Malaysia Airlines Flight 17/Competing theories
|Malaysia Airlines Flight 17/Competing theories|
|competing theories as to why and how Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 came to its tragic end.|
- 1 Motives
- 1.1 Crime theory 1: the Ukrainians did it with a SAM
- 1.2 Crime theory 2: the Ukrainians did it with an aircraft
- 1.3 Crime theory 3: the Russians did it
- 1.4 Crime theory 4: the dissidents did it
- 1.5 Crime theory 5: MH17 brought down by bomb on board
Tony Gosling has suggested that if may not be coincidence that two recent commercial airliners downed were both Malaysian. He notes that Malaysia has been one of the staunchest opponents of the US government's "war on terror", and suggests that the plane's misfortunes may be an attempt at intimidation.
Others have noted that the disaster, came right after Putin heralded the beginning of the long-awaited BRICS Development Bank. This theory posits that the crash was staged by the US/EU/NATO or other powers as part of a proxy war taking place in the "new cold war" between Russia (one of the key players in an organisation that is seen as a key rival to the so-called "Washington Consensus" institutions, the IMF and the World Bank) and the US.
In the Panorama docudrama "Putin's Gamble", first broadcast on BBC1 on 8 September 2014, presenter Jon Sweeney interviewed Ukrainian intelligence officer Vitaly Nyada who ascribed this astounding motive for the MH17 shoot-down:
- "Russia meant to target one of its own aircraft, as a pretext for invading Ukraine, but shot down the Malaysian jet by mistake."
In the absence of any further progress in the criminal investigation, the media only has speculation and theory to work with, such as:
Crime theory 1: the Ukrainians did it with a SAM
The origins for this are the dissidents and Russian authorities. Western media has given this no consideration whatsoever, in spite of the fact that they are the most likely culprits: they were the only ones known to have the means to bring down an aircraft at this altitude in the area at the time.
MH17 would be the second downing of a civilian aircraft by a Surface to Air Missile fired from Ukrainian territory. The other one being when Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 (a commercial flight) was shot down by the Ukrainian military over the Black Sea on 4 October 2001. Ukraine banned the testing of Buk, S-300 and similar missile systems for a period of 7 years following this incident. Ukraine’s acting Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh described the combat readiness of the country’s armed forces as “unsatisfactory” in his 12 March 2014 report to the acting president. Tenyukh said recent exercises demonstrated a “dismal degree of preparedness among servicemen and lack of military specialists, equipment and weapons” in the Ground Forces, the Air Force and the Navy. The country’s air defense troops had received little training because of the 2001 ban on missile launches imposed after the crash of a Russian Tu-154 passenger jet. The ban was lifted in 2008, but so far only 10 percent of Air Defense Forces servicemen “have mastered the required level of theory and practice,” the report said. . The Ukrainian military had several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, in the Donetsk region where the Malaysian passenger plane crashed, Russian Defense Ministry said .
On 14 October 2015, James Corbett reported:
- The Dutch Safety Board just released their investigation into the MH17 crash last summer and they concluded that the Malaysia Airlines 777 was brought down by the Ukrainian government. Just kidding. They blamed it all on those dastardly Russians, of course. Or at least that’s what every commercially-controlled media headline west of Donbass will tell you. The reality, as always, is somewhat less propagandistically perfect.
Ukrainian Forces BUKs in the area
Examples of Ukrainian Forces that were active in the area that was, according to western media, "controlled by pro-Russian separatists", leading up to and including the 17th July 2014:
See Mil_SitRep_for_MH17_area for sources.
Ukrainian Forces BUK column
This still is from a video taken in March 2014, when Ukrainian media reported the country’s military was concentrating air defences closer to the Russian border to repel an “invasion”. The convoy included the Kiev BUK air-defense system no. 312, which Kiev would later claim was supplied by Russia to the dissidents, used to down MH17 and then sneaked back across the border to Russia, at dawn the following day .
Captioned by TheDaily Mail as: "Is this the smoking gun? This picture has emerged of a pro-Russian rebel posing in front of the same type of BUK missile launcher that is believed to have shot down MH17" Though, actually, it is a Ukrainian Army conscript guarding Ukrainian Army Buks.
Buks on Ukraine Military TV
Broadcast the evening prior to MH 17: a Buk-system in training/preparation - complete with radar.
