Malaysia Airlines Whodunnit Still a Mystery

Exclusive: More than seven weeks after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in eastern Ukraine killing 298 people, a preliminary report failed to address the mystery of who shot the plane down. The Dutch investigators didn’t even try to sort through conflicting allegations and evidence, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Beyond confirming that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 apparently was shot down on July 17, the Dutch Safety Board’s interim investigative report answered few questions, including some that would seem easy to address, such as the Russian military radar purporting to show a Ukrainian SU-25 jetfighter in the area, a claim that the Kiev government denied.

Either the Russian radar showed the presence of a jetfighter “gaining height” as it closed to within three to five kilometers of the passenger plane as the Russians claimed in a July 21 press conference or it didn’t. The Kiev authorities insisted that they had no military aircraft in the area at the time.

A Malaysia Airways' Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

A Malaysia Airways’ Boeing 777 like the one that crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. (Photo credit: Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland)

But the 34-page Dutch report is silent on the jetfighter question, although noting that the investigators had received Air Traffic Control “surveillance data from the Russian Federation.”

The report is also silent on the “dog-not-barking” issue of whether the U.S. government had satellite surveillance that revealed exactly where the supposed ground-to-air missile was launched and who may have fired it.

The Obama administration has asserted knowledge about those facts initially pointing the finger at ethnic Russian rebels using a powerful Buk anti-aircraft missile system supposedly supplied by Russia but the U.S. government has withheld satellite photos and other intelligence information that could presumably corroborate the charge.

Curiously, too, the Dutch report, released on Tuesday, states that the investigation received “satellite imagery taken in the days after the occurrence.” Obviously, the more relevant images in assessing blame would be aerial photography in the days and hours before the crash that killed 298 people on the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

In mid-July, eastern Ukraine was a high priority for U.S. intelligence and a Buk missile battery is a large system that should have been easily picked up by U.S. aerial reconnaissance. The four missiles in a battery are each about 16-feet-long and would have to be hauled around by a truck and then put in position to fire.

Just days after the July 17 shoot-down, a source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the analysts were examining satellite imagery that showed the crew manning the suspected missile battery wearing what looked like Ukrainian army uniforms.

Then, on July 22, at a briefing given to journalists from major U.S. publications, a U.S. intelligence official suggested that a Ukrainian military “defector” might have launched the Buk missile against the airliner, possibly explaining the issue of the uniforms.

The Los Angeles Times reported that “U.S. intelligence agencies have so far been unable to determine the nationalities or identities of the crew that launched the missile. U.S. officials said it was possible the SA-11 [Buk anti-aircraft missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.”

The briefers also theorized that the rebels hit Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 by mistake, thinking it was a Ukrainian military aircraft.

Yet, while the U.S. government has released a variety of satellite photos to bolster various allegations lodged against ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and the Russian government, the Obama administration has balked at providing satellite imagery relating to the Flight 17 case, instead basing much of its public case on “social media.”

Russian Satellite Images

The Dutch report’s reference to only post-crash satellite photos is also curious because the Russian military released a number of satellite images purporting to show Ukrainian government Buk missile systems north of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk before the attack, including two batteries that purportedly were shifted 50 kilometers south of Donetsk on July 17, the day of the crash, and then removed by July 18.

Russian Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov called on the Ukrainian government to explain the movements of its Buk systems and why Kiev’s Kupol-M19S18 radars, which coordinate the flight of Buk missiles, showed increased activity leading up to the July 17 shoot-down.

The Ukrainian government countered these questions by asserting that it had “evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” according to Andrey Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council, using Kiev’s preferred term for the rebels.

Lysenko added: “To disown this tragedy, [Russian officials] are drawing a lot of pictures and maps. We will explore any photos and other plans produced by the Russian side.” But Ukrainian authorities have failed to address the Russian evidence except through broad denials.

On July 29, amid escalating rhetoric against Russia from U.S. government officials and the Western news media, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity called on President Barack Obama to release what evidence the U.S. government had on the shoot-down, including satellite imagery.

“As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information,” the group wrote. “As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay. In charging Russia with being directly or indirectly responsible, Secretary of State John Kerry has been particularly definitive. Not so the evidence. His statements seem premature and bear earmarks of an attempt to ‘poison the jury pool.’”

However, the Obama administration failed to make public any intelligence information that would back up its earlier suppositions.

