Australia: Reject 'Cold War posturing' over MH17 tragedy: No troops to Ukraine!

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

July 24, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance -- The Socialist Alliance conveys its condolences to the families of all its victims of the suspected shooting down to Malaysian Airlines flight 17 (MH17) over war-torn eastern Ukraine but it rejects the inflammatory Cold-War-style political posturing by both Liberal PM Tony Abbott and Labor Party opposition leader Bill Shorten.

Both these politicians have shamelessly sought to exploit this terrible tragedy to step up their pro-war and imperialist propaganda and they have been urged on by the capitalist media.

If the downing of MH17 was a deliberate shooting down of a civilian airliner, then who ever was responsible would be guilty of an atrocious crime against humanity and should be punished accordingly.

However, an independent and objective international investigation into the incident needs to be allowed to take place without provoking more war or leaping to conclusions about who may be responsible.

Instead the Australian government has flagged sending soldiers as part of an "international deployment" to eastern Ukraine under the guise of securing the crash site. This comes amid reports that the US was planning to send military advisers to assist the Ukranian regime in its war against rebels in the east.

The hypocrisy of Australian government's posturing is clear when we contrast this with its silence on the Ukraine regime's bombing of civilians or the outrageous stance it adopted towards the latest Israeli military assault on Gaza.

On the same day that PM Abbott used the MH17 to attack Russia and justify Western interference in Ukraine, he also supported Israel's bloody carnage in Gaza as legitimate “self-defence”.

The Palestinian civilian death toll in Gaza since July 8 has grown dramatically. More than 600 civilians have been killed as of July 22 and some 3700 (including more than 1000 children) have been injured.

The life of a Palestinian is worth as much as the life of a passenger on flight MH17 yet the Australian government has expressed no sympathy for the victims the assault on Gaza.

Governments and "oppositions" which have shamelessly supported Israel’s deliberate, murderous rampage in Gaza have no right to adopt the moral high ground or feign concern for the innocent deaths and loss of loved ones in the MH17 tragedy.

The hypocrisy of the United States government is also clear for all to see on this matter. Not only is Israel carrying out its bloodshed with massive US military aid, but the US has resumed drone strikes in Pakistan with deadly consequences for more innocent civilians.

The US government also has its own record on shooting down of passenger planes. The US air force infamously shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in Iranian airspace in 1988. All 290 civilians on board were killed, including 66 children. Despite reaching an agreement to pay compensation to families of the victims, the US has never officially accepted responsibility nor apologised.

The Australian government should support a de-escalation of the Ukrainian conflict. For this to happen, outside powers need to stop interfering and using the conflict for their own political and economic interests. This means there must be no Western military intervention into Ukraine, under any guise.

There needs to be a negotiated and just solution to the issues driving the conflict, including the rights of Russian speakers in Ukraine's east who have expressed desire for greater autonomy or separation from the Ukraine.