321 at night
On July 19 Kiev’s Security Service (SBU) published photos online it claimed showed ‘Russia’ secretly withdrawing a BUK-M (NATO designation SA-11) surface-to-air missile system from the Ukraine civil war zone. Shortly after publishing this article, the photo in question was deleted. The photo was actually a still from video of a Kiev air-defense system no. 312, filmed in March this year at Yasinovataya, north of Donetsk. Buk #312 is mounted on a civilian transporter.
Confiscated ATC data
Ukraine's ambassador to Malaysia Ihor Humennyi, in an exclusive interview with the New Straits Times, said that reports alleging that the SBU had seized the recordings had not been independently verified or confirmed by Kiev.
“There is no proof or any evidence that the tapes were confiscated by the SBU. I only read this in the newspapers.”
- Note that this is not, strictly speaking a denial that the SBU had seized the recordings.
Asked if the tapes had been handed over to the investigators, Humennyi said: “We don’t have any information that it had not been given to the investigation team or that it was not received by the (team of international) investigators". Humennyi said that if a formal request was made by Malaysia or the international investigation team, Ukraine would extend its cooperation. At one point, Humennyi seemed to question the significance of the ATC tapes, saying that “it is just the same as the flight data and cockpit voice recorders”.
In this matter, he seems to have been badly-briefed:
- The CVR will only reveal what ATC said to MH17, not conversations with other aircraft in the area (or show that there weren't any). Ukrainian radar data will also show what (if any) other aircraft were in the area.
- All aviation frequencies are under the control of the FIR sector - not just the ones in regular use. See here for some common civvy ones in Ukraine or here (and search for Kiev) to find 22 military ones.
- An accident investigation HAS to consider ALL possibilities - including what OTHER aircraft were in the area. Only ATC data can help with that - The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) won't.
Humennyi said that "if a formal request was made by Malaysia or the international investigation team, Ukraine would extend its cooperation".
- This doesn't exactly appear to be acting in the spirit of UN Security Council Resolution 2166, or in accordance with standard aircraft-accident investigation procedures. It is normal to impound the ATC recordings, obligatory actually, but it should be done by those authorised/certified to do so (in this case authorised/certified by the EASA, probably). What's not normal is confiscation by security services. This evidence is now so tainted that - even if it ever were handed over - it would be of doubtful value.
Continued bombing/shelling of crash site area
In spite of UN Security Council Resolution 2166 demanding the cessation of all combat action in the area, Kiev decided to suspend the ceasefire at the crash site. The Kiev government said it was ready to extend the ceasefire near the crash site upon receiving a request from a multinational commission investigating the disaster..
- Again, this was not acting in the spirit of UN Security Council Resolution 2166.
Crime theory 2: the Ukrainians did it with an aircraft
In the Russian military briefing, it was asked what - if any - military aircraft were in the vicinity at the time and why. Russian radar showed an unidentified object close by which, they said, had a similar primary-radar-profile to an Su-25 ground-attack aircraft. Russian officials also, without specifically saying that they believed MH17 was shot down by an Su-25, also went on to point out that it was technically possible. Several others have since taken up the investigation of this theory.
The response of the German foreign ministry to the Left Party's questions about MH17 indicates that NATO AWACS detected anti-aircraft radar being activated, which the Russian defense ministry also mentioned in its briefing, but AWACS did not detect a SAM being launched. The briefing by the Russian defense ministry suggested that a Su-25 might have been near MH17. But it could as well have been a Mig-29, since the latter appears similar on radar to an Su-25. Also, according to eyewitness accounts, one or two combat aircraft were near MH17 when it exploded.    
A report by the Russian Union of Engineers blamed the crash on the Ukraine Force. The report suggests either an Su-25 or MiG-29 aircraft, using R-60 or R-73 missiles and/or 30mm calibre cannon.     This view was also echoed by Peter Haisenko (a pilot for Lufthansa for 30 years), Michael Bociurkiw, the Canadian who was part of the first international monitors at the MH17 crash site.  and invetigative reporter Michael Parry.