Then, in early August, I was told that some U.S. intelligence analysts had shifted away from the original scenario blaming the rebels and Russia to one focused more on the possibility that extremist elements of the Ukrainian government were responsible. But then chatter about U.S. intelligence information on the shoot-down faded away.

Given the intense global interest in the tragedy, there were high hopes that the Dutch Safety Board, which is heading up the international investigation, would at least begin clarifying the evidence and sifting through the conflicting claims. However, more than seven weeks after the crash, the preliminary report fails to address any of the evidence regarding who actually fired the missile and from precisely what location.

The Dutch Safety Board promised a final report before the first anniversary of the crash on July 17, 2015. By then, however, the slaughter of those 298 people could well become a cold case with little hope of finding the perpetrators whoever they might be and bringing them to justice.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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60 comments for “Malaysia Airlines Whodunnit Still a Mystery

  1. Bradley James
    September 9, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    No mystery here. Zionist puppets blame Putin. Western Ukraine shot down mh-17.

    • Clever Username
      September 9, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      What does Zionism have to do with this? Also, isn’t it curious how the first comment on these stories is always this kind of paranoid anti-semitism? Almost as if people were trying to damage the reporting’s credibility.

      • Abe
        September 9, 2014 at 6:33 pm

        Yup. Leveraging the Zionist corollary to Godwin’s Law.

        Begone troll. You have no powers here.

      • Abe
        September 9, 2014 at 6:54 pm

        @ Bradley James: Not saying you are one. Just referring to the phenomenon.

      • September 9, 2014 at 6:59 pm

        Zionists are not semites . They are the true anti semites. With Zionist controlled Israel leading the charge . The most hateful racist nation on the planet. The Rothchild world bankers own Israel.

        • Clever Username
          September 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm

          Blaming everything under the sun on unnamed, shadowy Zionists is anti-Semetic, guy. Again, what does Israel have to do with any of this?

          • schmenz
            September 10, 2014 at 11:34 am

            True “antisemitism” is defined as hating semitic peoples because of their DNA. I see no evidence of that in Bradley JAmes’ comments.

  2. Abe
    September 9, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Ukrainian Air Force Mig-29 “Fulcrum” or Su-27 “Flanker” jet fighter aircraft armed with the GSh-301 single-barreled, recoil operated 30mm cannon, have been operating over Eastern Ukraine.

    Either aircraft was capable of destroying MH-17 on 17 August using 30 mm cannon fire only.

    Both jet fighters have service ceilings near 60,000 feet and are easily capable of high speed combat maneuvers at MH-17’s reported cruising altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 m).

    In combination with a laser rangefinding/targeting system, the GSh-301 is a powerful and extremely accurate weapon, capable of destroying a target with as few as three to five rounds. The gun’s maximum effective range against aerial targets is 200 to 800 m.

    Ukrainian combat aircraft losses include one MiG-29 shot down near the village of Zhdanivka, 40 kilometres northeast of Donetsk, on 7 August 2014; and one MiG-29 shot down near Luhansk on 17 August 2014. No Su-27 combat losses have been reported so far.

  3. Clever Username
    September 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    The report references recovering metal from the bodies of the cockpit crew. Why didn’t they run tests to find if these were from shrapnel or cannon fire? I understand that their limited access to the crash site (thanks to the Ukranian ATO) precluded forensic tests on the plane itself, but they’ve got the bodies of the pilots with them.

    It’s the dog that didn’t bark in the night.

    • Peter Zwitser
      September 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      The things written in this article went through my mind too. Very strange things happening.
      There was a lot of publicity today, including interview. Since I’m Dutch, I could understand them. The chairman of the Dutch Safety Board said they are investigating the metal found in the bodies right now, but it take time before they have results. I don’t know if that’s the truth, but that’s what he said in an interview on Dutch television.

      • Clever Username
        September 10, 2014 at 1:04 am

        Weird. They found the cockpit pretty early on. Haven’t they had the bodies for a while now?

  4. Abe
    September 9, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Flight MH17 – What You’re Not Being Told
    By SCGNews (27 July)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b67OGUsQC44

  5. Feuadal Peasant
    September 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    When there is no answer and only silence I look to the Israeli’s.

  6. Abe
    September 9, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    On 05 September, Amnesty International, a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights, published “Ukraine: Mounting evidence of war crimes and Russian involvement” http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/ukraine-mounting-evidence-war-crimes-and-russian-involvement-2014-09-05

    Analysis of the 738-word Amnesty article reveals clear bias in the NGO’s reporting on the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Amnesty makes more than twice the effort to place blame for human rights abuses and possible war crimes on separatist forces and “Russian troops” (380 words) than on Ukrainian government forces (140 words).

