Kerry Pressed for MH-17 Evidence

Exclusive: The father of a young American who died aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is pressing Secretary of State John Kerry to release evidence to support his early claims that the U.S. government possessed details about the launch of the missile that killed 298 people, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The father of Quinn Schansman, the only American citizen to die in the 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to release the U.S. data that Kerry cited in claiming precise knowledge of where the suspected anti-aircraft missile was fired.

One of the mysteries of the MH-17 case has become why the United States after asserting that it possessed information implicating ethnic Russian rebels and the Russian government has failed to make the data public or apparently even share it with Dutch investigators who are leading the inquiry into how the plane was shot down and who was responsible.

Quinn Schansman, a dual U.S.-Dutch citizen killed aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. (Photo from Facebook)

Quinn Schansman, a dual U.S.-Dutch citizen killed aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. (Photo from Facebook)

Quinn Schansman, who had dual U.S.-Dutch citizenship, boarded MH-17 along with 297 other people for a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014. The 19-year-old was planning to join his family for a vacation in Indonesia.

In a letter to Kerry dated Jan. 5, 2016, Thomas J. Schansman, Quinn’s father, noted Kerry’s remarks at a press conference on Aug. 12, 2014, when the Secretary of State said about the Buk anti-aircraft missile suspected of downing the plane: “We saw the take-off. We saw the trajectory. We saw the hit. We saw this aeroplane disappear from the radar screens. So there is really no mystery about where it came from and where these weapons have come from.”

Yet, where the missile launch occurred has remained a mystery in the MH-17 investigation. Last October, when the Dutch Safety Board issued its final report on the crash, it could only place the launch site within a 320-square-kilometer area in eastern Ukraine, covering territory then controlled by both Ukrainian and rebel forces. (The safety board did not seek to identify which side fired the fateful missile).

Meanwhile, Almaz-Antey, the Russian arms manufacturer of the Buk systems, conducted its own experiments to determine the likely firing location and placed it in a much smaller area near the village of Zaroshchenskoye, about 20 kilometers west of the Dutch Safety Board’s zone and in an area under Ukrainian government control.

In the days immediately after the shoot-down, Kerry and other senior U.S. officials pointed the finger of blame at ethnic Russian rebels who were resisting a military offensive by the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev. The Russian government was faulted for supposedly giving the rebels a powerful Buk anti-aircraft system capable of downing a civilian airliner flying at 33,000 feet.

But in more than 18 months since the tragedy the U.S. government has never made public its alleged evidence, while Russia has denied supplying the rebels a Buk system and the rebels have asserted that they did not possess functioning Buk missiles.

An Anguished Father

Thomas Schansman, who lives in The Netherlands, wrote to Kerry, noting that “celebrating Christmas and New Year without my son Quinn Schansman, was difficult for my family and myself” and then pressing the Secretary of State to release U.S. information about the case.

“It is my understanding, that neither the Dutch government nor the Dutch Safety Board [DSB] have officially received the radar information from the US that you referred to. It is not included in the [DSB] report and it is not in the public domain,” Schansman wrote.

“On behalf of the bereaved parents and to assist in the pursuit of justice, I would like to request that the United States provides the DSB with the radar data you referred to at the press conference and all other available and relevant information (like satellite data and infrared satellite data) that is in your government’s possession.

“I would be most grateful if the United States either directly or through NATO would publicly hand over to the Dutch Safety Board radar and satellite data of the minutes before and after the crash. This would enable the DSB to reopen the investigation and include a chapter with this information, which is essential for a successful criminal prosecution. I count on the support of the government of the United States to find and prosecute those responsible for my son and your citizen’s death.”

Kerry has yet to reply although a U.S. consular official, Pamela J. Hack, sent Schansman a letter dated Jan. 14, expressing condolences for his son’s death and saying “We expect that you will receive a separate response from Washington.”

A Rush to Judgment

In the days after the shoot-down, Kerry took the lead in accusing the ethnic Russian rebels (and implicitly their supporters in Moscow) of shooting down MH-17. Just three days after the tragedy, Kerry made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to leave little doubt that the rebels and Russians were at fault.

After mentioning information gleaned from “social media,” Kerry said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “But even more importantly, we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar.”

Two days later, on July 22, 2014, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a “Government Assessment,” also citing “social media” seeming to implicate the rebels. Then, this white paper listed military equipment allegedly supplied by Russia to the rebels. But the list did not include a Buk missile battery or other high-powered anti-aircraft missiles.

The DNI also had U.S. intelligence analysts brief a few select mainstream reporters, but the analysts conveyed much less conviction than their superiors may have wished, indicating that there was still great uncertainty about who was responsible.