Meet The Pilot Who Shot Down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
In December 2014, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that a "secret witness" had identified Ukrainian Air Force Captain Vladislav Voloshin as the pilot who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17: This man came to the editorial office of Komsomolskaya Pravda by himself. We checked his papers - he is not an actor and not a fake person. We cannot yet reveal his personal information - he still has relatives in Ukraine and is afraid of revenge and blackmail. Judging by what Alexander (let's name him that) told us, the fear is substantiated. We provide a transcript of our conversation virtually uncut:
- THE FIGHTER RETURNED WITHOUT MISSILES
- Where were you on July 17, 2014, the day Malaysian Boeing was shot down?
- I was on the territory of Ukraine, in the city of Dnepropetrovsk, the village Aviatorskoye. It is a regular airport. There at this time were based fighter jets and helicopters. Planes regularly flew on bombing missions, Su-25 attack aircraft bombed Donetsk, Lugansk. This lasted a long time.
- The aircraft flew every day? Daily.
- Why did you assume that these airplanes could be related to the downing of the "Boeing"?
- A few reasons. Out of the eight airplanes, which were based there, only two had "air-to-air" missiles. They were suspended.
- Why? Were there any aircraft battles in the air?
- No, the aircraft was fitted with missiles to cover themselves in the air. Just in case. Mostly they had air-to-ground ammunition. NURS, bombs.
- Tell us about July 17.
- Airplanes flew regularly. All day since the morning. In the afternoon, about an hour before the downing of the "Boeing", three attack fighters were raised into the air. I don't remember the exact time. One of the airplanes was equipped with such missiles. It was an Su-25.
- Have you personally seen it? Yes.
- Where was your vantage point? On site. Cannot tell you exactly.
- Did you have an opportunity to see specifically what the pylons of the aircraft where fitted with? Could you confuse "air-to-air" and "air-to-ground" missiles?
- No, I couldn't confuse it. They vary in size, plumage, colouration. With a guidance head. Very easy to recognise. Anyway, after a short time, only one airplane returned, two were shot down. Somewhere in the East of Ukraine, I was told. The airplane that came back, was the one with those suspended missiles.
- It returned without the missiles? Without the missiles. That pilot was very scared.
- Do you know this pilot, have you seen him? Yes.
- Can you tell us his name? Last name Voloshin.
- Was he alone in the airplane? Yes. The airplane is designed for one person.
- Do you know his name? Vladislav, I think. Don't remember exactly. Captain.
- Captain Voloshin came back. What happened next? Came back with blank ammunition.
- No missiles left? Yes.
- NOT THE RIGHT PLANE
- Could you tell us, Alexander, the airplane came back from the mission, you still do not know about the loss of the "Boeing", but you were somehow surprised by the absence of "air-to-air" missiles. Why?
- These "air-to-air" missiles are not included in the basic ammunition package. They are used only with a special order. Typically, the aircraft with such rockets were not to allowed into the air. Because this missiles should not be frequently transported in the air. In all two such missiles can fit on this plane. Never before they had been applied. They were written off previously. But literally on the eve, a week before this incident (the loss of "Boeing" - Ed.) the use of these missiles was urgently renewed. And they put again into service. They have not been used for many years.
- Why? They were expired. Made back in the Soviet years. But by the urgent order their expiration date was extended.
- And on this day they were put on the plane? They always stood with these missiles.
- But didn't fly?
- Tried to let them in the air less frequently - every flight depletes the resource. But on this day, the plane flew.
- And came back without them?
- Yes. Knowing this pilot a little bit... (quite possibly, when the other two airplanes were shot down in front of him), he just had a frightened reaction, inadequate. Could out of fright or in revenge launch the missiles into a Boeing. Maybe he took it for some other combat aircraft.
- Are these missiles with self-guiding heads? Yes.
- When he launched them, they began to look for a target?
- No. The pilot himself finds the target. Then launches the missile, and it flies at the target.
- Could the pilot use these missiles against ground targets? It's pointless.
- What else do you remember this day? What did the pilot say?
- He said a phrase, when he was lead out of the airplane: "It was not the right plane." And in the evening there was a phrase to a question from one pilot to him, to Voloshin: "What's up with the plane?" To which he replied: "The plane was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
- AND AFTER THE TRAGEDY THE FLIGHTS CONTINUED
- Did this pilot serve there for a long time? How old is he?
- Voloshin is about 30 years old. His base is in Nikolaev. They were transferred to Dnepropetrovsk. Before they were sent to Chuguev near Kharkov. And all this time they bombed Donetsk and Lugansk. And, according to one of the officers of the Nikolaev base, they still continue to do so.