    Amnesty explicitly accuses separatists of “torture,” a major criminal offense under international law. Amnesty makes no mention of “torture” in association with the regular Ukrainian armed forces or those designated ‘bad apples,’ the Aidar Battalion.

    Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, states unequivocally: “Our evidence shows that Russia is fuelling the conflict, both through direct interference and by supporting the separatists in the East. Russia must stop the steady flow of weapons and other support to an insurgent force heavily implicated in gross human rights violations.”

    The evidence presented to support these accusations is a “series of satellite images commissioned by Amnesty International” that appear to have been provided by a non-profit organization called The American Association for the Advancement of Science. AAAS analyzes high-resolution satellite images collected by publicly accessible commercial satellites. In other words, the images come from the United States.

    Shetty delivers the punchline: “The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in the fighting in Ukraine, but satellite imagery and testimony gathered by the organization provide compelling evidence that the fighting has burgeoned into what Amnesty International now considers an international armed conflict.”

    Predictably, Amnesty has declared what complicit NATO officials and compliant mainstream media have long been insisting, without the benefit of evidence: Russia has ‘invaded’ Ukraine.

    On 07 September, Amnesty published a briefing on “Abuses and war crimes by the Aidar Volunteer Battalion in the north Luhansk region.” The briefing contained carefully worded language that depicts the Ukrainian government forces as lawful actors, the ‘good guys’ in the conflict:

    “The Ukrainian authorities cannot afford to replicate in the areas they retake, the lawlessness and abuses that have prevailed in separatist-held areas. The failure to eliminate abuses and possible war crimes by volunteer battalions risks significantly aggravating tensions in the east of the country and undermining the proclaimed intentions of the new Ukrainian authorities to strengthen and uphold the rule of law more broadly.”

    The coup regime in Kiev is throwing its most aggressive and abusive Nazi volunteer batallions under the bus to preserve its image. The very forces that enabled the Yatsenyuk junta seize and hold power in Kiev in February are being sacrificed as the requisite ‘few bad apples,’ thereby freeing the mainstream media to focus all its attention on the ‘real’ baddies: “Russian troops” that support “an insurgent force heavily implicated in gross human rights violations” in Eastern Ukraine, according to Amnesty.

    On 08 September, Amnesty published an article declaring that “Ukraine must stop ongoing abuses and war crimes by pro-Ukrainian volunteer forces.” Amnesty’s statements appear to be part of a dedicated effort to insulate the regular Ukrainian armed forces from accusations of abuses and possible war crimes, which may include responsibility for the 07 July downing of Malaysia Air flight MH-17.

    • Abe
      September 9, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      …responsibility for the 17 July downing of Malaysia Air flight MH-17.

    • Kiza
      September 10, 2014 at 2:48 am

      There are fewer and fewer people who trust anything this NGO says. Amnesty International brand has been sold to the US Government. Their role now is to feed the news (propaganda) cycle as “independent” source.

  7. September 9, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Robert, the report inadvertently substantiates one theory of authorship:

    “The available images show that the pieces of wreckage were pierced in numerous places. The pattern of damage to the aircraft fuselage and the cockpit is consistent with that which may be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside…”

    Note: “large number.” The firing of a single missile or two will not create a “large number” of piercings from the outside. There’s evidence the plane was shot down by another airplane and as far as airspace is concerned, it was 100% controlled by Kiev. See:

    “MH-17: Dutch Safety Board Report Doesn’t Appear To Support Claim Of Missile Shoot-Down”
    TND Exclusive: Eric Dubin |
    http://thenewsdoctors.com/?p=209530

    Feel free to reprint the above if you wish.

    Eric Dubin
    Managing Editor,
    The News Doctors

    • Jeremy
      September 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      The way anti-aircraft missiles work, the report would still be consistent with a ground-to-air missile. The missile is not designed to hit the aircraft but to explode in front of it, scattering shrapnel which the plane flies through. But given the fact that nobody saw the trail of a Buk missile launch that day, it is more likely that the plane was first hit with an air-to-air missile, then finished off with cannon fire from a Ukrainian fighter jet.