The Los Angeles Times article said: “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 [the designation for a Russian-made anti-aircraft Buk missile] was launched by a defector from the Ukrainian military who was trained to use similar missile systems.”

The analysts’ uncertainty meshed somewhat with what I had been told by a source who had been briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts shortly after the shoot-down about what they had seen in high-resolution satellite photos, which they said showed what looked like Ukrainian military personnel manning the battery believed to have fired the missile.

The source who spoke to me several times after receiving additional briefings about advances in the investigation said that as the U.S. analysts gained more insights into the MH-17 shoot-down from technical and other sources, they came to believe the attack was carried out by a rogue element of the Ukrainian military with ties to a hard-line Ukrainian oligarch. [See, for instance, Consortiumnews.com’s “Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts” and “The Danger of an MH-17 Cold Case.”]

Creating a Pariah

But, officially, the U.S. government never retracted or refined its initial claims. It simply went silent, leaving in place the widespread belief that the ethnic Russian rebels were responsible for the atrocity and that the Russian government had been highly irresponsible in supplying a powerful Buk system to the rebels.

That Western conventional wisdom convinced the European Union to join the U.S. government in imposing economic sanctions on Russia and treating President Vladimir Putin as an international pariah.

As the U.S. government clammed up and hid the evidence that it claimed to possess, it became clear that U.S. intelligence agencies lacked evidence to support Kerry’s initial rush to judgment blaming the rebels and the Russians.

Despite intensive overhead surveillance of eastern Ukraine in summer 2014, U.S. and other Western intelligence services could find no proof that Russia had ever given a Buk system to the rebels or introduced one into the area. Satellite intelligence reviewed both before and after the shoot-down only detected Ukrainian miltary Buk missile systems in the conflict zone.

One could infer this finding from the fact that the DNI on July 22, 2014, did not allege that Buks were among the weapons systems that Russia had provided. If Russian-supplied Buks had been spotted and the batteries of four 16-foot-long missiles hauled around by trucks are hard to miss their presence surely would have been noted.

But one doesn’t need to infer this lack of evidence. It was spelled out in a little-noticed Dutch intelligence report from last October citing information from the Netherlands’ Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD). Dutch intelligence, which as part of NATO would have access to sensitive overhead surveillance and other relevant data, reported that the only anti-aircraft weapons in eastern Ukraine capable of bringing down MH-17 at 33,000 feet belonged to the Ukrainian government.

MIVD made that assessment in the context of explaining why commercial aircraft continued to fly over the eastern Ukrainian battle zone in summer 2014. MIVD said that based on “state secret” information, it was known that Ukraine possessed some older but “powerful anti-aircraft systems” and “a number of these systems were located in the eastern part of the country.”

But the intelligence agency added that the rebels lacked that capacity, having only short-range anti-aircraft missiles and a few inoperable Buk missiles that had been captured from a Ukrainian military base. “During the course of July, several reliable sources indicated that the systems that were at the military base were not operational,” MIVD said. “Therefore, they could not be used by the Separatists.”

Ukrainian Motives

In other words, it is fair to say based on the affirmative comments from the Dutch MIVD and the omissions from the U.S. “Government Assessment” that the Western powers had no evidence that the ethnic Russian rebels or their Russian allies had operational Buk missiles in eastern Ukraine, but the Ukrainian government did have several batteries of such missiles.

It also would have made sense that Ukraine would be moving additional anti-aircraft systems close to the border because of a feared Russian invasion as the Ukrainian military pressed its “anti-terrorism operation” against ethnic Russians fighters, who were resisting the U.S.-backed coup of Feb. 22, 2014, which had ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych, whose political base was in the east.

According to the Dutch Safety Board report, a Ukrainian warplane had been shot down by a suspected air-to-air missile (presumably from a Russian fighter) on July 16, 2014, meaning that Ukrainian defenses were probably on high alert. The Russian military also claimed that Ukraine had activated a radar system that is used to guide Buk missiles.

I was told by the intelligence source that U.S. analysts looked seriously at the possibility that the intended target was President Putin’s official plane returning from a state visit to South America. His aircraft and MH-17 had similar red-white-and-blue markings, but Putin took a more northerly route and arrived safely in Moscow.

Other possible scenarios were that a poorly trained and undisciplined Ukrainian squad mistook MH-17 for a Russian plane that had penetrated Ukrainian airspace or that the attack was willful provocation designed to be blamed on the Russians.

Whoever the culprits and whatever their motive, one point that should not have remained in doubt was where the missile launch occurred. Kerry said repeatedly in the days after the tragedy that U.S. intelligence had detected the launch and knew where it came from.

