World Public Forum Promotes Statements Defending Russia On MH17

A number of times now, I’ve written about a Russian “soft power” initiative called the World Public Forum: Dialogue of Civilizations. The WPF was co-founded by Vladmir Yakunin, a devoutly Orthodox member of Putin’s inner circle and the head of Russia’s railways, and it has made links with an extraordinary array of top-tier academics, religious leaders, and emeritus politicians (along with some rather more eccentric figures). These links have been showcased at international conferences in Rhodes and Vienna, and in publications. The WPF is strongly critical of American hegemony, but its pious talk of “dialogue” and a “multi-polar world” happily coincide with Russia’s interests.

And, thus, it just so happens that the two items the WPF has chosen to publicise on its website as responses to the the shooting down of Flight MH17 are articles that warn against blaming Russia. The pieces are not official statements of the WPF itself; rather, they are  ruminations by intellectuals who have a connections with the WPF. However, we can have no doubt that they reflect views that the WPF find congenial.

First up is an item by Hans Köchler (var. Hans Koechler), billed as “President, International Progress Organization, Austria”. Köchler’s piece – written in third person, as a press release – is entitled “Urgent Call for Independent International Investigation“.  Köchler warns against the investigation into the disaster becoming “politicized”, and he makes the extraordinary claim that the BBC has removed information from its Russian website. Köchler also cites the murkiness around Pan Am Flight 103 – he was an ” international observer” of the criminal trial in Scotland that followed the bombing, and he’s become something of an expert:  RIA Novosti interviewed him on the subject just yesterday. Köchler is also reportedly a 9/11 Truther.

The second piece is a rather less subtle affair, by Chandra Muzaffar, “President, International Movement for a Just World (JUST)“. Entitled “Who Stands to Gain?” Spectacularly missing the point that the rebels mistakenly thought that they would “gain” by shooting down a military plane, Mazaffar opines:

It is obvious that those who seek to punish Russia and the pro-Russian rebels, namely, the elite in Washington and Kiev, are poised to gain the most from the MH 17 episode. Does it imply that they would have had a role in the episode itself? Only a truly independent and impartial international inquiry would be able to provide the answer.

Although he also has some preliminary conclusions of his own already, such as that

a You Tube video showing a Russian General and Ukrainian rebels discussing their role in mistakenly downing a civilian aircraft was, from various tell-tale signs, produced before the event.

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