MH17 tragedy- 5 years on

A recent video prepared by independent reporters places serious doubt on the scenario for the MH17 tragedy promoted by pro-western investigators.

Five years on from the MH17 tragedy and attribution of blame is still a huge problem confounded by political agendas.

In July 2014 the Malaysian Airline Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine. All 283 passengers and 15 crew died. A Dutch-led international Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been investigating the tragedy with the aim of determining criminal blame. However, it’s investigation is plagued by geopolitical interests and the current claims of the JIT are unconvincing. Nevertheless, the JIT is planning to start criminal proceeding against four people connected with the separatist movement which rose up in Eastern Ukraine after the February 2014 coup in Kiev.

Geopolitical agendas were, of course, involved right from the moment the tragedy occurred with the USA, other NATO and western countries blaming the tragedy on separatist forces. An evidence-free narrative supported only by the anti-Russian and Russophobia ideologies existing in these countries.

Eventually, these narratives condensed into a story initially promoted by the NATO and Atlantic Council aligned Bellingcat “open source” internet investigation group. The JIT appeared to initially go with this story. Their public appeals for evidence were initially directed simply to confirm the story and no attempt appears to have been made to consider alternative scenarios.

The video above from independent journalist critiques the JIT approach. In particular, there is evidence of fraud in the video evidence collected by Bellingcat and in the telephone taps provided by the Ukrainian security service, the SUB.

I have been particularly concerned about political bias in the JIT. The unwillingness initially to include Malaysia in the team. The unwillingness to carry out investigations at the site – claims that security could not be guaranteed by local authorities are clearly wrong as the Malaysians were able to arrive at the crash site and take delivery of the recovered black boxes from local authorities.

Claims, by a member of the JIT at their most recent press conference (partially covered in the video above), that the Russian Federation refused to cooperate with the JIT were clearly wrong as evidenced by the reply from another member of the JIT to a question from a reporter. The Russian Federation has been providing data (much of it requiring declassification) from the beginning. In particular, they provided information (requested by the JIT) on the manufacture and deployment of the BUK missile used to shoot down the aircraft and also primary radar information related to the destruction of the aircraft (see Flight MH17 tragedy in Ukraine – new evidence).

While receipt of this crucial information by the JIT was acknowledged by one of the JIT spokespeople he seemed to argue that it was not considered because it didn’t fit with their preferred scenario (the missile system had been deployed in Ukraine, not the Russian Federation). The fact that such crucial information is being ignored (even after the JIT had made a public appeal for the information) just shows how political the investigation has become.

I think the politicisation of the JIT is disgusting. It shows a fundamental lack of respect for the 298 lives lost in this tragedy. Those lives and the feelings of surviving relatives should not be used in a blatant geopolitical game.

Unfortunately, the current international political climate probably means that the JIT with its current composition will be unable to bring justice to the victims of this tragedy and their relatives. The involvement of Ukraine (which had possession of the missile system used and political motivation to blame the Russian federation and separatists in Donetsk and Lugansk), the initial exclusion of Malaysia and recent statements by the Malaysian Prime Minister criticising the investigation) and the anti-Russian political alignment of other countries in the JIT (the Netherlands, Australia, and Belgium) simply make this impossible.

Surely a new, politically neutral, investigating team is the only way the victims and their families can get the justice they deserve.

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20 responses to “MH17 tragedy- 5 years on

  1. There are lot ways that the JIT investigation looks a fraud.
    1. John Kerry announced he had seen US satellite info that showed the BUK launch and followed it to the explosion. Yet at no point has the US shown this data to the JIT or even told them the launch co-ordinates. Conclusion – they lied. Yet certainly they must have the full info on a rocket launched close to the Russian border in the direction of Europe. And the US did reveal the details when a Ukrainian rocket brought down a Siberian Air craft in 2000.
    2. The inclusion of Ukraine (probable guilty party) in the investigation from the start, with the investigation now purely run on Ukraine staff from Ukraine intelligence with nominal oversight from Holland. While rebels may or may not (still unproven) had access to one BUK in the region at the time, it is not disputed that Ukraine had 2 or 3 working BUKs there.
    3. There has been no advance since the first 3 months towards any court hearing. Indeed the impression is strongly that all courts are to be avoided because they risk defeat. The strategy is to run with the PR based on unchallenged claims for as long as possible.
    4. Certainly the shoot down was a mistake. By someone. Yet the claim has developed from a rebel error to malicious intent by Russian troops. Given the absolute failure by the US, Nato, Ukraine and western media to demonstrate the presence of more than a few dozen Russian troops in Donbas or Crimea (outside the Sevastopol area where up to 20k navy and marines were based), it seems highly unlikely that it happened and much much less likely that the JIT could prove the incursion of a BUK. General Houdges, US Nato general, on multiple occasions claimed 14,000 Russian troops were on duty inside Donbas. They failed to show 20 at any time or place for over a year, so how are they going to prove a specific BUK at a specific place at a specific date without making up the stuff.
    5. JIT opinions have converged on Bellingcat’s. Now if Bellingcat had made a single discovery that did not meet precisely the CIA/MI6. PR requirements in Ukraine or Syria or anyother area Bellingcat specialises in, then perhaps that would be of interest. Or ineed if Bellingcat had made a single discovery that subsequently was supported as accurate by an external independent body following its established practices. But as it is Bellingcat is a pure shill, and the JIT adoption of Bellingcat claims is in essence an admission it has no evidence of its own.