So, why did the Dutch Safety Board have to scratch its head about the missile coming from somewhere in a 320-square-kilometer area, with the Russian manufacturer placing the launch site about 20 kilometers further west? With the firing location a key point in dispute, why would the U.S. government withhold from a NATO ally (and investigators into a major airline disaster) the launch point for the missile?

Presumably, if the Obama administration had solid evidence showing that the launch came from rebel territory, which was Kerry’s insinuation, U.S. officials would have been only too happy to provide the data. That data also could be the only precise radar evidence available. Ukraine claimed that its principal radar systems were down at the time of the attack, and the Russians — while they asserted that their radar screens showed another plane closing on MH-17 — did not save the raw data.

Thomas Schansman noted in his letter to Kerry: “the DSB [Dutch Safety Board] stated that it did not receive the (raw) primary radar data from any State. …. The UN Security Council Resolution 2166 explicit[ly] requested Member States to provide any requested assistance and cooperate fully with the investigation. The (raw) primary radar data is crucial for determining cause, and for identifying and prosecuting those responsible for this heinous act.”

Conventional Wisdom

Despite the strange evidentiary gaps and the U.S. failure to present the proof that it claims to possess, the West’s “conventional wisdom” remains that either the ethnic Russian rebels or the Russians themselves shot down MH-17 and have sought to cover up their guilt. Some of this certainty comes from the simpleminded game of repeating that Buk missiles are “Russian-made,” which is true but irrelevant to the issue of who fired the missiles, since the Ukrainian military possesses Russian-made Buks.

Despite the lack of U.S. cooperation in the investigation and the failure of Western intelligence to detect Russians or ethnic Russian rebels with a Buk battery in eastern Ukraine the Dutch criminal prosecutors who are working closely with the Ukrainian government say they are taking seriously allegations by bloggers at a British Web site called Bellingcat who have identified Russian soldiers assigned to a Buk missile battery as prime suspects in the shoot-down.

So, the possibility remains that this Dutch-led investigation in coordination with the Ukrainian government will indict some Russian soldiers even as the U.S. government withholds its data that could resolve such key questions as where the fateful missile was fired.

An indictment of Russian soldiers would make for more useful anti-Putin propaganda and would be sure to produce another chorus of denunciations against Moscow from the mainstream Western media. But such a development might do little to resolve the mystery of who really shot down MH-17, killing Quinn Schansman and 297 other people aboard MH-17.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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45 comments for “Kerry Pressed for MH-17 Evidence

  1. Diana Barahona
    January 25, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Instead of calling it Western conventional wisdom, Parry should call it US government lies.

  2. January 23, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    It doesn’t matter which side fired the missile because our CRAP for brain RESIDENT oBOZO doesn’t have the balls to do anything about it. Kerry is worthless when it comes down to it and next to hil LIAR y he is the worse Secretary of State the U.S. has ever had. We have a country run by a wannabe dictator closet muslim pig and he wants to declare Martial Law so bad that he is creating racial unrest to start a race war or he is having his little Brown Boot DHS SS create social unrest like Hitler did in the 30’s in Germany, He knows that the American public is not going to give up their guns without a fight and what a great reason to declare martial law. The sorry SOB oDUMBA now wants to run for the head job at the United Nations to try to disarm our country that way, he is one LOWLIFE SOB and can’t be trusted and either can hil LIAR y or Bernnie they are just like oblowme and the same dimwit’s that voted to put him in office will vote for one of these stooges’s to do the same again. ODUMBA will get his appointment to the U. N. if one of them gets elected for Resident.

  3. Kees Kalkman
    January 23, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    On January 21 the Dutch secretary for security and justice sent a letter to the parliament in answer of questions of MP Omzigt (opposition christian democrat). In the letter minister Van der Steur said (rough translation): The American authorities have given confidential radar and satellite information from their intelligence and security services to the Dutch military intelligence service (MIVD). Both the Dutch Safety Board and the Office of the Prosecutor were informed by way of the MIVD. As far as these data are essential for the criminal inquiry the will be handed over to the public prosecutor in the form of an official report [that is cleared from sources and methods – KK].
    There was a hearing on MH 17 yesterday in Dutch parliament. A number of MP’s and experts pushed for these data to be made public.
    Kees Kalkman – Editor VredesMagazine

  4. January 23, 2016 at 11:35 am

    There are some important aspects to consider about who shot down the MH17 and why. The Dutch Safety Board was in an impossible situation. They could not afford to uncover evidence that would paint the Ukrainians guilty, and that was not the fault of the Dutch. In fact, the DSB report covered up or ignored all evidence that might point to the Ukrainians as the prime suspects, which is why they rejected the SU25 fighter jet scenario out of hand. There is also a clear motive for the shootdown. The crash site was strategically located in such a way as to split the Donetsk and Lugansk Republic territory along an alignment with the Debaltsevo pocket and the upward notch in the Russian border. The ploy nearly worked. The following articles provide details:

    http://quemadoinstitute.org/2015/10/16/mh17-dutch-investigation-weak-inconclusive-quemado-institute-analysis/

    http://quemadoinstitute.org/2015/07/29/flight-mh17-theory-on-the-motive-for-the-shootdown-repost/

