Rep. Peter King: Look Beyond Crash Probe, Sanction Russia

Monday, 21 Jul 2014 03:31 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The United States has been lured into a time-wasting game with Russia by placing too much importance on the investigation into the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Rep. Peter King said Monday on Newsmax TV.

King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, says world leaders must quickly punish Russia's economy by banning all commercial fights of the government-controlled Aeroflot and working to prevent Moscow from hosting the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament.

"We're playing a game here — we're playing Putin's game with this investigation,'' King, a New York Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show.''

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"There's no doubt where the missile came from, there's no doubt that the only way the secessionists could've had access to the missile is by getting it from the Russians," King said.

"Obviously, there should be an investigation, but we shouldn't be resting everything on that . . . before we decide what action to take, because by then there'll be another crisis and the European allies will have forgotten about it, and for all I know, the State Department will put it on the back burner.''

King, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said swift and decisive economic action is needed.

"There's a number of things. None of them is a simple bullet, but they all have ultimately the desired effect,'' King said.

"No. 1, on a both symbolic and economic point, we and all our European allies should deny Aeroflot the right to have landing rights in any of our airports. That would hurt their economy.

"Secondly, we should make every effort to keep Moscow from having the World Cup in 2018. They got all this free publicity from the Olympics, and the next month he invaded Ukraine. So, those are both symbolic and also potentially economic.''

In addition, the United States should seek to seize the personal assets of Putin and "all his goons,'' King said.

They "have been looting Russia for years [and] have money in banks throughout the world . . . We and other intelligence agencies know where that is. We should publicly identify it and seize it,'' he said.

On Monday, President Barack Obama demanded that Putin force pro-Russian separatists to stop blocking an international investigation into the shoot-down.

The shooting down of Flight MH17 on Thursday killed all 298 passengers and crew members on board, and it is believed that Russia supplied the separatists with the weapons they used to down it.

During a briefing at the White House, Obama said Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have kept investigators from entering the site of the crash and that Putin and Russia have a direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate.

"What [Putin] did violates all civilized norms. To be giving those types of weapons to a separatist group . . . There's a level that you don't go beyond,'' King said.

"You keep control over your ultimate deadly weapons, and that's what these were . . . So, Putin violated all the civilized norms, and he should not be treated as another world leader, he should not be part of any economic groups.''

King was also critical of Secretary of State John Kerry's off-camera remarks about Israel's military strikes in Gaza in its ongoing conflict with Hamas.

Kerry, discussing the ongoing conflict with an off-camera aide as he awaited an interview on "Fox News Sunday,'' said of Israel's maneuvers:

"It's a hell of a pinpoint operation. It's a hell of a pinpoint operation . . . We've got to get over there . . . I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think it's crazy to be sitting around."

King said, "That shows the true feelings of too many people in this administration. From day one, the president has shown his animosity towards Israel."

"[It's] as if we're talking about two equals here . . . with equal, moral standing. That's just wrong, it's absolutely wrong. Israel is right, Hamas is evil.

"This is a clear case of a democracy defending itself. [Israel] is our closest ally in the Middle East against a terrorist organization which is after the destruction of Israel and also hates the United States and Western values.''

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