The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining it ...
A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic - George Orwell, 1984
So Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi - let's call them the Fab Five - get on a video conference call to muster their courage and "increase pressure" asking for a cease-fire in Gaza. Later in the day, Israel's Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu delivers his answer, in plain language: he remains dead set on achieving his version of a Final Solution to Gaza.  With or without "pressure".
So what's left for the Fab Five after having their illustrious Western collective behinds solemnly kicked? They decide to dump Gaza and instead sanction Russia - again! How brilliant is that as an exit strategy?
Spectacular non-entity Tony Blinken, who doubles as deputy national security adviser to Barack Obama, was keen to stress to Western corporate media that the unruly Eurotrash mob is now "determined to act". No, not against Israel because of Gaza; against Russia because of Ukraine. Such a lovely Orwellian symmetry: the extended Two Minutes Hate from Israel towards Gazans morphs into the extended Two Minutes Hate from the "West" towards Russia, mirroring the extended Two Minutes Hate from Kiev towards Eastern Ukrainians.
Not even Hollywood could come up with such a plot; Israel gets away with unlawful premeditated mass murder of civilians, while Russia gets framed for a (smaller-scale) airborne mass murder of civilians that has all the makings of being set up by the Kiev vassals of Russia's Western "partners".
I have exposed how sanctions, sanctions, sanctions is the one and only official Obama administration "policy" on Russia. On top of the next European Union sanctions, coming soon, the US will be piling up - what else - more sanctions. After all, Washington is so "concerned" that Moscow will sooner or later invade Ukraine; that would certainly, and finally, answer all those In God We Trust prayers.
Where we stand now
Let's follow the facts. Washington from the get-go said it was Russian President Vladimir Putin's missile that downed MH17. They swore they had evidence. Like in "We know. Trust us". The historical record for the past 60 years at least shows they cannot be trusted. There was never any evidence. Just spin.
Moscow, via the Defense Ministry, presented hard evidence. And called for an unbiased international investigation. Washington ignored it all - the call and the hard evidence.
The US Navy, crammed with state-of-the-art missile defense radars, has been in the Black Sea for weeks now. As much as the Russians, they have tracked every particle flying over Ukraine. The NSA goes for signals intelligence; the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency goes for phenomena in the imagery realm; the Defense Intelligence Agency adds Humint; there's the CIA; and there's the all-seeing, all-knowing Director of National Intelligence. How come all this trillion-dollar Full Spectrum Dominance apparatus cannot come up with a single, conclusive piece of evidence?
The only risible "evidence" presented so far pictures the acronym salad of US intel agencies spending their time reading blogs and Twittering. As in the State Department head in Kiev twittering satellite imagery that the New York Times parroted "proved" Russia is shelling Ukraine from across the border. The proverbial "senior US officials" even had to tersely admit on the record they have no proof whatsoever about "Putin's missile". If they had, NATO would be ready to flip burgers in Red Square.
Based on the wealth of info now in the open, the top probability of what caused the MH17 tragedy was an R-60M air-to-air missile shot from a Ukrainian Su-25 - and not a BUK (there's also the possibility of a double down; first an R-60M and then a BUK). The R-60M is very fast, with an ideal engagement distance of up to five kilometers. That's how far the Su-25 detected by the Russians (they showed the graphics) was from MH17.
SBU - Ukrainian intel - for its part confiscated the recordings of Kiev control tower talking to MH17. That would certainly explain why MH17 was overflying a war zone (Malaysian Airlines revealed they were forced to). Hefty bets can be made the recordings are now being "doctored".
Then there are the black boxes, which will not de decoded by the Malaysians or by the Dutch, but by the Brits - acting under Washington's orders. As The Saker blogger summed up the view of top Russian specialists, "the Brits will now let the NSA falsify the data and that falsification will be coordinated with the SBU in Kiev which will eventually release the recordings who will fully 'confirm' the 'authenticity' of the NSA-doctored recordings from the UK." To make it more palatable, and erase suspicions about Anglo-American foul play, the Dutch will announce it. Everyone should be forewarned.
NATO heads, for their part, are droolin'. Kiev's forces/militias will hold "joint exercises" with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Ukraine in slightly over a month from now, on September 1; red alert applies, because this is when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the slow motion ethnic cleansing of Donbass will be finished.
As for the R2P ("responsibility to protect") angle, it sounds quite improbable. True, Moscow can always say that unless the slow motion ethnic cleansing of Donbass stops they will recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics. In that case, Moscow would be replaying Abkhazia and South Ossetia; a de facto R2P backed by military muscle.
Under international law - which Washington never respects, by the way - this is not the same as "invading" Ukraine. The frankly scary Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, would obviously freak out - but that's a dose of her own medicine. It would indeed be comparable to what the Americans are doing to the benefit of those Salafi-jihadis in Syria; and better yet, to what the US did in Kosovo.
The $50 billion vultures
And now, on top of sanctions, Moscow also has to contend with a massive US$50 billion theft attempt. The International Arbitration Court in The Hague found that the Kremlin's pursuit of Yukos and its main shareholder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a decade ago was politically motivated. Moscow can't appeal - but it will pursue all legal avenues for trying to get this ruling "set aside".
Well, it's The Hague's decision itself that is political. Khodorkovsky was found guilty not only by the Russian judicial system but also by the European Court of Human Rights. Yukos and Menotep shareholders were and remain a bunch of oligarch gangsters - to put it mildly.
So here's the Empire of Chaos once again in action, manipulating a Dutch court after literally stealing Germany's gold and fining France for selling warships to Russia. In this case though, the "West" has more investments in Russia than the Russian government in the West. Payback could be a bitch - as in Moscow, for instance, freezing all US and EU energy investments especially in the new ultra-profitable frontier, the Arctic oil fields. Western Big Oil will never allow this to happen.
This could go on forever. The bottom line: the Russian state simply won't allow itself to be robbed by a dodgy ruling on behalf of a bunch of oligarchs. In parallel, a case can be made that not only the Return of the Living (Neo-Con) Dead but also substantial sections of the deep state in Washington DC and environs - as well as "Western" plutocracy - want to provoke some sort of NATO war against Russia, sooner rather than later.
And in another parallel line, Moscow rumor has it that the Kremlin finds this protracted post-Yukos battle just an afterthought compared to the economic war about to convulse Europe and eventually pit Europe against Russia: exactly what the Empire of Chaos is praying - and working - for. "Two Minute" Hate? Talk about hours, days, weeks, and years.
Republished with permission from Pepe Escobar.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
The opinion expressed is his.
He may be reached at email@example.com