    –Karl Pomeroy, retired physicist, global analyst at Quemado Institute

  5. Anton Wood
    January 22, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    If the Ukrainians are found to be behind the downing of the plane it will be too damaging for US interests. if this requires lies and a coverup then we will have lies and a coverup.

  6. January 22, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Zero evidence exists for a BUK missile launch and the associated heat signal and rocket trail and that if any such launch had actually occurred it would be impossible to miss and plenty of evidence (pics etc.) would have been posted on the net.

    ALL of the hard evidence points to Kiev having downed MH17. It is extremely UNLIKELY that it was downed by a BUK missile. This INCLUDES the evidence contained in the report by the Dutch Safety Board in October, which directly contradicts the conclusions it presented to the public and blindly accepted by almost everyone.

    The crash of the Russian passenger plane over Sinai confirms that if a BUK missile had been launched, US surveillance would have picked up the heat signal and the exact location of the launch site would be known. No such evidence has ever been presented. A number of other serious discrepancies and omissions within the DSB report, including a cover up by the Australian coroner of the evidence provided by the Australian autopsies are contained in the link below.

    US Surveillance Report on Egyptian Air Crash Confirms that MH17 was NOT shot down by a BUK Missile http://ian56.blogspot.com/2015/11/us-surveillance-report-on-egyptian-air.html

    The CIA KNOW how MH17 was brought down from their own surveillance data from the war zone but they refuse to divulge the evidence that they have on what brought MH17 down.

    The DSB’s own report confirms that MH17 was NOT downed by a BUK missile – latest evidence http://ian56.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-dsbs-own-report-confirms-that-mh17.html

    • Pixy
      January 26, 2016 at 5:44 am

      Where is another Manning or Snowden when you need them….

  7. Carroll Price
    January 22, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Why is it that the contents of radio communications that occurred between MH17 pilots and Ukrainian ground control personnel have never been released? And why is it that evidence pointing to MH17 being shot down by a Ukrainian fighter plane never been properly investigated? The US of course will never answer these questions for the same reason they have refused to answer numerous other questions. Which, if truthfully answered, would reveal that the US/CIA was responsible for yet another crime against humanity.

  8. Kiza
    January 22, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Having observed the political climate and desperation of the US Ziocons to introduce economic sanctions on Russia just before the shoot-down I have little doubt that this was another planned and deliberately executed action by the US deep state, through its Ukroproxies. The ultimate goal is to weaken Russia economically, regime-change it and then pillage it. Just like Syria. It is the same team.

    This political context at the time of the shoot-down is the only thing missing from Mr Parry’s excellent article. This context is that the sanctions were already fully prepared before the shoot-down, but how to convince the Europeans to damage their own economies by introducing sanctions? Then MH-17 came, how convenient!?

    • Abe
      January 22, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      The United States and the EU used the escalating War in Donbass and the dramatic downing of MH-17 to justify a third round of sanctions against certain sectors of Russia’s economy. Canada, Japan, Australia, Norway, Switzerland and Ukraine also announced expanded sanctions against Russia.

      The Russian government responded in kind, with sanctions against some Canadian and American individuals and, in August 2014, with a total ban on food imports from the European Union, United States, Norway, Canada and Australia.

      Media attention on MH-17 waned as the sanctions regimes were implemented.

      On 3 October 2014, US Vice President Joe Biden said that “It was America’s leadership and the president of the United States insisting, oft times almost having to embarrass Europe to stand up and take economic hits to impose costs.”

      Europe was more than embarrassed. The EU sanctions against Russia have been particularly painful for Germany.

  9. RPDC
    January 22, 2016 at 6:06 am

    This is one of those articles where I wish there was a “donate $1” at the end of every article. Such good work that I feel guilty reading it for free.

    (Yes, yes – I just made a donation anyway, but the point still stands – viva laziness!)

  10. htfd
    January 22, 2016 at 4:59 am

    What about that Australian 60 Minutes exclusive investigation that showed the “Russians” taking the Bulk that shot down MH17 for a Sunday drive through the eastern Ukraine build as as prof positive of the Russians having shot down the MH 17. Well 60 Minutes, lair, lair your pants are on fire. Think you owe Mr. Parry an apology, don’t you.