  8. F. G. Sanford
    September 9, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    The margins of the holes in the cockpit sheet metal are flanged both inwardly and outwardly. The small, nearly perfectly round variety are all inwardly oriented consistent with 30mm cannon fire. The larger, irregular holes are of the outward, “exit wound” variety, indicating firing from both sides of the cockpit. The nature of these holes RULES OUT a missile strike. Even a proximity detonated warhead exploding ahead of the aircraft could not produce both entrance and exit patterns. Cannon fire relies heavily on visual target acquisition. The pilot of the fighter would have visually identified his target, and MUST HAVE KNOWN it was a civilian airliner. Not only does this rule out the separatists, it also raises the question of motive. The decision to withhold the full report is an ominous sign given that the investigation is being conducted by NATO vassals. Imagine what Americans would claim if it were the Russians withholding the report? Cessation of international cooperation portends the anticipation of further escalation, which renders pointless the incentive to resolve the original dispute. Are they hoping that time will make this go away…or counting on open hostilities to render it moot?

    • September 9, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Sanford nailed it . And you can bet Western Ukraine shot down mh-17. = Zionist puppet government.

  9. Zachary Smith
    September 9, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    The report is also silent on the “dog-not-barking” issue of whether the U.S. government had satellite surveillance that revealed exactly where the supposed ground-to-air missile was launched and who may have fired it.

    I’m of a mind that the US doesn’t have useful (incriminating to Russia and/or the rebels) satellite information, or it would have already used it.

    In mid-July, eastern Ukraine was a high priority for U.S. intelligence and a Buk missile battery is a large system that should have been easily picked up by U.S. aerial reconnaissance. The four missiles in a battery are each about 16-feet-long and would have to be hauled around by a truck and then put in position to fire.

    Just days after the July 17 shoot-down, a source who was briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts told me that the analysts were examining satellite imagery that showed the crew manning the suspected missile battery wearing what looked like Ukrainian army uniforms.

    Assuming for a moment there was a speck of competence in a hypothetical BUK crew, I don’t believe it was going to be spotted by anybody’s satellite. Modern camouflage techniques are really quite good. Only the IR from the hot missile exhaust and the huge smoke plumes would have been visible, IMO. I find it significant that exhaust trail wasn’t seen and/or photographed by somebody. Unless the missile was fired from an area with nearly zero visibility, the ‘no sighting’ business is a problem for me. The Ukrainian army uniforms issue is a red herring. So far as I’ve been able to tell, there is no way under heaven an orbiting satellite could see such detail.

    For now I’m going with the ‘fighter’ hypothesis mentioned by F. G. Sanford. Would that aircraft need to have been part of the Ukraine air force? No. Would anybody in the Ukraine government need to have known anything about the operation? No. It could very well have been flown by a mercenary pilot, or one from a nation-state wanting a wider war in the Ukraine. I’d imagine there are billionaires around who could easily fund the operation. Where do you get the airplane? Perhaps arrange for a functional aircraft to be listed as non-working and being repaired. Who knows? No doubt there were lots of ways to arrange for an airplane to be there when you needed it.

    IMO the fighter theory is the one to bet on at the moment.

    • Bob Loblaw
      September 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      I picture a luxurious cat being petted right now.

  10. Abe
    September 9, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    The preliminary report of the Dutch Safety Board, released on the heels of the NATO Wales Summit, says as much as the Dutch dare say in the current political environment.

    Washington/EU is ginning up a political end run with human rights NGOs like Amnesty carrying the ball. We’ll see how that turns out.

    Everyone understands that when the word gets out that Russia and/or separatist forces did not shoot down MH-17, Washington’s entire Ukrainian adventure is kaput.

  11. September 9, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I think the most interestin information in the report is this:

    “At the time of the occurrence, an active trough with cumulonimbus cloud and thunderstorm activity was affecting Ukraine, with the most intense activity along a line extending north-westwards from Crimea towards Western Ukraine. More isolated thunder storms were apparent closer to the location of the occurrence, with some lightning strikes recorded to the southwest of Donetsk.”

    So, my conclusion: it was cloudy at the time and location of the incident – and the probablity is high that the whodunnit of the incident will remain in these clouds.

    Technically, it’s likely that both sides could have pulled the trigger, though for different reasons. It may have been a false flag by Ukrainians or an incident of false targeting be their opposing side, maybe caused by Ukrainian practice to use civilian aisliners as cover for military flights.

    In the end, it shouldn’t play much of a role. It’s just some more collateral damage of that stupid war, just 300 casualties of more than 3000 casualties – as currently quoted numbers are saying what’s the death toll of that conflict now. The more important question is: how to make the 3000 casualty figures not grow anymore?