- Did the pilots have good combat experience?
- Those who were there, had experience. Nikolaev base was even one year, in my opinion, 2013, the best base in Ukraine.
- Was the story about the "Boeing" discussed among the pilots?
- All attempts to discuss were immediately stopped. And the pilots mostly talked among themselves only, they are so... stuck-up...
- After everyone learned about this "Boeing" what happened to this pilot, Captain Voloshin?
- After all of this flights continued. And the pilots did not rotate. The same faces.
- THERE WAS NO FLIGHTS... BUT IT WAS SHOT DOWN
- Let's try to recap the events. How could it develop? Three airplanes left on a combat mission. They were roughly in the same area, as Boeing. Two airplanes were shot down. This Captain Voloshin was nervous, got scared, and possibly he mistook the Boeing for combat aircraft?
- Possible. The distance was long, he may have not seen specifically what kind of aircraft.
- What distance do these missiles need?
- At 3-5 kilometres they can find the target.
- And what is the speed difference between combat aircraft and the Boeing?
- No difference: the rockets have pretty good speed. Very fast rocket.
- Will catch up anyway? And height?
- It may easily at its maximum altitude - to 7 thousand metres - quite easily focus on the target.
- To reach it higher?
- Yes. The aircraft can simply lift the nose up, and can find the target with no problems and launch the rocket. The range of this missile is more than 10 kilometres.
- At what distance from the target does this rocket explode? Does it hit the fuselage and explode?
- Depending on the modification. Literally could when it hits the body or at a distance of 500 metres.
- We worked at the crash site and noticed that the fragments were trapped in the hull of the aircraft very closely. It seemed like it exploded literally two feet away from the Boeing.
- There is such a missile. The principle of fragments - it breaks, and the fragments hit. And then hits the main warhead of the rocket.
- Ukraine announced that on this day they had no combat flights. We checked different aggregate sources on the downed airplanes, Ukraine denied everywhere that its military aircraft flew on this day.
- I know about this. Ukraine also announced that two of these airplanes were shot down on the 16th, and not the 17th. And many times the date was changed. But actually, the flights were on a daily basis. I saw it myself. Even during the ceasefire there were flights, although, less frequent.
- PROHIBITED BOMBS
- What ammunition was on the aircraft at your airfield? Were phosphorus bombs used, incendiary devices?
- Ukrainian artillery used it very actively on the ground. I didn't see phosphorus bombs. But space-detonating bombs were used.
- Are they prohibited?
- Yes. This bomb was intended for Afghanistan. It was prohibited and was not used until lately. It was prohibited by some Convention, I do not remember, can't say. This bomb is inhumane, burns everything. Burns absolutely everything.
- They were attached and used during hostilities?
- Yes. And there were also banned cluster bombs. Aircraft cluster bomb - depending on size can hit a very ambitious target. One bomb covers a stadium. Entirely, the whole entire area - two hectares.
- Why did they use such weapons? They were following orders. And whose order is unclear.
- What's the point of such weapons - scare tactic? Maximum annihilation of manpower.
- CAN BE BEATEN FOR EVERY CARELESS WORD
- Why did you go to Russia, why decided to tell? Why, finally, no one learned this before? You're not the only witness!
- Everyone is intimidated by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine. - Ed.) and the National Guard. People can be beaten for every careless word, jailed on any insignificant suspicion of sympathies towards Russia or the militia. I was initially against this "anti-terrorist operation". Did not agree with the policy of the Ukrainian state. The civil war is wrong. To kill your own people is not normal. And to take some part in it or not, but to be on the Ukrainian side and to be partially involved in this, I don't want to in the first place!
Crime theory 3: the Russians did it
The origins for this are the US State Department and the authorities in Kiev, but only as a fall-back position once Crime theory 4 fell apart. Evidence comes from the Ukrainian authorities (themselves the prime suspects) and the USA which spent $5 billion installing this puppet-regime in Kiev.