  11. Yaridanjo
    January 22, 2016 at 4:25 am

    I thought the evidence pointed to a Kiev fighter or Polish? Russian made fighter jet shooting down MH 17. Who would believe anything Kerry says? Kerry is a politician and everyone knows that politicians are nothing but liars. In fact, that is their job description.

  12. James O'Neill
    January 22, 2016 at 2:00 am

    I endorse what “Abe” has to say about Higgins and his disinformation website Bellingcat. He should never be cited as a source for anything without a reader warning attached.

    You may be interested to know that a Dutch citizen Denise Kenke is taking action in the European Court of Human Rights in respect of her father who was one of the Dutch citizens killed on MH17. The ECHR action, number 4412/2015 was filed on 17 November 2014, alleging that the Ukrainian government was responsible for allowing the aircraft to fly in airspace known to be dangerous.

    One of the interesting things about the case is that the ECHR has a blanket censorship on all details pertaining to the case. The official reason is the application was granted “confidentiality” , apparently at the request of the Kiev regime. The Court refuses to answer any requests for information about the progress of the case.

  13. James O'Neill
    January 22, 2016 at 1:58 am

    I endorse what “Abe” has to say about Higgins and his disinformation website Bellingcat. He should never be cited as a source for anything without a reader warning attached.

    You may be interested to know that a Dutch citizen Denise Kenke is taking action in the European Court of Human Rights in respect of her father who was one of the Dutch citizens killed on MH17. The ECHR action, number 4412/2015 was filed on 17 November 2014, alleging that the Ukrainian government was responsible for allowing the aircraft to fly in airspace known to be dangerous.

    One of the interesting things about the case is that the ECHR has a blanket censorship on all details pertaining to the case. The official reason is the application was granted “confidentiality” , apparently at the request of the Kiev regime. The Court refuses to answer any requests for information about the progress of the case.

  14. John Brennan
    January 22, 2016 at 12:29 am
  15. John Brennan
    January 22, 2016 at 12:08 am

    The Dutch investigator told us that the Americans showed them satellite imagery regarding the missile, but the same Dutch investigator refused to say any more.

  16. John Brennan
    January 21, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    So The Dutch investigators tell us that they saw America’s satellite imagery, which would show the precise location of the launch, but when they put the report out they gave us a 320 square kilometre area!

  17. Abe
    January 21, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    VIDEO of Thomas J. Schansman
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d9f_1452384665

    “I count on the support of the government of the United States to find and prosecute those responsible for my son and your citizen’s death.

    “I look forward to hearing from you.”

  18. Abe
    January 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    The Atlantic Council, a “regime change” think tank, was founded in 1961 at the height of Cold War. It is is managed by a Who’s Who of Western “policy makers”, military leaders, and senior intelligence officials, including four heads of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Fake “citizen investigative journalist” Eliot Higgins is a key author of a May 2015 Atlantic Council report titled, “Hiding In Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine”.

    On page 1 of the report, the Atlantic Council praises “the ingenuity of our key partner in this endeavor, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat. The information documented in this report draws on open source data using innovative socialmedia forensics and geolocation”.

    The Atlantic Council claim that “Russia is at war with Ukraine” and is summarized in the following key statement on page 8 of the report:

    “Separatist forces have been relying on a steady flow of Russian supplies, including heavy weapons such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, and advanced anti-aircraft systems, including the Buk surface-to-air missile system (NATO designator SA-11/17) that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014. 26″

    The Atlantic Council’s claim that Russia supplied a Buk missile that shot down MH-17 has a single footnote. Footnote 26 directs the reader to the Bellingcat website and a pdf report by Higgins titled “MH-17: Source of the Separatist’s Buk”.

    On page 3 of the November 2014 Bellingcat report, Higgins claims:

    “It is the opinion of the Bellingcat MH17 investigation team that there is undeniable evidence that separatists in Ukraine were in control of a Buk missile launcher on July 17th and transported it from Donetsk to Snizhne on a transporter. The Buk missile launcher was unloaded in Snizhne approximately three hours before the downing of MH17 and was later filmed minus one missile driving through separatist-controlled Luhansk.

    “The Bellingcat MH17 investigation team also believes the same Buk was part of a convoy travelling from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade in Kursk to near the Ukrainian border as part of a training exercise between June 22nd and July 25th, with elements of the convoy separating from the main convoy at some point during that period, including the Buk missile launcher filmed in Ukraine on July 17th. There is strong evidence indicating that the Russian military provided separatists in eastern Ukraine with the Buk missile launcher filmed and photographed in eastern Ukraine on July 17th.”

    Higgins’ November 2014 claim of “undeniable evidence” has become the Atlantic Council’s May 2015 claim that “pieces of evidence create an undeniable—and publicly accessible—record”.

