A new “leaked” video has popped up on the web that purports to show two American CIA operatives planning the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) in order to discredit Russia.
The crash, which occurred in July 2014 and killed 298 people, put renewed interest on Russia’s semi-covert role waging combat operations in eastern Ukraine. Russia, aside from a single presser, avoided addressing MH17, and strong indications show they’ve had a hand in the now multiple conspiracy theories swirling about to explain the plane’s fate.
This, it appears, could be Moscow’s latest attempt to divert attention away from the obvious. We’ve included the audio here; It’s seven minutes long, so we’ve also included a brief description below.
The audio tape released Tuesday by the Russian paper Komsomolskaya Pravda attempts to “prove” one of the most spectacular explanations for MH17’s demise: That it was blown up by a bomb in a plot by U.S. intelligence to discredit Russia. The tape allegedly features a conversation between CIA agents “David Stern” and “David Hamilton.” The tape’s Stern is apparently intended to be real-life journalist David Stern, a freelance journalist working out of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, while Hamilton is intended to be the David Hamilton who works as an international affairs consultant and as an adviser to USAID. Neither is publicly a CIA employee.
Supposedly, the tape reveals a series of six phone calls between Stern and Hamilton in June and July of 2014. The two talk about working with the Ukrainians on a “complex” that involves some kind of unspecified terrorist act. As the conversations go on, Stern starts to express a fear of an information leak, and then reveals that has placed several documents in memory sticks in order to “protect” himself if he is captured by Russians, apparently explaining how the conversation was able to leak.
While the tape may seem authentic to some Russians, native English speakers will notice glaring problems almost as soon as it starts:
– The two “American” agents use decidedly un-American phrases with one another. For example, at one point they end a conversation with the word “Luck!,” an ending common in Russia but certainly not in the U.S.
-The conversation sounds extremely stiff and forced, as though the two voices are reading a script.
– At about 2:20, Hamilton appears to mispronounce the word “crucial” as “kri-kul.”
– Stern appears to start off with an English accent before drifting into a generic American accent. Neither accent sounds very much like the actual David Stern.
– The speakers make a handful of odd grammatical mistakes native speakers would almost certainly never make. Odd phrases include Stern’s “I was hope you would” at 6:05 and his “we aren’t terror” at 5:28.
The conversation itself appears to reflect a script that “leaked” last July, popping up on several Internet forums and on the press release website Pressbox.co.uk. The Pressbox write-up is credited to a “Caleb Gilbert,” a name that otherwise has no presence in the British media whatsoever.
As ludicrous as it is, the fake audiotape is not the first and likely won’t be the last effort to “explain” MH17 as a US-led conspiracy. Russians have also attempted to blame Ukrainian fighter jets or pro-Ukraine military forces on the ground.
Overwhelming evidence points to Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine attempting to shoot down what they thought was a troop transport — something they had already been successful doing just weeks before the disaster.
Open-source military ordnance expert Elliot Higgins wrote about Russia’s big news conference presenting MH17 evidence, “It’s clear that the Russian government’s reaction to the murder of 298 people was to lie, produce fake evidence, and attempt to deceive the public, the global community, and the families of the 298 people murdered on July 17th 2014.”
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