The Obama Administration’s narrative of Russian guilt in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 downing is unraveling like a cheap sweater tonight, under the increasing realization that dubious social media-sourced evidence is essentially all there is, and the admission by US intelligence officials that there is no real evidence pointing to Russia at all.
What is now being euphemistically called “major evidentiary and legal obstacles,” but would more correctly be called “completely full of holes,” it is quickly becoming a case study in why random videos you found on YouTube are not a great way to build a case in a major international incident.
Take the photograph released over the weekend on social media, showing the putative 9k37 Buk that shot down the plane just hanging out in the middle of a quiet square in a rebel town. It would be pretty damning, if true, but it also would raise a lot of questions, chiefly why the rebels left the vehicle in such a conspicuous place during an alleged coverup.
The photo, like YouTube videos claiming to be the rebels confessing to the shoot-down but built on content created a day before the plane crashed in the first place, was quickly labeled “unable to be verified,” and with deeper digging seem probable forgeries.
People who have been on social media for more than a few minutes know how much nonsense is presented as absolute truth there, and the Obama Administration’s decision to base its entire case on stuff they read there, going to the extent of arguing with a dubious press, has clearly not served them well.