According to this narrative, a Russian BUK launcher had made its way to Donetsk - undetected by US and Ukrainian intelligence assets or by the local population. It then spent four or five hours driving around on a civilian low-loader past several areas with Kiev military activity (including an enemy BUK system) before settling down south of Torez/Snizhne to do the deed. It fired at MH17 under clear blue skies and by the time MH17 hit the ground the weather has almost completely clouded over. Ten minutes later, a rebel-leader's conversation was intercepted saying that MH17 had been downed from near Chernukhino (over 40km away from Snizhne) and that it had fallen outside Enakievo (over 30km from the MH17 crash-site). Although the perpetrators had been only 30km from the nearest Russian border checkpoint, in Marynivki, they decided not to head that way in their 24-ton tracked and armoured vehicle (top speed 65km/h). Instead, they opted to make their escape on the civilian low-loader. About 12 hours after loading up, and after having travelled during the night, they were spotted in Luhansk (100km from the launch site). At dawn, they had turned off the motorway into the suburbs and were apparently on their way to the Kiev-controlled customs-post and Russian border, still some 60km away (assuming they got straight back on the motorway after the SBU photo-op).
Evidence from Ukraine
On 08 Sep 204, Bellingcat claimed "New evidence has been found that shows the Buk missile system that was used to shoot down MH17 on the 17th of July came from Russia, and was most likely operated by Russian soldiers.".
The first source quoted for there being a Russian BUK in Ukraine is a Paris-Match photo in the suburbs of Donetsk in the morning of 17 July. Russian satellite images show several BUK systems in the Donetsk area prior to MH17 but Bellingcat does not appear to have geolocated these or the Paris-Match video-frame.
Full article here via GoogleTranslate published July 25, 2014 | Updated July 29, 2014
Transporter-loaded BUK on the H21 main road from Donetsk to Torez. From YouTube Published on Jul 17, 2014, supposedly filmed at 11:40am on July 17th, geolocated to 48.017050,38.301678 by Bellingcat (about 25km and 50 minutes from the next photo-op in Torez at 48.02448,38.61451):
Note that it is on what appears to be the same civilian transporter, on a sunny day.
A photograph, allegedly "made at the time of launching rockets in the vicinity. Between Torez and Snizhne, which should be clearly visible inversion missiles, which shot down "Boeing-777" ... (interpreted from none-too clear GoogleTranslate Ukrainian-to-English translation) was released by the Ukraine Security Service. Note the clear conditions compared to the actual conditions at the time MH17 was shot down.
A BBC film crew went to locate this location and had the following to say:
- "To find the place from which the smoke was allegedly coming from, we adopted as markers these three poplars and the group of trees. Presumably, this is the place that can be seen on the photograph published by the SBU. And here are our markers: the three solitary poplars and the small group of trees in the distance. The smoke that can be seen on the photograph came from somewhere over there [pointing behind her], behind my back. The SBU believes that this is a trace coming from the launch of a “BUK” missile. However, it must be noted that there are here, approximately in the same place, the Saur-Mogila memorial, near which the fighting continues almost unabated, and a coalmine. It turns out that the smoke with the same degree of probability could have been coming from any of these locations."
This BBC report was deleted shortly afterwards but later reinstated in edited format. See: BBC Russia MH17 report
Early the following morning, it is alleged to have been in Luhansk (by The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine/Bellingcat) and heading towards the Russian border, which is not the ideal route for getting from Torez to Russia. The Paris-Match caption for this photo says "The same truck photographed at dawn on Friday, July 18, 2014 by a surveillance camera in the city of Krasnodon, close to the Russian border, according to this image circulated by the Ukrainian intelligence." Krasnodon is in the Oblast of Luhansk, about 40km SE of Luhansk city. The civilian transporter is just passing a Bogdan Auto billboard. It appears to be the same truck.
On July 22, Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov, gave the exact coordinates of the video’s location: separatist-held Luhansk, about a 45-minute drive from Krasnodon. as 48.545760°, 39.264622°map (about 70 metres from where this photo was taken) 1.5km off the nearest M04 junction and heading towards Kiev-controlled areas: 7km from Roskoshnoye (which was "Claimed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence to be liberated from separatist forces as of July 14") and 21 km from Luhansk Airport (which was not abandoned by Ukrainian forces until September 1).
It is shown on a civilian transporter, whereas those shown in Russia are on military transporters. The BUK has a white patch on its right-hand side and no railings - like one seen in Russia in June: basically, that's it.
