My take at DK here.
The Al Jazeera flavor is this:
U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday they have no evidence of direct Russian government involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The statements, made anonymously to The Associated Press and Reuters, came after a train carrying the remains of many of the 298 victims of the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet – brought down over Ukraine’s restive east – arrived in government-controlled territory on Tuesday, and as experts began to examine the plane’s black boxes, which separatist rebels handed over to Malaysian officials.
U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that they believe pro-Russian separatists likely shot down the plane “by mistake,” and that they have no evidence the Russian government was directly involved.
The yahoos won’t admit it, but this is a huge climbdown. From ABC News:
Secretary of State John Kerry told American TV viewers that rebels shot down the plane with Russian weaponry
Except they’re not even sure that it was the rebels, and have no idea whether the weapon was supplied by the Russians or was pilfered from Ukrainian stores.
Just 14 hours ago, the Washington Post published this (granted, an OpEd by a postdoc who is probably busily eating his words at this moment):
Russian personnel may well have been involved in the decision to shoot down a civilian aircraft despite Putin’s early attempts to deny any role.
The bottom line is that Russian decision-makers are either guilty of gross negligence or have blood on their hands. If Russian personnel were involved in the decision to bring down MH17, Moscow’s own forces helped authorize and/or execute an operation which tragically resulted in 298 innocent civilian deaths.
What I hear at Daily Kos–which amounts, thanks to the lack of critical reasoning by some people, to a summary of the media narrative being pushed by corporate media and the State Department–that Russian military fired the missile deliberately, or that they trained the rebels to fire the missile and they supplied the missile, or that it doesn’t matter if the rebels fired it by accident because it’s murder all the same.
But what if the rebels procured the missile from Ukrainian stores and, through accident, incompetence, or recklessness, fired the missile at what they believed to be a Ukrainian military aircraft? Is that really worth starting the Cold War over?
Robert Parry has a different take. His sources say that the guys who fired the missile were wearing Ukrainian uniforms.
I think that getting to the most likely scenario is pretty easy. Is the Russian military a very cautious, top-down, centrally-controlled organization? Yes.
Would the Russians benefit from shooting down a civilian aircraft? No.
Suppose a Russian adviser was in charge of a battery manned by Ukrainian rebels. Would he shoot down a civilian aircraft? Certainly not if he were regular military. Possible if he were a Cossack volunteer. But still, unlikely.
So, is it likely that the Russians deliberately shot down the aircraft? No.
Repeat the same analysis with the Ukrainian rebels and the regular Ukrainian army. One of the two sounds a lot more plausible. A deliberate shootdown is unlikely, but if it were, the Ukrainian military is the only one with a plausible motive to do so.