Consensus is settling on the belief that Malaysia Airlines 17 was brought down by Russian-backed Ukranian insurgents who believed it to be a Ukrainian military cargo jet. This audio tape is the chief evidence:
After more thorough investigation we may yet learn that something or someone else was responsible for the 298 deaths. However, the Guardian is reporting that the insurgents are destroying evidence.
About the insurgents: David Remnnick describes one separatist leader at the New Yorker:
A wildly messianic nationalist who cultivates an air of lumpy intrigue, [Igor] Strelkov has found his way to the battlefields of Chechnya, Serbia, and Transnistria. He is now helping to run the separatist operation in Donetsk. Like the radical nationalists and neo-imperialists in Moscow, who have easy access to the airwaves these days, Strelkov has a singular point of disagreement with Putin: the Russian President hasn’t gone nearly far enough; he has failed to invade and annex “Novorossiya,” the separatist term for eastern Ukraine. Pavlovsky said that people like Strelkov and his Moscow allies are as delusional as they are dangerous, somehow believing that they are taking part in grand historical dramas, like the Battle of Borodino, in 1812, or “the novels of Tolkien.”
“Strelkov is well known for leading historical reënactments of Russian military battles, like you have in the States with the Civil War reënactors,” Pavlovsky said. “It used to be a fantasy world for people like him, but now they have a realm for their imaginations.”
In other words, they’re the Russian equivalent of the Cliven Bundy militia, armed with surface-to-air missiles. Josh Marshall wrote,
So that’s who you’re dealing with: some mix of civil war reenactor or Tea Partier decked out in revolutionary garb, with a mix of reckless aggression and comical incompetence. Here we have them break into nursing homes to photographs senator’s comatose wives; there Putin gives them heavy armaments designed for full scale land war in Europe.
I feel compelled to add that not all Civil War reenactors are that delusional. But you get the idea. See also Dylan Scott, This Is The Feared Russia-Born Separatist Who Allegedly Boasted Of Downing An Airplane.
There are a number of articles out today about why Putin is doing this. In brief, beside the fact that his ego is bigger than Russia, he’s also got ideas about nationalism that should have been left behind in the 19th century. His games in Ukraine also appear to have boosted his approval ratings among Russians.
And of course, on the GOP/Bagger American Right, the plane crashed because Obama.