On July 19 Kiev’s Security Service (SBU) published photos online that it claimed showed ‘Russia’ secretly withdrawing a BUK-M (NATO designation SA-11) surface-to-air missile system from the Ukraine civil war zone. At the time SBU Chief Vitaly Naida declared to a mute press“The SBU has taken measures within the investigation and is getting clear evidence of Russian citizens’ involvement in the terrorist attack (on the Malaysian Airlines Boeing)”.
However, bloggers immediately spotted the photos were of a Kiev air-defense system no. 312, previously pictured in March this year, when several BUK-M systems were filmed at Yasinovataya, north of Donetsk. The Ukrainian "evidence" photos show a single missile launch vehicle, whereas a Buk-M complex consists of at least three vehicles: missile launcher, radar and command vehicle. Ideally, a transporter loader vehicle would also form part of the system. This Ukraine SBU "evidence" shows two different transporters (with and without a blue flash on the cab. With one of the two photos (obviously faked and later removed) being submitted by the Ukraine SBU as "evidence", Bellingcat would reasonably have been expected to question the first one.
Evidence from the USA and UK
US satellite imagery, the main basis for US "evidence" was not supplied to the Crash Investigators by the the date of their preliminary report (9 Sep 2014) or to the Criminal Prosecution Team at the time of their report on 12 September 2014.
US officials said that satellite images showed a plume of smoke left by the ground-to-air missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines flight 17. Infrared sensors recorded the moment when the airliner exploded. The satellite data included an image of a plume of smoke left in the missile's trail that allowed analysts to calculate a launch area near the Russia-Ukraine border which is dominated by pro-Russian separatist fighters, officials said. Although the possible launch area extends to both sides of the border, the most likely location is in rebel-held territory close to where the wreckage of the plane plummeted from the sky, U.S. officials said. In an indication of the limitations of U.S. intelligence capabilities, officials said they were unsure how the missile arrived in the launch area. There was no U.S. intelligence showing an SA-11 crossing the border into Ukraine, the Pentagon said. U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power told the Security Council that the United States was not aware of any similar Ukrainian-controlled missile systems in the area. "Since the beginning of the crisis, Ukrainian air defenses have not fired a single missile," she said.
Riki Ellison, founder and chairman of Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a group that lobbies for missile defense spending, said that "They would have known exactly where it was launched, where it was headed, and the rate at which it was traveling." The satellites are sensitive enough to sense hot spots in forest fires, according to the Air Force.
American analysts focused on an area near the small towns of Snizhne and Torez. Their determination was based on an analysis of the launch plume and trajectory of the missile, as detected by an American military spy satellite. But the analysis did not pinpoint the origin of the missile launch or identify who launched it. The Russian Defense Ministry said at least five Ukrainian air defense systems were within range to bring down the plane. It said the flight path and crash site were within two areas where Ukraine was operating a long-range S-200 air defense system, and where three squadrons were deployed with SA-11 missile batteries. Ukraine denied that any of its forces had been involved, and American officials said they believed that denial. 
The Daily Telegraph said: that their "own inquiries suggest the missile – an SA-11 from a Buk mobile rocket launcher – was possibly fired from a cornfield about 12 miles to the south of the epicentre of the crash site."
A senior intelligence official (who spoke on condition of anonymity) said "The most plausible explanation ... was that it was a mistake," and the missile was fired by "an ill-trained crew" using a system that requires some skill and training. Intelligence officials are cautioning the public not to expect a "Perry Mason moment" when all questions are definitively answered. They cited previous incidents over the years in which both Russian and US forces have mistakenly shot down civilian airliners, but didn't mention that Ukraine had also shot down a civilian airliner. The US intelligence community has no explicit proof that Russians were with the SA-11 unit that fired on the airliner. The official said the Russian claim that the Ukrainian government had shot down MH17 was not realistic, as Kiev had no such missile systems in that area, which was rebel-controlled. That scenario would mean Ukrainian government troops would have had to fight their way into the area, fire at the passenger plane and fight their way out again. "That is not a plausible scenario to me," the US official said.
The British Foreign Office stated that it was "highly likely" that the missile was fired from area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
Crime theory 4: the dissidents did it
The origins for this are the US State Department and the authorities in Kiev. Once this theory fell apart, they moved on to Crime theory 3: "the Russians did it". It failed because the dissidents didn't have the means to carry it out. Even so, the western media still persists with this.