    The Atlantic Council used video of Higgins and Michael Usher from the Australian “60 Minutes” program “MH-17: An Investigation”(see video minutes 36:00-36:55) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU0kuHI6lNg to promote the report.

    Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of Programs and Strategy at the Atlantic Council, is a co-author with Higgins of the Atlantic Council report, highlighted Higgins’ effort to bolster Western accusations against Russia:

    “We make this case using only open source, all unclassified material. And none of it provided by government sources.

    “And it’s thanks to works, the work that’s been pioneered by human rights defenders and our partner Eliot Higgins, uh, we’ve been able to use social media forensics and geolocation to back this up.” (see video minutes 35:10-36:30)

    However, the Atlantic Council claim that “none” of Higgins’ material was provided by government sources is an obvious lie.

    Higgins’ primary “pieces of evidence” — a video depicting a Buk missile launcher and a set of geolocation coordinates — were supplied by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior via the Facebook page of senior-level Ukrainian government official Arsen Avakov, the Minister of Internal Affairs.

    The Atlantic Council hosts events with US policymakers such as Secretary of State John Kerry, and sitting heads of state and government such as former Georgian President (and newly appointed Governor of Odessa in Ukraine) Mikheil Saakashvili in 2008, and Avakov’s boss, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in 2014.

    The Atlantic Council has influential supporters such as former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh (Fogh of War”) Rasmussen, who called the Council a “pre-eminent think tank” with a “longstanding reputation”. In 2009, the Atlantic Council hosted Rasmussen’s first major US speech.

    In an interview with the Kiev-based Ukrainian Independent Information Agency (Ukrayins’ke Nezalezhne Informatsiyne Ahentstvo) or UNIAN, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated:

    “evidence published by the media, NGOs and from Russian soldiers themselves that Russia is supporting the separatists” in eastern Ukraine. Think tanks have also published reports, most recently the Atlantic Council, which gathered proof from various open sources, including satellite imagery.”

    Stoltenberg cited the Atlantic Council report based almost entirely on Higgins and Bellingcat’s dubious “open source” disinformation and discredited “forensic analysis” of satellite imagery.

    Dr. Neal Krawetz, founder of FotoForensics, has decried Bellingcat’s “faulty analysis”. Krawetz called Higgins’ Bellingcat report, “Forensic Analysis of Satellite Images”, a “how to not do image analysis”.

    Corporate giant Google, seed funded by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has been promoting Higgins “arm chair analytics” since 2013.

    The Bellingcat site provides a guide for accessing imagery in Google Earth, claiming that “the findings of Bellingcat regarding the July 21 Russian MoD satellite images will be reaffirmed, along with a walk-through for anyone to verify Google Earth imagery via free and precisely dated image previews on Digital Globe”.

    Google Earth, originally called EarthViewer 3D, was created by Keyhole, Inc, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded company acquired by Google in 2004. Google Earth maps the Earth by the superimposition of multiple images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and geographic information system (GIS) 3D globe.

    Google Earth satellite images are provided by the company Digital Globe, a supplier of the US Department of Defense (DoD) with direct connections to US defense and intelligence communities.

    The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is both a combat support agency under the United States Department of Defense, and an intelligence agency of the United States Intelligence Community.

    Robert T. Cardillo, director of the NGA, lavishly praised Digital Globe as “a true mission partner in every sense of the word”. Examination of the Board of Directors of Digital Globe reveals intimate connections to DoD and CIA.

    A very cozy cross-promotion is happening between Higgins/Bellingcat and Google. In November 2014, Google Ideas and Google For Media, partnered the George Soros-funded Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to host an “Investigathon” in New York City. Google Ideas promotes Higgins’ “War and Pieces – Social Media Investigations” on their YouTube page.

    Google’s partnerships with military contractors like SAIC, Northrop Grumman and Blackbird demonstrate how snugly the company is in bed with the US military-surveillance complex.

    • Hermann Hagena
      January 26, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      With several class mates (now all retired) of the 13th Air Force Course of the German Command and General Staff College in Hamburg, I led the analysis of the tragic events on July 17th, 2014. A first summary of our findings was finished one year later on the date where the final report of the Dutch Safety board should have been published.

      As far as we know, we were the only ones who looked at the rather strange legal basis for the “accident” investigation – Annex 13 of the ICAO convention on Civil aviation and the role the choice of procedure played in preventing an answer to the question who was responsible.