  12. bobzz
    September 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    I lack the expertise and insights of the people commenting here. England has the black box so I’m told. Should they not have a report by now? It just seems to me that, if hard evidence definitively pointed to the separatists, it would have been ballyhooed to high heaven by now. It is getting harder to say ‘history will tell’ as we may have no future to look back on our history. As Hitchcock used to say, “Good evening”.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 10, 2014 at 1:19 am

      You know what, bobzz, I’m with you. I’m not an expert, far from it, but yes if the pro-Russians were guilty beyond a doubt that would be all the rage which would be broadcasted by our western MSM to the point of hysteria above the decimal of humanly sane comprehension. This news might even top their Ray Rice story. (The Ravens are playing the Steelers this Thursday night).

      Okay, here’s what it comes down to for me. If CNN, the NYTimes, McCain & Graham, of course FOX, Hillary & Kerry, and if a couple of my neighbors are for it, then I know the story is bogus. I know this is not very scientific, but often, change that, always I’m right. Did I mention Talk Radio?

  13. Abe
    September 9, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Pages 17-18 of the preliminary report of the Dutch Safety Board confirm the meteorological situation in Ukraine at the last known position of Malaysian Air flight MH-17.

    At the time of the occurrence on July 17, the conditions were generally cloudy across the area with cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds (rainclouds), and thunderstorm activity.

    In other words, the ground in the area was not visible to satellites.

    However, the tops of the clouds in the area were at 10,000 to 24,000 feet.

    MH-17 was cruising at an altitude of 33,000 feet, well above the clouds.

    That means every aircraft in the vicinity above 24,000 feet, including MH-17 at the moment of its demise, was clearly visible to satellites.

    No mystery.

    • Yaj
      September 9, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      Spy satellites aren’t always looking down over X area of the earth.

      Spy satellites move in predictable orbits; they’re not stationary.

      • Clever Username
        September 10, 2014 at 12:54 am

        Actually, no, satellites can be “stationary” relative to the Earth.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geosynchronous_satellite

        And I have no doubt in my mind that US intelligence would want 24/7 coverage of a hotspot like Ukraine.

        • Yaj
          September 12, 2014 at 7:10 pm

          Clever User:

          The Hubble point wasn’t an analogy.

          That’s a spy satellite turned the other way.

      • Yaj
        September 10, 2014 at 7:35 pm

        Clever U:

        Nope, you’ve confused a type of satellite with a spy satellite.

        Communications satellites stay in one place relative to the earth’s surface.

        Spy satellites are only a few hundred miles up, and move relative to the surface.

        There is no way an optical observation platform out 22,000 miles can see any thing like a rocket launcher or Boeing 777.

        Hope this clarifies your mistake.

        Spy satellites are basically Hubble telescopes pointing down.

      • Yaj
        September 10, 2014 at 8:56 pm

        Clever:

        You’ve confused satellite types.

        Spy satellites, which is exactly what I wrote, move relative to the earth’s surface, and could not see a plane from 22,000 miles out.

        That type of stationary satellite is mostly for ground to ground communication.

        I hope you didn’t mean to distract with incorrect information.

        The fact remains that the spy satellite’s orbit would have to have been above the Boeing and above Ukraine, and recording, to do what the OP wants.

        Spy satellites are like downfacing Hubble telescopes a few hundred miles up.

        • Clever Username
          September 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm

          See link above. Also, you know Hubble takes pictures of things light years away, right? That wasn’t a very good analogy…

      • Yaj
        September 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm

        Would be nice if word press worked.

        Clever U,

        Do you not understand how those stationary satellites are used?

        They can’t see the surface of the earth. They’re 22 thousand miles out.

        With radar they look for things like other satellites.

        Now there may be satellites, in low orbit, that with the expenditure of energy (fuel) can stay over one location and shoot photos. But that’s extraordinary tech, that isn’t just going to be used whenever–since they’d have to use up some form of energy. And the more they remain in one location the more fuel gets used up, thereby ruling out just hovering over the eastern Ukraine for weeks. That kind of system would be used for an extra 15 minutes.

        You have science fiction view of spy satellites. And baring massive, and secret, energy sources it can’t be done.

        • Clever Username
          September 12, 2014 at 5:46 pm

          Again, wrong. Read the article I linked, seventh paragraph:

          “They are electro-optical. This probably means they use a combination of sensors and telescopes to spy on objects.”