ITAR-TASS reported in June that Donetsk defence forces seized BUK missile defence systems from an army unit operating in the region, a point repeated and echoed by NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip Breedlove in a Pentagon press briefing on 30 June 2014. However, this was directly contradicted on 18 July 2014 by Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Vitaly Yarema, who told Ukrainian Pravda that militias do not have access to BUK delivery systems or S-300s.
On 19 July 2014, Ukrainian intelligence posted what they claimed to be intercepted communications showing Dissident' responsibility for the downing of MH17 along with an English transcript. Numerous alternative media sources claimed that the creation timestamp on the video indicates it was created before the crash took place.
See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbyZYgSXdyw - but here are some extracts that highlight some discrepancies:
17.07.2014 4:40pm: "We have just shot down a plane. That was 'Miner's' group. It fell down outside Enakievo"
- (That would be Enakievo, Yenakijeve, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine - over 30km from where MH17 went down) 48.219, 38.216
- - "Pilots. Where are the pilots?"
- - "Set off to search for the shot down plane. A plume of smoke is visible."
- - "How many minutes ago?"
- - "about 30 minutes ago" (from 4:40pm)
- ie: about 10-15 minutes before MH17 actually hit the ground.
The video then goes on to say:
"Having inspected the scene of the airplane crash, terrorist decided that they had shot down a civil aircraft."
4:33pm: ... "so that were those from Cherukinsk who shot down the plane. From Chernukhin checkpoint, cossacs that are nearby Chernukhino." (48.330, 38.487)
- Enakievo and Chernukhino are about 45km away from where US satellite and other intel put the launcher (Snizhne) and that the time is now 7 minutes before they reported the shooting down and set off to look for the wreckage.
5:11pm and onwards: discussion of MH17
- Shaun Walker of The Guardian - a journalist that actually got to speak with Igor Bezler - had the following to report on the subject:
"If the Ukrainian security services, the SBU, are to be believed, the Demon and a group of his men were responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the region a fortnight ago. . .According to the recording of a phone call allegedly made two minutes before the disaster, the Demon was told: “A bird is flying towards you.” He asked whether it was small or big, and was told that it was hard to see, as it was flying high above the clouds. In another recording, apparently made 20 minutes later, the Demon reported to his interlocutor, supposedly a Russian intelligence official, that a plane had been shot down. Bezler said the recording was real, but referred to a different incident: as well as allegedly bringing down MH17, the rebels have shot down 10 Ukrainian aircraft. . . . We left hastily, and I never did get to ask the Demon about his alleged role in shooting down MH17." Shaun Walker in Gorlovka
The previous day, an Su-25 was shot down at around 7 p.m.(local) . . . while "performing tasks in the area of Amvrosiivka city" (according to Ukrainian authorities). Though the Militia timings put it somewhere between 16:35 and 17:40 . It appears that this incident, from the previous day, was spliced onto the MH17 discussion by the SBU.
Rebel commander Igor "Strelkov" Girkin said two Su-25 planes had been downed during fighting at the Marinivka border crossing. The Information Centre of the militia of the Donbass claimed that two Ukrainian Air Force Su-25s were hit by DNR militias . It was reported that one of the planes was shot down from the portable missile systems near Gorlovki (48.310,38.047). The other one left towards the airfield in Mirhorod (49.93086,33.6437) heavily smoking.
Ukraine also claimed that a post appeared on the social media account of rebel commander Igor Strelkov exactly 35 minutes after the crash appearing to take credit for the downing. Subsequent reporting, however, pointed out that the post was ambiguously worded and the social media account in question may not be run by Strelkov at all.
Crime theory 5: MH17 brought down by bomb on board
Russian experts claim to possess cockpit voice recordings between a pilot of an SU-27 and a military flight control officer, who witnessed the accident in the sky over Eastern Ukraine. The evidence strongly suggests that a bomb exploded on board MH17. According to Sergey Sokolov, an aviation expert with the Russian federal information centre Analytics and Security, crime theory 5 offers a shocking account of the last moments of MH17:
- "I am pretty sure that the airliner was destroyed from within and that it was a special operation".
In an interview, Sokolov details what he says are the cockpit voice recordings between the pilot of an Su-27 combat aircraft and a flight control officer. Transcript fragment:
- Officer: 730, can you see the target?
- Pilot: Yes, I can see it, leftwards to traverse, at higher altitude.