  2. M Droy – Agree completely. On the question of the separatist forces having access to a BUK system, I have seen reports they had two. One was imperative and the other had been sabotaged by looters before capture so could not be used (according to Dutch intelligence).

    A large fraction of the Ukrainian army defected to separatists (even Poroshenko claimed more than 30% defected) so there was certainly the possibility of a system getting into separatist hands.

    But, considering that the JIT has announced to code number on the missile used and that we now know that had been deployed in Ukraine it should be a simple matter to check where they system ended up. The fact the Ukrainian authorities refuse to release the relevant information suggests to me the system remained in Ukrainian army hands so its use by separatists is hardly likely.


  3. Some discussion of this film – maker answering questions


  4. The video is 2:30 long but doesn’t really get started for about 17 mins..


  5. Here is Lavrov commenting on MH17. Starts about 1:18, some prelim about the recent downing in Iran where 6 f-35s were on the border, maybe causing confusion.


  6. “6 f-35s were on the border”

    I apologise, Ken, but I have to ask: which border? In whose airspace were they flying? Afghanistan? Armenia? Azerbaijan? Pakistan? Turkmenistan? Turkey? Iraq? None of them are known for their extensive F-35 fleets.
    Where were such short range aircraft flying from?

    Bear in mind that the USA has not yet deployed the longer range F-35C on its’ carriers, so that’s not a possible answer.

    Iran has previously admitted their defences have not been able to detect F-35s that may, or may not, have directly overflown their airspace (dubious claims from 2018 and 2019. Source: multiple click bait sites and a few reputable ones). So how did Iran know that F-35s were in the airspace of another country, “on the border”, “maybe causing confusion”? Did Donald Trump tweet it?

    I think the claim that “6 f-35s were on the border” is dismissable after a couple of minutes thought.


  7. Stuart, you seem to be attributing a comment to me that I did not make. Thus article is about the MH17 tragedy and the disgraceful politicisation of the resulting investigation. Nothing to do with your question.


  8. Sorry, Ken. I was apologising in advance for likely derailing the post. I found Soundhill’s comment poorly thought out – probably accepting of someone’s speculation without questioning it.


  9. OK, I see what happened. Bruce seemed to be raising a comment by Foreign Minister Lavrov about the accident happening because of the heightened tension in the area after the murder of an Iranian leader and the missile attack on US bases Seems the Iranians had good reason to expect some sort of attack. Another factor seems to have been a short blackout in communication – but I guess we will have to see what the investigation produces.


  10. Stuartg, It was a link to a news media conference by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, that I linked on Jan 18. About 1 hour 18 mins into the vid he talks about the recent loss of the Ukrainian airliner in Iran not very long after US had reportedly killed a high up Iranian military figure in Iraq. Iran had subsequently sent missiles into Iraq but did not kill anyone. Lavrov reported the tension between Iran and Iraq. He said that, though it needed verification, to his knowledge there were the 6 F35 aircraft on the border. The airport near where the Ukranian airliner was lost is about 150 km from the international waters of the Caspian Sea. Six might have been enough to confuse the Iranian defense radar. Also note the Ukranian airliner was suddenly returning back to its take off point, If there were the 6 aircraft 150k away to be watched there may have been a mistake not reprogramming quickly enough what the Iranian defense should be expecting as allowed. Didn’t know of the communication blackout Ken writes of.


  11. The F-35 could fly 150km in some 6 mins, and can refuel in flight.


  12. David Fierstien, “Ukraine closed the airspace to civilian traffic below 32,000 feet but despite that, the day Flight 17 entered the airspace, 160 airliners crossed above that flight ceiling in eastern Ukraine.” From the link I posted on Jan 13 that was a very suspicious action of Ukraine to have airliners flying there.

    “The plane was crossing over an area that was in the midst of a war started by Ukrainian rebels and their Russian backers. Russia moved into Crimea, which was part of Ukraine, and annexed it in early 2014. Then separatists in eastern Ukraine, supplied by Moscow, took the area of eastern Ukraine along the Russian border.”