      We believe that the evidence publicly available strongly suggests the responibility of Ukrainian regular forces, perhaps not under the control of the Ukrainian government. The efforts of Bellingcat and Correctiv to prove the guilt of Russian soldiers and a Russian based weapon system transported from Kursk in Russia to Donezk and used to shoot down a civilian airliner flying at 33’000 feet with a speed of Mach 0,8 plus within three hours after arrival are laughable. Mr. Higgins seems to assume that all his readers are either stupid or gullible.

      Needless to say, the news agencies that received copies of our study did not react, and while the Dutch Safety Board did reply promptly, they did not really answer our questions. Understandable, since we challenged the qualification of Mr. Youstra to lead a very difficult investigation which was obvious for anybody who bothered to study his background.

      USA and the rest of NATO agreed on sanctions without even trying to prove Russian guilt If Russia is not guilty, or if Russia’s guilt cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, should now apologize to Russia and the Eastern Ukraine rebels. In addition, they should offer to compensate the states who were affected by the sanctions. The main stream media should print correction of their inflammatory articles.

      Sadly, all this is not going to happen, not in this community of common values (Wertegemeinschaft) that NATO boasts to be.

      Unless Mr. Parry and others are gaining in influence, the misbegotten Ideas of the Neo-Cons are discarded and the people of the West return to standards of decency. Until that happens, we are proud that we have reach the same conclusions concerning all essential reasons of this heinous crime as Mr. Parry.

  19. January 21, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Kerry was a transparent fraud even way back when he was leading Vietnam Vets Against the War…….as a placeholder…..straight out of Skull & Bones.

    The Swif tBoat guys were right, it turns out.

    ANYONE CAN SEE THIS: IF THE US HAD THE EVIDENCE THAT PROVED DONBASS REBELS INSTEAD OF UKRAINIAN TROOPS TOOK THE PLANE DOWN, WE WOULD HAVE ALREADY SEEN THAT EVIDENCE SPREAD EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD PRESS……

    Logic, anyone?

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy [armor – Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR retired.
    POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775
    802 645 9727 dmorso1@netzero.net

  20. Joop de Jong
    January 21, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Well, there is some news to tell. The chairwoman of the Dutch parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Angelien Eijsink, told the Foreign Affairs representatives of all political parties of Parliament that Dutch Safety Board is not willing to answer any additional questions on the final report published by DSB at October 13, 2015!

    That is, not willing to answer any question of information which is withheld from the final DSB report, that is! It’s pronounced “State secret”! What could that be? You can find the answer in the one comment that is given in this article by Basic Dimension.

    http://www.whathappenedtoflightmh17.com/chairwoman-dutch-parliament-committee-dsb-will-not-answer-any-more-questions-on-mh17/

  21. rosemerry
    January 21, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    “That Western conventional wisdom convinced the European Union to join the U.S. government in imposing economic sanctions on Russia and treating President Vladimir Putin as an international pariah.”

    Any old guesses will do-who needs evidence?
    Choose an enemy-twenty years after the USSR breakup, Russia and its leader, disobedient Putin, must be vilified.

    Only one USA-Dutch victim, but the USA must barge in and blame the Russkies.

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 22, 2016 at 12:44 am

      Without providing any raw evidence the U.S. & the EU should lift the sanctions imposed against Russia. This is setting a poor standard for any future incident which may occur.

      • Pixy
        January 26, 2016 at 5:28 am

        Oh, no! Keep the sanctions, please. Our agrarians asked specifically for Europe to keep them, so that Russia could keep the embargo, so that the agriculture in Russia has time to develop without unfair competition from western suppliers.

      • Pixy
        January 26, 2016 at 5:28 am

        Oh, no! Keep the sanctions, please. Our agrarians asked specifically for Europe to keep them, so that Russia could keep the embargo, so that the agriculture in Russia has time to develop without unfair competition from western suppliers.

  22. W. R. Knight
    January 21, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Kerry, et al, don’t release any hard evidence because they don’t have any. Kerry is simply full of shit.

    • stinky rafsanjani
      January 22, 2016 at 2:51 am

      wrong answer. kerry DOES have the evidence. unfortunately, it’s the
      wrong kind of evidence. you know, the kind that reveals the truth.

  23. Abe
    January 21, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Fake “citizen investigative journalist” Eliot Higgins has consistently jumped to the fore to “confirm” Western “Government Assessment” allegations, including:

    1) unproven accusations against Syrian president Bashir Assad that the Syrian government used “barrel bombs” against opposition forces and claims that Assad “gassed his own people”.

    2) unproven accusations against Russian president Vladimir Putin of a “Russian invasion” of Ukraine, and claims that a Russian Buk-1 missile launcher (allegedly operated by a Russian crew or pro-Russian separatists) caused the destruction of Malaysian Air flight MH-17 over eastern Ukraine

    The purpose of using deception operatives like Eliot Higgins and the Bellingcat website is to provide a channel for Western “Government Assessment” claims to more effectively reach the public and be perceived as truthful.