- Pilot: Big one, right?
- Officer: Yeah!
- Pilot: 730! Didn't get it, repeat!
- Officer: Right, the target is big.
Russian pilot Ivan Ivanov, who has flown hundreds of combat and training flights, helped to interpret the particularities of communication of military pilots in this transcript:
- "When an interceptor is directed to a target by military flight control, you often hear 'target'. But in some cases, e.g. if the target is not military or not specific, such words as 'big' are used as well."
According to one of the cockpit voice recordings, the pilot was receiving the coordinates of the other aircraft from ground control. A couple of minutes later, he reports visual contact with a passenger aircraft and then received his instructions. Transcript fragment:
- Flight control officer: 730, don't approach it too close!
- Pilot: Got it, flying off. 730 Continue following it...
- Flight control officer: 730, got it, wait for further instructions.
(2 minutes later when the pilot re-established communication, he is very agitated. - Editorial comment)
- Pilot: There is a flash on the "big" 730, I see a flash!
- Flight control officer: 730, I didn't get it, repeat.
- Pilot: There is a flash on the "big"... explosion!
- Flight control officer: A missile?
- Pilot: No, I didn't see any other element. Probably explosion on board.
- Flight control officer: 730, explosion on board? From the ground? Confirm!
- Pilot: No, I didn't see any [missile] hit. It exploded by itself!
Sergey Sokolov came into possession of this sensational voice recording (in digital form) as early as last year, but it was impossible to publish it back then:
- "We understood that if we would have anything to do with a Hague or international investigation, we would need a first-hand source, hence we bought this original voice recording from SBU officers," said Sokolov.
Analytics and Security paid $250,000 for this voice recording, says Sergey Sokolov; they decided to pay such a large amount of money only after they were completely sure of the credibility of the source and authenticity of the recording. The voice recording has undergone thorough checks - experts couldn't find any edits or added sounds. Military pilots analysed the particularities of the communication, the expressions used and the execution time of the received orders.
Independent technical expert Jurij Antipov also agrees with crime theory 5 that the Malaysian Boeing was destroyed by an explosion from within. Immediately after the tragedy, he criticised the theories that suggested that the airliner was brought down by a missile or by a military aircraft. After the data from the black boxes was published, he became even more convinced of the bomb narrative:
- "There was a full reset of all on board instruments at the same time," says the expert.
It turns out that communication between the black boxes and all on board instruments and sensors was lost instantaneously, as if somebody had simultaneously cut all the wires. As previous incidents [of a missile shoot down of an airliner] show, when a missile or shell hits an aircraft, self-recording devices continue to record the conversations of pilots, flight/speed and other parameters of the aircraft for the next couple of seconds or even minutes. All the wires in black boxes are backed up in three different ways, and it is therefore almost impossible to damage them instantaneously, let alone by a fragmentation projectile. Even more significant for Jurij Antipov however, is the location of the airliner wreckage:
- "We can see on the wreckage dispersion map that, from the point at which the airplane was still intact in the air, part of the wreckage landed to the left of that location and, more importantly, also behind that location," he explains.
The airplane was moving at approximately 900 km/h. According to the laws of physics, all the wreckage should have hit the ground forward of the last known location. But that didn't happen.
- "No external explosion can cause wreckage to be dispersed backwards from the last known location," says Antipov.
These facts, however, have been ignored by investigators. Dutch experts made a number of first-rate blunders during their investigation. A large amount of wreckage still remains at the crash site and nobody seems interested in recovering it.
- "International norms for dealing with air crash investigations requires investigators to conduct tests for explosive materials in order to determine whether or not a bomb was involved. In the case of MH17, this appears to be the only test that was not performed," Antipov said.
While everybody was speculating what kind of weapon was used to shoot at the Boeing's cockpit, Jurij Antipov carefully examined the airline's fuselage. According to him, photographs show quite clearly the signature of a bomb having exploded within:
- "Evidence for an internal explosion include cabin window shades pushed outwards, suggesting that there was a short-period of overpressure in the passenger cabin itself which forced the shades outwards," explained Antipov.
Now that the investigation has more or less been completed, Sergey Sokolov is ready to provide all the collected data and evidence to an international group of investigators. However, for the time being, European officials and experts seem more interested in the creation of UN tribunal than in correcting their own mistakes.
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