed forces has prevented experts from determining exactly what happened.
The report, which does not assign blame for the destruction of the aircraft, said the cockpit recorder and other instruments indicated the crew had no warning that the plane was about to be hit by a missile.
The ability of Russian President Vladimir Putin to manipulate media coverage never shown brighter. You had to dig into most stories to find out that the high-energy objects that killed 298 people were from a missile. One headline said: "External factors" bring down plane.
Made a reader wonder if perhaps it could have been some new high-flying version of Alfred Hitchcock's "Birds" on the loose.
“Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside,” the Dutch report itself said.
“No aural warnings or warnings of aircraft system malfunctions were heard on the cockpit voice recording … Crew communication gave no indication that there was anything abnormal with the flight.”
That means there was no indication the crew had any idea what happened to them.
Both engines were running at cruise power.
Pieces of the wreckage showed the fuselage had been hit in numerous places, as would be a result of a surface-to-air missile. The distribution of the wreckage over a wide area indicated it broke up in the air.
The BBC reported on Monday that witnesses said they had seen a Russian Army missile unit in the area where the Boeing 777 was brought down on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
The Guardian reported that the investigative journalism website Bellingcat has published photos it said suggested the anti-aircraft missile involved in the attack was fired by a Russian unit, the 53, based in the city of Kurskrd Buk brigade.
"The new information presented in this article adds to the existing evidence that the Russian government bears responsibility for the tragedy," it said.
Critics  Putin say he has refused to pull back forces from the crash area to prevent the Dutch investigators establishing beyond a doubt that his forces bought the jet down. Putin finally agreed to a cease-fire in the past few days, too late for investigators to finish their work.
And the region is still not safe for them. They released what they have been able to learn so far Tuesday morning.
The Dutch safety board, and Malaysian and Australian officials, say they will return to the area when it becomes safe.
"The DSB will not make any statements with regard to apportioning blame or liability, and these issues will not form part of its investigation,” the Netherlands board said on its web site.
"Once a secure and stable situation has been established, the DSB will visit the location. This is in order to verify the results of the investigation from other sources and to conduct a specific search for wreckage and other vital pieces."
Other evidence that points to Russian involvement are intercepted messages from rebel units, as well as a Twitter posting claiming the insurgents had shot down a warplane the morning the Boeing crashed. The claim was taken down after it became clear a civilian airliner had been shot down.
The Russian-backed rebels had already shot down Ukrainian warplanes and helicopters.
The International Civil Aviation Organization is unlikely to release its findings for a year or more.
The U.S. government has said evidence shows the jet was shot down by a Buk M1 Self Propelled Air Defense System, also known by its NATO reporting name of SA-11 “Gadfly.”
Wikipedia quotes several ballistic experts as saying a surface-to-air missile was the most likely cause, countering Russian claims that a Ukrainian warplane was involved.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Russian media falsely claims Ukraine agrees to decentralization

Moscow - Russian TV and Ria Novosti are claiming the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has confirmed that the Ukraine is willing to decentralize the country to stop the Russian-backed war in the east. 
As described by Russian media, the agreement appears very close to dismembering the country. It also would require the holding special elections soon to provide autonomy for the eastern areas held by Russian-backed forces.
 In fact, reports on the BBC and elsewhere suggest the cease-fire Russia claims was drawn up by President Vladimir Putin may be collapsing.
There have been reports of fresh fighting near Mariupol, a key city in Moscow’s effort to provide unfettered access to Crimea. Government forces there were being shelled by rebels, journalists reported.
Russian TV later on Sunday admitted there were reports of new fighting.
No one answered the phones at the OSCE in Vienna or Kiev on Sunday morning.
There also has been hint that the day-old cease-fire, if it holds, will lead to the withdrawal of any Western sanctions on Russia.
Russian TV said it had received an OSCE document calling on Kiev: “To decentralize power, including through the adoption by Ukraine of law 'on provisional procedure for local government in parts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions (law on special status.'”
 The document also states, according to Russia TV and Ria Novosti that “ “early local elections” are to be held in light of the special status of both regions. A nationwide vote, presumably approving the special status of these areas also would be held.
 It was unclear whether the OSCE was confirming anything more than that Kiev and Moscow had agreed to a peace plan.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told media on Friday that the country would agree to hand over control of its territory to Russian-controlled agents. He also said his forces would not pull back from contested areas because they all remain part of the Ukraine.