    Here’s how it works:

    Higgins provides “investigation reports” that “confirm” the Western government narrative. Higgins then “fact checks” the Western “Government Assessment” and rubber stamps it with the Bellingcat “digital forensics” seal of approval, further advancing the dubious Western narrative.

    Higgins promoted this deception strategy in his article, “Social media and conflict zones: the new evidence base for policymaking” https://blogs.kcl.ac.uk/policywonkers/social-media-and-conflict-zones-the-new-evidence-base-for-policymaking/

    Citing “Bellingcat’s MH17 investigation”, Higgins declared that “a relatively small team of analysts is able to derive a rich picture of a conflict zone” using online information and social media.

    Higgins extolled the virtues of this “new evidence base” of “open source” information — side-stepping the obvious opportunities for deceptive information being planted in these media from not-so-open sources.

    The “overarching point” concludes Higgins, is that “there is a real opportunity for open source intelligence analysis to provide the kind of evidence base that can underpin effective and successful foreign and security policymaking. It is an opportunity that policymakers should seize.”

    Western governments have enthusiastically seized the opportunity to use deception operatives like Higgins to disseminate propaganda.

    • Ethan Allen
      January 21, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      The fashioning of “facts” around pre-conceived policy is not the stuff of “…effective and successful foreign and security policymaking.”; it is the very essence of inept and corrupt governance.
      As Usual,
      EA

    • george Archers
      January 22, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      got to see this weeks 60 minute’s take on Syria–especially the barrel bombs

  24. Abe
    January 21, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    From the start, Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat has been claiming that Russian soldiers used a Buk missile battery to shoot down MH17.

    And every time Bellingcat’s flimsy “evidence” is debunked, Higgins and company simply concoct “new evidence”.

    Bellingcat’s recent “report” claiming that the “53rd Russian Air Brigade from Kursk” was responsible for the downing of MH17 was immediately debunked http://russia-insider.com/en/bellingcat-caught-and-out-yet-another-mh17-falsification/5723

    • Abe
      January 21, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      A mainstream media darling, Higgins repeated his debunked claims in a recent interview for Germany’s state run broadcaster Deutsche Welle http://www.dw.com/en/bellingcat-new-evidence-against-russian-soldiers-on-mh17/a-18959585

      Whenever Bellingcat’s fabricated “evidence” is debunked by real independent investigative journalists such as Pulitzer Prize winning reporters Seymour Hersh and Robert Parry, technical experts such as professor Theodore Postol from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, forensic researchers such as Neil Krawetz who established the Fotoforensics site, or Russian media, Higgins either ignores them completely or attacks them in Bellingcat articles or Twitter posts.

      Higgins can rely on the New York Times, the UK Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph and Deutsche Welle, and other outlets to laud him as a genius, while endlessly and unquestioningly repeating his long-ago debunked claims.

      • Abe
        January 21, 2016 at 3:58 pm

        According to Higgins, anyone who does not loudly applaud Bellingcat’s debunked “evidence” is indulging in “theory” or “MH17 Truther BS”
        https://twitter.com/eliothiggins/status/656722398692007936

      • Abe
        January 21, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        Higgins on Consortium News coverage of MH17
        https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/688392050606215168

      • Zachary Smith
        January 21, 2016 at 9:17 pm

        I looked at the wiki of Deutsche Welle and learned that the name is almost literally “Voice of Germany. So it’s nothing but a German version of Voice of America.

        In other words, pure propaganda.

        • Otto
          January 22, 2016 at 6:12 am

          Welle means wave not voice – don’t you have a computer?

        • Zachary Smith
          January 22, 2016 at 10:15 am

          Oddly enough, the wiki has changed since yesterday. But a new search turned up this on the DW website:

          Deutsche Welle: The Voice of Germany

          http://www.dw.com/en/deutsche-welle-the-voice-of-germany/a-6291740

          • Tsigantes
            January 22, 2016 at 11:30 am

            It’s funny how Deutsche Welle anchors (“Voice of Germany”) all speak with American accents….

          • John E. Reuter, Esq. (Ret.)
            January 22, 2016 at 2:14 pm

            It’s “wave.” Look it up for yourself.

  25. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS
    January 21, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Kerry is a joke, JUST LIKE THE REST OF dc.

  26. David Smith
    January 21, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    AWACS saw it all……..

  27. Pablo Diablo
    January 21, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Those who control the media, control the dialogue. Thank you Robert Parry for ALL your hard work.

  28. Pablo Diablo
    January 21, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Those who control the media, control the dialogue. Thank you Robert Parry for ALL your hard work.

Comments are closed.