    The way Putin said it at a Valdai news conference, a coup ousted the legal president of Ukraine, whose life then was under threat. He asked for Russian help and was escorted to the Crimea where there are many Russians. The people of Crimea asked Russia for help against the forces of the coup.


  13. Soundhill,

    The F-35 is a short range low observable aircraft. The further a low observable aircraft is from a radar then the less observable it is. That’s the point of them. Published figures suggest the radar cross section of the F-35 is less than a sparrow but still larger than that of the F-22 and B-2. And you suggest a range of 150km (ie beyond IR, visual, or auditory detection range.)

    Sure, the F-35 can refuel in flight. And it’s a real fuel hog to reach the speed you mention – the full afterburner needed for that speed will massively reduce its’ range (and also increase its’ IR detectability). So in your scenario the F-35s would need to have tankers in close attendance to supply fuel.

    Did you know that the tankers they refuel from are even less stealthy than the airliners they were converted from – ie not at all? (Published figures are about 100m² radar cross section). So the tankers are visible on radar several hundred kilometers away.

    Apply some logical thought. If F-35s were able to be detected on radar (a sparrow at 150km), why no mention of detection of the 100m² tankers with them that would be needed for a high speed, high fuel burn, dash?

    Extending the thinking, since Iran has demonstrated they can easily shoot down defenceless airliners, why didn’t they just shoot down such easily detected and defenceless air tankers? And then claim they were shot down by the hostile country they would have had to be flying over?

    Unless, of course, neither the F-35s nor tankers were “on the border”?

    Don’t just believe whatever you hear, especially if it appears to reinforce your beliefs about the world. Apply some logical thought instead.

    My thoughts? Maybe they were there, but probably not. One person said they were but produced no evidence. No corroborating evidence has been provided by anyone else. Circumstantial evidence (lack of USA friendly bases and airspace surrounding Iran, air tanker movements, neutral country radar tracking, overflight permissions, etc) does not exist. Occams razor says no, but I’m quite prepared to re-evaluate if evidence is provided.

    Again, Ken, I’m sorry if this derails the topic.


  14. Stuartg. Struna-1.


  15. Stuartg: “My thoughts? Maybe they were there, but probably not.” Yeah maybe decoys.


  16. Stuartg: “Extending the thinking, since Iran has demonstrated they can easily shoot down defenceless airliners, why didn’t they just shoot down such easily detected and defenceless air tankers? And then claim they were shot down by the hostile country they would have had to be flying over?”

    Things getting a bit mixed.


  17. Soundhill,

    Struna-1 supposedly increases effective RCS by a factor of about three. So the F-35 looks about the size of a blackbird to it. But it still follows the inverse fourth power law for range; there’s no way it can defy the laws of physics. It’s not yet been exported by Russia to the best of my knowledge.

    And Russia borders onto Iran… where?

    Things started getting a little mixed when you parroted that “6 f-35s were on the border” without first applying some thought.


  18. Russia and Iran both border on to the Caspian Sea. Though Dagestan would be over 400km from Iran I guess stretching the range for Struna-1. Note the exporting does not equate to transporting, using your device in another country without selling it to them.

    But there is the Resonance-NE which Iran is said to have bought in 2009 though it mightn’t be very accurate, being the reason for the uncertainty expressed.


  19. Stuartg, Also “In the fall of 2014, the over-the-horizon radar detected various targets and sent their coordinates to the Grad Sviyazhsk and Uglich corvettes. In January, the Podsolnukh detected four low-flying Su-24 bombers. The data was forwarded to the Dagestan frigate, whose ballistic missile defense system successfully locked onto targets,” the newspaper detailed. Over-the-horizon stations have a major advantage when compared to other radars. They are capable of detecting stealth objects. For the Podsolnukh, the F-22 and the F-35, the best fighter jets in the US arsenal that could fly deep behind enemy lines, are no different from aircraft that do not use stealth technology.

    But there is a trade-off. Over-the-horizon radars are inconsistent with the IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system. Nevertheless, the Russian military has successfully employed over-the-horizon stations. The Volna system, the Podsolnukh’s big brother, has been in service with Russia’s Pacific Fleet, scanning water areas at a maximum distance of 3,000 kilometers (more than 1,864 miles). The Volna’s length of the antennae is 1.5 kilometers (more than 0,9 miles), its height is five meters (more than 16.4 feet),” the newspaper noted.

    Three over-the-horizon Podsolnukh radars were in service as of mid-2016 with the Russian Armed Forces. They were recently deployed to the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan and the Caspian Sea. The latter had been operational since 2013. The export version of the Podsolnukh has been showcased at several international maritime defense shows.”

    They may not have been supplying data to Iran at the time of the downing, but presumably could have done later analysis.


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