          Once the satellite is in geosynchronous orbit, it doesn’t need to expend any additional energy. And since it is equipped with TELEscopes (i.e. can view things remotely), they can indeed see all the way to the surface.

    • Yaj
      September 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      Clever Username:

      No, think of it this way “electro-optical” does not mean that the stationary satellite out 22 thousand miles can easily discern structural details on a satellite in low earth orbit or things on the ground.

      Or think of it as seen a train in a river valley from miles away, you can see the train but you can’t really see an details about the wheels.

      While spy satellites in low orbit, the ones that move relative to the earth’s surface, can see details.

      Also that article you linked is in no way hard evidence of much except rumors.

      I’m sorry to be so blunt, but you remain really confused about spy satellites, if I had to guess some of these posts you’ve made may be to distract from what is possible by introducing science fiction like gear.

  14. Abe
    September 10, 2014 at 3:34 am

    The Dutch Safety Board preliminary report on the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 established certain parameters to inform analysis of the 17 July crash. Pages 17-18 of the report confirmed that the meteorological conditions were generally cloudy across the area with rainclouds and thunderstorm activity. Based on data provided in the report, we know the following:

    Maximum cloud ceiling: 24,000 feet
    MH-17 cruising altitude: 33,000 feet

    In order to reach MH-17, an object would have traversed a minimum of 9,000 feet of airspace above the clouds.

    Whatever transpired above 24,000 feet was clearly visible to surveillance satellites.

    Modern military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance satellites can provide live, high-resolution, full-motion video at 30 frames per second.

    Assuming an ideal vertical trajectory at maximum rate of climb, we can calculate the absolute minimum amount of time that certain objects were visible to satellites before contact with MH-17:

    R-27R / AA-10 Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile:
    1.8 seconds (at 5,024 feet per second / Mach 4.5)

    BUK M-1 / SA-11 Surface-to-Air Missile:
    2.7 seconds (at 3,300 feet per second / Mach 3)

    MIG-29 Jet Fighter Aircraft:
    8.3 seconds (at 1,083.33 feet per second)

    SU-27 Jet Fighter Aircraft:
    9.1 seconds (at 983.33 feet per second)

    Ascending missiles would have been destroyed upon detonation.

    Ascending fighter aircraft would have continued to be visible during their engagement with MH-17 and for some amount of time afterward.

    Whatever the cause of its destruction, MH-17’s explosive decompression and initial 9,000 foot loss of altitude would have been clearly visible.

    The Dutch Safety Board preliminary report, we can discard a great deal of misleading analysis and concentrate on developing reasonable, testable hypotheses for the occurrence.

    Another consequence of this report is direct implication of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, notably its Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiments and Tactical Aviation Brigades.

    • Yaj
      September 11, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Abe:

      Spy satellites change position relative to the surface of earth; they’re only a few hundred miles up.

      That means to see the Boeing 777 break up, the spy satellite would need to be overhead when the plane was shot down.

      Stationary satellites are 22 thousand miles out, and don’t do optical observation.

  15. Rehmat
    September 10, 2014 at 8:24 am

    All we can do is to wait until the dust settle-down. In the meantime, here is some food for readers’ thought

    1. The government in Kiev was installed by Washington and is supported by Washington. The CIA-advised Ukrainian army has Russian S-300 surface-to-air anti-aircraft batteries known as BUK M1.

    2. On July 3, 1988, America’s USS Vincennes shot-down Iranian passenger airliner Flight 655 by firing two SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles killing 290 people on board including 66 children an crew of 16.

    3. The Father of modern Malaysia Dr. Mahathir Mohammed has long been awarded the title of anti-Semitism by the Jewish Lobby for criticizing Israel and believing that Jewish Lobby has too much power in the US.

    4. The director of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s department of consular service, Andrii Sybiha, said that taking MH-17’s flight recorder out of Ukraine would be considered treason.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/07/19/who-shot-malaysian-flight-17-over-ukraine/

  16. Hilary
    September 10, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Quote from ADMIRAL THOMAS MOORER (Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff under Ronald Reagan) : I’ve never seen a President stand up to them. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what is going on all the time. If the American people understood what a grip those people have got on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don’t have any idea what goes on.

    http://tinyurl.com/mxwd4pa

    • bobzz
      September 10, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      recall what Mitt told Net during the campaign: “We’ll follow your lead”. We would be in Iran now.

