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Ukraine rebel leader claims Flight MH17 was filled with already-dead bodies

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A pro-Russian rebel separatist in Ukraine claimed Saturday that most of the passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 were dead before the plane was shot down.

According to the Associated Press, rebel commander Igor Girkin said on the Russkaya Vesna website that witnesses to the crash have informed him that “a significant number of the bodies weren’t fresh” when they fell from the sky. He also claimed that many of them had been drained of blood and stank of decomposition because they had been dead for days.

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Many Putin allies — including news network Russia Today — have tried to offset the blame for the deaths of all 298 passengers and crew by blaming Ukraine, but Girkin’s assertion is the first to suggest that no one was actually killed in the incident.

Preliminary investigation of the crash indicates that the jet was shot from the sky with a sophisticated surface-to-air anti-aircraft weapon. Both President Barack Obama and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power have said that it is highly unlikely that separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine could have shot down the plane without a great deal of assistance from Russia.

Girkin, who also goes by the name Strelkov, said that he has yet to confirm the assertion, but that Ukrainian officials are “capable of any baseness.”

At the scene, he said, large amounts of blood serum and medications were found. Girkin may or may not have realized that the plane was carrying approximately 100 doctors, researchers and experts on HIV-AIDS who were bound for an international conference in Malaysia.

If the rebel leader’s assertion sounds like a plot twist from a particularly far-fetched spy film, that’s because it was. In an episode of the U.K. TV series “Sherlock,” an airplane loaded with corpses was brought down from the sky in order to convince a group of saboteurs that their encryption codes had not been cracked by the government.

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Where Girkin believes the Ukrainian government obtained nearly 300 corpses is unclear, let alone how officials managed to dress the bodies and provide them with passports and travel information.


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So much for ‘originalism’ — Trump’s impeachment defense is a constitutional dumpster fire

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In the absence of any exculpatory evidence, Donald Trump's defense against impeachment increasingly relies on arguments that fly directly in the face of the Constitution. Trump himself set the standard last July with his grandiose claim that "Article II says I can do anything I want," which encountered no serious pushback from his fellow Republicans.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump lawyer Purpura busted by MSNBC for lying on the Senate floor during impeachment trial

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Moments after the end of the Saturday's Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump concluded, MSNBC host Brian Williams pointed out that one of Donald Trump's attorney's lied on the Senate floor about the president's Ukraine scandal-- and he had a clip handy to prove it.

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Any normal president could find some defense attorneys who aren’t clowns and grifters

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

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