  17. Brendan
    September 10, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Robert Parry says about the Russian satellite photos: “Ukrainian authorities have failed to address the Russian evidence except through broad denials.”

    That’s not really true because the Ukraine Security Service (SBU) released its own satellite photos a week later:
    SBU: Russia falsified Boeing crash imagery
    http://zik.ua/en/news/2014/07/30/sbu_russia_falsified_boeing_crash_imagery_510585

    The next day, however, the Russian Defense Ministry in turn accused SBU of blatent falsification:
    http://eng.mil.ru/en/analytics.htm

    The numerous flaws that Russia alleges about the SBU’s satellite evidence include things that should be easy to verify, such as the weather and the position of shadows at the time the photos were supposed to be have been taken.

    These would easily prove that one side or the other is lying. Unfortunately the western media seems to have no interest in facts and has given no coverage to this.

    • Abe
      September 10, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      The flaws in the SBU satellite evidence were further confirmed by the meteorological information on pages 17-18 of the Dutch Safety Board preliminary report on the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17.

      See my comment below for a discussion of the 30 July Russian Ministry of Defence analysis.

  18. Brendan
    September 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

    The Dutch report provides no new information about what shot down the MH17. From what we’ve been told, the round holes in the fuselage could have been caused by either aircraft cannon fire or a missile (a missile’s fragmentation warhead could contain metal spheres as projectiles around its explosive). Even if it was a missile it could have been launched from an aircraft.

    They’ve had seven weeks to investigate the number, size, shape and position of the holes. I assume that the trained crash site investigators took some samples too. I’m sure they know with at least ninety per cent certainty what kind of weapon was used and what direction it came from but they’re being very cautious about what information they release.

    • Abe
      September 10, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      The Dutch Safety Board preliminary report contains meteorological information (pages 17-18) that establishes the parameters of satellite visibility over the MH-17 crash site on 17 July.

      This meteorological information corroborates the 30 July Russian Ministry of Defence analysis of satellite photos presented by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

  19. Abe
    September 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    On 30 July, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation presented a detailed analysis of satellite imagery released by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). The Russian analysis proved that the Ukrainians were lying on two points:

    1) The SBU falsely claimed that their disclosed satellite images were from the Ukrainian Sich-1 and Sich-2 satellites.

    Satellite images can be accurately identified in terms of the location and time because all satellites orbiting the Earth move according to predetermined trajectories. According to the Russian space surveillance system, Sich-1 and Sich-2 were not flying over the crash site area during the times specified on the satellite images. However, at the time specified in the images, an American Key Hole reconnaissance satellite was flying over the territory.

    The source of the images was the United States, not Ukraine as claimed.

    2) Satellite images disclosed by SBU were deliberately distorted or falsified. For example, in several instances, the specified time did not correlate with the image.

    The most critical image was Slide 4 dated for 17 August, the day of the MH-17 crash. The Russian Defence Ministry analysis of the image http://eng.mil.ru/en/analytics.htm makes matters clear:

    “according to all weather reports for Avdeyevka on July 17, the area had 70 to 80% cloud coverage and cloud base height of 2,500m. The information can be easily verified through a number of independent sources. Russian satellite image shows exactly that.

    “Please note that the SBU’s Slide 4 shows clear skies and sunny weather on the same day. No comments are necessary.”

    Satellite images disclosed by SBU were distorted and falsified, by Ukraine or by the United States.

    On 19 July, investigative journalist Robert Parry reported that he was informed by a source that CIA analysts had viewed satellite photos of Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile troops:

    “Regarding the shoot-down of the Malaysian jetliner on Thursday, I’m told that some CIA analysts cite U.S. satellite reconnaissance photos suggesting that the anti-aircraft missile that brought down Flight 17 was fired by Ukrainian troops from a government battery, not by ethnic Russian rebels who have been resisting the regime in Kiev since elected President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown on Feb. 22.

    “According to a source briefed on the tentative findings, the soldiers manning the battery appeared to be wearing Ukrainian uniforms and may have been drinking, since what looked like beer bottles were scattered around the site. But the source added that the information was still incomplete and the analysts did not rule out the possibility of rebel responsibility.”

    This curiously detailed information may have been leaked to Parry by U.S. intelligence in order to create some distance between the CIA and the accusations made by the regimes in Kiev and Washington, and perhaps to point toward the parties actually responsible MH17, the deadliest air incident in Ukraine and the deadliest airliner shootdown in history.

  20. Louis Proyect
    September 10, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    All this stuff is a joke. Any time “the axis of resistance” is implicated in a major attack on civilians, either on purpose or inadvertently as is most likely the case here, you can expect Parry, Global Research, and WSWS.org to work overtime to create the impression that a “false flag” operation took place. This is a function of a one-time crackerjack investigative journalist mutating into a Stalinoid conspiracy theorist. Sad really.

    • Abe
      September 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      A devastating Reductio ad Stalinum, comrade.

    • Clever Username
      September 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      As usual, you have nothing of any actual substance to say.

    • Joe Tedesky
      September 10, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Louis Proyect, I can appreciate a different point of view, but accusing journalist of making things up requires references to your claim. Didn’t we have this conversation once before? Again, I like different opinions, but what you stated here is one step above name calling. Give us some evidence that Robert Parry is a crack pot…just one!

    • F. G. Sanford
      September 10, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Louie, Louie, louie. Back when you were a Trotskyite communist and your Neocon pals were worshipping Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt, it was cool to be a faux liberal nihilist and a Stalinoid conspiracy theorist. Now that the Neocons have outed themselves as faux Nazi interventionists, you should stop throwing around those decadent capitalist slurs which bring discredit upon the central committee for redistribution of the peoples’ wealth to the party commissars who will place it for safe keeping in party approved overseas private accounts. Otherwise, the Party International will think you’re a hemorrhoid Bolshevik revisionist.

      • Abe
        September 10, 2014 at 5:56 pm

        or just a a hemorrhoid

        • F. G. Sanford
          September 10, 2014 at 8:16 pm

          ROFLMAO!

  21. September 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Speaking of Zionists terror and jet liners read this run down on 911. They are losing the cover up : http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org/911-false-flag-operation-huge-tipping-point-as-state-sponsored-terrorism-is-exposed/

  22. Abe
    September 10, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    U.S. Meddling Dims Prospects for Peace: Uncle Sam Does Ukraine
    By Mike Whitney
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/10/uncle-sam-does-ukraine/

    The objective is to inflict maximum damage on the Russian economy by cutting off access to the capital markets, pushing the economy into recession, and triggering political instability. (The ultimate goal is regime change.) Not surprisingly, there won’t be any sanctions on the gas sector, particularly, Gazprom, which is Europe’s biggest gas supplier. EU leaders have shown repeatedly that they are only too willing to stand on principal as long as their own interests aren’t effected.

    It’s worth noting that the new sanctions will be imposed without any evidence of wrongdoing and without any legal process for Russia to defend itself. The US and EU cannot be bothered with anything as trivial as due process or the presumption of innocence, which are the cornerstones upon which English Law rests dating back 500 years. Simply put: Russia is guilty because, well, because we say so.

    There’s only the slimmest chance that the ceasefire in Ukraine will last, mainly because Washington needs a war to achieve its broader strategic objectives. What Obama and his lieutenants really want is “to break up Russia, subjugate its economic space, and establish control over the resources of the giant Eurasian continent. They believe that this is the only way they can maintain their hegemony and beat China.” (Quote: Sergei Glaziev, Putin’s economic advisor) That means, there won’t be peace in Ukraine until Washington’s puppets in Kiev are removed and Ukrainian sovereignty is restored.

  23. Moi
    September 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    The Dutch report could not implicate Ukraine even if it wanted to:

    In the framework of the 4-country agreement signed on 8 August between Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia, information on the progress and results of the investigation of the disaster will remain classified.

    This was confirmed at a briefing in Kiev under the auspices of the office of the Prosecutor General Yuri Boychenko. In his words, the results of the investigation will be published once completed only if a consensus agreement of all parties that have signed the agreement prevails.

    Any one of the signatories has the right to veto the publication of the results of the investigation without explanation.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-causes-of-the-mh17-crash-are-classified-ukraine-netherlands-australia-belgium-signed-a-non-disclosure-agreement/5397194

    That is, the agreement defies Security Council Resolution 2166 (2014) which reads (in part):

    The Security Council,
    3. Supports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines;
    11. Demands that those responsible for this incident be held to account and that all States cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability;

    The signatories to the non-disclosure agreement should be held accountable for defying the Security Council Resolution.

    • Abe
      September 11, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      C’est ça, Moi.

  24. Gregory Kruse
    September 12, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Sometimes I feel like I put the green ring on, jumped into a pool of water, and have arrived in a world where any crime can be committed and then covered up with no consequences.

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